This blog has been the hardest to write for me by far. Summarising months of experience in just a few lines is always a challenge especially when the blog marks the end of my internship program here with Carlana Marketing. Well, here it goes. . .
Coming to the UK in 2018 for a master’s degree in brand management and digital marketing, I was certain that I wanted to begin a career in digital marketing, but with no experience in digital marketing, I knew the job search would be difficult. Therefore, I decided to look for a part time internship. I came across the Carlana Marketing website whilst searching for digital marketing internship programs in Colchester. So, I sent an email asking about the possibility of working as an intern, and luckily, they got back to me, asking me to come for an informal interview. The interview was more of a relaxed, friendly chat about the work Carlana Marketing does, types of tasks I would be doing in the internship program and of course, getting to know each other. A day or two later, Carla (Company Director) emailed me asking to join Carlana Marketing for a 4 months internship program. I was overjoyed!
Over the last 4 months, I would like to think I have learned a lot about agency life and the experience has taught me more than I could have imagined. The team never treated me as an outsider and nor did they restrict my tasks to merely making coffee or photocopying. My internship was taken seriously, and I was always treated as an important member of the team, which contributed to my professional growth. At the same time, they did understand I was new to the digital marketing world and guided me whenever I made a mistake.
I’ve worked on several aspects of digital marketing and gained key skills that I can take with me to future jobs, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), creating social media content for diverse clients, website auditing, keyword research, email marketing and writing blogs for client websites.
Here are top takeaways from my internship program
Avoid shortcuts to improve SEO
You can’t trick Google to rank your website higher anymore. May be in the 90’s it was easy to trick google when search engines were still in their early days. Today, search technology has evolved and is much more advanced to be tricked by illegal or banned practices. Practices like keyword stuffing, hidden text, buying backlinks etc can easily get you penalized or banned if caught by google. It’s best to avoid these practices. If you want your website ranking to improve you must make your site matter to the audience. It’s simple as that. Google try to give users the most useful and relevant information available. If you can give relevant content to google, you will have a better chance in being ranked higher in search engines.
Latest Tech Tools
Each marketing agency have their own preferred set of tools to handle digital marketing, user experience and social media accounts for clients. In my internship I had the chance to learn and use latest platforms like WordPress, Hootsuite, SEMrush, Google analytics, Mail Chimp and Invison. WordPress a widely used content management system is a useful tool to build and manage websites including uploading pictures, videos and blogs. Mail Chimp is a great tool to talk to existing or potential future clients by designing email campaigns and powerfully analysing data. Hootsuite has been a great help in managing social media accounts of clients. SEMrush membership was recently purchased by Carlana Marketing and one of my first job was to explore its features and then help others to understand. SEMrush was a great help in keyword research, spying on competition keywords and keyword ranking reports. I think every marketer should have a working knowledge of these platforms to succeed in digital marketing.
Address the Audience
The important and most useful thing I have learned from my internship is always address your audience concerns and give the reader what he or she wants. Always avoid uploading irrelevant information on website and social media channels. Suppose a reader is looking for information on plumbing services, clicks on your blog and find out the blog is about plumbing products not plumbing services. He or she would instantly click the back button and will look for a different article and chances are they might end up on your competitor website.
Preparing for the Real World
I am post grad student at the University of Essex studying Brand Management and Digital Marketing. Although I had a great time at the University of Essex and wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything in the world, but I must agree there is no degree that completely prepares you for the professional world. After studying for almost 18 years I have realised, all the schooling in the world cannot replace the real-world experience. As an intern you face new challenges every day, get the chance to learn from the specialists and work on real projects to solve real business problems. My internship has given me insight into how Digital Marketing and Marketing agencies works. It has given me the confidence in areas that I haven’t studied at university like interacting with clients, advising clients, preparing marketing strategies and suggesting how to improve campaigns. I am sure when I eventually graduate, It will give me a big head start and might even put me ahead of other applicants for the position.
Getting a seat at the table and having a voice
I was invited to every client meeting by the team whether they were in meeting rooms or on conference calls. Being part of the meeting gave me insight into the minds of the leadership team and expectation of the clients from the agency. The team haven been welcoming, allowing me to not only view the meeting but to participate in client meetings. My input and suggestions were always welcomed and valued by the team.
Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together- James Cash
After working with Carlana Marketing team, this quote makes a lot of sense now. I have worked in companies before, but I have never seen a company grow so quickly as this one. Carlana Marketing keeps adding amazing new clients to their business. Almost every week, I would hear good news of a new client joining the family. With every new client I had the chance to gain new experience every week. Both Carla and Lana play a key role in the success of this amazing company.
Even as an internee I feel I have made a difference by writing blogs, improving search engine ranking and designing wireframes of new websites to improve user experience. I wish I could stay longer and see what the future holds for Carlana Marketing.
The authentic British Culture
Safe to say the most fun part of my internship was learning British culture from two wonderful British people I have met in my time here in the UK. From learning about famous British traditions to trying out delicious British food I have experienced everything. Here are some of the common British culture I learned during my stay in the UK and particularly from my internship;
- British Food: Far from home one of the things I often miss is my native cuisine, which I was used to consuming on a daily basis. Not knowing much about British food, it was hard to find good food that could actually replace my country’s delicious food. Luckily, I met Carla and Lana (Team Carlana Marketing), who introduced me to some very delicious and famous traditional foods of UK. Starting with the most typical British food, the first dish we tried was Fish & Chips, a deep-fried fish with potato chips in side. British people cannot talk about British food without mentioning The Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding. We talked about having Sunday roast everyday but never got time to try it. So eventually I decided to try it by my own. Sunday roast which is usually served on Sunday afternoon is made of roast chicken, turkey or whatever you prefer with Yorkshire pudding. You would not want to miss the Yorkshire Pudding. Then the great English breakfast which is famous throughout the world consisting of sausages, eggs, toast, mushrooms, hash brown and tea or coffee is a must try. Who doesn’t love a good snack? One whole day was all about trying British snacks. Starting with English biscuits (Not the plain digestive biscuits) baked cheddar cheese biscuits, Jaffa Cakes, Holly lane cherry bakewells, Crumpets warmed up with gorgeous yellow butter and Marmite on toast truly a snack no one can resist.
- Never jump lines: Lines known as Queues in UK is a way of life here. In some countries jumping a line may be acceptable but in the UK people may not feel happy and they will make sure to let you know about it. Standing patiently in a queue is normal.
- Learn to say Thank You and Please: You will be amazed to see how polite British people are. Saying thank you and Please is a normal part of everyday conversation. As an international student I was not used to saying these two words, but Carla and Lana made sure I get used to saying these words quickly. 😀
- Respect older adults and disabled: British people have immense respect for older adults and disabled. It’s a normal tradition to give your seat to an older disabled person in public transport when there are no other seats. Every public transport and public places have a separate disabled access.
- You alright: British way of starting a conversation “you alright mate”. They use this phrase for million other reasons. Instead of saying, how are you?, can I help you?, what’s up? or is everything Ok? they use “are you alright? for all of these things. It’s your job to figure out what they are actually asking.