My internship with the St. Petersburg College Marketing and Public Information department has been a great learning experience. It gave me the opportunity to put the skills I learned in my communications courses to use, and further develop those I had learned volunteering for this newspaper.
During my internship I worked on two social channels, and a Facebook event. I also helped out with blog posts, and other projects as needed. Just like volunteering for The Sandbox, flexibility is a good attribute to have. My photo and video skills also came in handy during my internship. Just as with college journalism, media is what sells your message. A blog post or paper article without a good photo is not going to get noticed by your prospective reader. Like any other content based job, you have to be good with a calendar and managing your own schedule.
The work itself is not very different from what I did at this newspaper. Post or schedule content to make sure it gets seen. Help people understand how a blog post differs from other forms of writing, and how to get around in WordPress. Be a good second set of eyes to make sure that when the publish button is pressed, the article is the best it can be. One thing that has changed as a result of working with marketing is my attitude towards search engine optimization.
The idea behind SEO is that a given set of practices will get your link closer to the top of the first page on Google. My first brush with the term came during one of my classes. I had a classmate who was setting up his first blog. He would tell me about his progress every week and occasionally ask for advice. One week he mentioned that he paid some SEO specialists many thousands of dollars to ensure that his blog was top ranked in Google for any search term. I hope you will not be surprised when their promises turned out to be hot air. Before working here the only SEO tip that I really put any stock in was frequency, that is that Google will favor in searchg content that updates on any regular schedule like a blog feed. Working in marketing, I have learned several other tips that will help a blogger, marketer, or student journalist:
- Have a short, punchy, topical title.
- Have a strong lede that mentions your topic in the first sentence.
- Include a couple of relevant links.
This will not get you top search rank on every term, but it will improve your search rank. All of these are things that your communications instructor would approve of, they make for a better article, and none of them should substantially impact the writing style of any given author.
I have really enjoyed my time with the marketing and public information department. I love the way the department works as a team, if you find yourself in trouble there are always people ready to step up and help. I see it as an extension of the work I have done for this paper, now instead of promoting student journalists, I am promoting the programs and events that allow SPC students to succeed.