In a world flooded with tweets, emails, and blog posts, it’s not easy to stand out. But Shani Silver, the director of copy, content, and community for Keep.com, and the one-time Chicago editor of Refinery29, has made a career of doing just that. Her email subject lines make us click, her tweets make us LOL, and the rate at which she can create a blog post (she writes up to 5 a day for the Keep) is nothing short of remarkable. Seriously.
Here, we talk to Shani about a typical day at Keep, the email that landed her a role at Refinery29, the best career advice she’s ever gotten, and more.
YOU’RE THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY AT KEEP. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
I know the role can mean different things at different companies, but for me it means that I manage all aspects of social media, original content, and copywriting for Keep. From writing, to strategizing, to dispersion of content, it’s a lot of work but I love that.
WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB LIKE?
My mornings usually consist of checking in with any scheduled blog posts and social media posts to make sure all is well, free of typos, etc. I also like to keep my eye on Keep’s Trending page to see if our audience is loving any product in particular right now that might perform well on social media. I check the news to make sure there’s nothing happening that suggests I should either a) stay away from social media or b) join in on a trending conversation. I also try to make sure that the day ahead has a lot of variety for our followers and shoppers. This is my first cup of coffee. Then I get ready and go to work. 😉 At any given moment during the day I’m writing copy, Keeping new products for an upcoming post, or interacting with our audience via social media. I’m constantly moving from one area of my job to the next, answering emails along the way. In my role having really rigid time management skills helps a lot. There are things that must get done routinely to balance with new things that come up during the day.
IT LOOKS LIKE YOU POST TO THE KEEP BLOG MULTIPLE TIMES EACH DAY? HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH SUCH A STEADY STREAM OF IDEAS?
It’s a gift! Generating ideas consistently is a talent and skill any potential social media director, writer, or content marketer needs to get comfortable with. Also bookmarking resources like blogs, tumblrs, and news outlets can help with ideas when you feel stuck.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I could never have a job that was just one thing. I would get so bored. I love the variety of my work and the fast pace. I never want to sit at a desk and count down the minutes and at Keep, I never do!
HOW DID YOU END UP AT KEEP?
A former colleague of mine at Refinery29 loved my writing and gave my name to MaryAnn Bekkedahl, our president. At the time she was only looking for someone to write blog content, but after speaking with me she thought I’d be great for social media as well. The opportunity sounded exciting to me, so we started the interview process.
WHO WRITES THE EMAIL SUBJECT LINES THERE?
They get us every time. I do! If it has words and came from Keep, chances are that’s me. 🙂 Subject line writing is one of my favorite things to do. There’s so much more to it than you’d think. I’m trying to make Keep stand out in the middle of a full email inbox–it’s tough but I love the challenge.
PRIOR TO YOUR CURRENT ROLE, YOU WERE THE FIRST-EVER CHICAGO EDITOR AT REFINERY29. WHAT WAS THAT JOB LIKE?
It was wonderful. A ton of work, but every single minute has paid off for me professionally. I got to know so many incredible people in Chicago fashion and business, and the entire editorial team I worked with really helped me develop my writing skills. My time there was very valuable to me.
BETWEEN R29, AND KEEP, YOU WORKED AS AN EDITORIAL MANAGER FOR FREE PEOPLE. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CREATING CONTENT FOR BRANDS, AND DOING IT FOR A PUBLICATION LIKE REFINERY29? IS THERE ONE?
Absolutely. There is a lot more variety to your work when you write for an online publication, rather than for a brand. Think of it this way, you can write about one brand, or potentially every brand. I like to have as few limitations on my writing as possible, and I like the infinite range that working at Refinery29 gave me.
WHAT DO YOUR CONSIDER TO BE THE JOB THAT GOT YOUR “FOOT IN THE DOOR?” HOW DID YOU GET IT?
My job at Refinery29, for sure. So many amazing opportunities have come my way since. It was really a testament to working hard paying off. (And continuing to work hard because you never know what’s coming next!). I was incredibly committed to getting that job. I found the job on mediabistro, and applied instantly. I researched the company to find an email address for the person in charge of hiring. I hounded Refinery29’s EIC, Christene Barberich, via email every day until I got an interview, and every other day until I got the job. Sorry Christene! I also put everything I had into my interviews and edit test. I wanted more than just to stand out, I wanted my work to speak for me. It did!
WHAT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO GET INTO BLOGGING?
Yikes! That’s a big question. I would say the one thing you need is a desire to blog. Loving fashion, loving beauty, etc is not enough. You’ll burn out quickly if you don’t also love to write, or create content in another way, photos, etc. You need to want to write, to express what you think about whatever topic you’ve taken on. Just loving something isn’t enough.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Make eye contact during interviews and in meetings. Don’t stare, but don’t be afraid to look someone in the eye and appear confident and interested in what they’re saying. Never use the word “um”. Strike it from your vocabulary. A little silence is preferable to “um”. You don’t get docked points for thinking about answers to questions. The company you want to work for needs to find someone they can trust to take on a lot of work and do it well. Make them confident that you’re that person.