Career, Marketing, Top 10

Top 10 Free (or almost free) Ways to Learn Digital Marketing

Have you ever gotten stuck in a cycle of ‘chicken-or-the-egg’ when it comes to a job search for a skillset that you want to learn? Let’s say you want to pursue a career in social media but you’re coming from another industry. Companies may not consider your resume if you don’t already have experience in social media, but if you’re not given the chance to learn on the job, how can you learn? This is a common scenario that’s understandable from both perspectives. Companies are looking for relevant experience, and even though many skills are transferable, like the determination to learn, the transition to a new job would undoubtedly be smoother for both employer and employee if there’s direct experience in the primary skillset the role entails. Many companies are also determined to keep training costs under control. According to Forbes and ADP in The Costs of Training New Employees with regard to saving on training costs, “recruiting only the most skilled employees, retaining them for as long as possible and using performance reviews to identify training needs early on are some of the best methods to consider.” So, what’s a job seeker to do?

Turns out, there are many ways to boost your skills in digital marketing, and they often don’t cost a thing.

  1. Volunteer, or sign up for a student ticket if you’re currently a student, at a marketing conference to soak up knowledge while networking, and help conference organizers run a successful event. Check out 2018 digital marketing conferences. (Tip: Attending conferences during your job search will also provide interesting topics of conversation about what you learned during interviews. I attended AdvertisingWeek in New York while I was interviewing – see photo above – and this was one of the most valuable experiences that helped support my learning and application process.)
  2. Read up/listen up on marketing sites, blogs, podcasts and subscribe to social channels and e-newsletters like eMarketer, Content Marketing Institute, American Marketing Association, Social Media Examiner.
  3. Search for free workshops and speaker panels like General Assembly’s Career Conversations: Digital Marketing in Chicago (pssst…yours truly will be speaking) or Meetup‘s.
  4. Sign up for demos to marketing platforms and tools to test them out for free. If they call to ask about why you signed up (often a lead generation tactic to nurture paid customers), mention you’re doing research as part of your job search. This conversation could also open the door about events and opportunities to learn more about the tools and job opportunities in your city.
  5. Meet up with professionals in the field or working at the company you’re interested in to learn about their marketing career path and learning opportunities to help you develop your skills.
  6. Sign up for social media channels and follow marketing thought leaders to read about trends, technology, and even career opportunities.
  7. Engage with industry leaders on social channels (strategically – and when it makes sense) by asking questions or commenting on their articles to build relationships in your network and learn even more.
  8. Start a blog and document your path to learning, then share on social and with your network to build your personal brand in the digital marketing industry.
  9. Search for digital marketing how-to videos on YouTube and watch them to learn hands-on skills. Then, try out what they’re teaching on your own.
  10. Observe what brands are doing across channels by subscribing to emails, social channels, and tuning into media like TV/subscription services, podcasts, and, and even Super Bowl commercials. (Tip: Read up on the best commercials from the Super Bowl during the week after on AdAge.) Notice the trends taking place, what kinds of commercials, promotions, and even hashtag campaigns are taking place. Review emails of your favorite brands to see how they’re marketing effectively to you and what you like about their strategies.

What are your favorite ways to learn a new skill, like digital marketing?

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