Covering emails and the art of content self-marketing

Posted by: Dan Brotzel, Sticky Content Ltd.

You can learn a lot about what makes a good content marketer from a survey of CV and covering notes…

I get a lot of CVs from writers and editors and strategists looking for a permanent role or freelance commissions. When looking at these, I’m always drawn to the covering note or LinkedIn intro, because these brief promotional texts are the applicant’s opportunity to really sell themselves and their CV.

If the applicant can’t do that effectively, I figure, they’re probably not the sort of person we’re looking for. The covering email is a pivotal moment of content self-marketing.

You can learn a lot about what makes a good content marketer from a survey of these covering notes too. I like the ones that get to the point, that show some attempt to match what the person has to offer to what we might require. Ones that focus on a few key facts or credentials, that don’t seek to give an overview of everything the person has done in the last 15 years. I prefer facts and company names to personal mission statements and self-serving epithets.

The ones I have a problem with include the ones that try too hard. Sometimes they come written like Ogilvy-style long-form ads, compete with italics; sometimes they indulge in crazee wordplay relating to the applicant’s first name; sometimes they crack jokes that don’t quite work.  But all of these are far preferable to the ones that imply that I’m doing the applicant a favour, or that what I do isn’t really a thing in its own right.

Sometimes, for example, the covering note explains that the applicant is a radio producer or a graphic artist, and the applicant fancies doing a bit of content till the real work picks up and starts earning them the big bucks. Sometimes they say they’ve done lots of great stuff in other media and are now looking for a job that will teach them digital, as if people like me are sitting round waiting for people like them to appear so we can get them skilled up.

These notes are an insult to the people who’ve chosen a career in content, not because they’re hanging round for something better to happen, but because content is what they like to do and what they’re passionate about and expert at.

Content marketing is a skill like any other, born of aptitude and training and experience. Anyone seeking to break into it might start by respecting that fact.

Posted by: Dan Brotzel, Head of Content and Co-Founder, Sticky Content Ltd 

Posted in CMA blog
10thApr 2014

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