This article was written by:
Matt Daigle, Digital Marketing Analyst.
I was an electrician, a blue-collar tradesman. Now, I’m a digital marketing specialist. As someone that successfully transitioned from the trades to marketing, I had an interesting employment background that allows me to excel in my new role. So, to help others like myself, I wanted to share how to get a job in digital marketing.
First, although I worked in the trades, my passion revolved around marketing. I had some experience through a few digital marketing internships. I had a business degree with MBA aspirations. In my mind I knew exactly what I was up against. Digital marketing changes daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Plus, digital marketing is complex, it is more than SEO or SEM or social media. For example, once sly SEO professionals begin to understand how to game Google’s search algorithm, things get turned on their head and the system gets changed. Google is always reexamining how to crawl web pages. I had an idea of that, but boy had things changed since I last fired up WordPress and plugged my keywords into Yoast. It was time to buckle down and quickly come up to speed on best practices. I’m getting caught up to speed on the best practices, which will make it easier for others to find and succeed at their digital marketing positions.
SEO Goes Far Beyond Simply Writing Blogs
We needed to ride through this pandemic and come on better on the other end in terms of our search rankings and online presence. That is why I was brought in for, and what my job position entailed. It all started with creating a multifaceted approach that went beyond simply blogging. Now that I’ve been on the job for some time and I’m starting to come up for air to catch my breath, I’m sharing my journey into the digital marketing experience. After lots of work, I am starting to see progress in the form of lead generation and overall site reach and engagement. The SEO world certainly changed over the years, but the signs of success are still the same. Now, it’s more about connections than spammy tactics.
Gone are the days of keyword spamming in white font in the background of a webpage. To the outsider, SEO seems easy. Add a few keywords that you want to rank for on Google throughout your web page and you’ll be number 1 in no time flat. How difficult could SEO and digital marketing really be?
Like I said, going into this, I thought I had a pretty solid understanding of SEO and its best practices. I would write a few blogs here and there with some keywords that were provided to me and life would be good. Sure there are best practices involved like:
- write more than 300 words
- keep your keyword usage to around 1-2% of words
- create proper formatting
- add title tags and meta descriptions
However, SEO goes so much beyond simply writing blogs. Keyword searching, identification, and planning is slow and difficult…but fun. For example, it can take hours just to find one high value keyword. I began to do deep dives into competitors keyword usage and compared it to our own work. I was able to identify high value search terms that our customers were using daily that I may not have been able to identify. This form of auditing is long and arduous, but like every other approach to SEO, it’s all about how well you play the game. While just the beginning of the process, you get what you put in and what you measure. For those looking to transition, it is important to understand the granularity of SEO work and level of detail required for success.
By acing this step, I was able to set myself up for success at every other best practice step down the road. Therefore, this was the most rewarding part. I put on a nice long podcast and typed for hours on end to determine where we were at and how we could proceed to better that.
Off Page SEO and How to Find a Job in Digital Marketing
While on-page SEO is labor-intensive, it is relatively straight forward. Off-page SEO requires a more bootstrapping mentality. Additionally, in order to find a job in digital marketing, you need to know about certain tactical approaches to find adequate and continued success. As previously stated, SEO is never done, nor does it ever sleep. There are always ways to better your rankings and off-page tactics are important to overall success. I had thought SEO was limited to on-page tactics and the quality of your blogs and posts would generate posts on other sites. SEO is a game, and every digital marketer is playing it at one point or another. As a result, I learned about backlinks.
Backlinks are crucial to SEO campaign success as they show trustworthiness to a search engine. If a site has a multitude of backlinks, it shows the search engines that the information provided is innately valuable and therefore should be viewed as trusted within the particular niche or community. For all intents and purposes, backlinks come in two varieties, dofollow and nofollow. We are primarily focused on dofollow as those are the backlinks that positively affect search ranking.
Backlinks are critical to our SEO success and I have identified several areas that I use almost daily to search for and try to secure these links. These two approaches consist of free or low-cost business directories as well as guest post opportunities. Due to the fact that my industry (roofing) is so small, expecting to generate backlinks through citations and goodwill posts is rare. This may work in other industries; however, it is not an avenue I spend much time focusing on. Although business directories are easy ways to generate backlinks, I have found from experience that they can be DIFFICULT to find once you go beyond the easily searched ones on Google.
As a result, I quickly learned that finding quality backlinks is an area that separates a good SEO campaign from a great one. Finding and utilizing these obscure directories add backlinks and domain authority to search rankings. I understand that this may be a lot of information to take in at once, it is definitely not something I learned overnight or in a month. There are plenty of online resources that can help cement the information provided here. Simply put, SEO is not easy, nor is it fast. Once you have immersed yourself in the process it can be fun, rewarding, and a fantastic learning experience.
You’re beginning to wonder, how much can be written about SEO at this point? The answer is…A Lot. There are so many different facets to SEO that I have learned about since starting my new role. Every SEO approach should be tailored to your particular organization as not every piece presented here will work. For small businesses, local SEO and reviews are paramount to overall success. Reviews not only help with SEO and showing Google your site is trustworthy, they also show potential customers that you are trustworthy as well!
As a result, it is wise to develop a review generation plan or campaign for your small business as it can pay dividends to future success for many different reasons. It is no secret that Google is the main player for search engines and therefore that should be where you focus your review generation. Much like the rest of SEO, this is a labor-intensive process. So, you shouldn’t count on every customer or even a majority of customers to leave reviews. It can definitely be soul-sucking with one or two here and there, but in the eye, they all pay off. Similarly, in terms of local SEO, local business directories help and the golden goose for digital marketers is definitely Google My Business (GMB).
First of all, GMB is FREE! The fact that something so powerful for your business is also free shows that it should be one of the first steps a digital marker takes when optimizing SEO for their particular organization. Blogs upon blogs can be written about GMB, but start with Google’s own in house blogs to see how they recommend you approach it. To reiterate for the millionth time, SEO is hard. It is so easy to get discouraged when you aren’t noticing any immediate changes. I promise, they will come. I have been there, and I know the soul suck that comes with it. Follow best practices and play the game, it is all worth it in the end. So, for those seeking to transition into digital marketing, familiarize yourself with these tactics and be armed with GMB knowledge.
Social Media is Not All About Influencers
From the outside, social media seems like an easy topic to tackle for any digital marketer. One just has to use some catchy phrase or keyword coupled with an eye-catching pictures to draw attention and attract likes, right? While this might work for a high recognition brand, small businesses need to climb into the trenches to best leverage social media for their particular brand’s identified efforts. For smaller, local, brands, social media is all about facilitating discussion and creating loyalty and recognition within the local community. This is a labor-intensive approach that requires constant monitoring and engagement across a wide variety of different local pages. These pages range from local non-profits, to restaurants; essentially if your potential customer follows these pages it is wise to create engagement and foster relationships with them.
The point of this “local social” approach is to show both current and potential customers that you involved and trusted within the community. In this case, efforts can range from simple likes to show the brand you’re there and cultivate a relationship that way, to sharing posts or local events. This effectively brings eyes to your brand or organization increasing your potential reach. Have fun with this process. Remember that unless you are an e-commerce brand, social is about driving awareness, not revenue. However, similar to the company blog, social media is where a digital marketer creates a voice for their organization and sets the tone. Social media establishes authenticity for the brand. Be funny, be authoritative on your subject matter, and above all else, be a voice for your community. If you want to create trustworthiness for your brand, this is the place to do it.
How to Get a Job in Digital Marketing: The Wrap Up
This journey is far from over, and just like everything in life, SEO and marketing at a whole is an ever-changing beast. A good marker is able to not only adapt daily but is constantly learning. I have gained a myriad of marketing knowledge in a short period of time from sites like Moz and Hubspot while also learning from my mistakes. I know there is still so much to learn and I am excited to engage in the process. With such an all-encompassing job, it can often feel like I am on a so-called marketing island. The process is often slow, difficult, and labor-intensive; however, at the end of the day there is a large amount of pride to seeing certain projects not only come to fruition but also show positive net gains.
But, and this is important, you can transition into digital marketing. Learn from my journey and educate yourself about the tactical approach to SEO. In the end, you’ll learn a lot and continue to be an asset to your current or future employer.