How do I get into the Online Media Industry?
April 25, 2008 3:44 AM   Subscribe

How can I get into the Online Media Industry?

I'm interested in getting into a career in the Online Media Industry. I'm particularly interested in getting into the marketing side of it. I've built up an interest in it over the last four years and know a fair bit about things such as copywriting, SEO techniques and Web 2.0.

I've applied to some companies in the NMA from a pamphlet I was given from a recruiter. My background is a languages degree instead of a analytical computer sciences one and I'm not sure if this is working against me.

I'm looking for positions in and around London. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
posted by quaisi to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First of all, it's not clear from your question what your exact desired position is. You may have thought of this, in which case - great (and please follow up with the info in this question). If not, you really should - it comes across pretty fluffy to say that you just want to work in an industry, rather than in a particular role, from an employer's perspective.

A couple of quick things. First, I think the medium tends to be perceived as less important than the core skills required by it (ie you would do better to present yourself as a marketer first, and as a web expert second). This may potentially need you to get a general marketing position as a first step, before you move into online. Second, pure web marketing agencies are pretty commercially fragile. Corporate perceptions of the importance of the internet have swung wildly over the last few years from "don't care, not important" to "OMG we must has a blog" and back again. Established marketing agencies have been aggressive in trying to position web as just one aspect of their full service offerings. The specialist web agencies that have thrived have been in areas that are niche or undesireable to larger organisations (like SEO).
posted by bifter at 4:59 AM on April 25, 2008

Yes. I've been searching for jobs through agencies and the like. Positions like Account Manager are attractive to me. I don't have great analytical skills and I flunked a maths test for one position. If I had to improve my marketing skills, how could I go about that?
posted by quaisi at 6:23 AM on April 25, 2008

There are lots of professional qualifications for marketing in the UK. These are of questionable practical use, but can be very useful for helping you to find an opportunity (shows commitment, and basic understanding of industry). Worth your while considering doing an entry level qualification from home or something.

Not sure what sort of work experience you're bringing. If you're straight out of Uni then you'd probably be looking to a Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant type of position straight away. You could indeed progress towards an account management / client relations type of path from there (as opposed to a creative one).

Interested to hear that you were given a maths test for a marketing position. If indeed you were going towards an account management role then you would be looking more towards needing to demonstrate project management and "face" skills. Being an in-house technical or creative on the other hand, maths and analytical skills become a bit more relevant.

Best way to improve your skills is probably to seek, and take, an entry level job, then learn on the job. You can progress fast in the industry if you're a fast learner and can show results. As always though, you need to decide if you're prepared to take a year or more of mediocre salary to progress your long term career goals.
posted by bifter at 7:04 AM on April 25, 2008

I've spent over 12 years in the online media industry. The #1 way to get your foot in the door is through networking.

I don't know about London, but there are usually get-togethers and gatherings between industry movers and shakers that are great networking opportunities.

If I were to go back in time and start over, the first thing I'd do is ask all of my friends, family, and acquaintances if they knew ANYONE in the industry. I'd try to contact those industry connections, and I'd ask them what the best networking opportunities are to meet others from within the industry. Almost every major city has a gathering of professionals specific to any industry in online media at least once a quarter, if not once a month.

Go to these gatherings, mingle, and get to know people. Demonstrate to them that you are a stand-up person with great interpersonal skills. Over time, and after a few sessions, you'll find yourself privy to leads on all sorts of awesome job offers.

Remember, Aristotle Onassis once said that if he suddenly lost all his money and had to start over, the first thing he'd do is work till he had saved up $300 to buy a suit and then he'd go to wherever the rich people were hanging out.

The key message here is NETWORK! :)
posted by xotis at 7:58 AM on April 25, 2008

If I had to improve my marketing skills, how could I go about that?

Market something. Build a blog, a web site, a widget, something you can practice marketing (it's important to mention that the web site/widget/blog should be something you'll work on steadily, will be of value to others, and you can be passionate about). Employers look very favorably on personal projects, the more successful (in terms of numbers) the better. Every personal project I've ever worked on has helped me to get jobs. Employers figure if you're that enthusiastic, and have gained that much experience on your own, then you'll have a lot to bring to the table.

If you know a fair amount about copywriting and SEO, sounds to me like a good, topical blog (on something you either know a lot about or want to, and will spend time researching) would be a good start.

Networking is fine, and important, but go and DO something. Practice the things you want to do for a living. Gain experience. It will help with the networking, and all the rest.
posted by twiki at 8:56 AM on April 25, 2008

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