I’ve always been a very creatively-minded person. I’ve never been without a book by my side or the desire to express myself through words. I can express myself through writing in a way I only can than through any other medium. When I was younger, I dreamed of being a best-selling author (during my Twilight-loving-middle-school-days, I claimed I wanted to be “the next Stephenie Meyer” lol) and that’s all I really wanted to do. I thought I’m going to major in English and then that dream will be made a reality. Because that’s how easy it is, right? Mostly as a result of lack of practice (totally my fault), that dream has dimmed to almost nothing…and I’m okay with that. But where does that leave me? In a world where the first question people ask English majors is “So you’re going to teach?,” what else is there for us? And upon English majors saying they’re not going to teach after college (*gasp*), the first question is “What are you going to do then?” Writing is such an under-appreciated skill. It’s a skill that’s literally needed everywhere–everywhere you go and everything you see…but people rarely think about that. They don’t stop to think about the writer behind the article they’re reading online, the writer behind the instruction manual you’re poring over, the writer behind any writing ever. And I didn’t think about these things really either until I got to college, until I started to realize that professional writing is a viable and necessary skill that is applicable to any field and profession out there.
This past semester I got the opportunity to apply and interview for a content marketing internship back home. Marketing is something that I would never have thought I’d be interested in. When I thought marketing, I thought analytics and business and advertising and boring stuff (sorry for all of you business and advertising and analytic-y type people…it’s not you, it’s me). But I was introduced to it by my sister who works at the company as a graphic designer. The internship description includes blogging and social media: things I’ve already been doing and already love. It also included writing press releases, using Adobe InDesign…things I was less familiar with but excited to learn about. So I applied, I sent them a portfolio of some writing I’d done for classes, and I interviewed. Via Skype (as a 1,500 mile commute for an interview might have been a tad much) and then via the phone when my internet gave out (oops). And I felt like I rambled and had absolutely no idea what I was talking about…but a few weeks later I got the wonderful, wonderful email inviting me to be a member of their team.
So I came home for the summer. I worked part-time and then did my (unpaid) internship ten hours a week. And I loved it. Yesterday was my last day and it was sad to walk down the stairs and out the doors for the last time as an intern. But I’ve learned some things in the last four months as a content marketing intern that I wanted to share:
Marketing is everywhere…and it’s important
Marketing isn’t just the business and the analytics that I thought it was. There’s also a very creative, yet strategic side of it. As I’ve gone through my internship, I’ve realized how much marketing I do for my book blog here…without even realizing that I’m doing it.
Marketing is all about the relationships. It’s never directly selling things but instead it’s about building relationships and building trust between a brand and its potential consumers. And literally this can apply to anything. Like, for instance: Confessions of Carlisa = a brand. Potential readers = potential consumers. Literally everything I do is to bridge that gap between my blog and anyone reading it is marketing. Conversing with people on Twitter, replying back to comments, commenting on other blogs, talking to people about your blog, emailing and working with publishers, gaining contacts in the blogging or publicity worlds, even just writing the reviews and posts. All marketing.
So it’s been interesting to me to see how my “marketing tactics” for my blog have changed. A few months ago, I just looked at stats. I looked at my daily views, my monthly views, my followers, my comments. Lots and lots of numbers. And I still keep record of these numbers every month to track growth…but the numbers are no longer what drive me. It’s the connections. Twitter for me now is less about tweeting a bunch of links to my posts and more about talking to other bloggers and book lovers about the thing that we both hold in common: a love for books. And I’ve developed more friends on Twitter in the past few weeks even than I have since I started.
Mistakes Happen…It’s How You React
I had this horribly embarrassing and frustrating (for me) moment about a week or two into my internship. I was scheduling a bunch of social media posts on Hootsuite. Like we schedule two to four weeks of social media at a time. And I accidentally scheduled these three weeks of posts on the wrong page.
It was a facepalm moment if there ever was one. So I had to go back and delete what I’d been working on for the last hour or so and re-do it. And I was so frustrated with myself. It would have been something that could’ve been fixed and prevented if I had double-checked. Dumb, dumb, dumb me.
But…I moved on. I corrected the problem. Sure, I lost some time where I could have been working on something else. But you know what? I sure as heck never had this problem ever again. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s how you move forward from there that makes the difference.
I Love Me Some Blogging
I love to blog here. It’s a space where I can just write what’s on my mind and people will actually read and respond to my thoughts because the book-blogging community is so wonderful (*high five to you guys*). And I’ve had a blog forever. So when I started this internship, I thought that the blogging portion was going to be in the bag. So easy-peasy lemon-squeezy that I wouldn’t even have to worry about it. I’d whip out great blog posts like nobody’s business.
I was wrong. I think because at school I’m trained to write really formally and professionally. No colloquialisms, no contractions, MLA formatting. Formal. And then here on my blog I write super casually. So with these blog posts for companies’ websites, I had to find this middle ground that I have never really explored before. Casual professionalism. And I wasn’t very good at it. My first blog, thinking back, was stiff and boring. And, yes, it was probably informational. I did my research. But it also probably wasn’t engaging or fun to read. As the months progressed, I could feel that letting loose until I wrote my best blog post of the internship just this last week. Where I let myself feel creative while writing about something that’s not necessarily creative (How to Snack Healthy at the Office). I let myself have fun with it and, as a result, I think my readers will have fun with it, too.
So is Marketing the Career Path For Me?
I’ve heard internships are where you’re supposed to gain experience and learn where exactly you want to take your career. And though marketing was never really in the vision for my life…I think it honestly could be where I take it. Online content and marketing is prevalent always—no matter where I am, no matter who I’m working for. It will be there.
I’m not 100% certain that marketing is where I’m going to end up. As I’m now an upperclassman in college (when the heck did that happen?), the pressure is kind of riding on me to figure out my life.
But I do have something that I know for certain: I’m an English major and I’m not planning on teaching after college and you want to know what I can do if I don’t teach?: Anything I want to do. So scooch along now.