Intern Series: How Reach prepared me for my marketing career

As the end of my junior year approached at Saint Mary's College, I wanted to gain some experience at a local marketing agency over the summer. My family had just relocated to Central Florida from the Midwest a few months prior, so I was unfamiliar with agencies in the area. While doing some extensive research, I came across Reach's website. I was immediately impressed by the professionalism, branding, and content throughout the website. After speaking with Kelly, the Chief Strategist, I knew this agency would be the perfect place for me to practice the skills I learned at Saint Mary's and grow professionally as I prepared to begin my career after graduation.I've learned so much at Reach about marketing the past couple of months. This is the second intern series blog, where you'll hear about what Reach is like through our eyes. Interning at an inbound agency can be overwhelming if you don't have much experience, but it can also be a rewarding opportunity that will challenge, inspire, and prepare you for the future. Here are some of the things I learned during my internship that I will keep with me throughout my professional life.

HubSpot is a beneficial tool to use for inbound marketing

HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. During my first three years at Saint Mary's, I learned a lot about traditional and digital marketing, but I had never heard of HubSpot or inbound marketing. Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers through helpful content and interactions without being interruptive like traditional marketing can be. By using channels like social media, blogs, and search engines, potential customers can find you. This method focuses on creating content that consumers search for themselves without marketers being too pushy.

Buyer personas are key

When I learned about buyer personas through the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification training, I thought it was a great technique to use while writing content for a target audience. According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is an ideal customer for your business based on real data, education speculation, customer demos, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. We create buyer personas for each client and refer to them while we write content. This method ensures we speak to the target audience in a way that will help them connect to the business, which will hopefully convert them into leads.

Content calendars help you plan ahead

A content calendar is a shareable resource marketing teams use to plan the content they will create and post for a client within a specific period of time. We develop monthly content calendars on Google Sheets to share with our clients. I've created a few content calendars throughout the summer, and I loved being able to organize everything in one place. Instead of making a long list of what will be scheduled or posted, content calendars allow you to visualize how the content will be distributed throughout the month. It takes a lot of strategy and focus to create one, but they're incredibly helpful when it's time to schedule or post the content later. It also ensures both you and the client are always on the same page.

Blogging is a great way to promote your business

I've written several blogs for our clients this summer. I really enjoy blogging because I strive to be creative and detailed. Writing can always be improved, and it was helpful to share my blogs with my fellow Reachers to hear their suggestions. My internship has reinforced the idea that it's best to have multiple people read something to ensure the final copy is the best it can be. Blogging requires thorough research of the client to fully understand their brand and how messages should be conveyed with the buyer personas in mind. It was both fun and interesting to write educational content for readers so they could feel a connection with the brand. I'm glad I had the opportunity to practice writing a variety of blogs this summer in preparation for my future career in the marketing industry. 

 Keywords are important for SEO

Consumers type keywords into search engines to find your content organically. To ensure our clients' websites and blogs receive as much organic traffic as possible, we include highly ranked keywords from HubSpot and other resources in the content, title, URL, meta description, and alt text in images. I learned about keywords in my digital marketing course at Saint Mary's this past semester, so I was really interested to see how to incorporate them into the content we would publish for clients. HubSpot makes the process very easy because it offers you suggestions on how to best optimize your content with the keywords you'd like to use. If you forget to place a keyword in an important place, it reminds you!

Analyzing data helps you set future goals

Conducting surveys at the Silver Spurs Rodeo in early June was a great way for us to determine our most successful promotional efforts. It was also helpful for me to go through this process and then analyze the survey data in PollDaddy. The website allows you to use different filters to see how certain groups of people heard about the event. Afterwards, I implemented the data into a marketing report we would present to the client. I'm glad I was able to attend the rodeo and help compose the marketing report because I could see which promotions worked well and which did not. This process will help the team better understand who to target in the future and how to best promote the event.

Canva is a helpful tool if you need to design an image

I used Canva a lot with different projects this summer. I used it once or twice at school for an assignment, but I never used it extensively. It's a great tool to design images or even brand photos for social posts, blogs, and other pieces of content. I found myself using it often whenever I made a content calendar for a client because I wanted to convey a specific message to the target audience. I also used templates my coworkers had previously created to ensure the images stayed consistent to the brand with the same colors, shapes, and fonts. Canva is a creative way to customize your own image for your content!

Email marketing is still very powerful

I had the opportunity of working with MailChimp to create an email newsletter for one of our clients. This was definitely a little more challenging since I had never created one before my internship. I learned a lot about the power of email marketing at Saint Mary's, but I also read mixed opinions in business articles about whether or not it was still successful. With the help of HubSpot's training videos, I now fully understand email marketing is not dead and is still one of the most powerful ways to reach consumers. As I worked on the email newsletter, I realized how personal it was and how it could nurture leads. If you use the right content and send it to the right audience at the right time, your email campaign is much more likely to succeed. This project challenged me to be clear and concise, so readers would easily understand the main point of the newsletter and would be eager to learn more.And with that, my marketing internship in Orlando has come to an end. It certainly went fast, but I'm thankful for everything I've learned here in such a short amount of time. If you haven't interned at a marketing agency in Orlando, I would highly recommend it to get some experience! Thank you to my fellow Reachers for challenging me and helping me grow both professionally and personally.