How to start a worthwhile marketing side project in the summer

With many companies cancelling internships or freezing hires, many students are wondering how they can spend their time productively.

While taking courses and certification are great, almost everyone and their dog are doing it. You have to stand out from the crowd!

My solution? Starting a side project! (As you would have known from the title).
We'll be covering:
  • Why start a side project?

  • Questions to ask before starting side project

  • Some examples of marketing side project

So why start a side project?

1. Differentiate yourself from others
Unlike school, a side project is something not everyone will embark on. Your meaningful and real-life side project would make you a more interesting candidate!
2. Highlights your problem-solving skills and pro-activeness
A side project that creates value and solves problems for others will highlight these soft skills and actually back them up with a story. The fact that you took the initiative to start something to solve a problem you identifed is a plus in any book.
3. Allows you to learn and practice new skills
While taking courses can be helpful, practising the skills you've learnt from courses is the best way for you to really internalize and apply the knowledge learnt!
4. Most importantly, they are fun!
Your side project has to be something you're passionate about and fun for you. If not, what's the point?

Now that we know why we should embark on a side project, let us ask ourselves some questions before we embark on one.

Some questions to ask yourself before starting a side project

  • What do you want to gain out of this project?

  • What particular skills do you want to learn?

  • How can you then practice and improve on these skills?

  • Most important question: What value are you creating?

What do you want to gain out of this project?

We have to know what we want to gain out of the project before embarking on it. This will allow us to be more deliberate in how we pursue the project when we have a specific goal.

For example, if we want to improve our employability, we would want to start a side project that signals relevant soft/hard skills employers are looking for.

What particular skills do you want to learn?

One of the most useful things about a side project is being able to learn a new skill! Think about what activities in the past you enjoyed doing.

Love writing? Look into content marketing.

Love photography? Maybe a photography site?

A numbers guy? Look into marketing analytics.

The skill would also ideally tie into your goal for the side project.

Check out a previous MarketingRevo post that sums up all the free marketing courses by bigger companies here

How can you then practice and improve on these skills?

For example, if you want to practice social media marketing, your project would ideally involve some elements of social media management.

If you wanted to practice SEO, you would have to create a website to try and optimize it!

If you want to practice using Google Analytics, you would have to have a website!

The key is to start a side project that allows you to hone these skills!

What value are you creating?

When it comes to a side project, you have to first identify your audience before you can define the value you're going to create for them.

For example, MarketingRevo creates value for marketing students and marketing undergraduates. We equip them with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to face the future!

You could entertain, educate or inspire your audience about anything under the sun.

Remember: A side project is about creating value for you and your audience.

4 marketing side projects you can start today

Growing a niche social media page

If you want to practice your social media marketing and content marketing skills, you could start and grow a niche social media page.

I would recommend starting an Instagram or TikTok page as these are the platforms with the highest organic engagement.

Knowing how to grow an Instagram page from 0 to 1000 followers is definitely an achievement that would stand out on your resume!

Starting a website with a niche interest

Starting and growing your own website is a great way to practice skills such as content marketing and SEO.

I would recommend starting a website with a niche interest because interests such as food or fitness are relatively saturated and competitive.

Knowing how to grow an organic traffic to a website is also an achievement that would help you stand out!

Helping a non-profit with its marketing

In this period of uncertainty, many non-profits are hurting as well. You could volunteer your time and help them with their marketing!

I would recommend helping a non-profit that you really care about and having a goal in mind you want to achieve. For example, you could help them with their email marketing to increase their average donation amount.

Knowing how to masterfully persuade an audience into handing their wallets over is something every company would want!

Writing an informative article with valuable insights

This side project is slightly different from the ones above. It is about writing a super detailed and informative article. It doesn't really allow you to practice specific marketing skills. However, it allows you brand yourself and practice content distribution.

For example, if you're interested in joining a fashion company, you could explore a specific marketing topic in the industry.

Would having emojis in email subject lines have a higher conversion rate than without?

By publishing an article like this and pushing the hell out of it on Linkedin, it could help you stand out from a sea of candidates. It would definitely help you capture some eyeballs from your dream company and acts as an interesting conversation piece for you and your hiring manager.

I hope this helped you embark on your side project. It might even be your next million-dollar business! Good luck on your side project!

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Check out some free marketing courses you can take and the guide to getting your next internship below!

Free Marketing Courses

Check out some courses you can take before starting a side project!

Ultimate Internship Guide

Check out how you can communicate your side project to your hiring manager!

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