Will Kennard Digital Marketing Executive at MintTwist.
After studying Business and Management at University, Will decided to pursue his interests in technology and social media.
Through a combination of volunteering and interning Will built up the experience to start a career in marketing which has recently seen a move into digital marketing and SEO.
What attracted you to a career in Marketing?
I’ve always been fascinated by people and the decisions they make. I also try as best as I can to take pride in the things I buy, consciously making the right purchase choices (in my eyes) and supporting the right brands.
My interest in marketing stemmed from there really – I chose to move into a career fuelled by my passion for brand and consumer awareness.
Tell us about your route into Marketing?
I studied Business Management at university, and when I started the degree I had no idea about which path I wanted to take; Business Management is quite a general subject.
I had always been a geeky kind of person, and was naturally good with social media and blogging. From there I started seeing how huge an area Digital Marketing was, and decided I’d pursue that area of marketing as a career.
I realised that my degree, while great to have, wasn’t really going to teach me much about Digital Marketing. Essentially it was a nice addition to my CV, but really it’s work experience that counts in Marketing.
So I decided to volunteer with a local charity and get some work experience from that. Once people started recognising my work ethic, it became easy to pick up more work experience and eventually land myself a part time marketing job alongside my degree. It wasn’t easy, I worked in a shop to support myself too, so was doing over 40 hours of work in paid jobs, volunteering and trying to fit it all around a full time degree. But it was worth it!
How did you make the crossover into SEO?
I was doing a lot of social media, content writing and branding work for the first couple of years of my volunteering and paid work. This was great; I always enjoyed brand focused work. But I do feel like a lot of social media and content focused work is very fluffy when it comes to measurable return on investment.
Of course, brand awareness comes into play with all this work, but it’s a really hard industry to prove your worth in. This is where my interest in SEO became apparent. It’s a lot more technical, and the work you put in can be seen to drive measurable results. And, being a nerd, I do love to play around with data and analytics.
I made the change into it simply by doing what I’d done all along, and learning for myself. I got more experience with a local business in my spare time doing just SEO work. They weren’t paying me much at all, but I didn’t care, it gave me a chance to play around with a real business’s site and test out my SEO skills (or lack of at the time!). I got my current job through networking on Twitter, and making it obvious I knew what I was talking about.
Briefly talk us through a typical day as in your current job
Aside from the daily emails and meetings, a typical day will involve working on different SEO tasks for lots of different clients. Being agency side is really cool because you’re never bored or short of work, and working on many different clients is great fun. We also work on our own companies SEO from time to time to – if we can fit it in! But a day will typically involve tasks such as:
- Checking webmaster tools errors and fixing them
- Optimising and writing new content for clients web pages (this is a big one at the moment, which I spend a lot of time doing thanks to a certain Panda!) http://blog.searchmetrics.com/us/2014/09/26/panda-update-4-1-winners-losers-google-u-s/
- Setting up and monitoring analytics
- Reporting back to clients and creating monthly reports
- Drinking a lot of coffee
But the most fun part about the job is when we get new clients to work with. Working in a full service agency means we get to do full digital marketing audits, and ripping a website apart and presenting a big strategy document to a happy client is just great.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your marketing career and how have you overcome them?
As I previously mentioned, measurable ROI is a big one. Unless you work for a huge brand with a huge digital budget, your company or clients are going to want to know what every penny of your time is being spent on. This makes it hard to have creative freedom and I have been in positions where I’ve been quite frustrated with how restricted I am creatively.
The way to overcome this is to just be really clear on what it is you do and how everything works. If there’s no chance your social or Content campaign is going to produce any sales, then be very clear about that from the very start. While being clear, make sure you emphasise the good in what you are doing – so if there aren’t going to be sales generated from the campaign highlight the benefits of brand awareness, and measure traffic and influencer engagement to back this up.
What would you describe as your biggest personal strengths and assets that have ensured success in your career?
I’d say my biggest strength is the ability to learn things quickly. It’s probably the most essential skill in digital marketing – you have to be able to respond quickly and learn about new trends and technologies to be able to stay ‘ahead of the game’. If someone asks if you can do it, say yes, even if you can’t. Then go away and learn all you can about it, and bloody do it.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone looking to get into their own marketing career what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to do something that might not be exactly what you want to do, or might mean working for free.
Particularly in our current competitive society, you need to grab experience and give it your best. From there, opportunities will come your way. Ever heard of someone who works really hard at everything they do being short of opportunities? Didn’t think so!