There’s no denying that digital marketing has opened the door to new customers for almost every business, be they B2b or B2C. But it has also opened a diverse number of career doors. And not just 9-5 jobs but freelance engagements, consultancies, or your own agency. The really attractive bit is that there is no formal qualification bar. Unless you choose to excel in a highly technical area, say, one that requires coding, you don’t really need a formal qualification.
Certifications do count, but results matter. So if you’re exceptionally good at what you do, and relevant to current business needs, the sky is really the limit. When you complete the Digital Marketing Specialization you will have a richer understanding of the foundations of the new digital marketing landscape and acquire a new set of stories, concepts, and tools to help you digitally create, distribute, promote and price products and services.
Well, not so fast. Although you don’t need a formal study of digital marketing, you do have to understand concepts and stay abreast of developments. Remember the sands of Digital Marketing are ever shifting and marketeers who don’t stay informed will soon find themselves irrelevant.
This is the era of the autodidact. That’s just a fancy way of describing someone who is good at teaching themselves. And, really there’s been no better time for this tribe. With loads of how-to posts and videos on any topic under the sun, you’ll find information easy to come by. The trick is to identify what you need to know. It’s rather like looking up the curriculum of the best school of digital marketing you know and then hitting up Google on each topic. The only problem here is that the vast amount of information available itself can leave you floundering.
Yes. It can be done. But you need to collect, collate, and curate knowledge and knowledge banks carefully. Perhaps this is why most learners prefer to simply enrol in a good training program that teaches digital marketing fundamentals from the ground up. This works for both beginners and advanced students. In fact, in the case of advanced learners, a reputed school of digital marketing plays an even more critical role. This is because the knowledge they seek is not so easily found on the web. Sure, there is a lot of content on the internet, but it is mostly aimed at beginners, who are a much bigger target audience than advanced students who are often looking for answers to very niche questions.
So should you immediately sign on for a digital marketing course?
There are a few things you can do to prime the learning pump, so to speak. Doing this will give you a great head start, and make the learning more relevant. As you will immediately see the practical applications of the concepts you will learn.
One of the simplest actions a wannabe digital marketeer should take is to set up a blog. It shouldn’t take more in an hour to set up your own blog. Remember to pick a focus area that is niche but not so niche as to interest just a few thousand people world wide. In other words, you should be able to interest a sufficiently large community. It only calls for a small investment of maybe a couple of thousand rupees for buying your domain and hosting space. This is a good idea if you ever intend to monetize your blog.
Creating your own blog will also help you get familiar with basic technicalities like, buying a domain and hosting space, setting up the blog, and marketing your blog. Marketing your blog will need you to understand the basic concepts of SEO, which will stand you in great stead in the future.
There are literally millions of self-teaching books on various aspects of digital marketing available online. You don’t need to buy the physical book, simply install a reading app and head to the great big bookstore in the sky—Google—where you can search and download any book that takes your fancy. And it will cost just a fraction of what you would pay in a bookstore. If budgetary constraints are a consideration, maybe you should consider an online digital marketing program, instead of a classroom training.
There was a time when educators were very secretive about their knowledge. Not any more. I am constantly surprised at what experts are willing to share at zero cost. Some of these sites are driven by advertising revenue, others may be affiliate sites. But that shouldn’t matter to the learner—you. The only thing to remember is that there are countless learning resources on the internet covering any and every topic.
There are free pdfs; SlideShare presentations, use-cases, articles, and of course blog posts and videos. Try them all. You’ll soon find the ones that work best for you. Bookmark them and dive right in. There are also dozens of really helpful blogs that are aimed specifically at self learning digital marketers and small businesses. These two are actually interchangeable…remember this when you run any search for usable information.
Anyone who has struggled through school will agree that watching a video is infinitely preferable to wading through dry text. And learning digital marketing concepts is no different. Even if you prefer reading to watching, don’t ignore YouTube. It is great for practical learning. And the topics are usually aimed at solving a very specific problem. Another benefit is the comments section. It’s a great way to connect with the video creator and let them know you appreciate the video—be specific, so they know you’re not just blowing smoke. Once you’ve made a connection, you can even make your own requests. YouTube creators love this sort of engagement, as it validates their work in a big way.
LinkedIn offers another great learning source. Most of the articles posted on LinkedIn Pulse are written by genuine thought leaders. Don’t miss these. Plus you can build a robust network right there and then by sending out connection requests to people whose articles add to your body of knowledge. LinkedIn is also a great place to find and join communities. Which offers a great source not just of learning but mentorship and guidance.
Most thought leaders—especially digital marketing innovators have a podcast aimed at learners like you. Subscribing to these podcasts gives you a direct conduit into high value insights that will transform your thinking and move you towards becoming a digital marketing authority in your own right.
There are influencers in every domain imaginable, and digital marketing fundamentals is no exception. Influencers like Neil Patel (www.neilpatel.com) offer rich insights, tips and techniques that address a diverse list of issues facing the modern digital marketeer. Make it a point to read/listen to their posts and you will be much the wiser, and definitely up-to-date.
Get the best of both worlds: Complement self learning with structured education.
All the above are great routes to learning digital marketing skills. But it doesn’t really have a structure, and it calls for a lot of discipline. It’s easy to jump from topic to topic without finishing any. Or lose interest. With no assignments to turn in or tests to pass, there’s no sense of achievement either or to tell how much you have really learnt. So, to really bring it all together you need someone to guide you and help you over the rough spots.
Yes, learning on your own is possible, but it can be a lonely, and oftentimes frustrating affair.
So stick with all the above, but think of them as supplementary to a structured course. Because a good digital marketing school will do more than provide the education that you need. It will do it in a way that maximizes learning. and gives you the benefit of the experience that the faculty members bring.
For instance, Premium School of Digital Marketing’s faculty is almost exclusively drawn from highly-experienced industry professionals. Their expertise, front line experience, and network of other professionals can do much more than just teach students. It can guide you on your own career path.
If you’re still wondering whether digital marketing is the career for you, take a look at our blog post entitled: Guide to the best digital marketing careers in 2021, for some insights.
And that’s it!!