I’ve been doing digital marketing for over 8 years now, running an agency for around 5 years and teaching digital marketing for the past 4 years. In all these years, I’ve met hundreds of smart students, clients and professionals, and one question seems to always be a hot topic among them- “How can I become an expert at digital marketing or say SEO, Social Media, Advertising & Media Buying or Email Marketing and so on”. Another variant of this question also is – “How did you become an expert in digital marketing? What’s your secret?”
Let’s dive deeper into this conundrum and allow me to share my opinions!
FAQ: What is the best way to learn digital marketing & become an expert at it?
The usual answer: Take a course from Udemy/ Linkedin Learning/ a coaching institute or just YouTube!
My answer: I believe the only true way to learn digital is the old school ‘practise’.
Yes. It really doesn’t matter if you pick up a course or not, if you can pick up any one activity of your liking and keep practising it for real, your boat should sail through.
Let me give you a few examples, if you get excited when you see the social media posts by Zomato, Swiggy or Crossword Bookstores, you shouldn’t JUST do a course on social media. You should rather create a FB page, an Instagram handle and/or a Twitter handle and start aggregating great content! You can give due credits to the creators of content and see how you can build an audience for yourself that appreciates great social media content aggregated at one place. Of course, you can create your own content too, keep experimenting with hashtags, see what works and what doesn’t!
If you hear that SEO is an incredible result-oriented methodology, just go out there and build a quick blog for yourself on WordPress. Try and optimize the same for a few keywords. See how the ranks change for those keywords on Google’s result pages on a daily / weekly basis. Keep researching on ways to improve your rankings.
FAQ: I have never worked in an agency! How will I know about the processes or tools or best practices?
The usual answer: Take an internship, work for 3 months and then start your practise.
My answer: Honestly, don’t defer practise! There’s a good chance that you stumble upon great ways to generate results for brands by trying out things yourself without even starting an internship! In fact, after an internship, perhaps you’re going to have your thoughts boxed in one direction. Break free out of that!
FAQ: Does this mean a course doesn’t help?
The usual answer: It helps, it’s a must to build a career in digital marketing.
My answer: It helps, but it’s not a must, for sure. I’ve never done a course 🙂 All I did was I kept Googling and kept watching YouTube videos. Read free ebooks & blog articles. And of course, I practised. I did everything from building my own site to starting a FB page with really boring content, to aggregating content from other creators and what not. And it worked!
Honestly, the course will only help you to reduce your learning curve (I can argue this, but still for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume it does). It will be a way to focus on one topic at a time, with someone helping you with curated content so you don’t have to hover through multiple articles to understand a concept. Also, of course, psychologically speaking, once you pay, you’re bound to be more attentive in the session 🙂 For people with self control, self motivation and diligence, a course could be of no major use.
So, how do you become an expert in digital marketing?
Invest! Begin with time. Invest in reading, watching content that will help you learn.
Invest a bit of money too! Try buying the paid version of Flick to see how hashtags work, buy a domain & hosting tool to create a WordPress website, maybe try spending some money in FB ads to see how the dashboard looks, what results to expect and so on.
Invest a lot of energy too! Participate in conversations on Quora, FB groups, Linkedin and network with peers in the digital marketing space. Get to know their secrets and share yours too.
That’s that! Questions? Comment them on this post and I’ll personally reply to them.