Internships are an early career staple. Most companies expect their new hires to have some sort of internship experience after graduating from college. In most cases, internships are suitable for taking care of college students and entry-level professionals.

Digital marketing isn’t always an obvious career choice for those who aren’t in the traditional phase of their internship career. Setting up budding marketers in different stages of life requires a slightly more dynamic approach than an “for credit” internship.

Apprenticeships should be structured to ensure that new digital marketers get the basics right while respecting the experience gained from other professional and life experiences.

To help you and your apprentice get the most out of working together, here are the do’s and don’ts when building a digital marketing apprenticeship.

1. Compensate for apprenticeship hours

Internships allow companies to “pay” for work on a class-by-class basis. This allows brands that otherwise could not afford to compete with up-and-coming digital his marketers.

In general, working adults cannot use college credits.

Asking someone to work for free is also unreasonable. This includes an investment of time to learn the technology. Coming up with a scholarship of any size (even $500 a month) can go a long way in:

  • Build confidence that your apprenticeship is worth it and that you can build a career in digital marketing. Knowing you’re earning from day one can help new practitioners get over the initial learning hump.
  • Foster loyalty between apprentices and brands. One of her biggest “risks” for new hires is investing time in someone who will retire in less than a year. Starting a working relationship with respect for their time and skills will go a long way in building trust that you will do the right thing with your employment.

Organizing rewards for marketing tasks can take many forms. Whether it’s an hourly rate or a flat rate, it’s important to ensure that fees don’t become an operational burden.

For example, when working with apprentices, sell their services specifically. Clients know someone is learning and have discounted access to expert strategists.

If you work in-house, break down the tasks your team is currently working on by hourly rate. Established members of the team are more expensive to assign “menial work” tasks. At higher rates, he frees up 5-10 hours a week, which improves profit margins while also helping new marketers gain hands-on experience.

2. Don’t set unrealistic timelines for apprenticeships

Just as it is important to reward the work of apprentices, it is also important to pace their learning and working timelines.

It takes 10,000 hours to master anything, and the assigned tasks support the learning process, not create opportunities for failure.

When apprentices first learn, enable them to perform tasks that follow up on their qualifications. It’s easy to forget the learning curve of jargon and developing efficient workflows with tools. Set tasks that give them the opportunity to learn in the way that works best for them.

Spend your first week learning and familiarizing yourself with all the parts of digital marketing that make up your apprenticeship. Respect whether your apprentice is learning better by doing, reading, listening or watching.

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3. Allow Two-Way Candid Feedback on Progress

We all want to do well, and getting a word of affirmation can go a long way in overcoming imposter syndrome. Telling them you’re doing it creates an unstable foundation.

Be transparent with your apprentices about the milestones you expect them to reach and how they are progressing against your expectations.

When working with apprentices who are a little short, ask about how the process works for them. When I first set up my internships and apprenticeships, I had a hard time coordinating the amount of knowledge I was trying to impart and actually shut down their confidence. It took them longer to get into the workflow.

4. Accept no one as an apprentice

It is important to remember that the apprenticeship program should serve the brand as much as it serves the apprentice. The same standards we expect of new hires should also apply to apprentices.

Successful digital marketing requires certain core skills.

  • analytical thinking: Being able to dig into the Why behind the How.
  • sympathy: understanding why people act and think in certain ways and being able to adapt to those subtleties.
  • communication: Clearly explain what is happening and get stakeholders to buy into your strategy.

Creativity is necessary, but not essential for apprenticeships. By removing the pressure to be creative, apprentices can use more technical skills while developing them organically.

Taking on an apprentice who doesn’t have any core skills creates friction. When I look for apprentices, I look for people who can demonstrate the skills I hold dear in unconventional ways. For example, many of my most successful apprentices play MMO video games (which require a lot of data analysis and team development). It also makes your relationship with your manager friendlier and more approachable, as personal interests are shared.


Apprenticeship programs can be a powerful way to do well by doing good.

Comparing apprenticeships to traditional employment requires additional investment to make them successful. However, the long-term benefits of developing an apprenticeship ensure that you have team members who are just as invested in your success as you are.

Finding good apprentices requires knowing what you want and being open to finding them in unconventional places. It’s rewarding to watch them become proficient and bright, and their work is a source of pride.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About the author

A digital marketing industry veteran and “top 25 PPC expert,” she started working as an SEO in 2008 and transitioned to PPC in 2012. She manages the strategy and execution of her paid media campaigns, helping brands build profitable partner relationships. and customers. Throughout her career, Navah has made a point of giving back, giving international speeches.She loves sharing lessons learned on the circuit and at her local college. She is a frequent contributor to multiple publications and in 2019 she became a founding member of the Paid Search Association.

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