Writing a New Chapter

Jeff Montgomery spent more than a decade working in the journalism industry. As the new creative copywriter at McCullough Creative, he is applying his craft in a brand new way.

This marks the latest in a series of blog posts highlighting new hires and recent promotions at McCullough Creative.




Jeff Montgomery started as a creative copywriter at McCullough Creative in early January. In his time away from work, he enjoys music and parenting – and sometimes, both of those things at once. Company President – and experienced writer – Patrick McCullough spoke with Jeff to learn more about the new hire.


PAT: Thanks for joining me. We’re happy to have you aboard. Can you begin by telling us a bit about what you do here at McCullough Creative?


JEFF: Yeah, thanks for the opportunity. I recently started as a creative copywriter. My job is to produce written content for a wide range of clients for a variety of mediums, including quarterly magazines, website content, video scripts, brand campaigns – you name it.


You’re new to the industry, but not new to writing. What background do you bring professionally?


JEFF: You’re right, I have been a writer for the duration of my career. I spent more than a decade working as a journalist, including eight years reporting at the Telegraph Herald here in Dubuque.


From my own experience with writing, I know it can vary significantly depending on the kind of writing you are doing and the audience you are reaching. How has your writing background prepared you for your new job?


JEFF: Well, one thing to note about my reporting career is I spent the vast majority of that time covering business. So I’ve learned how to identify the purpose and character of a business, how to discover the opportunities and challenges in front of them, and then communicate that unique story to a broader audience. I think that part of this job is familiar.


From the start of your career to now, how has your approach to writing evolved?


JEFF: I used to think that there was an element of showmanship to writing: using big words and flowery language … . But people don’t care about that. I think of words differently now. The best word is often short and uncomplicated. The most effective sentence is often concise. Writing is most effective when you consider the audience and how you can reach them.


Did you grow up in the Dubuque area?


JEFF: I was raised in the Chicago area, actually. The northwest suburbs.


During the Cubs' magical 2016 World Series run, Jeff attended a game with his parents and future wife.


Right on. That’s a little different pace than here. Do you miss it? Get back often?


Well, I still have a lot of loved ones there: My sister lives in the city and my parents reside in the suburbs. Plus, some of my closest friends are still Chicagoans. I’m also a pretty intense Chicago sports fan – the Cubs and the Bulls especially.


What keeps you busy when you’re away from work?


My family, mainly. My wife Jenifer is simultaneously one of the most driven people I’ve ever met and one of the most fun people I’ve ever been around. It’s a rare combination: to aim for big things and be so down to earth. We have two kids: a three-year-old daughter Elizabeth and a one-year-old son Christopher. They’ve changed my life – which I know is a total cliché, but it’s true in this case.


Jeff hanging with his kids at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.


How about hobbies?


I like to run and I really enjoy the outdoors. But my biggest passion, by a mile, is music. I have played guitar and piano for more than 20 years. I think the most exciting thing now is sharing my love for music with the kids. We have a bunch of little instruments around the house – maracas, a toy piano, a tambourine, a little toy trumpet. The kids love to just pick those up and go wild. We play together quite a bit.


Jeff first picked up a guitar around the age of 12. His passion blossomed in college, when he frequently performed around campus.


Oh boy … any Grammy winners out of those sessions?


We have a song called “Family Band” – it’s an original, where we, uh, literally form a family band. I pick up a guitar or sit down at the piano and the kids will pick up a tambourine or maracas, or maybe even yell into a microphone. It’s pure chaos. It can be painful on the ears if you are standing too close. But it is lovely in its own way.


So there is beauty in the cacophony …


That’s kind of parenting in a nutshell. A little loud, a little messy, a little off-key. But beneath the chaos, there’s something incredibly sweet about it.