I get asked this question a lot. As our industry places stronger and stronger emphasis on digital, it is only natural for marketers to want to learn more about it and improve their skill-set so that they won’t feel left behind.
There are many courses in digital. Some good and some not so good. Some expensive and some free. Some in-class and some online. I always struggle to recommend a single course because I do not believe there is one ‘golden’ course. In fact you can gain digital knowledge without taking a course. You can read books, listen to podcasts, review countless online articles but one of the most important ways to learn is to actually ‘Do’.
There is no course, book or podcast that will ever teach you as much as you actually doing digital work. If you do not have the luxury of performing digital work within your job, you must create your own digital opportunities during your own personal time. I have learned so much by creating my own blog and running my own social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and my Facebook Fan page. In fact this year I am also going to start experimenting with things like Facebook ads, Google adword ads and Twitter cards.
If you want to learn about digital, you must force yourself to self-teach yourself. Roll-up your sleeves and go all-in. Get your hands dirty and start working with these digital tools. I strongly encourage you to build some sort of web presence for yourself whether it be a blog or personal website. By doing this, you start learning about the dynamics and building blocks of a website. You also learn about the intricacies of a content management system which is how you manage your website. Once you have this site, you can now integrate Google analytics and start learning about the different metrics behind your site. While you are at it, why don’t you buy some Google adword ads to learn about search engine marketing. You can start playing around with social media platforms to help you distribute your content and build an audience and fan base for your new site. You can start learning about how to use Hootsuite, a social media management system to manage all of your social platforms and finally you can buy social media advertising units to play around with things like promoted tweets and Facebook ads.
By performing all of these actions, you have self-taught yourself about digital marketing and enrolled in a course like no other. Am I anti-digital marketing courses? Absolutely not. You will see by my LinkedIn profile that I have taken many many courses. The points that I want you to remember are:
- You can learn and learn but the way to truly learn is to DO
- If your job is not allowing you to learn about digital, you need to create your own opportunities to learn
- If someone tells you “you don’t know digital”, self-teach yourself and prove them wrong
Before picking a course, make sure you do your research and investigate if it is the best one for you in terms of what you want to learn. After you take the course don’t forget to take what you have learned and put it into action. DO something with what you have learned. Don’t just let the knowledge stay within the confines of your notebook. I hope this blog post helps you in your quest to attain more knowledge around the discipline of digital marketing.