The New Realities of Digital Marketing in 2019 (and Beyond)
Hi, my name is Dylan! I’ve been a digital marketing intern at Papercut Interactive since August of 2018. Prior to my internship, I had recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Admittedly, when I began looking for a job in the field of digital marketing, I did not know exactly where to look, or what to look for. Today, I’m here to tell you a little bit more about where that journey took me and what I discovered!
When I began the post-college job hunt, my search terms were set to find any opportunity that would allow me to gain experience in the popular marketing niches I had read about in school (facebook marketing, ppc, or branding work,etc.). Although I did not know where my search would lead, I knew that I desired to find a niche of marketing that allowed me to combine the psychological and creative elements of marketing in a way that was challenging, meaningful, and relevant.
An unexpected opportunity came in the form of a text message from an old friend and co-worker, Tripp Stanford. Tripp and I had previously worked together at a tech-enabled moving company headquartered in Chattanooga called Bellhops. Tripp had since moved on to a new opportunity as the Digital Marketing Specialist at Papercut Interactive, a local web design and digital marketing firm!
How I Found Papercut Interactive
Months earlier, Tripp had connected me with Papercut Interactive’s CEO, Jason Hill, whom I had met with over coffee to hear more about the history of Papercut Interactive, seek advice, and discuss the possibility of a future internship. At the time, Papercut was not looking to bring on any additional help, but the experience was extremely valuable and I was thankful for the opportunity to meet with Jason. Months later when Tripp texted me to say that an opportunity had opened up, I jumped at the chance.
When I began working at Papercut, I learned that much of the way that we assisted our digital marketing retainer clients was through Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it’s commonly referred. I knew the basic principles of SEO: improve the quality and quantity of content in hopes of improving ranking on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
I quickly learned that while my academic career prepared me with many important tools and ideas, I did not know nearly as much as I assumed about the various modes of digital marketing, the innumerable tools to be explored, and the combination of knowledge and implementation that creates pragmatic digital marketing.
My work began with industry-standard projects like retainer reports and social media content calendars. I was in the process of being reintroduced to many concepts and theories that I learned in my marketing courses as I filled documents with Month-over-Month analysis and keyword trend comparisons. The work that Tripp allowed me to take ownership of pushed me deep into Google Analytics and SEMRush in attempt to begin drawing connections between the different metrics with the goal of finding the recipe for a successful digital marketing campaign.
The Landscape is Always Changing, and You Better Keep Up
What I found, as I know many have found before me, is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to improving a client’s online presence. Search engines (looking at you here, Google) are constantly changing their algorithms, new tools are being developed, and innovative new minds are entering the workforce and causing positive disruption. As a result, the digital landscape is constantly evolving and marketers are tasked with the daunting and creatively-challenging task of staying ahead of the curve.
For instance, as I began creating content for clients I learned the subtle art of respecting the process. Refining and truly understanding each step from ideation and keyword research to link building and formatting is crucial to creating a piece of content that creates value for the client. After all, that is the bottom line.
Here’s a personal example to help illustrate the speed at which change occurs in marketing. When I first began my content creation journey, I started by looking at how to perform great keyword research, and I found what I then believed was the simple solution: long-tail keywords. It makes sense if you think about it. Targeting low-to-mid volume keywords that are highly specific and generally result in conversions seems like a great way to expend time and energy - and it was!
Flash forward to now and that strategy may not be as successful as it was a year ago. With one simple search one can find articles like Search Engine Journal’s 10 Most Important PPC Trends You Need to Know in 2019 and thousands of others just like it. Today, marketers will most likely find more success by catering to a less-specific keyword group or audience.
While it may seem like a minuscule change, this simple adjustment carries much greater implications. The shift in tactic illustrates the pivotal transition from keyword-stuffed content focused on quantity to thoughtful, carefully-curated, content. It is my belief that this observation is an accurate reflection of the evolution of digital marketing and SEO as a whole!
What Does This Mean for Marketers in 2019 and Beyond?
In light of all of this, the question remains: how can digital marketers remain on the cutting edge? The answer is as simple as it always has been. I’ll explain it, as I understand it, in three simple steps.
- Listen to the needs of the client (this applies whether you’re B2B or B2C)
- Stay in tune with the latest developments in tech, SEO, and PPC
- Experiment, create, and embrace community (never shy away from an opportunity to learn from your peers)
Closing Remarks and Helpful Resources
As I reflect on the lessons learned in my first year of digital marketing, I can’t even begin to express my gratitude to the team at Papercut Interactive, and each of our beloved clients, for allowing me to learn, explore, and grow. Having been given the opportunity to watch a small, yet established, firm continue to push the envelope and evolve in response to the changing climate has been invaluable in establishing my personal marketing philosophy.
As marketers and business professionals, we must strive to avoid stagnation and be in constant pursuit of the cutting edge. The ultimate goal must be, as always, to create value for our clients. Whether you’re a PPC pro or this is all new information to you, there is always room to grow and learn! As a resource for anyone who may be interested, I have attached a small list of resources that have been beneficial to me along my digital marketing journey.
The team here at Papercut is thoughtful, innovative, and committed to helping you design and implement a digital strategy that aligns with your mission and vision. Feel free to contact us at anytime for questions about strategy, web design, or digital marketing, and be sure to check the Papercut blog for helpful tips, tricks, and case studies curated to help individuals like you navigate the ever-changing digital marketplace!