English major Kyle Steffish worked for Nxtbook Media in downtown Lancaster this semester as the digital marketing intern. Read more about his experiences below!
As English majors, we have an opportunity to craft a strong and varied skill set. We build skills in writing, grammar, editing, analysis, critical thinking, rhetoric – the list could go on, but you get the point.
Many of us choose to earn an English degree in the hopes of becoming professional writers, editors, or educators. However, while those are career paths many English majors might pursue – and are certainly apt to fill – they are far from the only fields we might find ourselves in.
As an example, I’d like to share my experience as a digital marketing intern with you. Hopefully, if you’re unsure of what you’re going to do after you graduate, by sharing my experience you may end up with a few ideas of your own.
Since January, I’ve had the opportunity to work as a digital marketing intern for Nxtbook Media in downtown Lancaster. At Nxtbook, I’ve worked on a number of content, social media, and digital marketing projects. For example, I’ve written several case studies highlighting the work Nxtbook has done with some of their clients – one such case focused on their work with Norwegian Cruise Lines. I’ve also had the opportunity to write a series of blog articles showcasing innovative brands, like IKEA and Airbnb, and how they’ve used storytelling to really stand-out from their competitors.
Along with these projects, I’ve had an opportunity to learn a lot about marketing strategy, SEO, and data analytics, among plenty of other things. Although I have a minor in management, I had zero formal marketing education or experience before the internship. I’ve done all of this with the nothing more than the skills I’ve built as an English major.
Whether your interests lie in literature, rhetoric, or composition, you’ve amassed similar skills that are applicable in fields and careers you might never have imagined working in. Marketing, for example, focuses primarily on the process of selling a product or service to a customer.
This might sound like it has little to nothing in common with studying English – especially when phrases like analytics and target market demographics are thrown around. Yet these are concepts English majors are already familiar with, only in other words.
As writers, rhetoricians, and critical thinkers, we do so much of this already. When you think about your audience and your purpose as you write an essay or an analysis, you’re likely asking yourself many of the same questions marketers consider when thinking of a new email or social media campaign.
Questions like: is my voice appropriate for the readers I’m addressing? Will my readers understand my language or my signaling? Am I being too formal? Too informal? Again, whether you’re analyzing Shakespeare, conducting a rhetorical analysis, writing a poem, or writing copy for a new email drip campaign, these are the questions you ask. And there are still more transferable skills you’ve learned.
When you toil over organization, structure, and paragraphing of a paper, you’re thinking in the same way a content marketer thinks about user experience, readability, and, in many ways, SEO. When you ask yourself, does this structure feel right for a research essay? Or, does my organization make sense for this type of argument? You’re asking yourself the same questions a copywriter or content marketer asks when considering the layout of a blog article or how to structure a white paper.
As I’ve gained experience at my internship, these were some of the ways I’ve applied my English education in a field, less than two years ago, I hadn’t given much thought. I share this with you now, because it’s easy to bottleneck an English education into only a few careers. The perception for some people is you’re an English major because you really like books or you want to be a teacher. Yet we know this is incredibly untrue.
An English degree provides students with a rich, versatile skill set that is right at home in a variety of careers, like, as I’ve discovered, in marketing and copywriting. So, if you’re not sure what you’d like to do, or of all the things you can do with an English education, I encourage you to try new things. Take an internship in marketing or copywriting. Try your hand at digital content creation. Take a leap and branch out into other creative fields and industries. Your education has prepared you for a multitude of paths to travel.