This week, I think I realised something. It was Wednesday and I was stressed beyond all mortal belief. As I’ve said so many times before, the problem with working in digital marketing is that people expect it to be some sort of miracle cure for a bad product or a crap promotion, an aspect that I’m getting thoroughly sick of.
I was fuming as I walked home; my parents had called and I was giving them an earful and a half.
“I’m sick of it!” I ranted. “I don’t care about it anymore. I’m so tired of social media, sick of spending every waking hour thinking about company’s tweets and Facebook updates, of how to integrate customer service strategy and drum up new blog content while being bombarded with promotion after promotion and trying in vain to make them apply to social.”
I was almost in tears. It was one month into the new job and already I felt like it was falling apart; that it was too much and, not that I couldn’t do it, but that what they wanted from the channels was just impossible. I’d wanted just a pleasant job I could just do and grow with and yet here it was again, sprouting arms and legs like a monster and threatening to engulf me. I was close to tears, feeling like an utter failure all over again.
I had had a moment earlier that day when I’d been editing one of the blog posts. I realised how much I was enjoying that aspect of the job, that my real strength lay in the writing and the content; something I’d always known but probably has taken me far too long to truly acknowledge.
I realised that some part of me was done with marketing for good. I said on the phone to my parents that, although I would strive to make this work, it would be my last social media job. Something that I felt just as strongly about the following morning. I’m not a marketer, I’m just a writer who happened to find a flair for social media marketing somewhere along the line.
I knew then that I wanted to take what I have learned and go back into my first love: Into writing. But it’s not that I want to go and re-train as a journalist or anything (although that would be nice). I have four years of online content creation and digital and social media experience behind me. I want to work for a company who’s online strategy is as innovative and cutting-edge as the content they are creating. Somewhere like Buzzfeed or Vice.
As soon as the words had crossed my lips I knew that that was what my next step had to be. I knew that that was where I wanted to go.
And yet I know that a talent for writing alone will not be enough. In my favour I have experience of creating content directly designed to travel well online, of using online analytics and other data processing software in order to make sure that the creative is as valuable as possible. Using big data to inform the creative direction has been one of the ways in which I have been able to make myself stand out in recent years. I’m an artist, yes, but I’m a pragmatical one. I know how to make the most of a budget to create content that sells.
But I will need other skills now, I know that I will. I will need to delve deeper into Google Analytics and earn my Google Certificate. I will need more Photoshop skills and possibly even some video editing too.
Stories and content; that’s where my working mind is happiest. I know it and I know that that is the area in which I will do best. I’m 28 now, perhaps this is all too late to discover what it is I really want to get out of the world of work but it could be worse. And they say it’s never too late. On the positive this is hardly a career change, all the marketing skills and contacts I’ve picked up over the past few years will continue to serve me well.
I realised that to create and write things every day is what I want to do. I want to go to work every day excited about the interesting things I will get to write and explore about today. I want to work my way up to being a senior editor and get to help decide the creative direction of the content. When I think about that it’s like a light pings on from inside me and a voice says “Yes!”
That, if nothing else, is confirmation to me that being a writer is what I’m supposed to do. Marina always said I was the best writer she knew (and we all know how hard she is to please). That’s what I want to go through life as. Not as a copywriter, not as a marketer: As a writer.
I suppose there is a myriad of questions to attempt now that I know that. I’ve only just started this job, how can I think about the exit and where on earth will that lead? Can I use my time at this poker company to gain the relevant skills while staying true to what I was hired to do? What if a company like Vice or Buzzfeed don’t actually want me, what then? What other content outlets could I approach?
In meditation, they say that once you set your intention the universe will take care of the details. Well, I suppose now is the time to try the truth of that. I know the skills I need, I know the direction I want. Now all that remains is to make it happen.