23 Aug 2021

Marketing Intern to Content Manager: What I Wish I’d Known

Trying to get your foot in the door at a digital marketing agency?

Our content manager, Emily, shares what she wished she’d known when she started out as a digital marketing intern back in 2018.

From asking the right questions to learning from mistakes – find out how to impress potential employers and progress in your career.

How it all started

I started a three-month full-time marketing internship with SeventhElement (then Netleadz) back in October 2018.

At that point in my career, I had completed my History of Art BA, an Anthropology MA and had been working as an English as a foreign language teacher, private tutor and teaching assistant for the last two years. 

I had done the travelling thing (twice), had a new job every year since I was a teenager and was looking for a ‘proper’ job that made use of my writing skills and allowed me to be creative. 

My responsibilities as a marketing intern

One of the biggest benefits of starting out in a smaller agency was having the chance to try my hand at many different parts of the business. This meant I had a better understanding of the entire process when it came to marketing campaigns – from initial concept to Paid Media and reporting and it also helped me find my place and decide which tasks fuelled my interests.

As an intern, you tend to be given a wide variety of tasks that change day-to-day which keeps things interesting. 

Some of my tasks included;

  • Managing Social Media accounts
  • Social Media community management
  • Writing blogs for clients
  • Writing guest posts
  • Helping with email campaigns
  • Making notes during calls and meetings with clients
  • Tracking KPIs and contributing to performance reports

Working closely with the rest of the team and getting feedback on my writing really helped me hone my SEO skills and get to grips with the basics of the industry.

What makes a great intern?

To be a good intern, you need to;

  • Have good time management skills – agency life is busy!
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be willing to put in the time and effort
  • Be happy to collaborate with people
  • Be willing to do the ‘boring’ admin tasks when needed
  • Be adaptable
  • Take feedback willingly
  • Be eager and open

I think it’s worth mentioning that everyone comes with a different set of knowledge, skills and experiences. Working out what you’re really good at and playing to your strengths is what will help you in the long run – and that will look different for everyone. 

Career progression – from intern to full-time content manager

Once I’d completed my three-month internship, I’m very happy to say I became a full-time digital marketing executive in January 2019. After just over a year, I progressed to Content Lead before becoming Content Manager in December 2020. 

Now, some of my tasks include;

  • Building content strategies and roadmaps for clients
  • Writing diverse copy across wide-ranging topics and formats
  • Editing and proofing work from the rest of the content team
  • Providing SEO support to clients
  • Creating organic Social Media campaigns and copy
  • Client reporting

My advice for others looking to progress from marketing and Social Media intern? It’s all about putting in the time, effort and learning. Listen to feedback and show your employer how you’ve taken it on and improved.

What I wish I’d known as an intern

For anyone about to enter into a paid internship, looking for a marketing intern job or trying to take that next step in their career – here’s what I wish I’d known when I started out. 

You’ll make it eventually

I received A LOT of rejection emails before I found a place at SeventhElement.

I’d had lots of jobs previously, so, naively thought I’d be able to swan into a new position as soon as I finished University, but the reality wasn’t so easy. It took three months of constant applications to find my internship. 

It can be hard if you don’t have previous marketing experience, but it is possible. You need to find a way of showing potential employers that your skills are relevant for the industry and that you have real drive and excitement for the role. 

It may take time – but trust the process and keep going! I’d recommend setting up job alerts so you can be one of the first to apply for new opportunities. 

It’s OK to ask the right questions

Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues for help or advice; after all, they’re the experts. 

But know when to take initiative

It’s fine to ask for help when you need it, but try to take initiative where you can and do your own research. The internet is full to the brim of blogs, articles and guides on how to do almost anything. 

Don’t ask how to do something if it’s easy to look it up yourself. Showing initiative looks good to your employers and demonstrates your own drive and appetite for learning.

Listen and learn

If you get feedback, listen to it. If you can show that you have taken criticism on board and worked on it, your employer will take note. 

Making the same mistake time and time again will make them think you’re not as focused or hungry for the role. 

Use your transferable skills

At first glance, you may not see any connection between my degree subjects and digital marketing. However, there were lots of transferable skills I took from my degree into my role as an intern. 

Art history taught me how to turn images into stories, think critically and hone my writing skills. It helped me write concise, accessible and engaging copy from the get-go. 

You don’t have to be a marketing graduate to get into digital marketing. There are lots of degrees that equip you with the transferable skills needed to be a good copywriter or digital marketer. Whether it’s English, Media or Humanities, any degree which involves essay writing and critical thinking will put you in good stead. 

Make use of all resources at your disposal

Whether it’s watching and listening to your colleagues or finding guides and free online marketing training – make use of the many resources at your fingertips to accelerate your marketing activities and skill level.

To help get you started, we put together an extensive list of free qualifications to self-start your digital marketing career.