22 November 2010 By Northern Lights
I was one of the interns on the Northern Lights PR internship during the summer of 2010 and learnt a lot from it; currently I work for a digital marketing agency called Zeal Digital and have found a lot of the skills I learnt during my time at Northern Lights have been more than useful in my new job.
The internship introduced me to many concepts in PR such as reputation management, writing press releases and my final year project covered search engine optimisation and pay per click management. Working at Zeal Digital means I have been introduced to affiliate management and Display and I am exposed to all aspects of online marketing – by no means do I know it all but I’m in a far better position now then I was a year or so ago.
I decided to cover Online Marketing in my final year despite the fact that some people tried to dissuade me from doing this. It was perceived to be futile but I had a real passion and interest so decided to go ahead anyway.
At this point I was lacking direction somewhat; unsure of my technical ability and enthusiasm to work in IT full time I deliberated for a few days before applying for the Northern Lights internship hoping it would help define my career and give me some insight into what was available.
I had not yet realised the benefit this decision would have but I needn’t worry as I began discovering a whole industry that was fast-paced, exciting, and satisfying.
Having seen a lot and learnt a lot I appreciated everything and tried to soak in as much as I could but the thing that stood out the most for me was the emphasis the internship had on blogging and the use of social media to raise brand awareness. We had master classes on online marketing and I began to see the path I chose during my final year at University was perhaps a good career after all; at this point I decided I would pursue it.
Through Graduates Yorkshire I applied for a graduate Online Marketing Executive vacancy and landed an interview at Zeal Digital – skipping the details I got the job and have not regretted it for a minute!
Immediately I was made to feel a part of the company and began taking responsibility for a number of key tasks within a couple of weeks showing the faith the company has in me.
Zeal Digital is at the forefront of a whole culture of marketing shared by leading digital marketing agencies; online marketing allows clients to see clearly where their money is going and what the return on investment is. Accountability is not something associated with marketing but we make it an integral part of every campaign. We do a lot of work which makes a lot of money for our clients and we’re growing by the minute.
For any company though it’s important to stay on top of their game and that’s exactly what Zeal Digital is doing by looking to constantly evolve. Next on the radar for the company is syndicating online press releases and blogs and I find myself pretty much at the forefront as an integral part of the company’s plans, this wouldn’t be the case had I not had previous exposure to this spectre of marketing.
Right now I’m sitting at the crux of what I hope would be a long career at a fantastic digital agency, but I’ll always be grateful to Northern Lights for equipping me with the skills of two years worth in two intense weeks and setting me well on my way having nearly missed the bus through a lack of awareness of digital marketing.
I wonder why Universities don’t give online marketing the respect it deserves?
Great article from Shaeeb – he impressed us in his interview with his knowledge and effort to develop his skills for his forthcoming career as much as possible whilst studying. He’s made a really promising start here at Zeal – well done!
As always an excellent blog entry Shaeeb. I’m glad you found Zeal and I think we are all grateful for this Internship. The internship was the perfect opportunity for us to be baptised into a new field. Universities can do a lot but I don’t think they can provide enough opportunities for students to explore passions; therefore internship schemes such as Northern Lights will always be the pathway for new professionals from diverse backgrounds.
‘Why Universities don’t give online marketing the respect it deserves?’
I can’t speak for my colleagues who teach marketing, but I can tell you that we take online/digital very seriously within the PR teaching team.
But there’s one appealing hypothesis that may answer your question. The teachers (and their textbooks*) tend to have industry experience that goes back to previous decades.
So they could be feeling out of the their depth in the digital age – and be living in fear that their ‘digital native’ students know more than they do.
* My tip: avoid textbooks, and read people like the Cluetrain authors, Seth Godin, David Brain and Martin Thomas etc.
Interesting post from Shaeeb. Good to see this post from 2010 and know how well he’s progressed. With almost 10 years industry experience I really don’t believe there is any replacement for genuine work experience. Study stands you in good stead to make decisions, but making decisions when there are financial implications that clearly effect somebody’s company can be daunting. These sort of decisions don’t phase Shaeeb and his creative thinking always help him find the perfect solution. Some things can’t be taught, but it just as he in his title, you need a zeal for digital if you are to succeed.