Emily Baillie

Digital Marketing Educator and Social Media Consultant (English and Communication Studies, BA)

Emilie Baillie, Self-Employed

By: Alexandria Deer, Outreach & Support Peer

Emily Baillie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in both English and Communication Studies in 2004. At first, Emily didn’t plan on having a career in digital marketing. Early on, she considered a career in law. After doing more research into what a career in law would entail, and what life as a lawyer might look like, she decided against it. Instead, she realized that her interests were in media relations and studying communications was a natural fit. Since then, Emily has spent nearly a decade in the industry, taking on various roles in government, travel and tourism, and education communications. Now, in addition to her entrepreneurial endeavours, Emily has taken on the role of professor at Humber College and McMaster University. While traditionally educators are required to have at least a Master’s degree in a relevant field, Emily’s success as a marketing consultant allowed her to enter the role with ease.

Emily enjoys working in the marketing industry because it is dynamic, exciting and challenging. Each day is a little bit different, allowing her freedom to manage her own time. Since she can manage her business from different locations, she can often be found working from home, her office on campus, or a nearby coffee shop with other industry professionals. Other times she is meeting with clients, creating new and engaging content, teaching, meeting with students, or attending networking events. Her hours vary, but she is able to make her own schedule to an extent.

Emily creates content such as custom blog posts, Instagram images, LinkedIn posts and curated content. She works with brands in the tourism, lifestyle and technology industries. For some brands, she will write a series of blog posts to promote a new service or product. Learning the latest content tools such as Adobe Suite, Canva or SnapSeed is important to create quality content that fits with a brand image. Learning to use some social media analytics tools is important, so that you know if your efforts are successful. All major platforms have built-in analytics tools that are effective and convenient. In addition, there are a plethora of external analytics tools and software platforms, some free and some paid, such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics.

In order to thrive in this industry, Emily notes that it is especially important for entrepreneurs to maintain a positive attitude. Contract work can be precarious and many people are now working in what some refer to as the ‘gig economy’, meaning that they are self-employed working on various ‘gigs’ at a time. Although a certain amount of talent and skill are required, Emily notes that owning your own business can be tough. It is important that one be able to look on the bright side when faced with challenges. Emily views the marketing industry as an adventure; there are many opportunities and the industry is always in flux. If one door closes, she remains confident that another will open.

Emily believes that striking a balance between introversion and extroversion is important because owning your own business requires a certain amount of self-promotion. It is important that you feel comfortable introducing yourself to others and getting to know others in the industry. You also have to be happy working on your own as a solo entrepreneur. If that doesn’t sound appealing, Emily suggests joining an existing team. She recommends that to become more comfortable networking, approach events with the intention of learning more about the industry and making one or two valuable connections.

Since the marketing industry is constantly evolving, the qualifications required to enter the industry evolve too. Traditionally, a formal education in a related field would be required, however it isn’t necessary in order to be a digital entrepreneur in the modern economy. If someone is driven, able to create engaging content, and be industry savvy, Emily says they could absolutely be successful without having a college or university degree. “A college or university degree can get you to the starting line,” Emily says, “but it’s the other things that you do that will truly lead to success. For example, developing a well-rounded LinkedIn profile, networking, and keeping informed on industry trends may set you apart from other graduates applying for the same positions.”

Emily volunteers for the Digital Council for the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) and also volunteers with Lean in Canada, a community of professional women that encourage and empower one another to be successful in their careers. She enjoys being a member of the CMA because it has afforded her opportunities to meet marketing professionals from a variety of sectors. Additionally, the CMA hosts a number of workshops, seminars, and networking events, which anyone looking to break into marketing might be interested in attending. She also recommends the Canadian Association of Marketing Practitioners (CAMP) as it provides a number of unique opportunities for students in particular, including volunteer opportunities, student awards and scholarships, mentorships and more. Ultimately, there is no end to the number of events available in Toronto and surrounding areas.

Emily encourages anyone looking to acquire marketing related experience to jump in and get your feet wet! Students can gain experience in a variety of ways including volunteering, developing their own brand on social media, starting a blog or YouTube channel, or even launching their own consulting business. Actively pursuing your passions will show potential employers that you possess the drive, skills and knowledge of the industry to make it.