Digital marketing offers tremendous potential for creative individuals to let their imaginations soar. Wondering how to get a job in digital marketing? This career guide takes a look at your options and the degrees that may be best suited to your ambitions.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Everyone has a dream. For many people, that dream is to start their own business, author their own books or perhaps become a thought leader or self-help guru who goes on sold-out speaking tours. But those dreams don’t come true on their own, and that’s where digital marketers enter the picture.
Digital marketers provide the pathway for businesses to become successful and for personal brands to take flight. Digital marketing is like the fuel that drives capitalism forward, lets dreams become reality and creates new possibilities for businesses and consumers alike in all types of industries.
However, digital marketing isn’t important for just the private sector. Nonprofit organizations rely on digital marketers to encourage people to give to their cause and to spread their message. If you feel called to make a positive difference in the world, a career in digital marketing can help make that happen.
So, what exactly is digital marketing and what forms does it take? The field is quite broad, and there are several areas of specialization to choose from.
Essentially, digital marketing is the use of any type of digital platform to disseminate sales-related messages to consumers. You’ll find digital marketing in the following forms:
- Social media posts
- White papers
- Landing pages
- Corporate/nonprofit videos
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Digital marketers may also work on eBooks, webinars, downloadable reports and other manifestations of marketing. Essentially, digital marketing encompasses anything that has the intent to sell a product or service or promote a cause, provided that it’s found on a digital platform.
Many digital marketers are copywriters who create all of the text for marketing materials, whereas others focus on visual imagery or corporate film production. Still other marketers specialize in search engine optimization (SEO) strategies (see “SEO Specialist” below). As you can see, there is no single process for how to start a career in digital marketing, because there are many different possible paths.
How To Start a Career in Digital Marketing: Exploring Your Options
It isn’t always easy to choose a career path. If you’re still in high school, consider talking to your guidance counselor about relevant job shadowing or internship opportunities in your area. These can give you a better idea of which careers you might be best suited to.
Below, you’ll find some of the most common job titles and specializations in the digital marketing field. Remember that choosing one path to pursue doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be in that career for the rest of your working life. At some point, you may decide to transition to a different career in your field, such as becoming a social media specialist after having worked as a copywriter.
Social Media Specialist
As the job title suggests, a social media specialist is a type of marketer who develops, implements and tracks social media campaigns. Social media specialists post content that is intended to raise brand awareness, encourage consumers to connect with the brand and ultimately to drive sales.
More than any other type of digital marketer, social media specialists are focused on brand engagement. That is, they try to create opportunities for consumers to connect with the organization on some level, such as by responding to polls or leaving comments on posts.
Not all of the content shared on an organization’s social media channels needs to be overtly salesy. In fact, it’s often better if an organization’s social media posts are predominantly informational or entertaining. This is because social media users often ignore salesy marketing messages, but they often do respond well to humorous or enlightening posts.
Another career opportunity for graduates with a social media degree is the job of SEO specialist. However, SEO specialists aren’t limited to working only on social media campaigns.
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the practice of optimizing content so that it is more readily discoverable by ranking as high as possible in search engine results pages (SERPs). Content can be optimized through various SEO techniques, such as the use of keywords and internal/external links.
SEO specialists are responsible for doing the SEO research and passing on the findings to other digital marketers, such as copywriters and social media specialists. The SEO specialists may also optimize content that has already been written, or produce their own original copy.
Graphic design is a versatile career subfield. If you decide to earn a graphic design degree, you may find yourself developing websites for organizations. You could also design their corporate logos and work on other visual elements for their marketing collateral.
Many universities offer graphic design degree options. However, if you already know that you’d like to pursue a career in digital marketing, it’s a smart idea to pair this degree with marketing competencies. For instance, you may decide to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Graphic Design degree.
Video marketing is becoming increasingly important for all types of organizations. Companies use videos to show consumers how their products or services work. Nonprofits publish videos that urge people to give money or otherwise support their cause.
Healthcare organizations, such as public health agencies, may put out videos that alert people to the importance of getting screened for medical conditions. There can even be opportunities for video producers in the public sector, as government agencies may need to develop onboarding videos for new staff members, training videos for their current staff and knowledge-based videos to inform the public of important policies or procedures.
The possibilities are virtually endless in this subfield. It can be the perfect career to pursue for someone who is passionate about film, yet wary of trying to make a name for themselves in Hollywood. If this career appeals to you, look for a degree such as the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Production program.
There is some overlap between the roles of web designer and graphic designer. However, whereas a graphic designer may work on anything from websites to corporate logos to brochures, a web designer works on websites and other digital platforms such as apps, blogs and interactive online displays. Web designers can create websites and other digital presence for major corporations, mom-and-pop shops, nonprofit organizations, museums and any other type of organization.
If you enjoy designing webpages, look for a degree such as the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design with an Emphasis in Web Design program. Compared to a graphic design degree, this web design degree is more sharply focused on the technical and aesthetic aspects of webpage development.
This job is among the most versatile in the digital marketing field. A copywriter is responsible for writing all of the copy (text with the intent to sell) for any type of marketing material. This includes webpages, blogs, video scripts, eBooks and pay-per-click ads. Copywriters need to be creative individuals, but they also need to be attuned to SEO requirements and to the unique preferences of individual clients.
There are a few degree options for aspiring copywriters to choose from. For instance, you might opt for a degree in communications or marketing and advertising. Another option is a degree in professional writing, ideally with a focus on new media.
How To Get a Job in Digital Marketing: Tips for Success
Beyond internships, the tips for how to start a career in digital marketing can vary depending on the specific career you want to pursue. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to become a web designer. You’ll want to build at least one exceptional-looking website that you can show to potential employers as proof of your skills and design aesthetic.
Similarly, if you want to become a social media specialist, you’ll need to get active on all of the major social media platforms, including Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Create professional-looking social media pages for yourself, and be sure to avoid sharing anything potentially controversial.
The content you do share on social media could relate to your professional or personal interests. For example, you might share content on maintaining a container garden or using social media to market a small business. When potential employers look at your profiles, they simply want to know that you’re fully literate with all of those social media platforms.
Similarly, aspiring copywriters and film producers could build a portfolio of work to show employers. Write video scripts (film producers) or webpages (copywriters) for fictitious companies to showcase your skills.
Another tip for successfully landing your first digital marketing job is to pursue voluntary certifications. There are many certification options offered by a variety of organizations. Many of them are either low-cost or free, and they can complement your degree nicely.
When you join the Christian learning community at Grand Canyon University, you can choose from an array of modern degree programs that will prepare you to pursue a rewarding career in digital marketing. Some of our Arts and Media degrees that are relevant to this field include the following: Bachelor of Arts in Social Media, Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Graphic Design, Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an Emphasis in Production and the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design with an Emphasis in Web Design.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.