Careers at The Shelf
Epic Writer of Epics
Overview of the Role
This is a contract position (10 – 15 hours per article). So, it’s a great option if you have a full-time gig and want some extra spending money for weekend shenanigans, or to get your dog braces (assuming that’s a thing), or whatever else. About half of our full-time team started out as contractors… so who knows where you’ll wind up. 😃
As a writer with The Shelf, you’ll be composing long-form articles and more editorial pieces of content that show up on our blog (and occasionally for other blogs to which we’re submitting guest posts).
I’m just gonna be honest here – only about 1 in 3 writers who make it through the interview process and who receive an invitation to become a contributor for us will make it past that first assignment with The Shelf. It’s not that we’re not awesome to work with. We actually are. But what I think most applicants miss when they read through our light-hearted blog content is that we are big on simplifying complex concepts and connecting the dots for our readers. And we can do that because our writers do SO much research and dot-connecting of their own, that they understand topics well enough to simplify them for others to grasp. All without our readers having to read a bunch of different articles to understand what they just read.
Yeah, we’re kind of irreverent. And yeah, we’re weirdos. But our team puts in hours and hours of research for every piece we write. If it falls short, the head of content marketing (me 😁) has NO PROBLEM sending it back for more depth, or meat, or guts, or “umph”, or chutzpah, or whatever it needs…
Most of our posts range between 1500 and 3500 words, and they consist of 8 key (pretty much non-negotiable) elements:
- Intro – A snippet-ready, keyword-optimized answer target disguised as an article introduction.
- Overview – A broad look at the industry, vertical, or strategy being covered (this is where you list the stats and tell readers why the topic matters).
- Trends – Weird or interesting angles that either identify emerging trends or introduce new ways of thinking about the topic.
- Campaign Examples – Relevant campaign examples (with screenshots directly from social media, YouTube, TikTok, or another content sharing platform) that aren’t just a lazy copy/paste from someone else’s article, campaign examples, and analyses. Copying anyone’s anything is the fastest way to be dismissed from the writing team.
- Strategy – A detailed explanation of the strategy used in each campaign example you included.
- Conclusion – Maybe to recap, maybe to add one more thing, maybe just to pave the way for our CTA.
- Links – To your credible sources, as well as to other content on The Shelf blog that relates to the topic.
- Infographics – We typically convert key sections or stats into graphics for the TLDR crowd… so you need to provide the stats and actually write those key sections.
Yeah, this is actually what you’re reading when you go through one of our blog posts, but it’s easy to miss that because we cloak all this sick knowledge in jokes, pop culture references, and regular-people talk. So, would-be writers often don’t realize HOW MUCH WORK goes into creating long-form posts for us. And if you happen to not be a total research and data geek, our affinity for data and campaign examples could easily become your soul-crushing experience.
It’s a lot of heavy lifting, guys. Me? I LOVE research. I’m always on the hunt for cool ads. Sometimes I watch live TV just to see what kinds of campaigns are running. I actually get annoyed that I don’t have time to research and write about all the cool or interesting ideas I see or dream up. And if I go a couple of days without researching and writing something, I get antsy.
(You can probably guess what I do in my free time.)
Just something to keep in mind as you read. Carry on…
Please check out these examples :
You should look at these above examples to see if that’s something you’ll be able to do from the perspective of domain expertise, length, detail, tone, writing style, and sophistication. Yes – from time to time, our posts can sound a little cheesy. We’re looking for writers who know how to insert quirk and weirdness, plus some ever-so-slight stream-of-conciousness-style musings into an otherwise advanced style of writing… that contains complex sentences with smart-sounding vocabulary. And to clarify that last point, there’s a big difference between using big words in a smart way… and simply grabbing a thesaurus to swap out small words with big ones for the sake of making your writing sound adroit and facetious. (Heh, heh, see what I did there?)
Summary of What We Care About
Here is a fun visual breakdown of the qualities and characteristics (related to this role) that we find important when hiring.
About The Shelf
- We’re a team of 30.
- We’re growing.
- We’re about as scattered as a team can be… East Coast, West Coast, the middle of the country… a bunch of us are in Canada, 1 in Ukraine, 1 in Russia… we like to keep our options open in terms of company retreat locations.
- About half of us are really funny.
- We’re currently working with some pretty amazing brands: Famous Footwear, Zenni Optical, KISS, Lenox, a big chain of malls (I don’t think I’m allowed to say who), a big toilet brand (again… I don’t think I’m allowed to say who, but you probably sit on this brand every morning), Honest Co., Hershey, Yelp… just to name a few.
Who to Send Your Application To
We’re a pretty down-to-earth bunch, so if you’re interested in applying, in lieu of an elaborate cover letter, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and include bullet points with the info requested in the next section…
What To Put In Your Email
- The job you are applying for.
- A link to your Linkedin profile.
- What job site sent you our way.
- Your location.
- Your phone number.
- A rundown on how experienced you are with the influencer marketing space… Have you worked with them? Have you done client work in the influencer space? Stuff like that.
- A summary of why you feel like you’d be good for this role.
- Your availability (and whether or not this is going to be the case each week, or if you are needing flexibility).
- Your hourly rate.
- In addition to your hourly rate, let me know your cost per post (if the requirement is at least 1500 words and probably around 10 hours of work per post).
- And lastly, if you have examples of posts that meet the above requirements, send them my way. If not, no worries: let your cover letter be a quick demonstration of your writing prowess.
Tips on how to get your application noticed (assuming that’s what you’re shooting for):
- Applications that are submitted using a job site (instead of being emailed to the above email address) will not be considered.
- Please don’t have typos. (#FunLittleTip: Install Grammarly. It’s a game-changer.)
- It would be great if you could try to sound cool. We write in a colloquial, one-with-the-people-while-still-being-basically-grammatically-correct style. And while this style of writing is not a requirement, keep in mind that we receive a decent number of applicants every day, and 90% of those applications are boring AF. The ones that have a fun “voice” and quirky writing style immediately stand out. In a good way.
- Lastly, put yourself in the shoes of the person in charge of interviewing… What do you think that person would want to hear? Talk about that stuff and leave off anything that isn’t super relevant.
The Characteristics of People at The Shelf
Generally speaking, a lot of you will probably find this job post in line with your skill set, and I bet a lot of you probably have the skills necessary to perform the requirements of this role. But… the characteristics that define what it’s like to actually work with you are also very important to us. Think of these requirements more in terms of culture-fit requirements:
🕺 Our company has a very fast-paced environment. It might feel disorganized from time to time because we’re also a small company. We need each employee to be the type of person who can go with the flow. Who can adjust quickly. Who is able to embrace chaos with open arms when it decides to waltz through the door.
🏎 Due to the aforementioned fast-paced environment, you should be the type of person who is able to execute quickly… within time constraints. WHILE still maintaining quality. We don’t ask for the impossible. But what we don’t want to see are projects that are slapped together and riddled with issues when we’re in a time crunch. Instead, we’d like to see people make adjustments and figure out how to make it work. We’re looking for resourceful people who approach projects with that there’s-more-than-one-way-to-skin-a-cat attitude.
📈 I’ve never interviewed anyone who has said that they have bad work ethic… but there’s a big difference between people who show up and do what gets assigned to them, and those who take initiative… Those people who take pride in their projects and who go above and beyond because they have that drive for personal achievement and growth. We don’t want to micro-manage. We want to work with self-motivated people who are neurotic about quality.
✅ People who don’t proofread drive me nuts!
👿 While I feel like I shouldn’t have to mention this, we’ve worked with people in the past who ran around like a bunch of crazed loose cannons… yelling at coworkers, constantly complaining, deploying the cold-shoulder on a regular basis… passive aggressive. So if you’re not a nice person… that won’t really work for us. We really need everyone to exude positivity.
👂 You need to be receptive to feedback. This is a quality that we find candidates have trouble self-assessing. But try hard, because we give feedback when needed. We’re too small of a company to just let people do whatever they want to do. (Side-note… no one loves feedback. That’s fine. I don’t either really. But will you take it nicely? Will you incorporate it? Are you going to be passive aggressive while doing it? Have you ever been told not to “cut off your nose to spite your face”? These are questions you should ask yourself).
😺 Influencer marketing is constantly changing, so we’re looking for people who are curious and eager to learn. Let’s say, for example, a client mentions in passing how they’re doing whitelisting on Instagram (and we’ll assume you don’t know what that means). Are you going to just nod your head and say you understand it when you don’t? Or, are you going to jot down a note, do some research, and become a whitelisting expert for the next client conversation? Because we need the latter.
👩🏽💻 If you’re working remotely, you need to actually be working. No one likes a freeloader.
👆🏾 Are you ambitious? It’s not a requirement, but if you are… there’s lots of room for career growth. Plus, we like to hire our managers from within the team, so there is a very clear path to the next level (if that’s of interest to you).
Here at The Shelf, we truly believe it’s our differences that have allowed us to come together and form such a cohesive and all-encompassing whole. Our mission as a company is to help our clients stand out amongst the crowd… to be different and impactful. And since we’re a team made up of diverse people with all different backgrounds and experiences, we’re able to do this naturally. 🙋🏽♂️🙋🙋🏾♀️🙋🏼♂️🙋🏼♀️🙋🏾♂️🙋🏽♀️🙋🏾
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.
So Is This Your Job Jam?
I could honestly go on and on (because I’m long-winded, in case you couldn’t tell that by now), but I’m going to stop here. The point is, you gotta have the chops AND play well with others. And if you’re giddy already, feeling like this job description is just so dead-on-b*lls accurate for you, perfect! We can’t wait to hear from you.
If you’re lacking a skill or two but still feel pumped, feel free to mention it in your cover letter. We’re a small company who’s big into personal growth and supporting up-and-coming go-getters!
Oh, and one last thing… Please add the word Toggle to your subject line when applying so that I know you read this entire post.