Firstly, let me say that there are many areas to digital marketing; this can range from SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), PPC (Pay Per Click), Social (Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, and other social advertising platforms). This is not even an exhaustive list, there are many skills you will need along the way which in themselves are disciplines with world leading experts.
So, it is safe to say there is lot to learn! This is my advice for how to get into the various forms of Digital Marketing.
All Round Good Advice!
Here is some general good advice when thinking about moving into the enthralling and magical world of Digital Marketing!
Do Your Research
Read. Sounds simple but there are so many guides and e-books on almost any topic now that you can pick or download as a total noobie and understand. I recommend reading the blogs detailed below, these are great credible sources of information for the most part. Nothing is 100% right but after enough reading and watching the videos you should start to build a picture of what the subject matter is and how it works.
- Raptor Knowledge Base
- PPC Hero
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Content Marketing Institute
- Kissmetrics / Neil Patel
- Marketing Land
- Convince and Convert
Make sure you are reading trusted sources, documentation by Google or companies that they endorse are a good place to start.
If you cannot find definitive answers or you are finding contradicting statements, look into that, understand the facts, and draw your own conclusions. Never be afraid to ask a question either, overall, the Digital Marketing industry is very friendly, and you can often reach out and ask questions on legitimate forums and get comprehensive answers from kind experts (or occasionally condescending know-it-all’s!).
Although not for everyone, I find making notes or even writing a blog post on what I have learned helps to both cement the learning and provide a reference for the future.
Reading over your notes and deepening your understanding can help you to understand at a new level. Memories can change or be distorted but notes don’t!
Follow Your Dreams
Another piece of advice I would give is that having love or passion for your chosen fields of study / future jobs. Doing Digital Marketing just for money will in many cases result in apathy towards your job. Personally, I love working with people who love what they do, and it has been my aim to be that person myself. Having passion for what you do makes you better at doing it.
How to Get Into SEO
Let us start with the easiest thing to get into, which isn’t necessarily the easiest subject to master, but it has the smallest barriers to entry. You can read about how I got into SEO in other blog post, but the principle can be applied universally.
I understand that everyone is different, and consequently everyone learns best in different ways… That said you cannot be a body builder just by reading books unless those books are really heavy, and you lift them like weights)! At some point you need to do something, and that something is develop skills and experience that will forge you into the SEO expert you want to be.
To do SEO, you need a website… There are only two ways of getting things done in life and that is either you do t or some other person does it! If you don’t know someone with a website, they are willing to let you learn on then it the former option for you!
To get a website you need a domain name and a hosting package as well as a CMS… To break these down:
- Domain name: such as http://www.your-domain-name.com
- Hosting: The server that holds your website so that others can access it
- CMS: ‘Content Management System’ is the full name and there are a lot of these around. You will likely have heard of WordPress, Wix, Magento, and many more. This is what you use to build the website.
You will often find that certain providers will sell you all three of these in a single package. Depending on your level of technical know-how or your willingness to learn pretty basic computer stuff… Will determine what you go for. Failing that you could always convince someone you know into helping out!
Once you have picked your poison and got a website (the finer details of which I am not going to cover here) you are ready to go. Like a second world wear soldier being handed their gun after a shockingly short amount of training, my friend, you are ready, and the enemy is just over that parapet!
So, What Next? (I hear you ask)
Well here is where you get yourself off of the proverbial sofa and into the ergonomically designed desk chair for some SEO fun!
Once you have a site you can start to see how in the CMS for example the page title or meta description is set. You can change it and then using the inspect tool in Chrome or Firefox you can see that it has changed.
Once you change these components and see the effect they have on the site and more importantly how it appears in Google you will start to draw lines between the knowledge and the practical. Testing and trying things based on what you have read and understood you can see for yourself to what degree something works.
For me, it was this connection between doing the SEO and seeing the results such as the website creeping up the rankings, traffic metrics and business growth that really gave me satisfaction.
Practice, then Practice Some More, Anon
Unless you destroy all possible knowledge or become omniscient then you can’t know all there is to know. The only way to improve (outside of the Matrix) is to practice. Make mistakes, do things you know will go wrong just to fix them again!
Try new techniques, try old techniques, test what people tell you to be true, so that you know from experience. It is experience that will set you apart from others (along with passion); reeling off buzzwords and acronyms doth not make an SEO. Its understanding what those things mean and do, what ‘experiences’ you have had with those things that determine real ability.
From this arise problem solving skills, logical processes, and procedures, often the need to tools to automate tasks to free up you time for more important things.
Get a Job with a Good Agency
Using your armature level knowledge, you can now get a job as an SEO, but make sure its with an agency with some good work ethics. Any agency that prides itself on quality and results is a good bet. Burn and churn agencies are toxic environments that can at best act as a steppingstone.
A good agency will expose you to a range of disciplines that will broaden your knowledge and skills if you embrace the opportunity. Most Search agencies will have a PPC team, an Analytics person, Business Developers, Social Media teams and Web Developers.
Allowing yourself to absorb information for these areas will increase your overall knowledge and remove you from the silo of your one discipline. Even if you stay in SEO forever, you will inevitably use Google Analytics, Data Studio, Search Console, and other tools.
Or Just Do It Yourself!
Nowadays with enough practice and with enough online training and reading you can become a highly proficient SEO. I feel personally that exposure to dozens of others in your industry helps to make you more rounded and informed.
There are no proper regulations that control SEO, and there are now official or formal qualifications that you can certify yourself with. This has led to a lot of cowboy like behaviour and agencies over the years.
Ultimately the proof is in the pudding, do you get results, do you work hard and properly, and do you know what you are doing! Getting references, testimonials and such like are now the currency of credibility and they can help to build you as a brand as you grow.
This comes in many forms for advertising on Facebook just as boasting pots to their ad centre, it also includes advertising platforms like Google Ads and Bing’s equivalent. That doesn’t even cover it all, there other forms such as native advertising and DSP or Programmatic which work very differently.
Unless you own a business and you want to do some online paid advertising, this is not something you will likely do as a hobby, primarily because you have to pay for traffic. Typically, you only buy traffic through paid media in order to get a return (ROI) or though some do it for branding purposes.
You can sit exams and learn all the material from reading Google or Facebook guides, but this is all theory. Its good to know but if you can’t implement it, it won’t be much use to you.
Also, these tools / platforms make it easy to use but really mastering them is how you make money, so often novices have a go and lose a load of money. Ideally you need to be trained and managed to become effective at any form of paid media.
A single mistake in any platform could cost untold amounts of money! This is why you need to seek the advice of professionals when embarking on this type of advertising.
In conclusion, getting into SEO is pretty easy, you can always apply for very junior roles to get a foot in the door. However, doing it off of your own back gives you a huge advantage over others looking to get in on the same thing.
You can learn the theory, watch tutorials and pursue an interest in many aspect’s of digital marketing if you have the motivation to do so.
I hope you enjoyed this and found it useful, please comment, like share and all that good stuff!