My career started when I joined the marketing team at Ace Medical doing market research.
I loved that job. Not only did I get to work with dynamic and outgoing marketing and sales people who represented everything I wanted to be, but I got to hang out in my comfort zone while doing it – crunching numbers, pouring over data, trying make sense of the market and our competition in my own quiet way.
I later transitioned into the high-tech world using the same skills with different applications. But, over time I began to feel that something was missing – the social side of marketing that had attracted me in the first place was absent from my job. Oops!
It’s not that I wasn’t engaging with other humans at all – I had great relationships with my co-workers, but I felt largely disconnected from the end-product and our customers. Now, granted, this was partly by design. I am the type of person who prefers to think before I speak and my role allowed me to do that. Face-to-face or phone-to-phone dealings with potentially hostile customers was never something I was interested in, until social media.
Social media bridges the gap between introverts and extroverts. It allows those of us who are a little slower to warm up the time we need to do so – making it easier for us to build and nurture relationships.
So, I decided that the next chapter of my career would involve social media, but how? I had already worked my way through college once to obtain my undergrad degree. Returning to the slow drip of formal education was not a compelling concept – I wanted to do this now. So, I embarked on a self-created learning program and took the approach of full immersion. It worked! Now I am working as a digital marketing freelancer, taking on projects that let me flex my social muscles in my own way! These are the tools that made it possible:
lynda.com is an online learning site where (for a very reasonable cost) you can explore a multitude of business related topics. From high level “how to” videos for beginners, to deep, topic-specific material for advanced learners, lynda.com was exactly what I was looking for.
I began consuming material thinking I would be done in a couple of months, but the more I learned the more I craved so I will warn you, it’s a bit addictive. I developed a routine of watching learning videos while at the gym – exercising my body and brain at the same time. For technical topics where simple absorption wasn’t enough, I watched the videos a second time at home while practicing the concepts first hand.
When I first joined lynda.com, it was simply a local company that I was thrilled to support, but it was just purchased by LinkedIn. I am excited to see what develops in the upcoming months.
Logic dictates that if you are going to practice digital marketing, you must develop a strong online presence. Twitter was the channel I felt the most resistance to, so I figured that if I could master Twitter I could master anything social media. I rolled up my sleeves and jumped in – changing my handle to @SocialAmyW to represent my new alter-ego and improved attitude. I introduced myself to the social media community and started sharing, interacting and participating in chats.
Yes, at first it was hard, scary and a bit like drinking from a firehose but it got easier and I have really come to depend on it. I learn something new every day from my amazing online community, but I will save my “who to follow” post for another time.
There are a wealth of articles, pod-casts and e-books available through blogs that provide up-to-date information on this ever-changing industry. Digital marketers are a chatty bunch and (thankfully) they are happy to share their knowledge. They inspired me to create this blog so that I can give back to those that I have come to value so much. Watch for a favorites list in a future post.
By drinking in the knowledge I have found on lynda.com, Twitter and blogs I have been able to completely refresh my career. My analytical background is now an invaluable asset in my digital marketing toolkit, which I can use to prove the value of what I am doing. By embracing my past and adding social media, community building, content marketing and SEO know-how I have created a fresh start for myself and face each work day with excitement and energy.
I have been fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband who has been nothing but supportive to me in my quest. He is my mentor, my sounding board and my biggest champion so I cannot close this post without thanking him for his amazing patience.
I do not proclaim to know everything about this field and I think it would be foolish for anyone to do so. The landscape changes constantly and it is not within my control – any good digital marketer knows this. So I embrace an attitude of lifelong learning and pursue new knowledge every single day. That, my friends, is what keeps this exciting.