Manaferra Shortlisted for Two Global Search Awards
We are proud to announce that, once again, Manaferra, a Prishtina-based company, is shortlisted for prestigious awards. This time around, it’s on a global level rather than European. This agency, with headquarters in Washington D.C., is shortlisted for two awards by the Global Search Awards.
Best Small SEO Agency Best Use of Search – Third Sector
Global Search Awards is one among the many high-profile series of international search marketing awards, and the second one for which Manaferra has been nominated (the first one being European Search Awards). It’s a pleasure and an honor to be among the finalists that are judged by the leading minds of search marketing under rigorous criteria.
“It goes without saying that being a finalist for Global Search Awards could not be reached without the hard work and dedication of our entire team and the partnership from our clients. These award nominations, despite representing a successful campaign, show our ambition, years of applied experience, strategic vision as well as new techniques that outperform the world’s best search.”
Granit Doshlaku, Co-Founder & Director of Search
We are thrilled to see that our hard work, which positioned many of our clients as industry experts and helped them gain authority, drive organic traffic, and generate leads, is being recognized for the second time in a row.
As a small SEO agency, leading the local market, seeing such results that come from a place of professionalism, dedication, and persistence is a big motivator.
As proof of how far an effective strategy and forward-thinking methods can take, we have our client University of the Potomac, which has seen exponential growth. Not only is their blog an example of top-notch content, but this has been rewarded with steady organic growth (reaching over 1,400% yearly growth).
“Being recognized for what we do as an agency as well as the work the team has produced was the best case scenario we could have hoped for. We know how hard it is to just be nominated for Global Search Awards. The best part is the boost it’s given to the team as well the drive to share the passions that our company culture is all about.”
Dardan Shehu, Content Marketing Associate
The Global Search Awards shortlist was announced Friday 4th June 2021, with the expert panel of judges having examined a number of aspects including creativity and implementation, budget, results and strategy involved in submitted campaigns.
The winners of each category will be announced at the Global Search Awards virtual award ceremony on Tuesday, 13th July 2021, at 7 pm BST.
Manaferra Shortlisted for Two European Search Awards
We are pleased to announce that Manaferra has been shortlisted for two awards from the European Search Awards in the categories Best Small SEO Agency & Best Use of Search – Third Sector. Awards from European Search Awards are known for being among the most prestigious Search Marketing awards on a European level. Application and evaluation criteria are incredibly rigorous, seeing as how it is judged by over 80 global industry experts.
As a local leader in SEO marketing, it’s no surprise that our agency, with quarters in Washington D.C., is the only regional agency to get shortlisted in the 2021 European Search Awards.
Our CEO & Co-Founder of Manaferra Faton Sopa commented on the nominations:
“We have been investing heavily into building an agency where the best people can come together and produce qualitative and measurable results for businesses around the world. Having our work recognized by well-known SEO leaders brings us closer to our mission of helping companies get more business from search.”
Faton Sopa, Co-Founder & CEO
We have continuously been delivering outstanding results to our clients, with most of them experiencing well above 100% growth in organic traffic & leads within the first six months of working together.
The collaboration between Manaferra and the University of the Potomac, which earned us the nomination in the Best Use of Search – Third Sector category, is impressive. In our years of working together, the University of Potomac has seen a 1,400% increase in its organic leads. This goes to show that, with a great balance between SEO, Content, and Link Building, as well as dedication from our team members, remarkable results are achievable.
Regarding the progress the University of the Potomac achieved, our Content Specialist, Arta Mekuli said:
“It’s really a product of combining great content and strategic link building, that aligned well with the searcher’s intent. We used our expertise in SEO to determine what works, what didn’t work, and what could work—with that, the UOTP grew exponentially in terms of organic traffic, and as a result, saw a huge increase in leads. Our team was always ready to meet our partnership with UOTP with new and exciting ideas.”
Arta Mekuli, Content Specialist
Manaferra’s steady year-over-year growth, department expansion, and loyalty to superior results is the reason that we are shortlisted for Best Small SEO Agency as well. Considering our growth in the past few years, Manaferra is a favorite as a finalist due to our untired work in increasing search presence across industries & especially Higher Ed., SaaS, and Publishing.
My Journey from a Content Writer Intern to a Full-Time Jr. Content Specialist
I don’t know about you all, but I strongly believe in destiny. Why, you might ask? Bear with me and you’ll understand.
So, for four years, I was a student of the English Language and Literature program at the University of Prishtina. While this major wasn’t my first choice, I realized I had made the right educational decision when I was introduced to Translation(my first love). Despite loving translation as a profession and working as a translator for a few months, I decided to give it a go and try something else. Who could have thought that even the other job I would grow to love would be related to writing? Not me, that’s for sure.
So, this is me telling how I found my newest love—Content Marketing—here at Manaferra.
Initial Contact with Manaferra
Now that I think about it, the whole thing about me joining Manaferra is a kind of drama in itself. That’s why I’m going to tell the entire story because I don’t want to leave something out.
I believe, at the time, a friend and I were looking for jobs we could apply for and stumbled upon an internship program whose deadline, unfortunately, was over (obviously, it wasn’t that unfortunate).
Scrolling through different job portals for job vacancies, I think I saw the ad for the internship program in Manaferra first in the socials but can’t really recall why I didn’t apply right away. Luckily, the friend I mentioned sent me the link after a few days. Once again, I had before me the announcement that Manaferra was looking for SEO and Content Writing interns (talk about destiny).
One thing that was interesting to me at the time was the fact that they didn’t have that many requirements for prospective candidates. They were looking for people that were proficient in English and were eager to learn. Knowing that I had both of these qualities (not to mention the endless stalking and scanning I did on their socials), I was convinced I should apply for it.
The First Interview
Upon application, after a few weeks, I got a callback notifying me that I had passed the first round of selection for the internship program and that an interview was scheduled for me in a few days.
In the email they also included a few resources I had to read and prepare for that interview. Even though I already knew that the interview wouldn’t be “conventional” as I had previously read an article written by one of my colleagues here on her experience of being an intern at Manaferra.
Long story short, the day of the interview came. I read all the resources and felt prepared, but still was quite anxious about it as it was my first official job interview. Arrived at their office just on time. Once there, I realized I had nothing to worry about. One of the interviewers who was also a colleague I had in university—who would also become my supervisor—welcomed me and introduced me to the other interviewer.
The interview took place in the meeting room that they called “Oda”. Besides the polite small talk we exchanged, I was asked about the resources they had sent me—what I thought about them, what I had learned while reading them, and had a sort of a quiz. Both of the interviewers were nice, polite, and made me feel that everything was going well during the entire interview. But being a perfectionist (which at times can really be a “curse”) made me feel as though I could do better.
Although I wasn’t that satisfied with my performance at the interview, I was informed through email that I had passed the interview successfully and was expected to do a writing assignment so that they could get a feeling of my writing. In the email were also shared the instructions of what I was supposed to do and given a few days to deliver it. Everything was clear from beginning to end, which was a plus in my book for Manaferra. They had thought of what we could have difficulty understanding and simplified everything for us.
The Second Interview
The writing assignment went quite well. I knew I did my best and was waiting for confirmation on it. After a few days, I got an email confirming that I had passed this stage too, and was scheduled for a second interview. In my head, I didn’t expect a second interview as I thought the assignment was the final step to the final decision. However, their goal was to choose the best of the best and that’s why the process was divided into numerous stages.
Now, moving on to the big day. Unlike the first interview, this time, all of the management was present in the interview. They informed me from the beginning that they would be focusing on me, who Diana is as a person, her personality, her views, and beliefs.
Like anybody who is asked to talk about themselves, I felt somewhat nervous. But as the conversation went over, I got comfortable as I was feeling listened to and my opinions being valued.
Getting the Good News
In a matter of a few days, I was emailed back with the good news about me being chosen for the 2-week testing period. I was excited, to say the least and couldn’t wait to start this new adventure.
The 2-Week Testing Period
So the big day came, me and the other 7 applicants arrived at the Manaferra office. Most of the applicants were female and surprisingly half of us were English majors, while the other half were students of other faculties. We were warmly welcomed by the management and the team. I remember we formed a circle and went on to introduce ourselves. The environment, the people were beyond anything I had imagined. After that little introduction play, we were led to Oda where management had prepared everything to introduce us with the company and the field. At noon they took us out for lunch and there we had the chance to talk with each other and found out that all of us were huge fans of tv-shows.
Needless to say, two weeks went by pretty quickly. I felt as though I had learned quite much for the industry, which when I first started didn’t even know it existed. During those two weeks, we worked hard, learned a lot, and had fun. That’s why when the end of the testing period came, I started feeling kind of anxious about what was going to happen next.
Getting the Good News for the Second Time
Let me tell you, the wait was excruciating. It’s not that I had to wait long for the final answer, but I wanted that intern position so bad that I needed to know as soon as possible. I knew I had done my best, but I also knew that all of the other candidates were quite prepared and hardworking. I didn’t know who was going to be chosen, but one thing I knew was that it would be difficult for the management to come to a decision.
This time I didn’t get the news through an email, but was invited to the offices for a meeting with the management and my supervisor, Dafina. Once there, they flattered me and congratulated me on officially becoming an Intern at Manaferra.
I went in without expectations as I didn’t want to get disappointed if the chance wouldn’t be given to me. But got out of there as a Content Writer Intern instead.
Working From Home
Approximately one month into our internship, our team had to continue working from home due to the pandemic outbreak. While this was an unexpected situation and we had no clue what was going to happen, work-wise we were pretty good. We tried to be productive even in those hard unprecedented times.
One thing that should be mentioned is the management’s willingness to assist and be with us by organizing virtual daily gatherings in Google Meet, monthly one-on-one meetings, and making sure we all had the necessary work items delivered to our homes.
COVID-19 was certainly a challenge for all of us, but I can confidently say we managed it successfully, both health-wise (as none of us got infected), and productivity-wise as we all worked hard not to let it affect us.
Coming Back to the Office
While we surely did our best to keep ourselves, our family and others safe and enjoyed the time we spent working from home, there came a point when we couldn’t wait to come back to the office. We had missed each other, our comfy office and even our working desks.
So, when the relevant public health institutions decided that the time has come to go back to “new normality”, we returned to the office, while making sure we were obliged by the regulations that the government brought out. However, the office transition didn’t happen all at once. Half of the team was back and the other half was still working from home.
It was during this time that we, the interns of Manaferra, were near the end of our internship. As we were informed from the beginning, at the end of the program only some of us would become full-time employees at Manaferra. However, thanks to continuous training we got, our hard work, and the expertise we built during those 6 months, most of us were eventually not only hired but also promoted to a newer and higher position (hence me becoming a Jr. Content Specialist).
While the pandemic didn’t give us a chance to celebrate the birthdays of staff members across the months, in August we celebrated the 6th birthday of Manaferra with pizza and cake.
Team Retreat to Rugova
Manaferra, as a company, wants to make sure that people that work there are enjoying themselves. That’s why we usually organize team retreats where we can get to know and spend more time with each other out of work context. While in normal conditions, we would make our first retreat in the spring, this year, the pandemic forced us to make a change of plans. Instead, the retreat was organized in September, and we spent a long weekend in Rugove. We call it a long weekend, but in reality, it felt like we stayed there for only a few hours.
There we had the chance to hang out with each other, know each other better, play a lot of jenga, uno and not to forget volleyball (realized that some of us had the talent for it) and the swing that we would take turns on. We made very fond memories during that weekend, but we know that we will make even more as a team as the months go by.
Now that I’m writing this article, it’s been eight months since I joined Manaferra. I couldn’t be more proud of the decision I made months ago. Today, I’m even thankful for the missed opportunities because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today. Lastly, I hope that you too, one day, will get to walk in my shoes and experience something similar first-hand.
How To Write SEO-Friendly Content That Ranks [The Ultimate Guide]
SEO content often gets a bad rep for being keyword-stuffed and written for search engines only. Well, we’re here to show you there’s much more to it than keywords. Read on to find out in detail what SEO-friendly content really is, what us SEO content writers are really after, and how to write good SEO content step by step.
Going Back to Where I Came From – An Internship in Kosovo at Manaferra LLC
Every time I am asked to explain who I am, I get an existential crisis… so I’m going to make this short. I am a daughter of immigrant parents, a business student at Turku School of Economics (in Finland), and I like basketball… and bread… probably should have mentioned bread first.
At the end of my Bachelor’s studies, I wanted to take a little break from my student life and started looking for possible internships to apply for. After three years of studying (and half a dozen random student jobs), I figured it was time to add some relevant work experience next to my business degree. All I knew was that I wanted to do a business-related internship abroad, where and what were some things I hadn’t figured out yet.
Like many families that left Kosovo during the war in 1999, we still came back here for almost every summer vacation. Our parents didn’t want us to forget our culture, I guess. After some soul searching and dreaming (as much as the Spanish beaches and French cuisine were tempting me), I decided this would be a great opportunity to understand my home country better. Spending the summers in Kosovo is like a month-long party, but I wanted to know what Kosovo is like without the Schatz-es and the smoke from shishas in every corner. I wanted to know what everyday life in Kosovo looks like.
Once it became clear where I was going to do my internship, it was time to start looking for “what.” I started looking for different internship opportunities in Kosovo, and I came across an SEO trainee position at Manaferra – neither of which I was familiar with. I noticed that it was the last day of the deadline for submitting the application, so I quickly did some research on SEO and the company and decided it is something I would like to learn, so I decided to apply. The requirements were not too high, so I was feeling rather confident.
After a few weeks, I got an email saying I got invited for an interview. Attached were a few articles to read to prepare myself for it. It was my first Skype interview, so I was quite nervous. The interview was nothing that I expected. It felt more like an oral exam based on the materials they sent than an interview. I understood that it was their way to make sure who is seriously interested and eager to learn since the field is rather new and not many people understand SEO. We had a bit of a misunderstanding when I asked about “pizza Thursdays” that were mentioned on their website. I guess they had forgotten about writing that there and later deleted it. (I took screenshots, though, and made them get us pizza one time… but that’s a different story.)
After passing the interview, came the second phase, which was a link-building exercise. The exercise was sent on a Friday, and I was given three days to finish it. To my bad luck during that weekend, I was in Germany with my laptop back in Finland. Fortunately, they were understanding and pushed the deadline to when I got back.
Then, after a week or so, I got the call to the training period.
From more than 200 applicants, 8 were invited for the training period – 4 of them for SEO. You can read more about how the training period was like for the others in my colleague Dafina’s article “Being an Intern at Manaferra.”
Being the only applicant from abroad, my training experience was a bit different. Due to my studies, I wasn’t able to attend the training when others did. I completed mine during a 2-week stay in Kosovo for the winter holidays. When I came, all the other trainees were chosen and were already in their second month of being trainees. My first impression of Manaferra was very positive: everyone was so helpful and nice. The training revolved around link building, and I guess I did pretty good since, by the end of the training, they called me to the meeting room, aka Oda,and asked me when I would be able to start.
It’s March 1st. With a Bachelor’s Degree in my pocket, I’m hopping on a plane to Kosovo to start my journey as an SEO trainee at Manaferra. I am very excited and happy to see everyone again, and on Monday, March 3rd, my internship begins. I will be spending the next six months of my life in one of the nicest offices I’ve seen.
The atmosphere at Manaferra is very welcoming. All the staff members are friendly, and I got very close to them very soon (I was practically besties with all the girls here within the first week). At Manaferra, the work culture is quite serious – as it should be. Tasks are scheduled at the beginning of each week, and employees are expected to take responsibility for them. Effectivity is a big word here and something that bosses really emphasize each day. They encourage their employees to read and do research to better themselves so that they can be more effective at the work they do. The work schedule is from 8 am to 5 pm. You can be up to half an hour late in the morning (at 8.30 am we have the scrum meeting) but just remember that you should stay as long after work as you were late – in other words: flexible working hours.
At Manaferra, work is taken seriously, but during breaks, we relax. We often go to lunch together, excluding the times when we can’t come to a unanimous decision where to eat (This only happens when Graniti insists on eating hamburgers at Noari). Also, during the afternoon break, we all go out to the terrace or just hang out inside and talk about different topics… or just play Uno.
During the internship, link building was a big part (and by big, I mean more than half of the time) of my tasks. Sometimes a bit boring but yet necessary since backlinks are one of the main factors when it comes to domain authority. When I was not doing link building, I was doing research and various kinds of analyses: competitive audits, backlink analysis, keyword research, keyword gap analysis, on-page analysis, and improvements, etc. I really enjoyed doing different kinds of analyses because I feel like those were the times when I learned the most. Most of the analyses I did were for my main client, and I also got to attend a Skype meeting with them.
Now onto the fun stuff… Ulcinj, Birthday party, Byrek Fridays
In April, we went on a work retreat to Montenegro for a long weekend. It was such a nice start to the internship. The whole staff got to hang out, get to know each other better, chill at the beach, had a barbeque, and played Uno (Uno actually became an everyday thing during our 3 pm breaks after that). It was among the best times spent with Manaferra peeps!
About a month after that, we had a great birthday celebration since my colleague Gramoz, and I both had birthdays in May. His mom made us fli for lunch which is like the best birthday present anyone could get (if you don’t know what fli is, I’m sorry…). After work, we went to have coffee and cake, and it was such a fun time.
I can’t finish this article without mentioning Byrek Fridays that has become a tradition now. I will actually be attending my last Byrek Friday this week… for now.
By the end of my internship journey, my title changed from SEO Trainee to SEO Associate, colleagues have turned into close friends, and I got better at spelling Albanian words. All in all, these last six months have been amazing. It has been such a great experience. I have learned so much about SEO and grown professionally. If Manaferra has done one thing right, it’s that they have succeeded in hiring the best people to work with them. I have made some great connections, but most importantly, I have made lifelong friends that I will never forget.
Content Marketing for Higher Education Institutions
When was the last time you’ve seen a commercial on TV for a University application round? When students want to choose their university, where do they turn to?
According to a study conducted by Business Insider, young people are watching less broadcast TV than ever, and according to the Guardian,viewing of broadcast TV by 16- to 24-year-olds fell 33% between 2010 and last year. Since traditional marketing is becoming less and less attractive, most students turn to the internet when they want to decide where to continue their studies after high school. On the other hand, 93% of teens aged 12‐17 go online.
Content Marketing for Higher Education Institutions
Considering the large audience and their interests, higher education institutions can do a lot with Content Marketing. The main goal that we want to achieve is generating leads and converting more and more students to join their university. All efforts that are done in general have to answer to the main and the most important goal.
Builds the brand
Content Marketing is a great way to build your brand as a university, offer answers and solutions for your student’s questions, and finally create a relationship with your potential students.
How you do Content Marketing reflects completely on the success of your campaigns. The number and quality of leads are a factor in how well you write content, answer the potential student’s needs, and use your unique selling points. Differentiating yourself from the countless universities looking for students is the first step to gaining their trust.
Content Marketing in itself is a conversation. The conversation in the case of a higher education institution is started by the potential student. This is why we have to focus on providing the information that people are searching for, know when to offer it to them, how we want to reach them, and keep them interested in our institution.
Increases search presence
This last one might not seem so important for someone who doesn’t share an interest in digital marketing. But, if you ask an SEO specialist, it is the most important one. The higher the ranking, the more visible you are to potential students. The more visible you are, the more leads you’re going to generate. And, as we have established earlier, leads are what we’re looking for.
Your blog articles are more likely to rank than your program pages. This is another reason to invest in this type of content marketing. These content pieces are easier to rank because other websites are more likely to link them. They also offer valuable information and usually don’t ask for anything in return. Considering that links are one of the most important ranking factors, the need for content is distinct. When you rank higher, the number of leads will increase, and consequently, so will the number of applicants.
What Kind of Content?
Content doesn’t only have to be in blog post format or written form. Different types of content serve different purposes. Guides and Lists are best presented in written form.
Statistics, case studies, and others can be presented best with infographics. Photo and video are other popular content format. If you want to put student testimonials on your website, video testimonials are good practice.
Testimonials are not the only way students can contribute content-wise. Student-generated blogs are a great way to involve them in your content marketing. User-generated content is a quite popular type of content. Tweets, Instagram posts, Facebook posts, product reviews, comments, etc., are all content generated by the user, and universities can do all of that. But you can also assign your students to write different articles that you can later publish on your site, and you can publish their papers.
Who should write the Content?
This is where the expertise and experience in the education system and the importance of content collide for higher education institutions. The content on their sites can be written by people inside the institution, students, alumni, etc. Another thing that higher education institutions can do is turn to digital marketing specialists to create their content. SEO agencies are experts in creating content that ranks; therefore, their content marketing will be more effective.
Higher Education Institutions doing great with Content Marketing
A prime example of great efforts in content marketing is Strayer University. Being an Online University, they value their online presence a great deal. On their blog, they share career development tips combined and other information in the interest of students. Their blog articles are direct answers to what their students are asking while at the same time being SEO-friendly.
Their organic traffic value surpasses $2 million. This means that if they were paying for the traffic they are receiving organically, they would have to pay over $2 million.
The University of Vermont follows a similar strategy regarding the content on their page. They offer their students advice on career, business, and education. They continue to build their brand, which embodies cultural diversity, and they publish stories of traveling. They also have a section on interesting things regarding Vermont, such as the lakes, skiing, farming, etc.
Their career advice blog articles seem to perform best within their blog. The total value of organic traffic on their site is over $500 thousand.
The University of Idaho has a—what they call—Division of Student Affairs page on their website. This is where they offer all the information necessary for their students related to campus activities, health, career, media, etc. They use their content to build their brand and increase traffic on their site.
Their organic traffic value surpasses $400 thousand. This means that if they were paying for the traffic they are receiving organically, they would have to pay over $400 thousand.
Why SEO and Content Marketing Can’t Do Without One Another
The myth among some marketers that perfect content doesn’t need SEO is, simply, a myth. Creating original, thought-provoking, and engaging content is the basis of optimization, and likewise, SEO is strategized around Content Marketing.
Topic Clusters: What They Are (And How To Create Them)
The topic cluster model is a content organizing model created and made popular by Hubspot. The content on their website inspired this model. Seeing that they were continually creating content, their website was starting to get crowded. Google was also beginning to favor topic-based content as opposed to keywords.
Creating a Content Marketing Calendar that Drives Results (+Template)
Creating a content calendar is one of those things you procrastinate on doing, and when you finally do, you see it wasn’t as complicated as you thought it’d be.
You can spend hours browsing the internet or reviewing your existing content just to find an idea of what to write, OR you can have it planned already neatly in your content calendar. What’s left is only to start writing.
So, I finished my studies, had my share of traveling, exploring, and living a life with little to no responsibilities. Being 22, it was now time for me to start adulting. And that meant finding a place decent enough to deserve eight hours of my day, where I could be useful in, challenged by, and appreciated in. (One might say I have high standards, but I think when it comes to things you invest time on – friendships, love, work – you should never settle.) Simply said, I had to find a job.
So, the job hunting began. Having studied English language and literature (and a bit of Cultural Studies in my exchange studies) and NOT wanting to work on the traditional professions my degree offered – teaching or translating – I had no idea what I was even looking for while searching on countless job-seeking portals. But then I randomly see this ad by Manaferra looking for interns on SEO & Content writing. Having a great interest in writing on one side and the world of digital marketing on the other, being a content writer made sense. Their requirements were simple, just to be creative, speak English, and be “eager to learn” (or “i untë me mësu”), a slogan I found cool. An internship was not what I was initially looking for, but I was intrigued and decided to give it a go since at least it was a paid internship (which you don’t easily find in Kosovo). So, I applied…
My first contact with Manaferra was virtual, stalking my way through their website and social media accounts – the natural thing for a millennial to do. I found them professional at first sight and the offices, pictures of which they had recently posted, very inviting. They seemed to really invest themselves in finding the right people to join their staff. They even had this whole program planned out; they’d choose eight applicants to train for two weeks and THEN decide on four of them to actually join the internship. Too much work for just an internship, one might say. One might have found it a hassle, one might have been scared away, I found it challenging. And I love challenges!
Fast forward to the interview. I had been previously sent some materials to read from on content writing (which my procrastinating self read that morning on the way there). That made me realize the interview would be unconventional, but I still expected the usual ‘Tell me something about yourself’ question. There was, of course, no such thing!
I was asked relevant questions about content writing and the field of digital marketing, which seemed fair enough rather than me needlessly telling them about my hobbies or why I’m the right person for the job. Therefore, skipped were the template answers on what my strengths and weaknesses are, and the unoriginal answer ‘I’m hardworking, a fast learner, and a good team player.’ Anyhow, the interview went well, I think. The interviewers were nice and paid close attention to what I was saying. One of them, Ujëbardha (which is now my close colleague) was even taking notes the whole time. Bottom line is that it went well and I left the room knowing I’d be called back. Humble, I know.
The callback & training period
I was emailed back after a few days being told I passed the interview step. Along came a writing assignment to finish. After submitting it, I got emailed back again with the final Yes, and finally arrived the time I came to the office as a potential intern. It was a Tuesday and I came late. Safe to say, I did not make the best first impression.
I was warmly welcomed, though, and so began my experience at Manaferra. The other seven chosen applicants were also female, which was distinctive but nice, still. They were all smart, young ladies of different backgrounds from whom I also learned a lot from. One had studied Marketing, others Law, Physics and Engineering; it was a mishmash of majors but we all had digital marketing as a common interest. At the end of the day, passions often do not correlate with our majors, so it was good (and rare) to know that there ARE recruiters that care about how eager you are to learn more than about how much experience you have.
Along with a cup of coffee, we were led to the meeting room, or ‘oda’ as they call it. After first making us feel flattered letting us know we were chosen among over 200 applicants, a workshop by Faton (the CEO), Granit, and Ujëbardha followed.
The whole two weeks went by so very fast, yet it was probably the two weeks I grew most professionally. I asked, listened, and learned a lot. Granit was the supervisor of the SEO team, and Ujëbardha was ours, the Content team, however, they both answered to each and every one of our inquiries. They even encouraged us to ask whatever we wanted. A warm and friendly environment was created as a result, yet it was kept professional and strict. Yes, there is such thing apparently. I might be biased since I was one of the ones who went on being interns, but I really did enjoy walking into the office every day of those two weeks.
About content writing
I was already used to writing on a weekly basis, having had various essays and research papers and so and so assignments to do during my studies, but now I was introduced to this whole new world of writing. I call it underwriting. At university, I would have to write as formally as I could since I had an academic audience. In SEO content writing, the audience changes constantly; I might have to write specifically for working moms one day and for environmental activists the other.
But what all of the articles I write need to have in common is being user & SEO friendly. And what that means is basically that I need to write content that people want to read but also rank high on search engines. And that, from what I’ve been taught, is all about optimizing, using the right keywords, and putting the right headings.
The thing I enjoy most is that I get to research and write about various different fields on a daily basis. And who wouldn’t want to do that for a living? I broaden my horizons with knowledge and get to write my take on things every day, and the best thing is that I’m given the platform to have my voice heard.
Apart from content writing, I was also given the chance to contribute to Manaferra’s social media accounts, given my passion for photography, catchy lines, and an overall keen eye for everything aesthetically pleasing.
The actual internship
After the two-week trial period, the actual internship starts. It is supposed to last from 2 to 6 months, but I was told from the beginning that its length depends on one’s own performance and can even only last as little as two months (which I am hoping is the case for myself since I’m nearing the end of my two months).
By the time I was accepted to be an intern, I was already accustomed to the place. I was surrounded by people who I felt proud to be surrounded by. We had this weekend trip to the mountains wherein we all got to know each other a little better and I got to talk to a part of the staff that I hadn’t earlier. Everyone is now friendly, funny and nice.
What strikes me is that we interns are treated like regular employees, and every employee is treated as an equal. Everyone has their daily tasks to finish which everyone has access to, so everything is transparent. We have our daily scrum meeting at 8:30, so it’s best to make it to the office by that time at the latest. The workday starts at 08:00 but the management tries to make it flexible for us commuting sleepyheads that can’t make it on time every day. Therefore, one can come a half-hour later which can be compensated by working till 5:30 and finish one’s eight hours (not including lunch break). As for the scrum meeting, it’s very useful since it makes us work as a team even though our tasks are individual. We share what we did the day prior, what we have planned to do that day, and whether we faced any problems (which the supervisors are always ready to help with after the meeting).
The modern, spacious, and comfortable office really does make a difference in motivation at work. The modern laptops and PCs, too, on that note. We also have a little library in the office (actual relevant books, not just ones for decor purposes) which we’re encouraged to read. On the other hand, Faton makes sure to address each of our concerns such as facilities, work environment, etc.
All these result in making a comfortable environment where we can be our most productive and creative selves. Therefore, being an intern at Manaferra LLC, I am respected, and my ideas are listened to and considered valuable. I feel useful, challenged, and appreciated—the very three things I looked for from the start.