Over the last 12 weeks we've had Lucy working in the digital team to give her a real taste of the industry. Read about her experience at Eyekiller, what she learned about digital marketing and what it is like to work at a digital agency.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi! I’m Lucy Thomas and I am currently a second year Marketing Student at Belfast Metropolitan College, working towards the completion of my degree.
To me, marketing is arguably the most important department of any business and being given the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals has allowed me to further my skills as there is only so much the theory of marketing can teach. I work extremely well in a team and thrive off listening to other people and learning from them. I chose to study marketing as the variety of the work and the chance to progress within the industry appealed to me, there’s always something new to learn!
Throughout my A Levels, I particularly enjoyed Film Studies and at the time I thought I was destined to pursue a career in film - I thought wrong! During this time, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the BFI Film Academy which was run by Cinemagic at the time, resulting in me receiving an NCFE Level 2 in preparation to work in the film industry.
This experience involved working in a team to produce a short film. After this experience and getting the chance to work on other short film projects with Cinemagic, I came to the conclusion that this type of work was not what I wanted to pursue. The professionals I worked alongside advised me to reconsider my career options as the film business is a hard area to progress in and does not provide the job security I am seeking, it did not meet my career needs or expectations and that’s why I encourage people to go out and get work experience as it’s not always what you think.
I conducted some research into marketing as I thoroughly enjoyed the module whilst studying it at A Level. I looked at my career options and what was the most suitable route for me to progress into this career. Belfast Metropolitan College offered me the opportunity to study Marketing at Foundation Degree level (Validated by Ulster University) and the chance to do a summer bridging course to progress onto my final year at Ulster.
How did you hear about Eyekiller?
I came across Eyekiller’s website through online research and it piqued my interest. I found the website welcoming and easy navigation throughout the site, providing me with plenty of information about the work that Eyekiller are involved in. One of the things that stood out to me was the well-known companies that Eyekiller have proudly partnered with.
I particularly liked the client feedback video content speaking about their experience working with Eyekiller, making them a trustworthy and reputable brand, and one I would definitely want to work for.
What projects did you work on?
During my time at Eyekiller, I worked on a lot of different digital marketing projects and website projects for a variety of clients. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the work was so varied and each project had me learning something new.
I worked closely with the digital team and we kept in communication through zoom meetings throughout the week to discuss workloads and priorities. During my first week, I found the team to be very welcoming and therefore I found it easy to get settled in and Jason Purdy (Head of Digital) who managed my placement was extremely helpful in explaining my assigned tasks and ensured that I got involved, I always had a task to be working on.
Throughout my time at Eyekiller, I worked on competitor keyword research, market research, website content population and SEO content.
Listed below are some examples of the projects I worked on:
This first task assigned to me appeared daunting at first as I was introduced to using SEMrush - a marketing platform, which I mostly used for keyword research, marketing insights and SEO. Before starting my work placement with Eyekiller, I had no idea what SEMrush was, or how this tool and research was used. It made me realise that what you learn in the lecture hall is only a fraction of what you’ll learn when on-the-job. With the help of my team, I was able to get the hang of it pretty quickly and now I feel more confident when it comes to using SEMrush for other projects.
This task involved crawling the site for a list of URLs from the old websites in order to have these ready to be pointed to the new URL on the new sites when they go live. I learned that this is an important part of launching a website that has been rebuilt as it eliminates duplicate content - which is bad for SEO. A 301 redirect tells a search engine that the information is still of importance but is on another page now.
Newry Private Clinic
After becoming more confident with using SEMrush, I was assigned my first keyword research task. We look at keyword research volume to determine how popular–and competitive–a keyword is. This informs what keywords are likely to drive traffic, so we can include them on the most relevant pages of websites which is essential for on-page SEO. So, if a search engine knows exactly what the page is about then the bots will correctly index that page. This means when a user is looking for information on a particular topic, and they type a keyword into Google, the search engine will include that webpage in the results.
I found this to be a time consuming task, working on it throughout the duration of my placement. I learned the importance of keywords when it comes to search engines, realising that there are a lot of irrelevant keywords and knowing the right keywords to target. I especially learned that there are keywords a client may not want to target in Search Campaigns, these are called negative keywords, where you don't want to appear for a particular search term.
This task involved further keyword research for a different client - I enjoyed the fact that every client and topics were different. For this particular project, Lyric Theatre were looking to target keywords around the things to do in Belfast each Month of the year. In terms of Search Campaigns, I learned that there are a lot more question based, "long tail keywords" as people are more likely to search “what to do in belfast” instead of one particular keyword.
Visit Ards and North Down
It was interesting to see how keywords work in paid advertising search campaigns. For example, low volume search words are likely not going to drive any traffic, and keywords also need to align with target audiences as you might get the wrong people clicking on the ads which will therefore waste time and your budget. I learned that keyword research is key in all marketing campaigns, so I was glad to get a lot of experience with this.
My Market Research Project
Throughout my time at Eyekiller, I worked on my own project as part of my module. This project focused on consumer trends relating to shopping online and in store, and how we can increase website traffic and the number of footfall from website visitors. I conducted primary and secondary research for this project.
How did you find work experience remotely?
At the start, I thought working remotely would be a challenge in terms of having to discipline myself. However, I found that I settled into a nice routine and worked efficiently from home. Work experience remotely had its advantages of course, it allowed me to work from the comfort of my own home, which I enjoyed.
Even though I was working remotely, I still felt a part of the team due to the fact we communicated regularly. The team were all very supportive in making sure I knew exactly what I should be working on and what projects I should be prioritising. Towards the end of my work experience with Eyekiller, I was fortunate enough to work in the office a couple of times a week with the rest of the team. I’m glad that I was able to do this as it gave me a feel for what it’s like to work in an office environment, which prepares me for future jobs.
What was one thing you learned that stuck with you?
Eyekiller has enabled me to put theory into practice, learn on the job skills and improve my self-confidence. The opportunity to gain on the job experience has benefited me in many ways. For example, before my work placement with Eyekiller, I never knew what it was like to work in an office environment. Even though the majority of my work placement was remote, the few days I had in the office gave me a great insight into the professional world of work.
There are definitely a lot of things at Eyekiller that I’ll take away with me. However, there’s one thing in particular, and that is learning how to balance tasks and how to stay on track. It can get quite stressful at times when you’ve more than one task to complete. Although, as time went on this became easier and I quickly learned how to prioritise tasks.
Would you recommend work experience at Eyekiller to anyone else?
From my experience at Eyekiller, I couldn’t recommend working with them enough. From the start, I felt included and part of the team, everyone was very welcoming and friendly! The experience truly allowed me to gain an insight into the world of work and I certainly learnt a lot more than I would have by just sitting in a lecture hall.
Before starting my placement, I was a little worried about not being able to get involved and not being able to develop my skills or learn new things. However, I was completely wrong, Eyekiller included me and treated me like I’d be an employee there for years.
Regarding projects, I had plenty to work on and these particular projects allowed me to develop my digital marketing skills as I got access to using various software such as SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Google Ads.
For someone who is unsure of what specific area of marketing they would like to go into, I suggest taking the opportunity to carry out work experience. I found that it helped me to explore my strengths and weaknesses - identifying gaps in my skills. It gave me an insight into the skills required for a job in digital marketing.
I believe work experience is an important part of any academic course, it provides students with the opportunity to network and can help them work towards their job in the future. My overall experience was positive, I am very satisfied with the amount of things that I have learnt over the course of 12 weeks.
From us at Eyekiller
It was great having Lucy as part of the team and we wish her the best of luck with her career in Digital Marketing.
Want to get experience working in the industry? We're always on the lookout for standout candidates. Get in touch today.