How my degree prepared me for a job in SEO: Journalism
By Stephen Hudson - Digital Marketing Consultant
From a very young age I always dreamt of becoming a journalist, be that a writer in a newspaper or a reporter in the field. Having a 'dream job' meant that during my school years I was able to focus on the areas and subjects which I knew would benefit me the most. That’s why I did an A-level in English and dropped maths as soon as possible!
When I started my journalism degree course in the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales), I was excited that all my efforts were starting to pay off and that I was studying a course that interested me and would hopefully help me find a job in my desired field. However, when I graduated in 2011, I entered a world badly hit by the recession, and, like many of my fellow graduates, struggled to find a job. I spent six months working in retail following my graduation, sending off CVs to magazines and newspapers and completing as much work experience as possible.
Six months later I soon realised that, like many other industries, the journalism industry wasn’t what it once was, with many magazines going out of business as an increasing number of people got their fill of news online. I changed my strategy and broadened my job hunting to include communications and marketing, while reading up on tactics such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Thankfully, I eventually landed a communications role where I enhanced my knowledge of PR and online digital marketing, which helped me improve my CV and skillset, which subsequently led to where I am now, a Digital Marketing Consultant working with a range of exciting and interesting clients. But how can someone who did journalism at university be suited for an SEO role I hear you ask? Well, hopefully I’ll answer that question below.
Never underestimate the power of good writing skills
Anyone interested in a journalism career needs to be able to write well and have a good understanding of the English language. The same can be said of anyone looking to work in Search Engine Optimisation! If you’re reading this blog, you’re obviously interested in the exciting world of digital marketing, which means you know that content is king; without content, you can’t expect to have a successful SEO campaign! I spend a significant proportion of my time each week writing blogs, social media updates and page copy for a variety of clients. This means I need to be able to write coherently, accurately, quickly and for various audiences, and it’s the latter which a journalism degree helps with in particular. My ability to write news articles, feature pieces and reviews means I can easily switch from writing politically accurate social media updates to creating top ten feature articles in a heartbeat!
That being said, a journalism degree can only go so far. Since I started working for Orantec over 3 years ago now, my skillset has expanded considerably. I’ve learnt a lot about the technical side of SEO, website development, coding and importantly, my writing skills have developed substantially. No matter how good you think you are at writing, you can always learn more and get better; I’m thankful that I get to work with some excellent writers here at Orantec, and their input on my writing cannot be understated!
Organisational skills are a must
You’ve probably read and written the cliché “I have excellent organisational skills” on CVs before, but, all jokes aside, a degree will help you improve your organisational skills a lot because you’ll be juggling deadlines on a regular basis. If you plan on working in SEO, your organisational skills need to be in tip-top shape as there are constant deadlines, from blogs that need to be published on a weekly, even daily basis, to reports that need to be sent out. Couple this with all the on-site optimisation tasks and ad-hoc work that needs to be completed, and you can see why organisation is key.
As I said, no degree can prepare you fully for the working world, and you’ll keep learning new skills throughout your working life – I was lucky enough to be given the chance to study for the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing, an opportunity which I took full advantage of. But, if you’re thinking about working in SEO, a degree in journalism can go a long way to helping you get your foot in the door thanks to the writing skills alone, just don’t forget that SEO is more than just writing content!