Earlier today, I went back to my old University (Edinburgh Napier) to deliver a lecture. As I was sitting waiting to start, I realised how different the life of a marketing student must be now. I graduated in 2005 in to a world that was yet to see the impact and wide adoption of social media. From University I found myself in a number of roles, really getting my teeth in to social media in 2008. I made it my aim to learn as much as I could about the channel and it now represents a huge part of my skills and experience. You could say that I was in a fortunate position as I was in the right place at the right time. If I was a student today, I’d be striving to make the biggest possible impact online, way before I was graduating.
Why You Need to Be a Content Master
The CV is dead. A strong statement, however if I was looking to hire someone for a marketing position, their CV would be way down on my list of priorities. The first thing I would do is search for their name on Google. What am I looking for? At the very least, I want them to be on Twitter. That may sound a bit light-weight, however I believe being active on Twitter can teach someone so much about the fundamentals of social media for business. I also want to know that the person is keen to learn, connect with people and share their knowledge and opinion, so I’m going to look for an active presence. These activities can also teach you so much about person’s character and personality.
Most importantly however, I would want a person to show real ability when it comes to creating content. This doesn’t have to be anything staggering (obviously, the more creative the better!) but it must show me that the person is really on top of their game, striving to have the best possible knowledge of their field and of course, able add their own slant to it. This isn’t a test of their writing as such – people’s writing progresses quickly once they are in the world of work, it’s a test of their ability to create worthwhile and dare I say it ‘engaging’ content. Of course, this content doesn’t have to be written, it can be video or imagery based. It shows a real will to stand out from the crowd, and if students aren’t willing to take the time to do this, then they need to think long and hard about how they are going to make an impression in a highly competitive market.
Not Just About the Content
The creation of great content is all well and good, however the delivery of it is also very very important. If a student is running a blog using the likes of WordPress, I want to see that their posts are well formatted, use imagery and have calls to action throughout. The blog should have the appropriate level of widgets, sharing options, SEO built throughout and of course look good on the eye. Achieving all of this shows that the person can grasp the more technical aspects of a platform and will not need to have their hand-held.
Spreading Their Work
Getting eyes on your content can be tough. But with use of the right social platforms and a bit of graft and persistence, the content in question will start to make an impact. As long as it is useful, thought provoking or even controversial. I’d be keen to see a student using the plethora of social media platforms to good effect, all with the purpose of raising their profile and getting people bought-in to their thoughts. After all, if social media is going to be a part of this person’s role, that is exactly what they may well be doing for their clients.
Stand Up and Out From the Crowd
The social web has meant that students now have the chance to make a name for themselves way before they even graduate. Above all, consistently creating content and using the platforms will show an employer that you are willing to graft and learn. Go forth and prosper!
Are you a student creating great content? Do point us in the direction of it in the comments sections below. Are you an employer who looks for a bit of invention and social media smarts from a potential employee? Am I missing the mark? Do tell.
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