A digital marketing career is part of the very exciting and fast-evolving digital industry, with an excellent outlook for both job prospects and job growth. With technology being one of the single biggest influences on society, it makes sense that a field which relies on it would have unprecedented potential. Being a “digital marketer”, in a broad sense, can become a tricky job role as being responsible for every aspect of an organisations digital marketing efforts is detrimental to both the individual, and the effectiveness of the digital marketing strategy. It would be wise to rather specialise in your chosen disciplines within digital and aim to have a clearly defined job role within the team/company.
The field is still limited in terms of structured academic study in certain countries, but there is an absolute abundance of alternative pathways into the industry no matter where you are. There are numerous free and paid certification-based online courses that can teach you everything you need to know in order to get started, a few that I would recommend include Coursera, Google Online Marketing Challenge, Wordsteam PPC University, Lynda.com, Google Analytics Academy and Podium (Hootsuite’s learning platform).
These are leading companies in the industry, so you can be assured that all content is relevant and comprehensive, with Coursera offering courses which form part of their university programmes and have rigorous assignments. The key here is to show any potential employer that you have both the theoretical knowledge and an eagerness to upskill yourself.
Get practical experience by doing some of the following:
- Create your own website/blog – having your own website exposes you to numerous aspects of digital marketing. WordPress is an excellent CMS to start with if you don’t have a lot of web design experience and has great plugins to help you with SEO, but there are plenty of website builders to choose from.
- Volunteer to help out an NPO that needs digital expertise – this can be an excellent learning experience but only take on what you’re competent at (see Google for Nonprofits, many NPO’s aren’t using these benefits yet which includes Google AdWords and Gmail for Business).
- Help a family member or business owner that you know to setup social media pages for their business – explaining the benefits of this and how it should be done is what many digital agencies still have to do every day!
- Start learning graphic design for digital media – this is always an advantageous skill to have as proficiency in design and a good eye for attractive graphics compliments many digital marketing roles.
- If you’re interested in social media, becoming a good photographer can definitely come in handy.
- Connect with industry Influencers on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media to get insider insights and tips.
Showcase Your Digital Skills
Many companies prefer to gauge your abilities before setting up interviews in order get an idea of your competency level. Expect to be required to complete these tasks as it is a good idea of what they will require from you on the job. The things you’ll learn from the coursework options which I mentioned above offer excellent guidelines for what these companies will want to hear. Others may test you in your interview which can be tricky, so make sure you remember everything that you learned.
As an example, social media positions can vary in terms of social media marketing strategy. Some positions require strong creative writing ability and may require you to complete a writing task, whereas others may require problem solving skills and you would be tested on your ability to handle queries, complaints and generally difficult individuals. Many companies would require a blend of these skills so it’s advisable to be good at balancing both.
Keep a portfolio including all previous digital work which you have done or contributed towards. Compiling things such as Google Analytics data, Facebook Insights, blog posts, social media posts and email marketing campaigns, are all useful for demonstrating your ability.