Choosing the right digital marketing role for you



SEO Digital Marketing to improve website views

Using SEO Digital Marketing to increase website traffic

This post was written by Samantha Cooper – Director of Little Acorn Digital Marketing

Graduates with marketing degrees often don’t realise just how many different roles are available to them, especially down the digital route. This is because huge developments in technology and culture have completely changed the landscape of marketing over the past ten years, creating a demand for a whole host of new roles which are not yet being taught in our education system.

Each role within digital marketing is vastly different, requiring a different set of skills and a different type of individual.

In this post I will run through the main digital marketing roles in order to help you determine which is most suitable for you.


PPC is short for ‘pay per click’. PPC adverts are placed on the results page of search engines such as Google or Bing with the aim of driving traffic to your website which will then convert into a sale or another form of conversion for non-e-commerce sites. A PPC exec will carefully chose the search terms which ads are visible for and bid on those terms. This role requires somebody with a mathematical and analytical mind to ensure that the company achieves the highest possible return on investment.


SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ which refers to the process of developing a website to become naturally visible in search engine results pages. Again the aim of this is to increase traffic to your site and in turn increase conversions. To rank well an SEO exec needs to ensure the website is technically well built as well as providing all of the information the user desires from their search, presented in an easily digestible manner. This role mixes technical web knowledge with creativity and is therefore great for anyone who wants variation in their job.


Affiliate markers place adverts on third party websites in order to attract people to their website and increase conversions. They carefully chose websites which have a cross over in target audience and agree commission rates with the sites. This role demands somebody with great communication skills as well as string maths and analytical skills. 


If you are a little more creative and have some design skills then email marketing may be for you. The role includes creating great looking emails using ‘subliminal’ marketing tactics to be sent out to a database of subscribers. The end goal is to get people to take a particular desired action off the back of reading the email, whether that is to visit your website, make a purchase, sign up to an event, enter a competition and so on. You will also need some degree of analytics to review what tactics provide the best results.

Social Media

The usage of social media has grown rapidly over the last few years providing companies with a means of speaking directly with a huge proportion their target audience on a regular basis. The majority of companies with an online presence include social media in their overall marketing strategy. This role is really popular with outgoing and creative people although it does also require some degree of analysis to define a strategy which achieves a constant increase in followers, likes, shares etc.

Social media provides companies with a regular means of speaking directly with their target audience.

Social media provides companies with a regular means of speaking directly with their target audience.


If there is more than one role which you would like to pursue or you don’t want to limit yourself to one area then you will be glad to know that some companies combine two roles together. For example you may see some adverts for SEO/PPC exec where time is split between the two or alternatively you could opt for a digital marking assistant role where you will gain a small amount of experience in each area and then go on to decide which area you wish to specialise in. 

Jess- The Story of a Graduate Intern

My role as Communications and Information Officer in the Technology Enhanced Learning Team within Quality Enhancement, Student and Learning Services (SLS) over the past ten months has allowed me to be involved in a range of great projects which have helped me to understand and demonstrate my skills and attributes. I am leaving today to start a new and permanent role in Sheffield Business School as a Business and Research Assistant Administrator so I would like to share with you some of the work I have been involved in relating to Employability.

My work has meant that I have been heavily involved in Employability as I worked closely with Paul Helm and Michelle Boughton. I have had responsibility for regularly updating The Employability blog and I have written and edited posts as well as promoting them on Twitter.

I have created a web presence for myself through Twitter (@jessicag_shu) which has allowed me to promote the work I have done, provide information to student and graduate followers and I have even been retweeted by NASES UK on National Student Employment week 2013 and quoted in their storify and by the HEA in relation to events about the Global Graduate Seminar held at Sheffield Hallam earlier in the year. I am especially proud of this; I have increased my network of contacts and gained work helping others to use social media within their teams.

I have also been involved in the creation of a timeline which maps out a student’s employability over the course of their Undergraduate degree. This has led me to use programmes I had no experience of including Visio and Project. I also had the opportunity to work with colleagues in the Careers Service to produce some of the content and a student on the design aspects who came to the project through Venture matrix. I was also required to present this work and update senior management regularly so they could see the progress I was making with this project.

My Employability was something I did not think about until my final year of University and after doing a number of things, such as joining societies and sports teams to enhance this I feel that this internship has been invaluable in enhancing my own employability as a recent graduate and this is something that really puts me in a great position and is a good grounding for my future career. The skills I have gained will no doubt help me in my new role in Sheffield Business School and will be transferable but also the challenges I have overcome give me confidence that I will be able to do the same elsewhere.

Unfortunately I am unable to demonstrate all the work I have done and all the skills I have acquired as there are many but I have really gained so much from my time here and have had a large number of people who have supported me in my role and encouraged me in the work I have done so to those colleagues I would like to say thank you.

If you would like to read more about the other projects I have been involved in you can find details in SLS News.

Graduate Employment Conference

The Graduate Employment Conference took place in Sheffield on the 30th of May and gradcore have put together video clips from the day on their site for those of you who missed it or for a recap of the best bits of the day.

They have provided video clips, one of which is by the CEO Martin Edmondson, on the various themes including Employability strategies and bridging the gap between SMEs (small to medium enterprises) and graduates. Find them here.

On the site you can also find the programme for the day.

Graduates need play, passion and purpose.

Tony Wagner, a Harvard Education Specialist, has been interviewed by Thomas Friedman  at The New York Times and you can find the article here.

Tony Blackshaw from Sheffield Hallam University has commented on this, ‘We spend a lot of time talking about the knowledge and the skills students will need to make themselves employable, but drawing on the ideas of Tony Wagner, the Harvard education specialist, what Friedman makes clear in this short piece is that those entering the work place into graduate jobs increasingly have to be ‘innovation ready’ — have up to date knowledge and skills like critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills and so on, but most crucially of all be able to innovate— in order to be ready to add value to whatever they do. Even if they are lucky in securing a good first job graduates will not only have to be open to new knowledge but constantly be able to reinvent, re-engineer and re-imagine that job in new ways.

So, graduates must leave university with up-to-date knowledge and a whole host of skills but perhaps most importantly be ‘innovation ready’. This means that we must ensure that they are intrinsically motivated. How do we make students intrinsically motivated? That is a major challenge. Wagner suggests that the key lies in bringing those three most powerful ingredients of motivation into the classroom: play, passion and purpose.’