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Northern Ireland Digital Marketing: 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career

Northern Ireland digital marketing: 5 things I wish I was told when I started my career | Tall Paul Marketing | digital marketing jobs and careers |social media belfast | ad agencies belfast| Northern Ireland marketing

Your Northern Ireland digital marketing career can be tough. While the bulk of learning is done on-the-job, there are a few things I wish I were told at the start of my career.

 

This article is written in collaboration with Northern Ireland digital marketing specialist, Belfast fiction author, Scott Gilmore. Read his article here.

Over the last decade, I have worked in a wide variety of digital marketing and communications roles in Northern Ireland.

Roles include working for a skip hire company (random, I know), and for a Russel Group University for four years.

However, I didn’t study marketing and communications at university.

 

Northern Ireland digital marketing: 5 things I wish I was told when I started my career | Tall Paul Marketing | digital marketing northern Ireland |digital marketing belfast |digital marketing ni | digital agencies Belfast

Whether you’re a Digital Marketing Executive in Belfast, or a Marketing and Communications Assistant in Newry, this unique career path has its fair share of quirks.

 

I studied Politics and Criminology.

Therefore, I probably started my marketing career relying more on gut instinct than anything actionable from a degree course.

However, here are five things I wish I were told ten years ago when I started my digital marketing career.

1. In your Northern Ireland digital marketing career, you will have to post content that is pointless, worthless, and to appease others.

In my naivety, when I started in digital marketing, I thought the role was mine.

That is to say; I thought I would be able to dictate the strategy.

But most people involved in Northern Ireland marketing and communications roles today can relate to this story.

Your work phone rings or your Outlook pings a notification sound.

You’re told to add X, Y and Z to your Social Media content schedule.

However, you disagree and maybe even express shock.

You don’t want your precious Social Media channels to be used as a dumping ground for information.

Certainly, this is frustrating, but it’s all part of the big picture approach.

You might not be able to see the big picture from the bosom of your hyper-focused marketing.

In short, it’s one of those things you have to accept.

 

Northern Ireland digital marketing: 5 things I wish I was told when I started my career | Tall Paul Marketing | Belfast Copywriter | Marketing Company Belfast | Freelance Copywriter

In your digital marketing career, you will have to post content that is pointless, worthless, and to appease others.

 

2. Your Northern Ireland digital marketing work is out there to be judged by everyone.

Digital marketing is one of the unique careers.

For example, a lot of what you create is put straight out there into the world wide web.

It’s visible to your friends, family, work colleagues and managers to see daily.

As a result, that judgement brings pressure.

The pressure to ensure accuracy.

To make people laugh.

Engage with the audience.

Most importantly, to make people buy or complete an action.

To make sure not a single comma is out of place.

However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage.

In other words, do an excellent job in your digital marketing role, and you’ll soon become well-known.

As a result, you’ll be sought-after for your online marketing prowess.

Content-is-King - Freelance Belfast Copywriter Paul Malone - NI Content Writer

 

3. Digital marketing jargon and theories won’t help you.

You’ve read all the books in uni; you know your A/B testing from your Analytics.

You understand content marketing and SEO.

Unfortunately, segmentation and ROIs and other marketing lingo won’t do your job for you.

A lot of the marketing jargon principles are sound.

However, they do not apply to every business in every circumstance.

For example, I’ve always worked on gut-instinct marketing.

As a result, I have always believed one principle more than any other.

That is: create enough great content, consistently, and you won’t have much to worry about.

 

Northern Ireland digital marketing: 5 things I wish I was told when I started my career | Tall Paul Marketing | Belfast Copywriter | Marketing Company Belfast | Freelance Copywriter NI

There’s a lot of marketing jargon out there and unfortunately, it won’t help you become the best digital marketer.

 

4. Employers expect digital marketers to be all-rounders.

A professional footballer has to be good at kicking a football.

A singer has to be able to sing.

Uniquely, a digital marketer in the modern era has to be good at a wide variety of things, mostly all unrelated.

During a job search, how many times have you come across a Northern Ireland digital marketing job posting that asks for a candidate to have:

  1. Five years’ experience
  2. SEO experience
  3. Social Media Management experience
  4. Adept at Photoshop and other Adobe design and imagery packages
  5. Experience in Email Marketing
  6. Confidence using PPC advertising
  7. CRM experience
  8. CMS experience
  9. Proficiency in Google Analytics
  10. Confidence in video creation, editing and publishing
  11. Ability to use Excel
  12. Comfortable managing budgets for campaigns
  13. Evidence of engaging content marketing

In addition, how many other careers out there boast as much of a mismatch in eligibility criteria?

As a result, those 13 expectations above ultimately mean you have to be a:

  1. Competent Graphic Designer
  2. A PPC and SEO Specialist
  3. A Social Media Manager
  4. An Email Marketer
  5. A Web Editor
  6. A Markets Insights Officer
  7. A Videographer
  8. A Blogger

When I was starting in Digital Marketing, I wish someone had told me I’d have to wear a lot of different hats.

I would have tried to learn each as I went along.

However, in Digital Marketing, nobody gets to choose how their job plays out.

Why?

Because technology moves at a lightning pace. And as a result, your Northern Ireland digital marketing career will be full of trials and tribulations.

In 2010 Facebook was king. A significant per cent of posts were actually being read by people who liked the page.

Now? There’s Tik Tok, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.

And a whole host of other social media platforms.

They’re all vying for our attention.

Most importantly, they’re competing for the attention of our target audience.

Facebook engagement with posts has dropped so low it’s embarrassing to be a digital marketer.

It’s incredibly frustrating to work hard, create quality content, knowing only 1-2% of your audience will ever see it.

 

Northern Ireland marketing: 5 things I wish I was told when I started my career | Tall Paul Marketing | Belfast Copywriter | Marketing Company Belfast | Freelance Belfast Copywriter

Graphic Designer. CMS experience. CRM confidence. Video editing. The list of expectations is endless.

 

5. Expect confusing, eyebrow-raising targets throughout your Northern Ireland digital marketing career.

I remember in one of my digital marketing roles.

During my first few months, I was given this ridiculous target:

  1. 100 new Facebook ‘Likes’ a month
  2. At least 100 new Instagram followers a month
  3. 100 new Twitter followers a month
  4. Create a new Snapchat account and get 100 new followers a month

But during this exchange, I remember thinking to myself, “Surely, this isn’t the best way to judge success, using vanity metrics?”

The above were just social media targets given during my Northern Ireland digital marketing career; others were even stranger.

However, the Manager had, of course, no digital marketing experience.

Meanwhile, my counter-argument that 100 new Facebook ‘Likes’ was pointless, especially considering how Facebook is decreasing overall engagement, fell on deaf ears.

Questioning whether Snapchat was a platform even used by our target audience also didn’t register.

Expect targets that are either unrealistic or worse, pointless.

And expect that in 99% of digital marketing roles for the decision-makers above you that do not know much about marketing.

 

Northern Ireland marketing: 5 things I wish I was told when I started my career | Tall Paul Marketing | Belfast Copywriter | Marketing Company Belfast | Freelance Ireland Copywriter

“I need you to get me 100 new Facebook likes a month” is just one of the weird expectations.

 

Some will respect that it’s your area of expertise.

Moreover, they will let you run it in the way you know best.

Others will need to feel involved.

In other words, you’ll have to humour them and reach monthly vanity metrics.

To sum up, you’ll probably have to post content unrelated to your strategy nearly every day.

Ah, good old Digital Marketing.

Would we have it any other way?

 

What advice do you wish you were given at the start of your Northern Ireland digital marketing career?

Let me know in the comments section below.

 

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Paul Malone
Paul Malone
Paul Malone is one of Northern Ireland’s most experienced marketers, providing Copywriting, Content Writing and Blog Writing services for businesses across the country. Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

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