So I went back to college in 2017.
Why? Because I wanted to “firm up” on a subject.
And that subject is? Marketing.
The last time I was at college was in 1996. I was in a “dead end job” with no prospects and didn’t want to be driving a forklift all my life, as much fun as it was. So I found a course, HNC Graphics & Design, and went back to college – Farnborough College of Technology to be exact.
Two years after I left that course I finally found the path I wanted to be on and I’ve never looked back. I officially and professionally became a Web Designer in 2001 and was happy with the achievement.
Fast forward 16 years and I’ve also been a graphic designer, a webmaster, an editor, copywriter, a content manager, part-time journalist, a social media professional and a project manager. But the common thread through all these roles has been this – I’ve always been a digital marketer.
Now this obsession with digital marketing goes back as far as 1998. I was running a website in my spare moments on the car I had at the time, an Opel Manta. I was always keen to ensure that the website got eyeballs to it so I embarked on the long and addictive road of drumming up traffic and generating interest.
16 Years as a Digitial Marketer
Back in 1998 it was a different ball game. The Search Engines weren’t as sophisticated as they are now. Yahoo had been around for a few years, as had Alta Vista, Dogpile and Magellan to name a few off the top of my head. Google didn’t actually exist when I published my first ever web page and all you had to do was some simple keyword stuffing and you could manipulate the SEs. Harry Potter, sex, you name it, it went in the meta keywords and, hey presto, you could attract totally unqualified traffic to your web pages.
Fast forward 16 years and a LOT has changed. Cuil came and went. Yahoo is Bing. And Google now totally dominates where it once didn’t exist at all. Keyword meta fell by the wayside nearly a decade ago (But I’d argue to still use them for internal referencing, just not for the sake of SERPs). Ranking and driving qualified traffic is a whole new beast now, but I still have the same love for it that I did in the geeky days of 1998.
And what does this all have to do with going back to college in 2017 I hear you ask?
Well, having been an SEO for nearly 20 years and performing these duties on a professional basis for over 16 years, I have shed loads of experience but not a single qualification to show for it. Not that I think that it actually matters that much, but I did want to show my intent to potential employers. And so I joined the Chartered Institute of Marketing and enrolled in a course at Farnborough Tech once again (It is now part of the University of Surrey and called University College Farnborough (UCF) for the Higher Education courses)
The Go To Guy for Digital Marketing
In my last role I was the Portfolio Manager and Project Manager for Johnson & Johnson’s LifeScan suite of websites in EMEA. Whilst I was PM’ing and managing the business and technical aspects of my job, I was always the “go to” guy for anything digital marketing. I made sure all of my 26 websites were running Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools (Now called Search Console), Google Tag Manager was implemented, I was always involved in the high-level meetings with marketing agencies and I advised on the technical marketing strategy internally.
This is all great stuff but I really wanted to, as I said, show intent and firm up my credentials. And so to become a member of the CIM, to study for a Certificate in Professional Marketing and to kick off the course with an “elective module” in Digital Marketing of all things… It’s an expensive thing to do but hopefully, 16 years of digital marketing experience with additional paperwork and membership of a professional organisation will help to secure the next role…