Nowadays, you see job descriptions on recruiting platforms requiring different skill sets. You might wonder how it’s possible for a person to have that much knowledge in all those fields. Unfortunately, that is the reality, and most possibly the future trend. Startup companies are known for their fast-changing environment. Working in the software industry, especially software as a service (SaaS) companies, requires a certain level of understanding of computer science. Marketing needs to adapt both traditional and constantly changing dynamics to make sure messages and products are delivered in ideal ways.
The nature of my job makes it inevitable for me to become a slasher. That’s becoming a norm for many other jobs in all kinds of industries too. Content generation, data analysis, and project management are three major categories of my job duties, and of course, we can’t forget the most important part: learning as always.
Content generation is a broad field and is a skill that takes a lot of time to mature. This can include writing blog articles, execute social media marketing strategies, generating email newsletters, and producing videos, the list goes on. It’s going to be overwhelming for a lot of people at first. At least it was for me. Having about 1 year of work experience, what I learn as a content marketer is that whichever form you decide to deliver content, it’s all about what your “ideas” are.
In the marketing team, inbound marketing plays a huge part in marketing strategy. The reality tells us that as a small startup, there’s simply not enough resources for us to spend money on advertising. Therefore, planning and writing blog articles become a major part of my life. Maintaining social media post pipeline is another daily to-do. Depending on the target audience, we deliver newsletters occasionally. Sometimes I produce training and promotional videos for the company too.
Content generation is the process of turning your ideas into different forms of content. Sometimes it’s a white paper, ebook, or a post on Twitter. Sometimes it’s a combination of all. Most of the time, there should be much repurposing work going behind the thinking process. You are the one to decide what form to choose based on its capability to deliver the message with clarity and the highest efficiency. It takes much time and practice to learn how to make decisions for content creation. As time goes by, you’ll have your own workflow and reasoning behind everything you do. You should always be thinking about the purpose and outcomes of your content. When having writer’s block, go back to the principle that all content comes with initial ideas. An idea can have infinite angles to look at. That means you have infinite ways and content to produce. What’s important is that you have to live a mindful life, because that’s where your ideas will be coming from.
A digital marketer won’t be eligible without some skills in data analysis. Since we need to measure our marketing outcomes, data analysis is a must-have skill now and in the future for many people. Executing SEO strategy and delivering data reports are two main integral parts. Off-page SEO is more straightforward but requires more effort to nurture. Coming up with plans and asking strategically for a high-quality external link is never easy. On-page SEO, on the other hand, can be done pretty fast when most of the factors are under our own control. Tools like awoo, Moz, and NeilPatel are excellent for keyword research. Having a basic knowledge of HTML has been a huge help for me too. I never regret spending some time taking crash courses online and will recommend you do the same. Codecademy and Scrimba are two amazing websites where you can find free resources for introductory courses.
In the beginning, I couldn’t deliver a proper data report because of my background. An English major would never expect someday I’d have to tell stories with numbers. Learning Google Analytics from scratch is a pain in the ass. Let’s be clear. They did a good job making educational videos. It’s just for me I didn’t know most of the terms they were using and had no experience using GA. The most helpful way I found to learn GA is to host a website on my own. Ignore the fact that I don’t have time and effort to maintain my personal website now, back in a few months ago, buying domain name and usage, connecting the website to GA, seeing how content is performing with daily tracking, the whole process allowed me to apply what I consumed in videos in the real world situation. Now I’m able to deliver a weekly data report for my company. I won’t say it’s perfect. It’s never going to be. But I’m proud of the progress I’ve made and the system I’ve built in the past year or so.
A startup’s environment is fast-changing. It doesn’t only mean that new opportunities are showing up every day, but things can get very messy. With limited human resources, it’s very common for everyone working at a startup to be involved with different projects and tasks, and managing responsibilities. Personally speaking, that includes planning marketing campaigns, helping with public relationships, and establishing an internal organization. We use Notion for managing basically everything. If you’re into organizing things in general, it’s a tool you should start using. While I don’t recommend you use that as your only tool because there were times when Notion is not working. It’s still a great tool for you to build your mental dictionaries. Just don’t forget to have a backup somewhere. Let me not go into details of all the projects I’ve done and am doing. It’s also because I don’t think I’m experienced enough to share the ins and outs of the strategies and tactics. Overall, I’ve got the most sense of achievement from building systems and workflows for the marketing team, as other teams are starting to adopt from us.
In addition to all the chores and projects that are going on on a daily basis, a big part of my working hours is made up by learning on my own. For interpersonal skills, team communication and cross-functional communication are vital for effective work delivery. Communication within the marketing team is easier. Since we have daily meetings to report individual progress, it’s quite transparent what my team members are working on today and where I can provide my help. As for cross-functional communication, it’s another world. For a SaaS company, our products are software services. It’s been really difficult for me to understand how our services work in the back-end and relate that to operations on the front-end. I admit it’s not necessary to know everything to promote and sell a product. While I also believe that having good understandings of products will help a lot in delivering messages for both sales and marketing people. As I’ve been repeating myself, it’s impossible to ask each team members what they’re working on, how they’re doing it, and why our software are operating that way, since everyone has their own work to do. Besides, it’ll require much time to establish fundamental knowledge to start understanding the world of computer science. Out of my own curiosity, I’ve started to learn a lot about UI/UX, front-end, and computer/data science online. It’s really not that hard to get access to essential resources when I have the eagerness to learn. Learning is the most important motivation that drives me to work hard and live a fulfilling life at this stage.
It’s been an amazing journey working at Giftpack for almost a year. There were certainly ups and downs. Sometimes it can get very depressing and unmotivated when things did not go as I planned. But I still couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity working here as my first job even before graduating from university. This is the place where I realized learning doesn’t have to take place in school because it happens in my daily life. I’ve formed habits of having conversations in English, taking initiative to solve problems, reading books every day. and taking online courses to broaden my horizon. The more I know, the more humble I become. The world is too big that I don’t think I’ll one day stop learning, ever.
David Chen - Digital Marketer @Giftpack Inc. Written in a peaceful 🧘🏼♂️ morning at Bayreuth, Germany.