Posts filed under Content Marketing

Sabrina Son: Content Marketer

Name: Sabrina Son

Age: 28

College & Majors/Minors: University of Washington, BA in Creative Writing / Minor in Law, Societies, and Justice

Current Location: Seattle, WA

Current Form of Employment: Content Marketer

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at a start-up where I do content marketing. Just like any other start-up, I wear many hats on the marketing team, but the bulk of my day goes towards managing my company's blog, from content strategy, writing articles, and overseeing freelance writers. I also work on email drip campaigns, writing ad copy, and basically anything else related to words.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I got the chance to interview with Boeing for a technical writing position, but I didn't get the job because I didn't have enough experience. So I went back to school for a technical writing certificate, and from there, I discovered marketing writing, which I fell in love with. The classes I took helped build my writing portfolio, and I was able to use that to land a copywriting job for an e-commerce site.

I wanted to broaden my scope of skills, so I decided to escape copywriting and applied to my current company. I knew I was completely under-qualified for this job because I probably only met 10% of their requirements, but they took a leap of faith and hired me on!

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

For a while, I was a freelance associate editor at an ad agency that worked with magazines for Lexus, Holland America, etc. There, I learned how to do creative editing with articles from freelance writers and optimize copy for web, mobile, and print versions. It opened the door to the world of digital content for me.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

To be honest, I didn't do anything to prepare myself for the writing world because I was so set on going to law school. It's really all about how you can relate what you've learned or experienced to whatever job you're currently applying to — you're a writer after all, you know how to build sentences in your favor.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don't just set your eyes on one dream job because you'll never know if you'll enjoy it until you get into the real world. Experiment with different styles of writing — copywriting, content marketing, social media — these all require more creativity than you'd think. Writing is such a unique talent that's difficult to pick up, and you'll find that it's also one of the most practical and rare skills out there.

Connect with Sabrina on LinkedIn, and follow her on Twitter @sabrinason29! 

Posted on March 24, 2016 and filed under Content Marketing, Interviews, Interview.

Marianne M. Chrisos: Content Developer

Name: Marianne M. Chrisos

Age: 29

College & Majors/Minors: BA in English with a Minor in Psychology, MA in Writing and Publishing

Current Location: outside of Chicago, IL

Current Form of Employment: Content Developer

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

I work on a phenomenal content team at a promotional products company (the people who put your logo on cool stuff like pens, stress balls, and bags) called Quality Logo Products. I write blog posts, articles, product descriptions, web copy, email marketing copy, and other various tidbits. I also help manage and monitor our corporate social media channels; Tumblr in particular is my social domain and I take great pride in sharing marketing, branding, and design news with the millennial masses.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first job out of college was working in the customer service and sales departments of a publishing house.  I thought that might eventually lead to an editorial or acquisition position, but nothing ever opened up. I did, however, get to work on the editing of the sales team fact sheets and processes manual, and also worked to help set up conferences and worked on author orders and other fun book things. I was there for over five years, met a ton of rad people, and learned an insane amount about publishing, bookstores, and production.

In my current job, it’s all writing, all the time. I don’t interact much with our end user like I did in prior positions, but I do work with other departments to figure out what resources we can create to help serve those users better, be it resources on marketing, entrepreneurship, or how promo products can help grow a small business.  

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Between my publishing job and current content gig, I worked as a freelance writer and editor and also as a marketing specialist for a real estate brokerage. Both of those opportunities helped me incorporate more research into my writing and cultivate different voices across different mediums. Web copy is different from academic writing, which is different from marketing emails and as someone building a career in writing, it was good to have experience in different areas.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I think the best thing I did in college was find like-minded English majors to bond over books, literature, words, and writing. This not only helped me survive the stress of school, but having a group of people with similar interests and goals helped me stay focused and productive when finding a job was difficult or when I was struggling creatively. 

Sometimes it feels like the English major job and accomplishment pool is very competitive; a lot of talented people fighting for a lot of the same positions, gigs, internships, publishing opportunities, etc. Having a good group of go-to peers can be encouraging. It keeps you linked to what you love and you can offer and receive support and insight. 

Need a writing group or book club? Those are your people. Need a recommendation or someone to proof your grad school application? Got that too. Need someone to geek about indie bookstores and movie adaptations with? English nerds to the rescue. Writing can be lonely; find your people.

The skills you develop as an English major can translate to a lot of different jobs and opportunities, so don’t limit yourself.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Be patient. Everyone wants to get out there, make a name for themselves in editing, teaching, writing, and publishing, and validate the choice to major in English. But it’s important to remember that there’s room for everyone and to stay open to all the possibilities. The skills you develop as an English major can translate to a lot of different jobs and opportunities, so don’t limit yourself. 

Also, it can be discouraging to have spent years of your life studying English and literature, writing papers, performing Shakespeare, and dreaming English-y dreams only to have to get a job doing something that doesn’t fulfill you or pertain to your passion. Remember that there is plenty outside of a 9 to 5 that can bring you creative joy and justify your English endeavors.

Respect the Oxford comma. 

Oh, and read as much as you can. Read everything. Don’t limit yourself to textbooks and syllabi suggestions (but don’t shun those either). Make time to read what you know you love and stretch yourself to reading things you don’t. Some of my favorites (things have grown me as a writer and a person) are Anne Lamott’s nonfiction and Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. 

The marketing blog I write for is here and I can also be reached on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram!

Posted on March 11, 2016 and filed under Communications, Content Marketing, Marketing.

Sarah Su: Community Coordinator


Name: Sarah Su

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: University of California, Merced; B.A. English

Current Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Current Form of Employment: Community Coordinator at HotChalk, Inc.

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I work at HotChalk, an online education technology company that has created an education software-as-a-service model, which enables partnering universities to broaden their reach by providing online degree programs. Making learning available for everyone, everywhere, HotChalk’s turnkey solutions power all phases of the education lifecycle: recruitment, enrollment, instruction and graduation.

As a Community Coordinator, I work specifically with university ambassador programs to help connect students and alumni who have had positive experiences with our graduate online programs to encourage them to refer interested friends and colleagues to become potential, new students. Some of my tasks include: creating and finding content to stimulate engagement and discussion on various social media platforms, writing bi-weekly newsletters, monitoring contests and giveaways, and constructing and designing marketing campaigns to spotlight our online students. Because it is a developing company, every day is different and things can change instantly so I am not limited to just a certain number of tasks. I love the fast-paced environment and being able to work on different projects constantly. Currently, we are also in the process of developing a mobile app!

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job.

I consider my current position my first ‘real world’ job which is pretty exciting because I am a recent graduate! Upon entering college, I never imagined myself ending up in a business, corporate setting; in fact I had aspirations to become the next John Green. My mindset, however, gravitated midway through my college career when I realized I didn't exactly posses the will power to punch out a 200 something page novel. I wanted a more immediate response to my work while having the opportunity to work in a team environment and devote my time to multiple projects, not just one. Being unclear on what my other possibilities were available to me, I went to my school’s career services where they gave me a list of jobs you can attain with an English degree. I became interested and started exploring the advertising and marketing industry, especially since a career counselor told me a large portion of the industry relies on effective writing skills and creativity.

“Working as an intern for the company taught me that I am much more capable than what I had originally given myself credit for.”

One of the coordinators at the career center had told me that there was an opening for a marketing internship at HotChalk and that it may be a good match for me, so I decided to apply and was eventually offered a position for the summer. Working as an intern for the company taught me that I am much more capable than what I had originally given myself credit for. I have to admit, at first I was very anxious and timid, and feared that I didn’t belong due to my minimal background in regards to the business world. But thanks to the culture of the company and specifically my team, they appreciated my creativity and encouraged me to be innovative, while always being open and to my contributions and ideas. This gave me the confidence to utilize my skill set and current knowledge, but also challenged me to go above and beyond. I have also always been an advocate that the privilege of attaining a quality education should not be limited by personal privilege, which is a philosophy that the company strongly stands behind, and because of this I worked extremely hard to contribute all that I could to help the company thrive.

At the end of the summer, I was offered a full-time position and I was ecstatic! Not only did I grow fond of the company, I am proud to be an example that having an English degree isn't 'useless' or will result you in being jobless. The beauty of an English degree is the ability to adapt and succeed in various fields due to the fact that good communication and writing skills are invaluable and will never go out of style. My degree also comes extremely in handy because a large portion of our online students work in the education field, and I have a well-versed background in literature and believe strongly in fighting for better literacy outcomes.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

In my senior year of college, I was a Social Media and Arts Marketing intern for a local art center in my college town. The center had minimal knowledge in regards to how social media worked, so I was basically thrown in with little assistance and it became my responsibility to update their various social media platforms on upcoming events and happenings. I have always been an internet junkie, so when I heard that social media has become extremely relevant in terms of marketing, I hopped on the bandwagon. With this internship, I took over their once inactive social media platforms, and in result was able to build a presence and voice for the center virtually.

Most importantly, I learned how to write more concisely and for a broader audience, and it taught me to write in a more informal manner which I had little experience in since my writing background revolved primarily on research papers and essays at the time. I never thought I would be able to make my love and knowledge for the internet into a job, but I did!

“Working with a career counselor gave me a sense of reassurance and made me realize my personal worth. I highly recommend taking advantage of the resources your school has to offer and speaking with a career counselor to go over and explore the different fields you may be interested in.”

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I didn't necessarily have the widest range of experience approaching graduation, but my school's career services helped me highlight my strong suits and interests to tailor my resume and cover letters to meet the requirements of each job application. Working with a career counselor gave me a sense of reassurance and made me realize my personal worth. I highly recommend taking advantage of the resources your school has to offer and speaking with a career counselor to go over and explore the different fields you may be interested in.

College is also a great time to experiment and gain new perspectives. I took a wide range of classes from marketing to public health, and even more 'unconventional' English classes like environmental literature. I am most proud of the fact that college has enabled me to think and analyze material and situations much more critically, and in exchange it has also humbled and made me more empathetic which is vital in any work environment.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

For students, I know thinking about your post-grad life can be pretty daunting, but start your job search early on! I researched extensively on open positions around my area. Especially so early on in your career, I think it's also important to take time to test out the waters to help you determine what you like or don't like, but remember to also never settle for something less or confine yourself to the limitations set forth by society in terms of the capability of your degree. I love my what I do, and I am so happy to have taken the risk to go out of my comfort zone to get to where I am now.

It's also important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who see and acknowledge your full potential. Whether it be a a professor, counselor, advisor, or even a colleague at work; find someone who believes and gives you the necessary support needed to help you achieve your goals. I know that it can be very discouraging to be an English major sometimes, especially if you're constantly getting comments on how 'impractical' or 'useless' the major is in this day and age. But if that's where your passion lies and it's what you want to major in, then go for it! I always take discouragement as an ignition for motivation, and it results me to work even harder to make my dreams into a reality.

At the end of the day, this is your degree and you are the one who decides on how you want to utilize and make the best of it. Having a degree in English provides you with a range of skills and honestly you'd be surprised by how many employers in various work fields find an English degree to be impressive. It's easier said than done, but never give up and believe in yourself, and always be proud of the fact that you majored in English!


Melissa Hattab: Social Media Coordinator

Melissa Hattab: Social Media Coordinator

Sydney Turnquist: Social Media Coordinator

Sydney Turnquist: Social Media Coordinator

Posted on February 6, 2015 and filed under Content Marketing, Marketing.

Michael Restiano: Content Strategist & Freelance Writer

Name: Michael Restiano

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: Tufts University & University of Oxford, English

Current Location: New York, New York

Current Form of Employment: Content Strategist & Freelance Writer

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently work as a content strategist at SapientNitro, a global digital advertising agency. My job here at SapientNitro is to help brands get the right content (that being anything from web copy, to images, to long-form articles—like the thing you’re reading right now!) to the right audience member at the right time. Doing that work requires an equal mix of strategic planning and creative thinking—it’s a great exercise in using both halves of my brain!

When I’m not in the office, I’m working on my writing career. I currently freelance for two blogs: the Huffington Post and the SALT Blog, and I also have one short story and one short memoir in the works.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

One of my acquaintances from Tufts in the year above me found a job at SapientNitro when she graduated. The company was looking to hire more entry-level folks right around when I had graduated, so my friend sent an email out to a marketing professor we had both had during our time at Tufts advertising the positions. Luckily, this professor keeps distribution lists for all of his past classes, so that email ended up reaching me.

I applied for one of the jobs, went through the process, and the rest is history! I have a friend, a lot of effort, and a ton of sheer luck to thank for how I ended up at my current position.

I think luck had a major role to play in my freelance gigs, too! I had been a content intern at SALT (which is actually a product created by American Student Assistance to help recent grads and college students with personal finance and student loan repayment) the summer after my sophomore year in college. They liked me so much they decided to let me keep writing for them on an independent contractor deal.

My senior year in college, I attended a marketing conference where Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker. She shared some of her thoughts around the importance of sleep in a professional’s life. I agreed with most of her arguments, but had a few contending points. She had given the audience her email at the end of the presentation, and encouraged us to write to her with our thoughts. I did exactly that, never thinking she’d actually read the message. When I saw the response in my inbox, I remember nearly spilling my tea all over my laptop. That message ended up becoming my first Huffpost blog, “The Sleepless Generation.”

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I had two writing heavy internships that I think heavily influenced where I am now.

The first was a part-time summer internship (my first one, in fact) at my college’s Advancement Communications office. My job there was to create digital stories and content based on current campus happenings that would appeal to Tufts graduates. It was my first lesson in how to write for a specific audience, and I also saw first-hand how technology has made marketing and editorial fuse more closely together than ever before. After that summer, I knew that I wanted to pursue marketing as a career path.

My content internship at SALT further solidified that notion. This time, I was tasked with writing personal finance stories (“creating content,” in marketing lingo) that would resonate with millennial college students and recent graduates. SALT was a unique challenge for me because I had to figure out how to make a typically “unsexy” topic appealing. During my time there, I learned that there’s a good story behind almost EVERYTHING—you might just have to look harder for it with some subjects.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

First off, on a strictly practical level, I interned A LOT. I’d say that by the time I graduated, I had done around 7 or 8 marketing internships. These experiences gave me the skills I needed to make the jump from student to young-professional, and made my senior-year job-search much easier.

On a more abstract level, I think one of the most important tendencies I had in college was that I constantly sought opportunities and experiences outside of my comfort zone. I think a lot of people close themselves off to new opportunities because they get comfy—they get caught up in their day-to-day, and can’t imagine what their lives would be like if their routine completely changed. Everybody ultimately wants comfort and stability (English major response coming at ya right here) in their lives, but the downside to being stable is that you never grow. Everything just stays the same, for better or worse.

When you’re a young person, you should not be getting “stuck” in anything—you simply do not know enough about the world or yourself yet. So when that opportunity to do something completely out there/not like you/ really random comes along, you take it. The space just outside your comfort zone is where you learn and grow the most.

For me, that opportunity was spending my entire junior-year abroad at the University of Oxford. Most of my friends were doing semester programs in more exotic locations, so initially I struggled with just following the crowd and doing the same. I decided to do something different, and looking back, I consider it to be the best decision I’ve made in my life thus far. I learned so much about myself, socially, academically, and professionally, that my life changed so much for the better.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Intern your tiny liberal arts butt off. There’s definite value in an English or other liberal arts degree: it gives you the intellectual foundation you need to be a great critical thinker, analyst, and writer in a way that no business degree ever can.

But frankly, it’s not enough to get you hired at your dream job, assuming your dream job is anything even remotely corporate.

Employers hire based on skills, not potential to gain skills. You can only get those skills from pre-professional experiences like internships. Experience is the currency of any position, and in this job market, you need quite a bit of it even to just get your foot in the door.

I believe in this so much, that I’m willing to make a bet with you.

If you do an internship directly relevant to your desired career every summer after your freshman, sophomore, and junior years of college, you will not have a hard time finding a job after your senior year. If I’m wrong, feel free to send me hate mail at

Outside of that, my advice would be don’t fear the unknown and remember to enjoy yourself! You only get to experience your 20s once, so make sure that you leave some time outside of work to do what you love and to see the people you care about.

Follow Michael on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.


Posted on January 8, 2015 and filed under Content Marketing, Freelance, Blogging, Digital Media.

Nathaniel Tower: Internet Marketing Specialist

Name: Nathaniel Tower

Age: 32

College & Majors/Minors: Washington University in St. Louis; Majors in English Literature and Secondary Education; Minor in Writing

Current Location: Minneapolis

Current Form of Employment: Full-time Internet Marketing Specialist

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm currently an internet marketing specialist at a web design agency called First Scribe. We're a small agency with about 25 employees. I manage the accounts of 15 or so clients, which involves SEO, email marketing, content marketing, reporting, and more. The position requires a balance of verbal and written communication skills. As with any job involving clients, customer service is the key ingredient to success. All the technical skills in the world won't help if you can't adequately communicate with the client. I'm also now in charge of the company's blog, which is one of my favorite parts of the job.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

When I graduated from college, I landed a high school teaching job in St. Charles, MO. Even though I went to college with the intent of becoming a teacher, getting a teaching job was no easy feat. I mailed an application packet (resume, transcripts, cover letter, portfolio samples, letters of recommendation) to just about every school district I could think of in the St. Louis metro area. That's right, mailed. As in stuffed papers in big envelopes, licked them shut, and slapped postage on them. No one accepted electronic applications then, so I spent a fortune on stamps. I had plenty of interviews, but it seemed almost impossible to find employment. Everyone wanted experience, but how do you get experience unless someone will hire you when you don't have experience?

When an opening at the school where I student taught popped up, I thought for sure I was going to get the job. The principal even told me I was guaranteed to get the opening unless someone with "ten years of teaching experience and a PhD" came along. When I got the phone call telling me they were hiring someone else, the conversation went something like this:

Me: So how much experience does he have?

Him: Two years.

Me: So he must have a PhD, right?

Him: No, just a Bachelor's.

Ouch. I had been bamboozled. But the principal promised he would help me get a job. A few weeks later, I called him and said I was applying for a job in another school district. Turned out he knew the associate principal there. Turned out the associate principal went to the same college as me. Are you surprised to hear I got the job?

I held that teaching job for 9 years before my wife and I decided we needed a change of scenery. So we quit our jobs and packed up and moved to Minneapolis. Because of some roadblocks with the Minnesota Department of Education, I decided to end my teaching career and look for a new career. I applied for everything that had writing in the title. It eventually paid off, and here we are.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

In 2008, I founded a literary magazine called Bartleby Snopes. We publish 8 pieces of fiction per week, along with two print best-of issues. We also publish tiny books called flash novels. It's not a "job" in the money-making sense, but it has plenty of reward. It's made me a better writer and a better editor. I'm also much more organized and much better at marketing. I'm sure it played at least a small role in landing my current job.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Not as much as I should have, that's for sure. I spent the first year of college skipping classes and thinking I was too smart for everything. Then I started to get serious, which meant going to class and writing all my papers at the last minute. I never spent a minute at the university's career center, and I only spoke to my advisor during the required bi-yearly sessions. The one thing I did right was get a summer job as a "teacher" in a summer school program. I had the attitude that I knew what I wanted to do and that it wouldn't be that hard to get a job. And now I'm doing something I never imagined I would do, something that barely even existed when I was in college.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

  1. Don't listen to anyone who tells you an English degree is useless. The world we live in struggles with communication. An English degree has a lot of value because it tells the world you can communicate. There are many job opportunities that require some amount of writing.
  2. Value your talents. There are a million freelancing opportunities that pay practically nothing. Don't accept jobs that don't pay you what you're worth.
  3. Be willing to explore new opportunities. Don't assume an English major has to be a novelist, journalist, or teacher. Every business needs to have something written. An English major can write anything. Believe it or not, the biggest obstacle to launching a website isn't approving the designs. It's finding a person to write all the content.

Check out Nathaniel Tower's writing (and juggling!) blog at, visit his Amazon author page, connect with him on LinkedIn and follower him on Twitter!

Posted on November 17, 2014 and filed under Marketing, Teaching, Writing, Editing, Content Marketing.