Digital marketing is a flourishing field, with a 52% increase in demand for digital marketing specialists in the UK in 2020, and 860,000 new digital marketing specialist job openings advertised in the U.S. in the last year alone, according to LinkedIn.
If you’re thinking about getting a digital marketing qualification and launching a new career, you may be wondering what positions are available to you in the field once you’ve onboarded these highly sought after skills and expertise.
Well, wonder no more!
In this post, we’re going to give you the low-down on some of the key roles you can land with a digital marketing qualification.
From content strategy through to SEO specialization, we’ll be giving you a detailed overview of the digital marketing jobs making the most impact in digital marketing, as well as providing insights into what each position involves, how they work with the rest of the digital marketing team, and the skills, attributes, and “nice-to-haves” that will ensure your success in each.
Use the clickable menu to skip ahead, if you’d like:
- What is digital marketing?
- How can you learn about digital marketing?
- What jobs can you get with a digital marketing qualification?
- Key takeaways and next steps
With that, let’s begin!
1. What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is the creation and execution of all public-facing digital content for an organization or individual. Seeking to build trust and authority while increasing brand awareness, the team of digital marketing specialists publish promotional materials alongside high-value, relevant content that simultaneously converts new customers and retains the loyalty and engagement of existing ones.
Digital marketers work with a variety of platforms and methods:
- Social media networks such as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to build communities, interact with users, share content, and promote products
- Blogging platforms like Medium, Tumblr, WordPress, and on-site blogs for the publication of longform and keyword-optimized content (for SEO)
- Email and newsletters to reach users and customers directly, promote special offers, and provide support and help at different points in the customer journey
- Web-based advertising, search engine marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
2. How can you learn about digital marketing?
There are numerous routes into a career in digital marketing, predominantly involving either self-study, online courses, or degree courses–or a combination or all three! Let’s take a quick look at what these options involve and the pros and cons of each.
Self study is when an individual chooses to onboard the skills and knowledge of their chosen subject without the assistance of a teacher, tutor, or study group. Thanks to advances in technology, there are now numerous resources for digital marketing students which enable them to successfully learn the skills and expertise they need to land a job in the field.
If you’re attracted to the idea of self-study, you may find some of the following tips useful:
- Read popular digital marketing books such as Digital Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Approach to Online Marketing
- Read digital marketing blogs, such as The Moz Blog
- Watch videos on YouTube from experts, such as Neil Patel’s YouTube channel
- Follow social media influencers such as Gary Vaynerchuk
- Watch webinars in digital marketing, such as HootSuite’s webinars
Pros of self study:
- Low cost (often free)
- Manage your own learning
- Focus on your areas of interest
- Fit study around work and life
- Enjoy multiple learning methods
Cons of self study:
- Less structured than formal education
- Students must be very self-motivated
- No feedback or advice from teachers or experts
- No qualification or certification at the end
- Difficult to verify the quality of the learning resources
Online courses have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, due to their flexible study schedules and accessibility. An online course can range in duration from a few days to a few months depending on the detail of the curriculum on offer, with students frequently offered mentorship from skilled experts who also review projects and offer feedback.
While not all online courses offer certification, many of them do, in addition to helping students put together a portfolio of work ready for their first interviews.
Pros of an online course:
- Enjoy a flexible way to study
- Access your course from anywhere in the world
- Get feedback and guidance from industry experts
- Complete a portfolio and polish your resume, ready for the job market
- Have a certificate ready to show potential employers
- Learn from industry experts
Cons of an online course:
- Less of a social element to studying
- You’ll need some self-discipline to keep at it
- Less structure than an in-person course
- Although some online courses are free, the majority you need to pay for
Degrees in digital marketing are becoming increasingly available at higher education institutions and universities as growth and interest in the sector ramps up. Degree courses can be fully offline, fully online (or a hybrid of the two) but typically last at least three years, and are often undertaken full-time with periods of deep study expected from those participating.
With a strict curriculum, lectures, seminars, exams, and regular coursework, a degree is the most intensive option for those hoping to work in digital marketing, requiring a considerable amount of commitment and focus from students.
Pros of a degree course:
- Recognized qualification in digital marketing
- Demonstration of commitment to the career choice
- Intensive learning
- Some flexibility of learning styles
- Opportunity to meet like minded students
- Hands-on teaching and feedback
Cons of a degree course:
- Cost can be very high (at a four-year public college in the US, the average cost of attendance for a marketing degree is $10,560 for in-state students and $27,020 for out-of-state students)
- Less flexibility than other learning options
- Can be difficult to work and study
- Degree courses can be less up to date than online digital marketing courses
- Longer term commitment
3. What jobs can you get with a digital marketing qualification?
Now that we’ve covered how you can get a digital marketing qualification, it’s time to take a look at some of the different digital marketing jobs popular right now.
The content strategist is largely responsible for organizing, overseeing, and managing a strategy with different types of content–text, video, graphics, audio–that addresses key customer questions, while simultaneously meeting the needs of the business. Aligning user and business goals through the implementation of a compelling content strategy is a key element to the role.
The content strategist works closely with content producers such as copywriters, videographers, graphic designers, and podcast producers, writing detailed briefs for them to work from and delegating content production tasks to ensure that the strategy is implemented effectively.
Other responsibilities might include putting together content audits, analyzing and predicting content trends, managing freelance content creators, and performing competitor analyses to stay abreast of what direct competitors in the marketplace are publishing.
Top three skills of a content strategist:
- Long term planning
Copywriters have numerous responsibilities on the digital marketing team, with their primary concern is producing high-quality, engaging, user-focused text for promotional, marketing, educational, instructional, or advertising campaigns.
The copywriter needs to be skilled at producing copy that has different purposes; the team may need the text to persuade, inspire, entertain, educate, or inform a reader. However, irrespective of the purpose of the piece of content, the end goals of a digital marketing campaign are typically either to increase brand awareness or to sell a product.
Copywriters need to be highly adaptable as tasks and requests from team members will vary considerably throughout a typical week—or even a typical day! A copywriter might be writing banner taglines in the morning, optimizing landing pages after lunch, and producing a long form blog post to address common customer questions in the afternoon. You can learn more about copywriting in this blog post.
Top three skills of a copywriter:
- Excellent written skills and an eye for detail
- Research skills
- Adaptability and flexibility
Email marketing specialist
The email marketer or email marketing specialist seeks to target users directly in their mail boxes, and, with more than 300 billion emails being sent every single day (according to 2021 records), it comes as no surprise that brands are increasingly turning to email to level up their marketing strategies.
The email marketer’s role is largely strategy-based, though in a smaller organization they may be expected to produce the copy for the emails too. Typically, the email marketer will work with content producers, including copywriters, graphic designers, and videographers to create engaging and eye-catching emails that can stand out among the other emails in a user’s inbox and prompt a user to take action.
Before the email marketer delegates specific tasks to content creators, they will first focus on strategy: designing campaigns that complement the customer’s journey, or building email funnels which guide and nurture users as they make their way through different parts of the website.
Ultimately, the email marketing specialist hopes to prompt further engagement and commitment from user’s via their email campaigns and turn a small commitment–providing an email address–into a larger commitment such as making a purchase.
Top three skills of an email marketing specialist:
- Data analytics and testing skills
- Knowledge of automating lead nurturing and lifecycle emails ·
- Audience segmentation
As brands, organizations, and individuals continue to recognize the impact search engine optimization (SEO) has on conversion, brand authority, and sales, the prominence and importance of SEO specialists in the digital marketing team also continues to grow.
Search engine optimization is when content is created by a brand in direct response to queries which their target users are inputting into search engines. When this is done in a mindful and user-centric way, that content (and therefore the brand itself) appears high up on search engine results pages (SERPs). This is because search engine ‘crawlers’ recognize the value and relevance of this content to users.
As part of this process, the SEO specialist researches the keyword strings popular in their company’s industry, and uses that knowledge to inform blog posts, social media text, or website landing pages. The SEO specialist also stays abreast of updates to search engine algorithms, consumer search trends, and the keyword strings targeted by direct competitors.
Other elements of SEO include:
- Improving page loading times
- Optimizing metatext, URLs, headers and subheaders
- Maintaining or improving readability and quality of the text
Top three skills of an SEO specialist:
- Analytics skills
- Critical thinking
- Deep understanding of the human aspect of search
Read more: SEO specialist salary guide
Digital marketing analyst
A digital marketing analyst is considered primarily with:
- Tracking online marketing trends
- Analyzing site statistics
- Crafting or assisting in crafting strategy for digital marketing campaigns
- Monitoring the performance of campaigns
A large part of the role involves preparing and presenting reports of campaign results and creating visual representations of data for colleagues and management in order to demonstrate the findings of their analyses and provide insights.
The insights and learnings from a digital marketing analyst’s report are typically used by members of both the marketing and business development teams to inform future campaign decisions or larger product or business decisions.
The digital marketing analyst frequently acts as a bridge between business development and marketing teams and seeks to inform and align the goals of both teams based on their research and studies.
Top three skills of a digital marketing analyst:
- Data analysis
- Deep knowledge of customer relationship management (CRM)
- Communicating difficult concepts in an engaging and clear way
Further reading: What does a digital marketing analyst do?
4. Key takeaways and next steps
Thanks to advances in technology and education, there are now numerous ways by which you can learn digital marketing skills and get a digital marketing qualification to help you launch your career in this rewarding and varied field.
Before you decide on which learning route is right for you, consider first the following:
- What is your preferred learning style?
- Do you need a specific qualification for the role you want to pursue?
- Do you want to study part-time, full-time, online, or in-person?
- What is your study budget and time frame?
Once you’ve decided on how you want to learn, it’s time to ask yourself:
- Which skills do you already have which fit to a digital marketing role?
- Can you incorporate some digital marketing tasks into your current role?
- Which digital marketing role most appeals to you?
- Which digital marketing role most matches your current skill set or previous job?
When you’ve answered these questions, you should have a clearer idea of both the type of role you’d like to aim for in the field and the study method most effective for you in achieving a digital marketing qualification.
From here, or while you study, you can:
- Speak to digital marketing professionals to get career advice
- Find a mentor in the field
- Start putting together a portfolio, or blog your progress
- Try out different digital marketing tools
- Apply for an internship in a digital marketing team
We hope our rundown of digital marketing qualifications, study routes and roles, as well as these actionable steps to launch your new career, answer some of your most burning questions about pursuing a career in digital marketing.
For more information about this career choice and onboarding the skills you need to get started, why not try our free, 5-day course? Or, check out some of our other articles: