I remember how I got into this space. A teenager, curious and with plenty of time trying his luck to establish himself as a blogger. Failed to understand how things work on the web, how things show up number one on search engines, how brands are ‘BRANDS’. I just wanted to make it large with digital marketing skills being alien to me, or it didn’t even exist for me.
I wanted everyone on the web to read my content which was too bad to even call a piece of content. Back then, I used search engines but never knew(or didn’t realize) how it works. I was using it blindly without giving it a thought of how I am being an element of this vast universe of digital marketing. I never knew in my wildest dreams that I’d be a marketer as I grow older, which as a kid, I thought was the worst & most helpless thing an educated person can do.
Off late, I’ve realized, we marketers run trillions of dollars from one business to another. We, marketers, run industries and keep it alive. I never knew the real power of digital marketing & marketing as a whole unless I got my hands dirty & head screwed, brainstormed & exhausted.
After years of my presence in this space, I have a realized certain skills I still need to work on and skills I think I have developed knowingly or unknowingly.
17 Digital Marketing Skills to be ‘WANTED’ in This Space
#17 Reading habits
I love sharing this story of my high school where I got second highest in Chemistry just by reading & digesting two volumes of the book of hardcore Chemistry. I was really a good reader back in the day of my high school that shaped a large, a very large part of who I am today.
Writing is a vital practice for digital marketers, at least now. Digital marketer is expected to prove self by reaching the masses. Their work is proof that they are worth every single penny.
Another thing I do is getting into a zone where I read some high-quality content of niche I’m about to write on. It gets me warmed up. Say I’m planning to write something on Email Marketing, I find some content that is of this space just before starting my work. Works like a charm, every single time. No Exceptions.
One more thing I’d like to bring your attention to is to read less than you plan to write. I’ve noticed this in so many top writers across the web. They read less than they produce. Sure, reading is a vital sign for making or breaking of a writer. But if you write less than you read, you are actually producing less than you consume. This clearly means a waste of knowledge.
Read lesser, think & write more.
#16 Know your weaknesses
This is quite generic, everyone should know their weaknesses. But how many actually accept it, let alone know it? I’ve been in that zone where I was excited to get into marketing projects & reach hundreds & thousands of people. But I lacked skills, I had weaknesses(I still have) I was in a need to harness the power of the internet to scale up.
After a lot of trial & error, I realized the mistakes of my digital marketing career & then the weaknesses.
As a digital marketer, you are expected to multi-task & manage multiple things, at least in the beginning you do. You’re supposed to manage blogs, create content for blogs, optimize it, then push that on social media, republish it, reach out to people to link back to your work, respond to social media interactions and what not.
A digital marketing professional is supposed to be a one-man army. I know that you will be underpaid for all these efforts, but that’s how it begins. That’s how heroes learn to fly.
#15 Identify your most productive hours
This is very very important. I’ve wasted months together to realize that I am doing it all wrong. I’ve tried so many combinations of working hours and finally, I have perfect working hours(sort of)
I used to wake up at 4 am to work on my blog posts, there were days where I could have just 2 hours of sleep and sometimes no sleep at all.
All I got was tired.
I have two set of productive hours. One is only in case of emergency, that’s midnight. Late night work has been a gem to my productivity. I’m highly productive and efficient when I work late at night, but I don’t recommend this. Your sleep is as important as your content. Late night is just in case of an emergency or when I cannot wait for the morning.
Second most productive hours is in the morning 8 to 12. I address the biggest chunk of task(s) for the day in this time slot.
Similarly, find the same for you too.
#14 Know your hardcore target audience
A target audience is like money in the pocket, they save your life when in need. As a digital marketing professional, it is the most basic thing to do.
Sure, you are a digital marketing professional, you actually don’t have any specific group of people as your audience. You should be able to reach anyone connected to the internet, that’s what you’re paid for.
But this is for the times when you’re working with the client(s). You should ask questions so that you know more and more about their target audience. Prepare a survey sheet and ask in every meeting you have with your client. If they don’t already know, conduct brainstorming sessions to dig up and cover this ground.
Furthermore, you should also have specific people you love to work with. Like in my case, it is the technology businesses I love to work with.
#13 Sow before you reap
This is a hard learned lesson.
Giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Alibaba and many more like these are a platform where people make money first and then the company earns it. Place your clients first, let them reap the benefits of your knowledge & digital marketing skills and then reap the benefits of their successful business.
Develop and habit & mentality where first, you give and then you should expect to get anything. This includes putting your personal goals under the business goals of your clients. Your goals are hidden inside theirs.
#12 Promote yourself as a brand
This has been the trend on search engines for quite a while now & social media is slowly adapting to it. Why do you think people search for Nike & Adidas shoes directly and why do Nike & Adidas shoes(& similar top brands) show up at the top of search results when people search for “running shoes”?
Take a wild guess.
Because Google wants its user to have “the best” experience of using their search engine and want them it using again. Imagine if some crappy non-brand search results show up at the top and people are disappointed by the running shoes they bought.
Who do you think people are gonna blame?
The running shoe brand? No!
It’s Google who’ll lose users.
First, establish yourself as an authoritative brand by participating in forums, adding value to the queries there, building viewership on Quora, medium & such high traffic platforms.
This way, you’ll bag way more deals than you would without doing this.
#11 Ability to create realistic goals & achieve it
This year I’m gonna hit my first 1000 email subscribers, not 10,000 not 100,000. Just 1000.
Sounds small, but is achievable. Scaling 10,000 and even 100,000 won’t be that tough. Just the first push is what takes most efforts.
I have a goal, plans to reach that goal and I’m executing the plan to reach the ‘next level’.
Scaling takes planning & execution, hence this is a skill of utmost importance.
#10 Work on your writing
Almost all digital marketing professionals are bloggers but not all bloggers are digital marketers.
I have a friend of mine, a great fashion photographer.
Shoots celebrities, kinda paparazzi. He loves to share his experience & knowledge of photography. But he doesn’t know how to reach to the masses, maybe he can bag new clients.
That’s why you should practice and work on your writing. I don’t want you to be grammar nazi and write a perfect piece that very few can understand.
Just simple & plain language that even your grandma can digest, would do.
You can practice it by answering questions on Quora or write on any topic you can think of on Medium. Real people will read your content and give real feedback. Digest it and build upon it.
#9 Utilize the power of storytelling
If you’ve made this far, I think I’m improving on this skill.
There’s a saying in the marketing industry, “Facts tell & stories sell”
Lately, I’ve realized this to be absolute truth.
Robert T Kiyosaki(author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) once said “I’m not too good at English, but I’m very good at selling” What does he sell? Stories!
I don’t encourage you to go to fairyland and bring all sort of imagination to your space. But I’m a big fan of experience. Because when your experience speaks, you have their attention.
While you create content for your blog or presentation, include your experience, package it as a nice storytelling session and sell it.
#8 Produce in volumes
The internet is running water of information. If you want to be heard, you will need to produce in bulk and distribute across various channels. You have emails, videos, photos & gifs, text, infographics, slides and what not. It’s upto your creativity & knowledge.
People are all over the internet, desperately looking for information. Your prospect clients are waiting for someone to solve their problems.
Your piece of work can do that, my work can do that.
With so many channels emerging, it was never easy to gain attention. If you are able to start creating content in volumes you are comfortable with, you’ll be most wanted digital marketing professional.
“Wow, this guy knows so much about cryptocurrency”, this is what I said when I saw this profile on Quora. That’s just one channel, I’m unaware if he’s active elsewhere.
The point is, grab attention from everywhere possible. This will take time, but it will work. If it doesn’t, you will learn.
#7 Time your content
As a digital marketing professional, it is very important to time your content. You should be able to analyze what type of content is needed for your audience. Of course, you should be creating every green content but the timing of that content matters a lot.
This needs understanding your audience, which you can learn from Google Analytics.
If most of your audience are beginners, sharing an advanced level of content for them would be a waste of time, at least for time being.
#6 Foresee the trends
The digital space is quickly changing, it changes before you can even realize. Who thought that the mobile industry would be the future of everything we have right now?
As a digital marketing professional, you should be able to foresee the trend changes. This comes with current knowledge & past experience.
Jeff Bezos did this when he was working on his website in his garage developing amazon. Two Ph.D. two students foresaw the importance of search engines and built Google.
Pull out & study the data, it will tell the future.
#5 Develop observational skills
This skill will be helpful for foreseeing the future. As digital marketing personnel, having good observational skills really pays off. Observe what your competitors are doing good & bad, observe what your target audience is looking for, observe the problems they are facing, observe how you can improve, observe bugs in tools you use, maybe develop a better and market it.
There’s plenty of room of improvement, the only question is, who’s gonna do that first. Your observational skills will prove to be the best thing that can happen to you.
Work on it.
#4 Use your emotions & psychology
Do you know what drives the most sales for any business?
Business owners, who know how to trigger emotions by using psychology brings the riches in abundance. Apple does it, Mercedes does it, McDonald’s does it, Nike, Adidas, Google, Facebook, you name it.
All brands have their own ways to trigger emotions inside of you and make them use their products.
How do you think you end up buying more food than you actually planned at McDonald’s? They trigger your emotions by offering you something you cannot refuse.
How about learning it for yourself?
This skill has led to all inventions, theories and everything you see around. The desire to know more about a particular thing has been the reason for human evolution. Content creators use this emotion to keep you glued to their content.
Sure, the content must be good. But they keep you hooked throughout by petting this emotion inside of you. You can use this to your advantage & keep your learning curve sliding up.
The more you know, the better digital marketing professional you become.
Don’t forget to share & give back to the community what’ve you’ve learned while being curious.
#2 Think how people think
This is something even I’m working on. Also, this skill is by far one of the most important skills a digital marketer is expected to have. If you cannot put yourself in boots of others, are you even a digital marketer? This space requires a lot of brain work as you have to change a lot of seats before you take a step.
As far as I’ve learned, the best way to think like anyone is to spend time with people you want to think like. Talk to them & ask questions that would trigger answer you are looking for.
If you & I master this, we’re halfway to be the best digital marketing professional among others.
#1 Create & execute plans
Saved the best & most important for last. If you’ve made this far, this one was for you.
Creating plans is easy, takes a couple of meetings & a brainstorming session. But it takes real efforts to execute it right & accelerate thereafter.
This is a skill that takes years of life. You master it and you never have to work again. All you do is execute plans, sit back, relax & see it yield results.
I know it’s not as easy as I’ve scribbled it, that’s why its most important skill a digital marketing professional, or any professional for that matter, can have. You have all 16 of above-mentioned skills but this one, you’re gonna land nowhere.
These skills are gems I found deep inside in a lot of professionals. Sharing these was sure a pleasure. I’m sure I’ve added value to your time and helped you visualize yourself as a better marketer with these skills.
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