As a third-year Kinesiology major at Western University, you may be wondering how I ended up as an intern for a digital marketing and software agency. Eager to dive into the creative world of digital communication, I decided to enrol in a certificate of Digital Communications program at Western University for the third and fourth years of my degree. Entering the digital field late in the game meant I had a lot of catching up to do—and tbk’s hands-on internship program seemed like just the place for me to do so.
On my first day at tbk, I was enthusiastically welcomed by a team of highly intelligent and skilled individuals working remotely. The team went out of their way to make me feel welcome and comfortable as I transitioned into agency life. I also had the pleasure of meeting my fellow intern, Sydney McIntyre, who I was thrilled to have by my side throughout this experience. During my first day, I had the opportunity to join meetings, connect with colleagues, learn the company software, and understand what a typical day at tbk entails.
By my second day working for tbk, I was surprised to be already assigned my first official task: link directory and listing optimizations for Jiffy Lube® Ontario. Both anxious about my first task and eager to learn, I was taught how to navigate the backend of Google My Business and Bing Places. I was tasked with optimizing existing online listings for Jiffy Lube’s locations. The team made themselves available to answer all of my questions and concerns and assist me during my first tasks as an intern.
Within my first week at tbk I felt like a valued and integral part of the team despite my limited time and experience at the company. From warm welcomes to team yoga and more, the first week set a very high standard for the rest of my tbk journey.
The bar was set high from my first week as an intern, but little did I know I was just getting started. As I started familiarizing myself with the various company softwares and completed the majority of my training, I began working on more complex tasks.
With a blended course load of both in-person and online classes and taking on an internship role, I often asked myself, “How am I going to have enough time to get everything done?” And although my days were busy balancing work at tbk and schoolwork, the team was always there to show their support and displayed plenty of flexibility when it came to coordinating meetings and deadlines.
One thing I quickly learned about tbk is that you learn by doing. Within the first few days of my internship, I already felt comfortable using software such as Asana, Slack, Tettra, Google My Business, Bing Places, Square Space, Symplify, and more.
Within every task and project thus far in my internship, I have been introduced to new people, new concepts and ideas, and I’ve been taught new skills with a hands-on approach. These new experiences and challenges have expanded my knowledge and enabled me to better understand what constitutes an effective associate intern at tbk.
As the saying goes, time flies by when you’re having fun, and I can’t believe I have already spent an entire month at tbk. I have learned so much this past month and look forward to all that there is still to learn. Throughout my fourth week, I had the chance to dive deeper into my role as Associate Intern. On some new projects that I was assigned, I was given the chance to join meetings with the tbk design team. Having worked mainly with the accounts team, joining these meetings allowed me to understand everyone’s role at tbk.
As time has moved forward, the complexity of the tasks I have been assigned has only increased. Although many of the skills required are carried throughout multiple projects, I am continuously challenged with new tasks and always given the opportunity to expand on my skill set. This is one of my favourite parts of being an intern—every day is filled with new and exciting tasks, and you never know what the next day will bring.
This week I enjoyed learning more about Web Maintenance Packages and the different metrics that tbk can track and report for their clients. Although tracking website metrics may not seem very exciting, I really enjoyed learning about the different services that tbk offers. Within these training sessions, I also enjoyed learning about AODA Online, a software designed by tbk to ensure that websites are legally compliant and accessible. In the upcoming weeks, I am excited to apply what I have learned and get the chance to build a WMP myself.
With every passing day at tbk, I felt more comfortable in the workspace and more confident in my abilities as an associate intern. I had the opportunity to expand on my WordPress skills, which I was very excited to learn in this internship. Alongside my fellow intern Syd, an ongoing task we had been working on was uploading content from the old tbk website to the new one. Throughout my days, I would chip away at this task all while gaining a more valuable understanding of the software and learning more about how to navigate through the platform.
This week I also had the chance to put my Web Maintenance Package (WMP) training to the test. tbk periodically provides these packages to some of their clients, which summarize their web platform’s functionality, security, compliance, and performance status. After using our WMP tool, I transferred the data into the report, making sure each metric was up to date. It was interesting to see how small details can affect larger aspects of a website. Not only did I learn more about the different factors that contribute to the overall digital performance, SEO, and security of a website, but I learned about the appropriate recommendations for these findings.
Additionally, this week I was given (in my opinion) one of the most exciting opportunities yet: working alongside tbk’s social media team. As a group, we needed to manage the organic social media content for tbk as we revamped our pages across various platforms. Coming into this internship, the little experience I had in the realm of digital marketing was through social media and content creation, and I couldn’t have been more excited to be a part of the tbk in-house team. My past experiences with social media have given me the confidence I needed to contribute to these projects, and I am really looking forward to further exploring this side of the digital industry.
Although I feel comfortable in my role here at tbk, taking on new tasks still makes me feel both nervous and excited. In the past few weeks, tbk decided that they wanted to launch a new advertisement to promote the agency and retarget past and potential clients. With no prior experience drafting creative briefs or advertisements, I did not know what to expect from this project. When I was asked to take the first stab at the creative brief, I was apprehensive, and I thought to myself, “How are they going to trust me, a new intern, to create the concept for a functional and successful advertisement?” Although I was nervous about the quality of my work, the rest of the team seemed to have no doubts about my ability to complete this successfully.
Nonetheless, I began by researching other digital agencies for some inspiration, scrolled through endless amounts of video and photo content, and toggled between ideas until I could get something down on the page. I started the presentation and, to my surprise, I received great feedback from the team. They enjoyed my creative take on the ad. Hearing this positive feedback was encouraging and gave me the confidence to successfully complete the remainder of the task.
All in all, I really enjoyed completing this task and challenging myself to take on more complex projects. It was a great learning experience and allowed me to build new skills and connections at tbk.
From content loading to quality assurance testing, week six was my busiest week as an intern yet. During this week, I had the chance to expand on my WordPress skills through content uploading tasks for Cadman Manufacturers and Townsend Lumber.
Cadman has been in the process of updating its website with new copy and new product photos. This week I was asked to explore each category of products and select their new and modernized images to feature at the top of each page. Although this task was fairly simple to complete, I learned how influential a small digital change could be and the impact that quality images can make on a website.
Additionally, this week I had the chance to test quality assurance on the new Armtec website. Using Safari and Chrome on both my laptop and mobile device, I proceeded to check each page of the website, making sure they were responsive and that all of the content was in the right place. Although the website visibly looked great, I was able to identify some issues that arose on different platforms varying from broken links to unresponsive pages. This experience allowed me to get more comfortable using the Gitlab software and connecting with front-end developers to make these changes. This task taught me something new about the procedure for building and publishing websites. Although I have now had lots of experience with content uploading tasks, I really enjoyed learning about and participating in the next steps of the website creation process.
As time passed during my internship, I began to take on a larger role on the Jiffy Lube® Ontario account. This week I had the opportunity to learn more about UTM linking, a process that is used for email marketing. I went through the email campaigns for each Jiffy location and created respective links for each portion of content. By creating each link with a source, location, and campaign name, we can track where customers are coming from when they get to our page. Although this task was tedious and required a high degree of focus to avoid mistakes, manually creating these links allows us to choose exactly which parameters they track.
I was also given the opportunity to assist on a variety of other projects. These projects allowed me to gain hands-on experience and start building a skill set for tasks such as website content loading, email marketing and off-site SEO recommendations. With deadlines approaching fast, I was asked to help complete a landing page for Pan-Canadian Abolitionist Feminist Advocates (PAFA), which required revisions to the design and copy. Using the platform Squarespace, I learned the ins and outs of website content loading and was given some creative freedom as I became comfortable using the platform. Additionally, within this project, I gained valuable experience as I had the opportunity to view exchanges between the design and account teams and exchanges between the client and tbk.
In early November, when restrictions in Ontario began to loosen up, tbk decided to open their office for three days a week with a limited capacity on staff (and their dogs!). I have continuously found myself thriving in a remote environment throughout the pandemic, both academically and professionally. However, living just a few minutes (walking distance) from the office, I was extremely excited to start working there and finally meet some of my co-workers in-person.
On my first time in the office, I was greeted by friendly faces and their four-legged friends. As a dog lover and enthusiast, I wondered how everyone could be productive in such an environment, but this was just the norm at tbk. I enjoyed finally meeting my coworkers, who I had connected with only virtually until now.
During my time at the office, I got to join in on meetings and help our office coordinator organize and declutter the space that had not been used in two years due to COVID-19. Going to the office felt refreshing compared to my typical work day during the pandemic. Being in a space surrounded by people engaged in their work created a collaborative and supportive environment that I looked forward to returning to each week.
Working in the office a couple of days a week allowed me to connect with new people and be introduced to new tasks. This new structuring of my workweek has allowed me to allocate my time differently and assist with setting up the office for a potential reopening. We spent some time organizing keys, putting materials in storage rooms, and cleaning the general office space to make it as welcoming and functional as possible.
Aside from my organizational tasks at the office, I had the chance to work on some tasks for the tbk website. tbk was looking to upload some new services to their website, which involved creating new landing pages. To this point in the internship, most of my WordPress experience was from uploading blogs and press releases, so I was excited to explore a new skill on this platform.
This task included creating two stand-alone pages for the new services, a new parent page, and updating the copy of an existing page. When given new tasks like this, I am always grateful to have the amazing support of the team. Throughout this process, many resources were made available to me for assistance, and the team always made me feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification.
With the holidays around the corner, the end of this term proved to be a busy time for tbk. Between helping out at the office and online, my last couple of weeks of the term were jam-packed. With final exams also around the corner, it was time to apply the time-management and organization skills that I developed here at tbk.
This week, I had the chance to assist in planning the next month of social media posts for Old Oak Properties. I was excited to take on this task and felt confident in my abilities to do so. After researching Old Oak’s current and past social media posts and looking at competitors’ posts, I was able to create the first draft of my brief. Throughout this task, I enjoyed learning about Old Oak Properties, a client which whom I had not yet had much of an opportunity to collaborate.
Additionally, to mark one of my last days working at tbk this term, I had the chance to help prepare for the tbk holiday party. With holiday music playing all day long, I had the opportunity to set up the holiday decorations and decorate the tbk Christmas tree!
I logged onto my first day at tbk with little to no experience in digital marketing, and I am now heading into my last week with a brand new skill set and newfound confidence in my digital marketing abilities. I am so fortunate to have been given this opportunity to explore hands-on agency experience. I feel confident and excited to take what I have learned here at tbk and apply it to all my future endeavours, both professionally and academically.
I will never be able to thank the tbk team enough for recognizing my potential and investing their time into my personal and professional development. I never imagined I would be a part of such a kind-hearted, supportive, passionate and dedicated team. I truly believe that the connections I have made and the skills I have developed while working at tbk will allow me to reach great heights in my future career.
Hard work really does pay off, and I am beyond excited to say that I will be returning as associate intern for the second term this year. To the tbk team, thank you for absolutely everything. I will never forget this experience!