Not only have times changed for business, but for college students looking for internships.  

In previous years, ambitious college students would be flooding the market, blanketing prospective employers with emails and resumes, and looking for internships to gain experience. Some of that that has changed with the current global situation and remote workforce, but not all. 

There’s still a need for students to get internships and companies to find qualified candidates. 

 The logistics of in-person vs. virtual may be different, but the concept is still the same. To match a willing business with a qualified student looking to work, in exchange for industry experience. For both the intern and the company, there’s also an opportunity to test drive employment, to see it there’s a fit, and a future.

Why Hire a Marketing Intern?

Unfortunately, many companies in the past have seen the hiring of interns as a chore or taken those responsibilities lightly. If your business was too busy to invest in creating an internship program, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity. Interns can offer a fresh perspective and an extra pair of hands on marketing projects that are naturally suited for their age group and skills — not necessarily yours. 

What are the Benefits of a Marketing Internship?

The benefit of a marketing internship to a business is that it gains a highly-motivated worker, refreshing ideas and insight, and if they’re lucky, a pipeline of fresh talent for their company. In addition, they’re able to diversify teams, mentor a rising star, and solidify working partnerships with colleges and universities they might support.

In best case scenarios, marketing interns gain meaningful industry experience, an opportunity to build professional contacts, completed projects to showcase, social proof — plus, the all-important job recommendation or referral. Companies invest (and hire) people they like, know, trust and believe in — and the process holds true for interns, especially if they show value.

Many business owners, including myself, started as interns and grew a business from strong relationships they fostered years ago. I’m forever grateful for relationships with my mentors at Comcast, and make it a point to give back, in the same way. 

How to Find a Marketing Intern for Your Business 

Want to find a marketing intern? Start by looking in their natural environment — colleges, universities and online.  

  • Research college and university job boards. Some schools will require you to pay a small fee to list your position, while others will list it for free. Find schools that have the programs and curriculum that meet your criteria. 
  • Do an online search for college and university job fairs. Job fairs give you the benefit of screening candidates face to face (virtually now) before conducting more in-depth online interviews. Create a process of how the interviews will be handled and on what platforms; ie, Zoom, Google Meet, in-person. 
  • Think about external job and intern sites. Students are using sites like Internships.com, SimplyHired.com and Handshake so make sure you’re visible there, and others like them. Provide a clear job description and state whether the internship is paid, for credit, or both. You want to recruit candidates, but also be open and transparent in your communication. 
  • Ask about internal referrals. Sometimes the best candidates come from trusted sources. When searching for an intern, reach out to your employees and business partners because they’re the ones who best know the company’s culture and mission. Encourage them to ask their circle of influence and send qualified students or transitioning job seekers your way.

Think of Your Marketing Intern as an Untapped Asset 

Many managers are afraid of putting their interns on ‘important’ projects because they may be done poorly. Instead of a having a fearful attitude, why not think of your intern as an untapped asset?  You might be surprised.  Set clear expectations, have a weekly check-in so you’re both on the same page, and remember the sandwich rule; Positive feedback, constructive feedback, motivating feedback. 

Once you have your marketing intern on board, let’s get them started!  

5 Marketing Tasks to Assign Your Intern

  1. Keep tabs on your competition. Create a system, even with a simple Excel spreadsheet, to track what your competition is posting, blogging, doing and any other news that’s worth reporting. You can also use more sophisticated tools, depending on what your company subscribes to. Competitive data is key to strategic marketing and planning for the future. 
  2. Give ownership of reports. Show the end result of what you’re looking for and one possible way you’d do it. Then let your intern handle it. One recommendation is to use Google sheets so you can easily pop in at any time to review their work. Ask for weekly or monthly highlights, so they’ll learn how to analyze the information and you don’t have to waste time pouring over reports. 
  3. Assign link-building. Link-building is monotonous work that could take you or your team a lot of time, so assign it. The plus side is that it will help your interns learn a valuable SEO strategy.  While they’re working on building links, make sure they’re checking for your bad links, too.  One bad link could mean the loss of a potential customer. Dead Link Checker is a popular tool that I use — and it works. 
  4. Monitor reputation management. Ask your marketing interns to watch for people on social media who are upset with a product — yours or the competitions — and have them offer to help. It’s not a hard sell, it’s a helpful sell, and it builds trust for your brand. Track the data in a report. Be open to ideas on marketing strategy; who to follow, retarget, message, or reach out to via video prospecting. 
  5. Social media creation, posting and metrics. Whether or not you have a social squad, there’s typically enough work to outsource social media or social branding responsibilities. Writing and creating posts, assisting with videos, measuring feedback, writing blogs, checking out HARO or putting together Facebook ads. It’s always a good idea to assess skills before hiring, so you know what projects to assign when onboarding. 

Making the Most of The Intern Experience  

Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your intern’s success and they’ll be returning to school either in-person, virtually, or with a combination of both. 

When you have a solid internship program that’s managed well, the experience will be a win-win for all concerned. Your interns will have gained valuable insight they can leverage at their next job, and your business will have new insight, and maybe, a future employee or two.

Investing in someone’s future isn’t just good for business, it’s good karma. Do your part and pay it forward for the next generation. 

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