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5 Things To Remember When Starting Your First Digital Marketing Job

By Amy @BubbleJobs

There’s no denying that digital marketing is one of the most exciting career options out there right now. The industry is fast-paced, dynamic and growing at a phenomenal rate – so it’s hardly to surprising that digital marketing is easily one of the most popular categories on our jobs board at the moment.

Now, we’ve already covered what skills make up the perfect digital marketing manager and the things you need to consider before applying for digital jobs before – so today I thought I’d take a look at things from a slightly different angle and talk about what you should expect when you do actually land yourself a nice little digital marketing job.

Having worked in the industry for well over seven years now, it’s fair to say I’ve seen my fair share of surprises, ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns – so in this blog I’ve listed five of the key things I’ve learnt whilst working in digital marketing so far…

1. Patience Is Key:

Whether it’s waiting for my tea to be cooked (I’m Northern!) or queuing in a shop, anyone who knows me will tell you that I have little to no patience… and what little patience I do have has been well and truly tested over the last few years. From content marketing and SEO to building relationships with influencers, everything in digital marketing takes time and, apart from the odd random thing, it’s rare that things happen overnight – so it’s definitely worth bearing that in mind when starting your first digital marketing role.

2. Expect The Unexpected:

One of the biggest things I’ve learnt in my digital marketing career is that things can change really quickly and you never know what’s round the corner. Whether it’s a new algorithm update or a brand new social network, things can crop up on a daily basis that you weren’t expecting and didn’t plan for, so it’s important to stay calm and be reactive.

Following on from the last point, due to the unexpected nature of the digital marketing industry, it’s always a good idea to have a few ideas in your notebook which can act as backup plan should anything go wrong. Key examples include what you’d do if a new Google algorithm dropped and pinched all your organic traffic or a relationship with a key affiliate/influencer ended unexpectedly.

Similarly, you can never really predict what’s going to be successful. In the past few years, I’ve spent hours fine-tuning what I thought was a killer press release and manually sending it out to journalists, only to find that a blog I created in less than 30 minutes and did minimal promotion on received much more attention. The lesson? Accept that not everything you do is going to get the reaction you want and not everything you do is going to be mega-successful… and roll with it!

3. Big Brands Nearly Always Have The Advantage:

Another key thing that you’ll probably learn pretty quickly in your new role is that big brands pretty much always have the advantage. OK, so your company’s new initiative might be more innovative than Company A’s announcement that they’re going to take on two new members of staff – or your killer content marketing campaign for your small electricals client might be more ground-breaking than Company B’s dreary whitepaper, but unfortunately it’s probably going to be Company A and Company B that get the majority of the attention.

Just to clarify; while that doesn’t mean your campaigns won’t get any attention at all, it does mean that you’re probably going to have to work harder just to get a look-in…

That said; sometimes the big brands don’t always win. As we’ve seen in the past with names like Interflora and Expedia, even the biggest brands aren’t immune to getting a public ticking off from Google… so if you do start your first digital marketing job with a major brand, don’t relax and think your digital marketing sins won’t catch up with you…!

4. Don’t Be Scared To Take A Risk:

The digital marketing industry and particular niches, like content, are extremely crowded – so sometimes it’s worth thinking outside the box and taking a risk… As I mentioned in the second point, not everything you do will be successful – but some things will be – and the more innovative and unusual your approach, the better your odds. Have a great idea but think it’s a bit ambitious? Go for it… what have you got to lose? Nothing… and you’ve got everything to gain!

A great example of this is the “A Day In The Life Of” project I produced for our Digital Career Portal. The idea was simple – produce articles which detailed what it was like to work in a digital role at a major brand. At first I started approaching smaller brands and agencies… with not much luck. Then one day I took a chance and started emailing big international brands (after all, all that was involved initially was a simple email) – and started getting great responses. The outcome? Articles on the site from big names such as Diageo (Guinness), King (Candy Crush), Starbucks, EDF Energy, Benefit Cosmetics and QVC, which resulted in thousands of social shares and a branding boost for us – and new and ongoing business relationships with some of the brands involved. And we didn’t pay any of them a penny!

5. Not Everyone In The Industry Is Nice:

OK, so this is probably the case with most industries, but I thought it was worth sticking it in anyway. In the digital marketing industry, there are some rude and downright nasty people… but there are also some lovely people who will bend over backwards to help you too – and it’s almost impossible to predict who will act in which way.

Whether it’s getting a sarcastic or abrupt reply to an outreach email or being trolled on the company Twitter account, the important thing is to keep calm, don’t take it personally and stay professional. At the end of the day, it’s your reputation on the line – so if you can send a polite, professional reply, you’re going to end up look like the bigger person and you’ll never be called out on your actions.

Similarly, in addition to not always getting the response you want, sometimes you won’t get any response at all. When this happens, it’s always worth following up a few times – but if at that point you still don’t get a response, it’s probably worth taking the hint and moving on…


So there you go; my top five tips for digital marketing newbies. Think I’ve missed anything or want to share some of your own words of wisdom? Leave a comment below…

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