As many of us do when the new year comes around, we make a list of things we hope to accomplish by the end of the year. One thing that the five new interns at REACH had on our list for 2020 was to have a successful and meaningful internship. I am sure that is the same feeling the leadership team at REACH had for 2020, as this was the first time they welcomed FIVE interns to join the team during one semester. For us interns, we would have never even known! Based on the organization and plethora of information the team had ready for us to learn each week, we were none the wiser that they were just as nervous as we were.
Things were going great for the five of us. We each had our own roles on the team but collectively worked on a group project for an account. If there was one thing we all could agree on, it was that Kelly trusts you with everything. That trust made us want to do our best and provide the best content for, not only the client but for her. By the second month, we were newly Inbound Marketing certified and ready to tackle anything that came our way. We each had the chance to work on projects within our comfort zone, as well as plenty outside of it, which grew us and molded us into the marketers we are now. We all began to fall into a productive rhythm and were learning new ways to be as efficient as possible until one day, it all stopped.
It was the beginning of our third month when everything we thought we knew about marketing changed. We were entering a time of a “once in a lifetime” occurrence: a global pandemic. This is where the true learning curve came for all of us and we really dug into the principles Kelly and the team instilled in us just a few weeks before. Kelly didn’t panic and end our internship there but instead allowed us to work through the circumstances with her and her team, providing us with new opportunities to learn and grow.
These tips are ones that rang true to us throughout our internship, from start to finish.
1. Inbound marketing is the foundation through any situation
When it comes to marketing as a whole, there are many different approaches to take. However, they all have the same core value of getting information to your client’s customers. Inbound marketing focuses on three key things: attracting, engaging, and delighting your customers. Although that looked a bit different at the beginning of our internship, it has helped keep us focused through the pandemic to ensure we are providing exactly what our customers need at the right time.
2. Blogging allows for a deeper connection
If you would have asked us at the beginning of our internship if we liked blogging, our answer probably would have been completely different from now. Throughout this internship, we have discovered how much the client’s voice is portrayed through blogs. Having that voice allows for customers to evolve from the “attract” stage through to the “engage” and “delight” stages, all because of a simple connection. This is truly a time to find out what customers are looking to learn more about and to educate them on things they can experience through your brand.
3. Facebook Ads are intense
Anyone who has had the privilege (and we say privilege loosely) of working on Facebook Ads and keeping to a budget is truly a wizard. We have learned about the ever-changing features of Facebook Ads, but more importantly, how those changes relate to the productivity of the ad and customers reached. Facebook Ads are not for the faint of heart but are a key player in driving sales for an event or traffic to a website. It takes a diligent mind to ensure all the proper boxes are checked and all target audiences are represented, not to mention ensuring the social copy and creative content (images, graphics, video, etc.) are relevant. We thank all of those who have come before us and worked through trial and error to teach us how to create an ad of our own.
4. Campaign calendars are key
Even if you are the most organized person in the world, a campaign calendar is a MUST for the successful planning of social content when it comes to generating leads. As interns, we learned there are many different ways to set up a calendar, but there are key aspects included in every single one. These calendars also allow all of your thoughts to be put in one place and visualize what your users will see.
5. Building relationships builds trust
One of the biggest pieces of professionalism is building a relationship with your clients and their team. It might just be a phone call or the chance to meet outside of an email thread that helps you develop an understanding of what their company or business means to them. To go a step further, we had the chance to experience “Brand Dives” with new clients to understand exactly what their goals are and what their story is.
Relationship building is also true when it comes to your work family as well. Kelly and the REACH team have a sense of unity, which is why you will often hear them refer to themselves as “the REACH fam.” That is exactly what we are. They welcomed each of us interns in with open arms and have allowed us to pick their brains for all sorts of information. They have never made us feel like less of an employee than them, and we definitely weren’t just running coffee. We will all miss this family, but we also know they are only a call or Slack message away!
6. Professional development keeps you ahead of the game
One thing that has been interesting to all of us is the time Kelly allows the REACH team to devote to professional development. Everyone at REACH is constantly sharing articles and blogs about all aspects of the marketing world with each other, which allows for continuous growth to occur. It pays to be proactive instead of reactive, and that is exactly how our team reacted when a crisis hit. It was reassuring to see articles being published about how to market during a crisis and knowing we were already taking those steps. There is ALWAYS something to learn in the world of marketing.
Any good marketer knows that flexibility comes with the territory. Trends and challenges change every minute. One thing that each of us interns has learned, though, is how to be flexible with our team, our clients, and with pressing situations. When it came time to edit information for clients following the CDC’s guidelines, it was all hands on deck. Being flexible during that time opened the door to learn so much more than we might have if things had gone to plan. It provided new experiences for everyone and certainly added to the list of qualities gained during our time at REACH.
8. Last, but certainly not least: DEADLINES
The REACH team has an interesting and effective way of ensuring that if things are late, they are only late to the review team and not to the client. If you visit anyone’s Teamwork board (our project management system), you will see dates and deadlines everywhere. But it is not until you get closer that you realize those deadlines are anywhere from a week to a month in advance to allow for a full internal review process before leaving the agency. This allows our team to have things prepared in advance and allowed for quick editing opportunities when changes had to be made during crisis situations.
We hope that everyone can experience the sense of family and collaboration during their internship as we did at REACH, but if not, we hope you enjoyed the glimpse into ours. We will take these experiences with us through the rest of our lives and definitely use the skills that we have developed over the past four months! Keep an eye out for the next blog in our intern series and until then…
This is Samantha, Mac, Abby, Ashanti, and Marielle checking out!