Image Credit: Bethany Legg via Unsplash
So you’ve decided to take the plunge into digital marketing – congratulations! Digital marketing is one of the most diverse and exciting industries out there. New technologies, new audiences and new disciplines are cropping up every day. And as this growing industry continues to expand into more areas of our lives, the opportunities for innovation are endless. This is a great career choice for the innovative and fearless, and is perfect for self-starters.
Here are 10 things you can do today to kickstart your digital career.
Seek out influencers
An eagerness for learning is vital for all who want to ‘make it’ in this constantly evolving industry. The nature of digital marketing means that search algorithms and the ‘rules of the game’ are constantly shifting.
With more advertising platforms and audiences than ever before, sifting through the abundance of advice articles isn’t easy, but it’s worth it if you want to stay ahead of the learning curve. Some influential voices to seek out in the first instance include Rand Fishkin at Moz blog, Neil Patel at Quicksprout, and Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan — read, share, and curate their content.
Participate in digital marketing training
Learning the skills and tools of the trade will help you decide which areas of digital marketing you most want to pursue in your new career. You can complete a digital marketing training course over the space of 12-18 months, learn the skills you need to succeed, and gain an apprenticeship within a marketing company. No need to enrol on a digital marketing course at a University, simply check out the this provider of digital marketing training in London, and start applying!
Find networking opportunities
Networking with digital marketers needn’t be intimidating. Firstly, there are many events of all types to suit every industry niche. If you would like to meet people who work specifically in outreach you can find an event and concentrate on meeting folks who’ll be the most beneficial to your career. Always connect with people on social media afterwards, and make a name for yourself by creating roundup posts.
Networking apps like Shapr are also helping like-minded people connect from their mobiles. For those who prefer one-on-one meetings with interesting people and are looking for mentors, these new networking apps are ideal.
Make a portfolio
Even if you have yet to land your first job, creating a portfolio site with your CV and contact details is a great opportunity to learn about web design and copywriting geared towards ‘selling yourself’ to potential employers. Creating some portfolio pieces ‘on spec’ is another great chance to hone your new digital marketing skills. If you have a good project from a course, include it in your portfolio and label it as a speculative piece.
Choose a speciality
To a newcomer, the size and scope of the digital marketing industry can be quite daunting. Rand Fishkin explains in his ‘T-Shaped Model’ for web marketer specialities that digital marketing covers a broad range of skills. Areas such as email marketing, SEO, content marketing, PPC, UX, etc. make up the broad industry skills. Then within each category there are further skills to be honed, such as keyword research, blogging, WordPress, programmatic etc.
For marketers who want to become experts and thought leaders, concentrating on building many skills in a few handpicked areas may be the most effective strategy for success — don’t spread yourself too thin and follow your passions and interests.
Grow your social media following
Any potential employer would be pleased to see an interview candidate with a large social media following. Demonstrating that you can apply the skills you have learned for your own personal brand is guaranteed to get you noticed. They may even ask you for some advice if you’ve attracted a huge following, or at least show an interest in your growth strategies.
Growing follower counts also shows that you’re dedicated to your industry and believe in what you have to say. These qualities are all good indicators of initiative, communication skills and an eagerness to learn – great employability markers.
Industry certificates like Google Analytics qualifications are proof that you understand the fundamentals, and are an amazing (free) source of information. While there are strictly no barriers to entering an agency, you will be far more likely to land your first role if you have taken the initiative to learn the ropes in advance. This Google Analytics qual is free and you can learn it all online in your spare time.
Paid-for certificates and qualifications in digital marketing can also be very beneficial, giving you a broader or more detailed-oriented education in digital marketing skills to pay the bills. Just be careful that you’re paying for a reputable course and don’t be shy about requesting a refund if something wasn’t fit for purpose.
Do an apprenticeship
Interning or starting an apprenticeship at a local digital marketing agency is a great opportunity for many people looking to enter the industry. If you only have a few days spare, shadowing one of your digital marketing contacts can also give you a great glimpse of what a typical day in marketing looks like. Also, if you have demonstrated any of the key marketing competencies in your career so far, include these on your CV.
Follow your passions
If you have a hobby outside of marketing, think about how you can bring your new skills to the things you also love doing. Why not start a specialist blog? What about a themed Instagram account? Using passion as a career driver is never a bad idea.
Building your own online store is a great way to share your multitude of talents with potential employers and clients, and if you use dropshipping you won’t even have to store any stock. You can sell quirky t-shirt designs, or jump on the latest tech accessory craze. Use an affordable ecommerce service and be up and running with your sleek-looking operation in hours — you might find that your ecommerce business eventually becomes your full time hustle!
Being able to understand reporting and capture the evidence of your digital success is a great way of improving your career prospects. Giving the hard figures of your reach to potential employers will impress them and show them that you mean business (and that you can be trusted with clients). A dedication to maximising ROI early on in your career will stand in you in good stead for creating even better campaigns in the future.
The best way to get ahead? Learn on the job within the digital marketing industry. As long as you have an eagerness to learn and belief in your abilities, you’ll have the opportunity to go far, so start experimenting today. We all have to start somewhere!
Gareth Simpson Startup Founder and Technical SEO
Gareth Simpson is a technical SEO and startup founder. He has worked in digital marketing for 10 years and enjoys sharing his insights with other marketers.