As a relatively recent Nottingham graduate, I was extremely pleased to start working at Hallam at the end of 2016. With a structured learning schedule and a strong focus on professional development, I knew that this was a great step to take. I wanted to share how Hallam moulds its employees into SEO superstars, and offer some tips for anyone else who’s recently dived into digital marketing.
Why Digital Marketing?
Digital is an exciting field to start a career in. It’s a rapidly changing industry, which makes for a fast-moving work environment, and requires both creative and technical skills.
This is even more so in an agency, where, because of the number and variety of clients, the ability to multi-task and manage time is a necessity.
Having worked in agency environments before – albeit outside of digital marketing – I’ve had experience in working on different projects for different clients.
That being said, there’s so much to learn. From tools to terminology, I spent a lot of time in my first few weeks grasping the basics, and learning to distinguish my alt tags from my meta tags, my DA from my PA. This is very much an ongoing process!
The fast pace, vast amounts to learn and varied responsibilities can certainly be intimidating. That’s where Hallam’s training comes in.
I was brought up to speed with digital marketing basics through Hallam Schools, which are run by our in-house experts for their colleagues throughout the year.
Initial sessions on the basics of SEO, covering how search engines work and various on-page and off-page ranking factors, through to further classes on link building and keyword research, gave me a great introduction to these fundamental topics.
There’s a large team here with decades’ worth of internet marketing knowledge. My sub-team alone comprises of experts in natural and paid search, local SEO and digital PR.
This means that someone’s always on hand to answer questions and lend support and guidance in all areas of digital marketing.
In addition to team support, an emphasis is placed on guiding your own learning. Having enjoyed studying at university, this was welcome.
There’s no shortage of great resources when it comes to SEO. Reading through comprehensive and authoritative guides like the Moz guide is a must for anyone new to the industry.
This kind of studying is applied towards gaining certifications: I’m currently working towards my Google AdWords and Analytics certification. My colleague Jonathan, a fellow new starter, is in a similar situation to me, and it’s been great to share experiences with someone in the same boat.
The Hallam blog archive has also been a goldmine of knowledge that’s truly industry leading.
As an example, I was recently researching aspects of local SEO. It was a Hallam blog on local citations that carried the featured snippet position and naturally drew my attention.
As well as receiving support from colleagues and guiding my own learning, we’re encouraged to attend external training sessions.
This week I’m attending several workshops on SEO fundamentals run by the experts at Search Engine News, and we’re already all looking forward to attending the BrightonSEO conference at the start of April!
Training courses aren’t necessarily all restricted to the world of digital: attending a recent public speaking workshop gave us all some insightful knowledge and skills, whichever stage of our career we were at.
My Top Tips
It’s been an exciting – and busy – first few months. In terms of advice for anyone in a similar situation, I’d suggest a few things:
Start broad and narrow your focus. Coming to Hallam as a generalist, I’m soaking up as much as I can about the diverse world of SEO. I’ve experienced working on different aspects of digital marketing, whether that’s PPC campaigns, content creation, citations or link building.
Exposure to different areas allows me to identify where my strengths lie. Like the team here, I’m looking forward to having not only well-rounded SEO knowledge, but also specific expertise in a particular area.
Be inquisitive. This should go without saying, but read as much as you can and ask questions whenever you need to. Because the industry moves so quickly, it’s essential to keep on top of trends and developments in relevant publications.
Use your strengths. Although I was new to digital, I was eager to apply my pre-existing skills. I’d enjoyed working on copywriting in previous roles, and quickly picked up content work here at Hallam.
My previously mentioned colleague Jonathan lies at the other end of the spectrum – having studied physics at university, he’s currently applying his maths and statistical knowledge to optimising AdWords campaigns and developing scripts.
The point is, apply whatever skills you already have and show at an early stage that you can bring value to a company.
This should have given you some insight into how Hallam brings new employees up to speed in this exciting sector.
Whether being taught by colleagues, reading a lot of industry news and developments, studying towards certifications or going on external training courses, the focus on development and training stands me in good stead.
I’m looking forward to what the future brings!