Digital Marketing: 8 Things I Wish I Knew

Digital Marketing: 8 Things I Wish I Knew

By Tuesday July 28th, 2015

Looking for your first job in digital marketing? Here are a few tips to help you on your journey from digital marketing newb to a seasoned pro.

After my internship with Brolik ended, I was lucky enough to be offered a full time position on the digital strategy team. At that point I had been working at Brolik for three months and had just begun to dip my toes into the world of digital marketing. What became clear after three months? There was still so much to learn.

What became clear after three months? There was still so much to learn.

After seeing that I had recently landed a job at a respected digital agency, a lot of recent grads reached out to me asking about my experiences at Brolik and about digital marketing in general. So I’ve put together a list of eight things I wish I knew as an entry level digital marketer, or “newbs” as we call them here at Brolik.

1. Understand What Digital Marketing Is

I know this sounds ridiculous – how can you apply to a job without understanding what the position entails? Luckily, my previous experience in public relations and social media helped me land the internship.

However, as I entered my digital strategy internship at Brolik I didn’t fully grasp what I would be doing on a daily basis. Yes, anyone can take an educated guess on what digital marketing is, or simply google it:

Digital marketing is a very broad term used to encompass a variety of different marketing avenues. So what’s under the digital marketing umbrella?

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Link Building/Digital PR
  • Content Marketing
  • And much more…

Working at a digital agency like Brolik, I am lucky to interact with a diverse range of clients which allows me to dabble in many different digital marketing areas.

Many recent grads ask what an average day as a digital marketer looks like. This is difficult to answer because every day is different. On any given day you could be drafting copy for websites, creating Facebook and Twitter campaigns, optimizing Google search ads, link building, or creating concepts for display ad campaigns.

This is one reason I’ve come to enjoy digital marketing; no two days are alike and you are constantly being challenged.

If this sounds interesting and you want to continue on the path to becoming a kickass digital marketing newb, proceed to my next piece of advice…

2. Read Industry Blogs

A great way to start familiarizing yourself with the world of digital marketing is by reading industry blogs. There are thousands of digital marketing blogs that offer tips, case studies, research and other valuable tidbits.

Here are a few blogs I’ve found helpful as a digital marketing newb.

The blogs listed above are industry leaders, but don’t discount smaller agency blogs especially if you are searching for a job in digital marketing. If you’re applying to digital agencies, check out their blog presence to gain better insight into the company.

As you’re reading industry blogs and soaking up digital marketing knowledge, you are probably going to encounter unfamiliar terms and phrases, leading me to my next nugget of wisdom…

3. Know The Lingo

When you first start at a digital agency, you will hear people communicating in what seems like only acronyms.

“We must set clear KPIs for the campaign and then begin optimizing our client’s NAP in order to show up on SERPs for SEO, in addition to maintaining a reasonable CPA in our PPC initiatives.”

Excuse me?

While the statement above is dramatized to prove a point, do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the most common digital marketing acronyms. The more you recognize, the more likely you’ll be able to understand and participate in conversations going on around you. And it’s much easier than discreetly googling what SERP means in the middle of a meeting.

4. Get Over Your Fear of Writing

This piece of advice is a bit hypocritical based on the fact that I still get anxious when I have to write a new piece of content for a client.

However, if you’re going to have a job in digital marketing, you cannot avoid writing. Since starting at Brolik I’ve written social posts, target emails, website content, blogs, press releases, pitches… the list is endless.

Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is knowing where to start. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, the best thing to do is start writing down all of the abstract ideas, concepts and quotes running through your head. Eventually, one idea will spark three more ideas and before you know it you’ll have a clear direction for a new piece of content.

HubSpot created a helpful resource for getting over your writers’ block:

5. Done Is Better Than Perfect

As a fellow Brolik employee once told me, done is better than perfect. This is one of the first things I was told when I started working at Brolik, and this mantra is something I continually try to keep in the back of my head.

Coming in as a new hire, you want all of your work to be impeccable. You want to impress your coworkers and feel like you deserve the position. But taking two hours to write a target email is not the most efficient use of your time. Especially when the email will most likely go through a round of edits by a manager, and then another round of edits by your client. While you should always put forth your best work, don’t get hung up on being perfect. Trust your gut.

6. Organization Is Key

I do not consider myself a Type A personality. At my last job, my idea of organization was writing reminders and tasks on Post-it notes. At the end of the day, I was drowning in a sea of multi-colored paper. Needless to say, this does not keep you organized.

Coming into Brolik, I knew that organization was something I needed to work on. I was assigned to two client accounts and learned quickly that daily tasks, deadlines and emails can get hectic fast, especially if each client has several different campaigns running at once.

Use a task management platform to keep track of daily tasks and reminders, and create a task for EVERYTHING.

Need to respond to a client email but don’t have the time? Task yourself. Want to do research for a blog? Task yourself. Need to remember a deadline? Task yourself. Need to eat lunch? Task yourself. Just kidding.

But really, there is nothing worse than thinking you have everything under control and then realizing when it’s too late that you let an important client task slip through the cracks. Task everything, even if you are convinced you’ll remember. Being organized leads to working more efficiently and producing better quality work.

Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than checking something off your to-do list.

7. Managing Client Expectations

As an entry-level digital marketer, you may be tempted to comply with your clients’ every wish and demand in order to keep them happy. But if a client says “jump,” should you say “how high?”

Not necessarily.

But if a client says “jump,” should you say “how high?” Not necessarily.

Your client hired you to be the expert, and sometimes this means challenging their ideas, especially if they do not align with the overall goals of the campaign. If you automatically say yes to every client request, you are setting yourself up for failure.

As a new employee, you may not feel like you have the authority to tell your client no. If you don’t know how to respond to a client’s demand, ask for help. Work through the issue with your supervisor to get their thoughts and suggestions.

After you’ve discussed it with a supervisor, craft a polite and professional response that clearly states your stance on the issue and your reasoning behind the decision. Try offering an alternate solution to the client’s suggestion. Offering another solution lets them know that you’ve considered their suggestion and are working diligently to solve the problem at hand.

8. Have a Pet Project

As I mentioned above, there is so much to learn as a newb in the digital marketing field.

It’s important to continue learning and investing in your own personal growth, but it can be challenging when you feel tied down by daily client tasks and meetings.

Within the digital strategy team at Brolik, we recently discussed the importance of having a pet project in addition to client work- something related to digital marketing that you find interesting, enjoy doing and want to learn more about.

For me this was social media marketing, specifically Pinterest. Even before entering the digital marketing field I was an avid Pinterest user, so it made sense that I would learn more about the platform. Rather than using it to pin puppies and green smoothie recipes, I am learning what it can do for businesses.

Choose one branch of digital marketing that interests you and dig in deeper. Become the person at your company that others come to and ask questions.

Digital marketing is a constantly growing and evolving industry. Six months from now I’ll have another list of things I wish I knew. But for now, I hope these tips can help other newbs navigate the complex world of digital marketing.

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About the Author

Kierston is a marketing strategist at Brolik, a Philly based digital agency. She brings her background in media relations, writing and business communication to the digital world with a focus on content marketing and digital community building.