Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a college student, entering the world of digital marketing can be intimidating. With new online platforms and tools emerging every day, the field is constantly changing and no one is truly an expert. But there are a number of ways to learn the tools of the trade. We turned to a handful of digital marketing pros sourced from HARO to find out how they learned everything they know.
1. Start a blog
“Creating your own blog and writing about your growth and learning as a marketer helps to keep your ideas fresh and offers a great source of feedback from your peers,” says Andrew Isidoro, blogger and SEO Strategist at Box UK.
2. Join trade groups in real life
“Groups like Social Media Club, American Marketing Association, and Interactive Marketing Associations may have a presence in your city. Try out a couple gatherings, meet your peers, learn about relevant topics, and connect in person, exchanging contact information and connecting on social media channels – then stay connected,” says Rebecca Otis, Content and Social Media Manager at Digital Third Coast Internet Marketing.
3. Work on writing skills
Marjorie Asturias, President at Blue Volcano Media emphasizes the importance of strong writing skills. “Social media marketing is all about persuading your audience to not only read your content but take action on it as well. Study good writing and how language can be used to persuade, inspire, inform, and educate, sometimes in the same sentence. And then learn how to write it all in less than 140 characters.”
4. Don’t expect to master every discipline
From coding to analytics, there are so many skills involved in digital marketing that you can’t possibly master them all. “Pick a few that match your skills and interests and get strong in those,” suggests Melinda Byerley, Chief Marketing Officer at Poll Everywhere.
5. Turn your hobby into a learning experience
“My best advice as someone who is a full time marketer for a law firm is to start with hobby projects,” says attorney Dan Policastro. “I learned digital marketing by creating a personal site around a topic I was interested in.”
6. Read, read, read
“Read blogs, articles, ebooks, etc.,” says Melanie Lavigueur, Community Manager at Trudeau Cuisine. “The digital world is evolving really fast and you need to absorb as much information as possible. It will help you get better at digital marketing, learn the language, get credibility, forge an opinion, etc. My favorite place to get information: LinkedIn Today.”
7. …but don’t stop at reading
“Read, read and apply,” says Bryan Shearer, Founder and CEO of Buhba Knows Marketing. “Don’t spend all your time reading, though, because if all you do is read and not apply your knowledge, you will go nowhere.”
8. Get feedback
“I encourage my clients and my friends to always take the time to get feedback from others on their digital marketing efforts, says Cate Conroy, Head Marketer at Conroy Media Group. “Whether that is as big as doing a marketing audit or as small as asking someone you trust to review your blog post, hearing what others think of your marketing is a critical component to improving.”
9. Take classes
Beyond independent reading and practice, a structured course can do wonders. Luckily you can find courses on any number of topics online — and many of them are free. This roundup of online digital marketing courses runs the gamut from Google Analytics to HTML and user acquisition.
10. Realize that marketing is marketing, digital or otherwise
There are dozens of skills to learn and practice, but as Steven Lowe, Founder and CEO at Innovator LLC notes, at the end of the day “the ‘digital’ part just makes it cheaper and easier to reach your target market, but the fundamental principles haven’t changed in hundreds of years.”
Which habits have helped you improve your digital marketing skills? Share your personal tips below.