How A Journalism Degree Set Me Up For A Career In Inbound Marketing

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By Sara Thompson

I never thought I would be an Inbound Marketing Specialist, but the profession is rather fitting for me and my path to it was pretty predictable now that I think about it.

I’ve always had an obsession with words, which is kind of ironic since most people would say I don’t talk that much. I love the way words can create a picture in your mind, spur you to act or change your life entirely. I started writing a diary in the 4th grade and never stopped. English was always my favorite subject through high school, but when I started college I naively decided to be a business major. I wanted to own hair salons, which now makes me chuckle because I don’t really like getting my hair cut. Soon enough though, I felt a little out of place and business calculus was reaching beyond my mathematical limitations (inverted derivatives? No thanks). So, I switched to Journalism and immediately found my niche.

Inbound marketing specialistPublic relations as a concentration was a no brainer, offering me a much brighter avenue into the business world. At the time (2006) the internet was both evil and inevitable. Most of my journalism professors spat fire when they talked about how the internet was killing print journalism and bloggers were giving journalists a bad name. But, my PR professors knew it couldn’t be ignored. We learned how to create blogs, record podcasts, write social media campaign strategies and angle our news releases for digital use. We were still taught how to properly pitch magazine and newspaper editors, which in essence is the same as pitching bloggers, and I use those lessons to this day. Now, instead of writing press releases for columnists I write guest posts for bloggers, but the way I was taught to approach them still holds true. Be friendly and confident, but not arrogant, and remember that you are here to help them, not the other way around.

I graduated college at a really bad time. In-house PR departments were being eliminated, agencies were on hiring freezes, and unfortunately I couldn’t afford to sign on for another unpaid internship. After a foray into dead-end-jobdom I clawed my way back to the WWW – which has changed dramatically over the past few years.

Since I got back in the game I’ve learned the significance of keywords, page rankings, and link building, but that knowledge would be all for not if it wasn’t for my journalism background. Starting out as a PR writer has helped me formulate useful content, and while I’ve learned to optimize it for search engines, I’m always writing for the user first and including more natural links.

I may never have seen myself as an inbound marketing specialist, but I think all the while I was learning to be one and didn’t even know it.

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