I discovered the world of digital marketing when I was a Sophomore in college and studying to be an English teacher. I did some copywriting for (literally) pennies to get some experience before I began applying to decently paying jobs. It was during this application process when I discovered the world of digital internships.
The definition of a digital internship is broad. For the purpose of this article, a digital internship is a virtual internship in which the entire internship is done through telecommuting.
There was a period of three months where I actually had two digital internships-and neither of them were in my time zone! I had my college schedule on Eastern Time, one internship with a content-marketing company on Central Time, and another on London Time. I’ll tell you right now that there’s nothing worse than meeting with someone 9AM London Time when living in upstate New York. With that being said, my brief digital internship at The Buzz was my most valuable work experience to date. Here’s what I learned from my internship experiences.
Skype Has Revolutionized the Concept of Global Business
Before I got this digital internship in London, I just saw Skype as a way we millennials kept in contact with our significant others over long distances. After this internship, I saw it for the revolutionary business communication tool it really was.
I would chat two to eight hours a day with Sat and it didn’t cost either of us a dime. We both also had the Skype mobile app, which allowed us to “text” through the app free of charge. What was really amazing is Sat’s entire inner circle at The Buzz lived in places other than London at the time, and Skype was the lifeline which made running his business in this manner possible. Skype conferences are definitely something I plan to implement in all my future business ventures.
During these Skype calls, Sat would assign me daily tasks for whichever campaign we were working on. Some tasks included pitching article ideas, writing Facebook posts and Tweets, creating branded graphics, and doing research for brand differentiation strategies. These Skype calls were like daily meetings with your professor as you work on your Master’s Thesis.
There is a TON of Money and Growth in Digital Marketing
When I started freelance writing, all I was looking to do was make a quick buck. Get the assignment, write the article to the word count, and send it in. I didn’t grasp the concept of marketing content. Then in quick succession I found these two internships, and at these internships I found two mentors in Kate and Sat who really opened my eyes to the value of quality content.
I learned businesses are willing to pay HUGE amounts of money for digital marketing, which is the umbrella term for all online marketing strategies. This includes Social Media management and marketing, search engine marketing, content marketing and blog development. A recent article on financial times says American companies this year will spend $50 Billion on content marketing this year. Without these digital internships I never would have realized I could make a career out of digital marketing.
Facebook and Twitter’s Real Value are as Business Tools
Before my internship I used social media like a typical college student. I kept tabs on my friends, posted questionable pictures of nights out, and shared borderline-offensive videos. Once Sat taught me how to use Facebook and Twitter for business, my social media habits changed forever.
I was floored by how much strategy went into crafting Tweets and Facebook posts for a business. This experience made me realize I could actually monetize my Social Media habits through digital marketing.
Part of each day was spent writing Facebook posts and Tweets for clients, and then scheduling them through Hootsuite (which is an amazing social media management app for those who don’t know). Since I was a frequent poster on both platforms on my personal profiles, these tasks never felt like “work”. If you share my daily habit of frequent Social Media use, then a career in Social Media Management may be for you.
How to Get a Digital Internship
The caveat with digital internships, at least in my experience, is that one does not find them in the same way as traditional internships. Digital internships are a lot more unofficial. For example, if you’re a writer, then you could find a digital internship at almost any blog simply by emailing the editor and asking for one.
Email the editor with an email written in a professional tone, and in this email state how you are an aspiring writer looking to gain valuable experience through a digital internship. If the blog accepts new writers, then the editor will usually email you back with some guidelines. At this point, it’s just a matter of following the guidelines and doing your best work.
I found my London internship on Elance, which has recently been acquired by Upwork. It’s free to register and has (paid) jobs in a number of categories. For my content-marketing internship I used LinkedIn and joined a bunch of writing-related groups (two of which you can check out here and here. I saw a post looking for new writers, applied, and the rest is history.
If you have any questions about digital internships, reach out to me on Twitter! @BPucino