Insights From an Inbound Marketing Intern: Acronyms and Ice Cream Sandwiches

By Raka October 13, 2023

Hey folks, recent millennial grad here. I recently joined the Raka team as an inbound marketing intern and I’m here to share my insights into the world of inbound and content marketing as I’ve experienced it in my first three weeks.

So far, things are going pretty well. When I’m not trying to coax the office dog over to my desk, I’m writing, copyediting, and crafting buyer personas and social media strategies. You name it, I’m working on it.

I just graduated with a journalism degree, and that’s been all of my training to date. A lot of the terms that go along with inbound marketing (and the work of a digital agency in general) are completely foreign. If you had asked me a month ago what SEO and ROI were, I probably would have answered, “¯\_(ツ)_/¯.” But here I am, embracing my lack of knowledge of inbound marketing and taking it one day at a time.

(So, what are SEO and ROI?)

Before you go running to the Google machine, here’s what I’ve learned in my early days at Raka:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is about increasing organic traffic to a website through keyword usage, links, user experience, and other methods. This guide to SEO from Moz has been a godsend.

ROI is a calculation to see how much you’ve gotten in return for your investment. As inbound marketers, our goal is for clients to come out with a positive ROI and this can be measured in many different ways.

Both of these were unfamiliar terms before I started here at Raka, but these concepts are, in fact, translatable to any content-related field. Take digital newspaper headlines and subheadings, for example. If you’re breaking a story along with dozens of other news sites, you want your content to rank by including terms readers would search for. And since we’re talking journalism here, increased website traffic leads to more online subscriptions (yay ROI!), perhaps the inevitable replacement for your delivery person tossing the paper out the driver’s side window at 6 a.m.

Dog delivering newspaper

But it’s not just new acronyms

I’ve experienced a whole new bout of internet awareness since I started at Raka. I now understand that email marketing is timed for when I am most likely to check my phone. Those forms I fill out on websites are really a company’s way of moving me through the sales funnel and converting me into a possible customer.

Last week, my sister signed me up for emails from (against my will). They’ve pinged me nearly five times, each email with a different subject line to lure me in to make my first purchase. This is all craftwork, people. And it’s smart (though maybe a little overzealous in this particular case).

The same goes for social media. Tweets are (sometimes) planned and scheduled out in advance. While journalism—at least most of it these days—is more of a “post as things happen” phenomenon, inbound marketers craft a social strategy that can plan posts and content months in advance. That’s something I’m getting used to. I came to journalism in the age of the internet, where information comes in and out of the newsroom at lightning speeds. Planning content for next month? Who gets to do that anymore? Well, inbound marketers get to.

Even presidential candidates are doing inbound marketing

I’ve also been thinking about the inbound marketers on the Clinton and Trump campaigns—what a gig! Each digital move must be carefully calculated, with a cause and effect already determined. Those emails where Hillary calls you by your first name and says “I need you”? Heartwarming, yes, but she also told millions of other people the same thing in their inboxes. Once Obama invited me to dinner. Well, not really, but it made me click on the email, that’s for sure. Inbound marketing is essentially a part of every piece of digital information we digest.

Hillary Clinton winking

Inbound marketing is just another way of spreading the word

I see opportunity in the inbound world to create social change and that’s really exciting to me. Think nonprofit marketing or storytelling for cause-based organizations. Generating digital awareness and education can be huge for organizations that don’t necessarily have the tools or knowledge to do so. From what I’ve learned, inbound strategies = more traffic, which when applied correctly = more community involvement = social change (woo!).

Stay tuned for more insights from an inbound newbie. I’ll be jotting down my observations like the journalist I am (what do they think I’m doing in my notebook?) and grabbing the occasional community ice-cream sandwich from the office freezer.

P.S. Working in Portsmouth is awesome. I go to the ocean some days after work.