If you had an extra pair of hands to dedicate to your marketing activity, what could you achieve? Recruiting an intern is perhaps one of the most overlooked marketing resources available to small and medium businesses. If you don’t have dedicated in house marketing support, or if your marketing team is at capacity, a great intern can really give your business a boost.

1. What Could your Intern do?

Let’s say you currently work with an agency to create your written content. A marketing intern could be responsible for uploading this to your website, sharing it across your social media channels, and monitoring engagement online. They can liaise between your company and your agency, ensuring seamless collaboration and freeing up your time in the process.

Or maybe you don’t have the time to spy on your competitors. An intern could undertake and present a detailed competitor analysis, helping you identify threats and opportunities. Perhaps what you really need is someone to conduct market research to discover what makes your customers tick – or swear. Both are equally useful to know, allowing you to present your company as the solution to their problems.

2. Understand Your Needs

Recruiting for a ‘marketing intern’ would be like posting a job ad for a teacher. What type of teacher are you looking for? A primary school teacher? A music teacher? A head teacher? Marketing is a vast area. You’ll need to consider what type of marketing activity you need help with:

  • Public Relations (PR) – Media exposure, reputation management
  • Advertising – Promotional advertising via media placements
  • Content Marketing – Regular articles, blogs, videos, podcasts etc.
  • Design – Photoshop, photography, layout, graphics
  • Digital Marketing – Search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click ads (PPC), conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
  • Social Media – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.

Although it’s very unlikely you’ll find someone with strong skills in all these areas, some candidates will have complimentary skills. For instance, someone who can design infographics might also be confident with using Twitter and Facebook to share them to your intended audience.

Knowing what you want your marketing to achieve and having an idea about the best methods for doing so, is the starting point. Once you understand your company’s marking needs, you can write the ad for your marketing intern.

To help attract interested candidates with the right skills, it is helpful to be specific with job titles. ‘Social Media Marketing Officer’ is better than ‘Marketing Officer’, for instance.

3. Identify the Qualities you Require

Many candidates will have previous experience in the workplace, and some will have held internships before. At this stage in their careers, however, many will still be looking to gain and build on that experience. This is why focussing on the qualities you are looking for, as opposed to prior experience, will help you identify the best candidate for the role.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing intern, you will want to advertise for someone who is comfortable with analysing and reporting data. A detail-orientated individual is required for a role that encompasses design, formatting, proofreading or editing. Focus and curiosity are two attributes to look for if your intern will be conducting thorough research on your competitors.

4. Make Permanent Hire Choices

Most internships run for a set duration of time. To manage expectations, it’s best to be clear from the outset about whether there is or isn’t the possibility of a more permanent position after the internship ends. Even if you only intend for your intern to be with you for the internship period, make recruitment decisions as if you were hiring a permanent member of staff. Taking on someone who has an impressive CV but does not share your company values could result in a difficult working relationship. And if your intern proves to be invaluable, you might not want to let them go.

5. Ensure it is Mutual

An internship is only successful when both parties benefit. When interviewing for your role, ask each candidate what their ambitions are and what they would like to get out of the internship. Their answers will help inform the tasks and aspects of your business you expose them to. For instance, a candidate might tell you they are unsure about whether they want to pursue a career in marketing or sales. They hope to learn more about how to run effective B2B marketing campaigns during the internship. With this knowledge, you could introduce them to a sales colleague or invite them to attend sales meetings as part of their internship to give them a broader experience.

Interns are great additions to your organisation when guided by experienced members of your team. Set your company and your intern up for success by recruiting the right candidate for your next marketing internship role.