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Published October 30th 2014

Living in a Digital World: How to Get Ahead Online

Career opportunities for digital marketing experts are on the rise and it is anticipated that this trend will continue over the next few years.

Career opportunities for digital marketing experts are on the rise, and it is anticipated that this trend will continue over the next few years.

Companies are wising up to the fact that to drive sales in today’s fast moving environment, they need to focus much of their investment on the online world. Hence budgets are increasing for these departments and employment vacancies are becoming more numerous.

At present, digital marketing is not a career that is highly influenced by your choice of education. Whilst a marketing or business degree will provide a good grounding, there are still plenty of opportunities for those who want to enter the field without formal qualifications.

Here we look at some of the key areas that you should explore if your aim is to start, or to progress, your career in the digital marketing field.

Create your own online presence


Probably one of the best ways to start is to build an online presence of your own.

Even if you set up just a simple blog or website, you will begin to get the feel for SEO, metrics and the whole language of digital marketing.

Read extensively around the subject, both in books, but also more importantly by studying expert blogs within the field. This is such a fast paced environment that you need to make sure that you are current, and books can very quickly get behind the times.


Communication counts


Marketing is about communication as much as metrics, so don’t underestimate the skills you will need to create great content. Marketing is at heart about being able to write, whether that’s for blog posts, social media updates or even reports for your employer or clients.

Even if you don’t feel that you have the makings of a writer, in this area practice really does make perfect.

Study the basics of grammar, expand your vocabulary and write as much as you can on your own blog, both to improve your writing style and flow and to flex your creative muscle.


Start broad and narrow down


Digital marketing is fast paced and extensive. To be successful in a marketing career you are going to need a wide knowledge base including, but not limited to: search, affiliate marketing, e-mail, mobile, social media and display marketing.

Once you have a good understanding of each of these then it is wise to specialize in an area that is of particular interest to you. However, you are always going to need a good grounding in all the key areas, so you should endeavour to keep your knowledge current.

You need to network


The landscape of digital marketing is ever changing and one of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse is to attend conferences and meet ups. This is not only a good way to extend your knowledge, but it is the perfect way to meet other digital marketers.

Relationships formed at these conferences can often lead to job opportunities or freelance work, as when someone can put a face to a name, they feel they know both your online and your offline persona.

Attending conferences is also a good way to find mentors in the field and to study different styles of leadership.

There isn’t just one path to a career in digital marketing, you could work for an agency, with an in-house marketing team or you could even start your own company. Conferences give you exposure to team members and to entrepreneurs and by interacting with them you will gain a better understanding of what appeals to you for your future career.


Touch the technical bases


The online world calls for a great deal of interaction and collaboration with web designers and developers.

You don’t need to have expert technical knowledge, but some understanding of HTML and maybe one or two programming languages will help you to better understand what is possible for the marketing campaigns that you want to run.

If this isn’t your strong suit, there are usually local courses that will guide you through the basics and provide a framework on which you can do your own research.


Hands-on experience


As much as you study, read and network, there is no substitute for practical experience. That’s why having your own online presence is so important.

You can then use your own blog or website as a calling card to try to get an internship or even some unpaid work experience. Tenacity is key here and, if you take the daunting step to ask around, you will be surprised to find that there are people who will give you an opportunity to work.

Your final step to taking the leap into paid work as a digital marketer will be to put together a well-crafted CV. By implementing the areas outlined above you will have plenty to add to your list of accomplishments.

To truly take the step into the digital age, make sure that you think not only in terms of a paper CV but also alternatives such as a video, visual or social CV and of course ensure your LinkedIn profile is current and showcases your expertise.

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