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What I Learned My First Month as an SEO Content Strategist


An excess of “What I Learned from My First Digital Marketing Job” articles already exist- a quick search yields hundreds of posts exalting tips for new hires.  But since joining the Stream team as an SEO Content Strategist, I spend a lot of time sifting through Google.  And I’ve read through those posts in hopes of feeling confident at my new 40 hour/week gig.  My former undergraduate structure has no equivalent in digital marketing.

Digital marketing exists as a state of evolution.  Even just a couple years ago, most companies hadn’t heard of SEO, PPC, CTR, or any other various acronyms now prevalent.  My wide, freshly-hired eyes are witness to a digital marketing growth spurt as smaller independent companies seek the benefits of those digital acronyms.  With my greener perspective on the industry, I hope to offer some authentic advice to other newbies in the digital world, to (hopefully!) prepare to conquer it over time.

  • Question your own notes.
    The first week, I was simultaneously an eager grad let out of her cage and an attentive assistant ready to simply listen for a month. While Stream teaching processes go at a reasonable pace, I personally had to remind myself that a brand-new employee is there to learn.  A “Notes” doc began on the first day and continues to grow.  Besides, my Type A side doesn’t resign to simply not knowing something.  Until you can fully explain a concept to someone who doesn’t even own a computer, it still can be expanded and questioned.
  • Know your backyard.
    One of the most important ideas I’ve learned is the mentality of local SEO and clients owning their backyard. While that seems unnecessarily simple, a Chevy client should be the leading seller in its zip code before it marches out to bigger towns nearby.  When a client has a strong presence in its immediate community, it can quickly translate in marketing results.  You may want to dream big early on, but the client should rule local first.
  • (try to) Learn SEO.
    Obvious, right? Now, I certainly don’t know everything about Google. But with each client, I’m learning something beyond the doodle of the day.  The full algorithmic process of a search is fascinating to a new digital marketer, and SEO contains a lot of predictive analytic work.  Start with reading the original Anatomy of a Search Engine proposal by Google’s creators, and move on to greater industry news.  With every instruction, you’ll become a smarter searcher.
  • Everything is connected.
    In an agency, as separate as departments may seem, everything is integrated. From strategy, copy development and meta data creation, to proofing, compliance and posting…. critical SEO elements like content articles can travel between 5 individuals before they go live. Or, simply a button to a product page involves 4 email addresses, etc.  Keep an organized record and update all parties involved.  Just SEO alone involves daily communication with webmasters, graphic designers, account services, and inbound copywriters, among other departments.
  • Indulge your ears.
    Spotify is the ideal work partner. Plus, it has a treasure trove of audiobook classics—I’ve spent full days doing assignments while listening to soothing British men read Dracula and Portrait of Dorian Gray.

All the best,


Holly Semanchick is a Content Strategist at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia-area advertising agency.