The story started
Hey everyone! As a celebratory mark of having been with Pearl Lemon for 4 months, here’s a more in-depth look at my experience and position within the company 🙂
It’s currently the beginning of December, and with 2020 wrapping up shortly, there’s no better time to reflect on what I have learned and how I have grown since August.
When I first started working with Pearl Lemon, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had applied to a content writer position despite not having written much since early college/high school.
Although I consider myself a decent writer, I honestly didn’t know much about what would be expected from me as a content writer. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I would never have opted towards it as a potential career pathway.
Then, BOOM, here I am, applying for a content writer position. And as you may have guessed, I got it.
My first month working with Pearl Lemon was definitely a change of pace from what I was used to. After graduating in the spring, I hadn’t really been committed to sticking to a daily schedule.
Honestly, I had been chilling ever since the start of 2020. Therefore, once I committed to working 4ish hours almost every day, I had to make some adjustments to my routine.
Most notably, I had to re-learn how to focus.
It’s incredible how fast you can lose the skills you once took for granted.
In the beginning, most of my tasks consisted of going through training videos and easing into a daily workflow.
I learned more about the company, how it’s organised, and where I fit in with everything.
Month 1 was primarily comprised of writing guest posts. These short-form posts are written for various clients about a broad range of topics.
I wrote on everything from buying property in Italy to finding the best boxing headpiece. Because I typically had limited to no prior knowledge of topics before writing about them, writing guest posts was an opportunity to learn about unfamiliar subjects.
The number of seemingly random subjects that I had to research for these posts still amazes me. Learning about new topics that I otherwise would not have spent time reading about was an interesting part of the job that I really enjoyed.
I think the most valuable part of starting with guest posts (aside from the new tidbits of knowledge I now pocket as ‘fun facts’) was learning how to write informatively when confined by length.
Previously, I hadn’t put much thought into different types of writing styles and structures. After writing guest posts for a month, I can confidently say that I am now able to provide a detailed, yet understandable, summary of information within a measly 500-word limit.
It’s harder than you may think to write concisely while staying thorough. You don’t want to be so vague that your audience learns nothing. Yet you can’t dive into the nitty gritties because that would push you way over your word target.
Guest posts were a challenge at first. But they helped me improve my writing, and I am glad that’s how my position started.
After getting the hang of writing guest posts, I expanded my horizon to start writing posts for Plant Sumo and Resume Cats. These two businesses are under the Pearl Lemon umbrella, and so part of my job turned into writing content for them as well.
Plant Sumo is a plant-based food delivery service based in London, so my tasks revolved around writing about vegan related topics.
Although I am not vegan, I am definitely a health-conscious foodie. So writing for a vegan meal service was kind of right up my alley.
Out of all the projects I have been a part of, I think writing for Plant Sumo has been my favourite. Probably, because I find it easier to bring out my own voice when writing about a topic I can easily relate to.
Writing for Plant Sumo was different from writing guest posts primarily because of the very nature of the content. While guest posts are written for clients to link their businesses, posts for Pearl Lemon are for its blog.
I enjoy blog writing more so than client posts because you have the opportunity to be more conversational and personal.
A lot of the posts I wrote were either lists of the best vegan restaurants in *insert city* or specific recipe guides. Although turning a recipe into a personable blog post may seem daunting at first, I found that these posts came the most naturally to me.
I also think writing for Plant Sumo helped me hone in on writing casual narratives. Because of these posts, I feel confident writing blog posts that entertains while being informative.
On a completely different spectrum, writing for Resume Cats was centred around how-to guides and advice for people developing their resumes.
While I found these blog posts more tiresome and slightly dull, I am still glad I had the opportunity to work on them.
Because I know that I’m not going to love everything I have to write about, writing for Resume Cats was an excellent exercise to make myself sit down, focus, and crank out some content.
I think striking a balance between writing content that I find exciting and content I’m less excited about is essential because it has helped me develop a better work ethic.
Most of my articles for Resume Cats were longer than any Plant Sumo blog post, typically between 1.5 and 2k. By having various content lengths and topics, I felt challenged (in a good way 👍).
Another fun part of this month was creating a Quora page. Before Pearl Lemon, I had heard of Quora but honestly had no idea what it was or how to use it.
Every week we were expected to answer several questions, linking a small percentage of them back to Pearl Lemon. The goal was to expand our own presence on Quora while bringing in our experience with Pearl Lemon when applicable.
I know I just said writing for Plant Sumo was my favourite task as a content writer, but I take that back. Writing on Quora was for sure, my favourite.
Because I could answer questions about things that I find interesting and discussion-worthy, it was a great opportunity to practice putting my thoughts into words.
Contrary to belief, writing your own thoughts and opinions can be a lot harder than writing a research paper.
When your content is primarily research-based, it’s easy enough to put your brain into auto-drive and plug and chug away. On the other hand, writing about your personal opinions requires a higher level of conceptualisation and attention.
Although I started working on outreach throughout month 2, I’ll dedicate this month’s wrap-up talking about outreach strategies and how I went about it.
Specifically, HARO outreach.
While us content writers had our plates full of guest post deadlines and various other blog content, we focused a lot on finding more opportunities to provide content.
If you have never been on HARO before, it’s essentially a database to connect writers with opportunities. It covers every subject you can think of and has tons of prompts that writers can submit content proposals to. When your content is selected, you can get featured and quoted.
After signing up for HARO’s daily newsletter, us content writers had the job of browsing potential openings and submitting proposals. Sometimes this would be a longer email to get in touch with businesses and others, a quick paragraph about a specific topic.
While outreach wasn’t the most exciting part of being a content writer, I think it was a good learning experience on how to get your name out there and find potential contacts.
As someone who had limited experience with brand growth, learning about this strategy was interesting. My biggest takeaway was understanding how I could do this for myself.
The last month with Pearl Lemon focused a bit more on long-form content and product reviews.
I liked writing more in-depth articles because it allowed me to dive a little deeper into the content.
Rather than writing surface-level articles, long-form content (which is at least 2k, typically 5-10k words) allows you to cover more details and write at a higher level.
This means more data, more examples, and, of course, more words.
The fun part (at least for me) is that you get to spend more time researching and learning about a new topic.
Longform subjects are usually more SEO based because most of them are posted to the Pearl Lemon blog. Therefore, you have the opportunity to learn about a specific platform or range of skills that may be useful later on. It’s the best of both worlds!
While bettering my writing skills was the primary purpose I took this position, undoubtedly, the most influential part of the job has been learning about developing myself as a brand.
Aside from writing content to help support Pearl Lemon, we are also encouraged to build a portfolio.
Before starting with Pearl Lemon, I was interested in creating a website to feature my own content and creations. Although Pearl Lemon didn’t spark this idea in me, it gave me the confidence to pursue the opportunity.
Throughout the past 4 months that I have been working with Pearl Lemon, I have become more confident in my writing, ability to connect with leads, and comfort with putting myself out there.
Working with Pearl Lemon has been a meaningful opportunity for me to improve myself while also learning along the way.
Although it’s sad to see this position come to a close, I will be taking everything I have learned with me to the next chapter of my life.
Catch ya later,