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!
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.
WHEN YOU APPLY
letters are pretty tedious to write, but it is likely that you will need one to
apply for an internship. Do not use the same exact cover letter for every
position you apply for; customize your cover letter to the position you’re
applying for. In addition to highlighting your strengths, your cover letter
should briefly explain why you want to work at that particular company. Look at
the intern job description and discuss any additional qualifications you have
for the job that might not be covered in your resume.
be afraid to follow-up! I emailed my cover letter and resume to one internship
and after two weeks I didn’t hear anything back. I sent them a brief follow-up
letter asking if they had received my materials – turns out they didn’t and
after resubmitting my cover letter and resume, I was interviewed and hired for
the position. Just because you don’t hear a response back doesn’t mean they
disliked your application. Your resume may have just gotten lost in the
process. I highly recommend emailing when you follow up rather than phone
BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW
your interview. Know some of the basic facts of the company. Get familiar with
the organization’s competitors. Show that you know your stuff. You are likely
going to be asked in the interview “why do you want to work at this
organization?” Do not answer this with a generic answer like “I need an
internship” or “this industry is the industry I want to be in.” Tell the
interviewer why that particular organization is desirable.
of interview questions. Practice some of these ahead of time. There will likely
be a curve ball question that you won’t be able to prepare for, but figure out
the answers to these common interview questions.
caution when picking out an interview outfit. In my opinion, it’s always safe
to go with a black, knee-length dress, a jacket and flats or low heels. If you’re
interviewing for a more creative company, feel free to rock some bold colors.
Stay tuned for another “interview ensemble” feature on my blog.
writing samples or any other portfolio pieces to your interview. Your
interviewer might not need them, but it’s always good to have these just in
interviewer questions after the interview. Prepare a few questions about the
company and organizational culture ahead of time. Your interviewer might answer
these questions in the interview, but always have about 5-10 questions on hand
that you can ask. You might also think of a few questions during the interview
as well. Make sure to bring a pen and a notepad and jot these questions down
that pop into your head.