Before I got a job with an official title, I worked as an intern at two different SEO companies and my experiences, good and bad, have enabled me to implement a successful intern program at my current job. Having an army of unpaid interns is something every SEO should look into for a number of different reasons. First off, who doesn’t want free labor from someone who is motivated and invested in what you’re doing (I’ll get to that in a bit). Secondly, working with interns is a great opportunity to improve your interpersonal skills and your SEO knowledge.
Find Motivated Interns
When you post an internship opportunity at local universities, make sure you detail exactly what you expect from your intern and in return you will weed out the people who don’t feel like getting their hands dirty. A lot of students who are studying Internet related majors need to have an internship to fulfill course requirements and will therefore be highly motivated to assist you.
Create a Plan to Keep Interns Interested
As SEO’s we have a lot of powerful knowledge that, when shared with the right people, can work to help build our companies. Most interns want to learn, and by creating a simple plan that focuses on important aspects of SEO you can keep your interns engaged as well as increase your productivity. For instance, I send my interns a four part packet that focuses on “content”, “design”, “social media”, and “link building”. This serves as an introduction to SEO as well as a way for them to get comfortable with what they’re going to be doing. Once you’ve established the groundwork, send them an overview of expectations and a “schedule” of items you’ll need done while they’re in the office. This helps eliminate the time you spend managing them as well as the anxiety they might have over being didactically instructed. Encourage them to ask questions and be sure to provide positive feedback whenever you can. Unless you’re paying your interns, the positive remarks will help incentivize them to keep doing good work.
Give Them Your Trust
Once your interns have proved themselves, give them something really hard to do. For instance, at my second internship I was tasked with creating an eBook, landing page and email marketing campaign and given a $2500 budget to carry out the marketing proposal. I was terrified, but ended up delivering an awesome ROI and turned my internship into a paid job. Millennials love a good challenge and by tasking your interns with something big, you’ll give them an opportunity to pleasantly surprise you.
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