I’m about 4 months into full-time blogging, taxes has been filed for 2016, and guys? I’m feeling pretty good so far!
I’ve definitely noticed a huge shift now that I have the time to sit down and focus on all aspects of my business. Working from home and on the road proves to be a challenge sometimes, and I really had to sit down and look at some apps and software that would make my blog run efficiently. Here are some of the tools I use on a regular basis to help me get through the workday and manage multiple projects with ease!
This post is sponsored by College Ave Student Loans and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Alicia Tenise possible!
I mainly chat about fashion, beauty, and mouth-watering food on here, but let’s talk about something that isn’t so glamorous: student loans. I absolutely love being a post-grad and I’m super stoked that I have an awesome career in the marketing field. However, I totally have to admit that I did not do anything in undergrad to prepare for my financial future. Really, anything. My monthly student loan payments are a bit higher than I’d like and not only is this cutting into my brunch funds, it really makes saving money for a house, a car, and just having a rainy day fund pretty difficult.
Even though I’m bogged down with undergraduate loans, one day I hope to go back to school and get my MBA. I definitely plan on being smarter with my lending now that I’m more conscious of my budget. College Ave is an organization that I wish existed back in my undergrad years. They’re an online marketplace lender that has a sole focus on student loans.
My favorite thing about College Ave is that they show you what payments you can make while you’re in school to reduce your payments post-grad. For example, if you make a monthly payment of roughly $100 while you’re in school for 54 months, you could reduce your post-grad payment by $70 each month. College Ave also offers lower interest payments to those students who choose to start paying off their loan while they’re in school.
I love that College Ave makes it super easy to save on student loans with a user-friendly interface. None of the loans I chose broke down what my monthly payments would be after I graduated, nor did they break down the benefits of paying off a loan in school. College Ave even has a mobile-friendly application with a sleek, easy to use interface and borrowers can receive a credit decision in less than three minutes.
If you’re still in school, make sure to enter College Ave’s Instagram Contest! Share your college goals for your chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and a $50 Chegg credit for textbook rentals.
To all my post grad friends: what do you wish you did differently in school to prepare for your financial future?
Let’s face it: to land a job in marketing these days, it is essential to intern while you’re in college. It was a major shock to me after I graduated from college that most entry-level positions were looking for someone with at least 1-2 years of experience. Yikes.
I completed 4 internships in school and was able to land a job a few months after graduating. However, even with my numerous internship experiences, it was still pretty difficult for me to transition from the role of an intern to an entry-level employee. Don’t get me wrong, my experiences were great, but as an unpaid intern, I legally was not able to really take on that much responsibility.
Something that I wish I had back in college? ProSky. ProSky is a really awesome hybrid between an online class and an internship. What I love about ProSky is that it is a small online class that will teach you essential skills and then you work with a team on a project for a real client. Being able to brainstorm and present real solutions to real companies is pretty major. Who are the companies that ProSky partners with? Zappos, LinkedIn and Stance Socks to name a few!
The best part about ProSky courses is that they are remote and you can take them from anywhere in the world. This is ideal for when you have that one semester when your class schedule is all over the place and you’re unable to make it into an office for a physical internship. You’re also able to schedule virtual meetings with your mentors and chat with your peers for additional support.
What are you waiting for? Make sure to check out ProSky’s site and enroll in a course today!
- Make sure your email address aligns with your brand
First things first: take a look at your blog’s email. If you’re still using that archaic AOL email address, chances are a brand isn’t going to take you seriously. Ideally, you should use an email address that has your domain name in it (ex. firstname.lastname@example.org). If that isn’t a possibility, Gmail is the most professional, free email provider. Sorry Yahoo and Hotmail fans. It’s time to move on!
- Target a specific contact person
As tempting as it is to email the general customer service email or the email@example.com address, you’re more likely to get a response if you find a specific contact person’s name and email. How do you get this information? I’ve found that LinkedIn is a great resource to find out who you need to contact (I like to do an advanced search and seek out a company’s marketing/pr team members!) Also, make sure to network when you’re at blogger meet ups and conferences. Often times, local and/or national brands are there to meet bloggers to collaborate with. Never throw out those business cards!
- Personalize your greeting
Please, please spell your contact person’s name correctly! Also, make sure to personalize the first couple of sentences in your pitch and make it specific to the brand. Compliment them on a certain campaign, a product of theirs you use, a recent collaboration. Make it known to the brand that you follow their work. If you’ve met the contact person for that brand, remind them of where you two met.
- Make a convincing argument
Explain to the brand what type of collaboration you had in mind (ex. a sponsored post, giveaway, product review, etc) and why your blog is the ideal fit. Mention your blog/social media stats, reader demographics, include any testimonials you might have or link to past collaborations with other brands. Make it clear what exactly you want from the organization and what you can do for them in return.
- Keep it brief
Who knows how many pitches these PR/marketing reps receive on any given day? I would keep your pitch to three (short) paragraphs, max. Quantity ≠ quality in this case! Get to the point and include relevant information in your pitch (after your personalized greeting, of course). Skip the fluff!
- Always have a media kit on hand
Offer to send over your media kit to the brand if they’re interested. Most likely they won’t request one, however, always have it on hand just in case they want to see it. I don’t send my media kit right off the bat because occasionally attachments won’t pass through some companies’ spam filters and firewalls, but I always let the brand know that it is available upon request.
- Follow up
No response after a week? Send a short and sweet follow up email and ask if they received your first email and reiterate your interest in working with them. The PR/marketing world can get a little hectic at times, and they may not be ignoring you on purpose! They might have a little too much on their plate. If you don’t hear back after one follow-up email, I would call it quits and move on to the next brand.