My life as a Digital Marketing Apprentice: Tom Crowfoot
It’s one of Formative Content’s USPs that we have a team of writers with decades of journalism experience. But it takes more than our talented newsroom veterans to run a thriving B2B storytelling agency.
A few years ago, we recruited our first Digital Marketing Apprentice, Tom Crowfoot, and when he graduated last summer – with a 1st – we were delighted to keep him on as a talented and highly valued member of our team.
We have three more Digital Marketing Apprentices – Rebecca, Joel and Pratham – on board now, and it’s proving a very fruitful enterprise for the apprentices and for Formative Content alike.
We caught up with Tom to find out more about his new role as Social Media Coordinator.
Hi Tom! How’s it going?
Very well thanks! I’ve just come off a daily morning call with one of our clients. We commissioned a few cool blog ideas to go on their website, ranging from the crypto boom to AI involvement in decision-making.
So, you’ve officially joined the Social & Insights team here at Formative – congratulations! You’ve been here a while, though, right?
Thanks! Yes, I’ve been at Formative for three and a half years now, since September 2019 when I joined as a Level 6 Degree Digital Marketing Apprentice.
What inspired you to study Digital Marketing, and how did you end up placed at Formative Content for the apprenticeship?
I knew that “traditional university” wasn’t an option I wanted to explore, and did some research into apprenticeships. They seemed the perfect choice for me – a sweet spot between theory and practical learning, all while getting paid.
I did a week’s work experience at Formative Content and really enjoyed it. On my last day, Gay [Flashman, CEO] kindly offered me a lift to the train station and I mentioned my interest in doing an apprenticeship after my A-levels.
I didn’t think anything more of that conversation, until Caroline, our Employee Experience & Wellbeing Manager got in contact with me a few weeks later, offering me an apprenticeship.
How did you balance your time between university and Formative Content?
I worked four days a week at Formative and spent the other day at London South Bank University. There was quite a lot to juggle, and it massively improved my time management and organisational skills. I had to plan out my work pretty carefully to make sure I had time to get everything done before my deadlines.
I was rotated around five different roles: Social Media Executive, Account Executive, Operations Executive, Recruitment Assistant and a World Economic Forum Coordinator. It was really helpful having teammates and line managers that understood I needed to balance the two, and were very accommodating.
What parts of your new role as Social Media Coordinator are you particularly passionate about?
I really love the work I do with the World Economic Forum. I’m in charge of managing the production of blogs for the client, so I’m involved in coming up with new ideas for articles, analysing the performance of all our blogs and much more.
What I enjoy most, however, is getting the opportunity to write articles. Writing has always been a passion of mine and my journey at Formative Content has given me so many opportunities to explore it, from coming up with engaging social copy to writing blogs on important topics.
What do you think the next six months hold for the social media landscape?
So far, 2023 has been a wild ride. From Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter to the US threatening to ban TikTok across the nation – everything is changing so fast. It’s really hard to predict what’s coming next in such a volatile environment.
I’m also really excited about the opportunities generative AI is creating. I’m part of the AI working group at Formative, and have been testing out ChatGPT’s ability to produce content. We’re also experimenting with its ability to generate social copy, summarise articles and conduct data analysis. At the moment, it’s all very much just testing in the background – we aren’t using it on any live work. However, we want to work as efficiently as possible for our clients, and we know that AI will become a part of what we do. That’s why we are also developing guidelines to use these digital tools wisely and be transparent with exactly what we’re doing. It’s all evolving so fast and already shows great promise, so I’m excited to see where it goes next.
What’s your favourite platform?
This is probably a very Gen-Z answer… but TikTok. The algorithm is so good at feeding you content you enjoy, and there’s a real feeling of authenticity, which makes the content and its creators easier to relate to.
How does Formative provide value to its clients, many of which are multinationals?
We really are a one-stop shop for all B2B content. That comes down to the wealth and diversity of talent we have at Formative, from our writers with decades of experience in journalism to our content strategists who work alongside our clients every day, holding the client’s vision and bringing a high-level, strategic view to what we do for them.
The in-house expertise at Formative allows us to find stories that others can’t – and tell them through a variety of media, from videos to blogs to animated infographics.
Finally, what advice do you have for anyone thinking about taking on a Digital Marketing apprenticeship?
Firstly, I’d take some time to think about the type of learning that really works for you. If you learn practically – by actually doing a task – then an apprenticeship is definitely the right option for you.
Secondly, it’s important you pick an industry – and a company – that really interests you. What I love about being at an agency is that we have a wide range of fantastic clients, meaning you aren’t ever just marketing towards one industry, and you get to dabble in a wide range of topics.
Also, don’t be afraid to approach an employer that isn’t currently offering an apprenticeship – it worked for me! When you’re reaching out, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn can get you far.
What is an apprenticeship? (External source)
About the author: Fiona McKinlay is a Senior Content Strategist at Formative Content – connect with her on LinkedIn here.
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