On April 3, I was laid off from my former job. And on April 22, I started a new career in digital marketing for consumer packaged goods. Talk about a quick turnaround! And I could not be more thrilled about what lies ahead.
The most interesting aspect of being laid off, and of being able to be open about job-seeking, was the questions I got from those curious about my journey. I received several messages along the lines of “I’m intrigued to see where you end up.” (And I had a lot of cheerleaders, too! You know who you are!)
And so, digital marketing is where I ended up. I don’t know if everyone really finds that intriguing, but I will say that I believe digital marketing is a great career path for digitally-savvy journalists bound to traditional media, but hungry to move beyond the focus on and subsequent constant “shipping” to traditional print and broadcast channels.
Some things I’ll be tackling: Inbound/permission marketing, digital content strategy and execution, social media strategy and execution, influencer and blogger outreach, email marketing, mobile strategies, project management, etc. etc. etc.
A few tips for those wanting to make the switch from media (or any other industry) to marketing:
1) Read, read, read! There is a bounty of books and websites devoted to digital marketing. Learn as much as you can. I’m still a novice in many regards — especially all the marketing jargon! I’m a huge fan of thought leaders Chris Brogan, Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki, just to name a few. I also have books from Mack Collier and Jackie Huba on my reading list.
2) Network, network, network! Attend local meetings of the Social Media Club or other marketing-focused groups in your area. Reach out to professionals you admire in your town and ask for 30 minutes of their time over coffee or lunch. I’ve had several chats over the past year or so with folks here in the Orlando area who I (wrongly) assumed might not even give me the time of day! And I’ve had others reach out to me in turn. Give some, take some!
3) Sign up with talent agencies. I hooked up with Aquent and Vitamin T a little more than a year ago. It took some time, but my second interview through Aquent worked out with my current placement, made through their Vitamin T network. Did I mention that Aquent also placed a former report of mine in a position in New York City? They’re the real deal! Digital talent agencies like this are a great way to jumpstart the job hunt while still employed.
4) Brand yo’self! As a journalist, your skill-set may be reporting, editing and/or photography — but it’s all relevant. Beyond those skills, think about the digital skills you’ve learned and make sure they’re prominent on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t have a LinkedIn page? Then you’re probably not a fit for digital marketing — at least, not yet.
I’m excited to see where my future is headed. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, I may be changing the world soon enough!