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My (Nontraditional) Path to a Paid Advertising Career



Before you start reading, I wanted to let you know that there’s a video version of this post if that’s more your style! Check it out. It’s also embedded at the end of this post for convenience! Ok, back to the regularly scheduled programming…

Hello there!

My name is Drew. I use he/him pronouns and I am the Senior Advertising Specialist here at Webfor.

I wanted to share a little bit of my story and where I started initially, which was actually in IT. When I started college, I thought I wanted to go into IT — I even got a job in IT, but after a couple months of working in the field and taking IT courses, I realized this does not fuel me. This does not excite me. I think it’s cool to know how to put together a computer and things like that, but I do not want to be an IT person. Luckily my degree was pretty versatile and it had different paths within it so I was able to shift my focus to marketing instead of IT easily.

Changing Focus

I started taking marketing courses and learning about marketing, content, social media, paid advertising, design, development — really everything under the sun related to marketing and I just fell in love. I loved all of it so much. And at the time I thought I would go into social media. I thought that was my passion and what I wanted to do. And it is, don’t get me wrong! But it’s just a piece of what I want to do.

My Early Agency Days

I ended up getting a job at an agency while I was still in school doing many different things within marketing. We built websites, did content marketing, SEO, designed websites, social media, etc. and I was really a part of each of those aspects. This was great because I was able to get a lot of experience. But at the time they could only offer me part-time work. Once I graduated college, I needed a full-time job. So I started looking and found a gig as a web developer, which was not really what I wanted to do, but I thought, “Hey, this is a good way to get my foot in the door.” So I got the job, started working as a web developer, and ended up doing a lot of different things. I had expressed interest in pretty much all aspects of marketing and the company was able to support me in exploring many of those areas.

I did a lot of SEO, content, social media, and, eventually, PPC.

PPC Fell In My Lap

At that agency, a contractor managed our paid advertising efforts. We didn’t have anyone on staff who was skilled in that area. Unfortunately, we discovered the contractor was not managing our accounts correctly. We had to make a quick decision to end our contract with them immediately. Mind you, this was a Friday afternoon at about 4pm. Just what everyone wants to have happen on a Friday afternoon, right?!

At this point we had no one to manage our client’s PPC campaigns. So, I took the weekend to learn everything I could about Google Ads as well as get my Google Ads certification. Monday morning, I started managing our PPC accounts and I’ve been in the paid industry since!

What I Do Right Now

Currently, as the Senior Advertising Specialist, I am managing the paid department as well as the social department. I do a lot of the strategizing, planning, analyzing and execution on those strategies. I’m responsible for making sure that everything is aligned with the client’s goals and providing the best possible results and ROI from our efforts.

Why I Share My Journey to Senior Advertising Specialist

That is my nontraditional path to where I ended up. I did go to college, but the way that I fell into PPC was actually not by choice, it was really by necessity. I wanted to share this story in case you are someone who is just entering the industry and trying to figure out what you want to do. It’s okay to not know, and it’s okay to try a bunch of different things.

I know for me, my interests continue to change and while I will probably always have a root interest in PPC and social, I think my interests are changing all the time — even within both of those verticals my interests are changing. For example, am I focused on search within paid? Paid social? Both? What do I want my day-to-day to look like?

My point is, I think the marketing industry is really exciting and diverse, and you can do a lot of different things within the industry. I think that having a lot of different experience lends itself well to establishing yourself as a marketing expert who specializes in (  fill in the blank  ).

What’s Your Story?

If you found this helpful, please drop a comment down below letting me know. And if you have a similar story or a very different story, I’d love to hear it as well!

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