It’s closing time
My quarter is coming to a close, and I want to take a second to reflect over my past few months. There are a few things that stand out. First of all, it is a lot harder to blog than I had originally thought. While the writing became easier as the quarter went on, it remained a challenge. When you make a post, there is a certain expectation. When you finish a post, you click the publish button and poof it appears on your blog. Think about that for a second. You are publishing something publically, with access to the entire online population instantly. While I could write an entire post on the amazing things technology let’s us do, I’d like to draw your attention to another side of it.
When you publish a blog post you are on your own. No editor, no publisher. You don’t have a legal department or a PR team to help if you make a mistake. When you post a blog, it better be ready for the world to see. It can be daunting. It can be paralyzing. If I learned anything this quarter though, I learned that it can be done.
I have never blogged before in large part because I was nervous about what people would think. I was right to be worried. I made a lot of mistakes. I even made a lot of grammatical and spelling errors in my posts. Every post I made I wished I could have done differently a week later. The great thing is though that nothing happened. The sky didn’t come crashing down. I made mistakes, and the only consequence is that I learned. I improved as I went. I grew as a writer and as a digital marketer.
Clearly, I still have a lot of room for improvement, but I took the first step, and for that I am satisfied.
What digital marketing magic did I learn?
The biggest trick was to forget what I already knew. I “knew” that Google Plus was a wasteland before I took this course. It turns out, I wasn’t just wrong, but I was dead wrong. As of today almost 1/3 of my views have come from Google Plus. In general, every online channel has its value. This can’t be overstated. I never even considered using StumbleUpon to gain traffic until another blogger posted about the success they had had. The first day I archived my posts with StumbleUpon I doubled my daily view record to 56.
So, to be successful with digital marketing you have to be constantly learning, constantly adapting. While this may seem vague and unhelpful, it is the most relevant tip I can give from my experience. The only way to get better is to try different things. Get creative, try something totally stupid. It just might work and you will definitely learn something.
To get a little less vague, here are the top skills every digital marketer should know. And yes, they are in order of importance:
- HTML – You don’t have to be a master coder, but you need to be able to get your hands dirty and make changes on your own.
- Social Media – Not just Facebook and Twitter, start by learning Google+ and go from there.
- SEO – As Google makes it harder to game the system, understanding real SEO tactics becomes increasingly valuable
- SEO & Social Media – No digital marketing works in isolation, but SEO and Social Media are especially intertwined. Make sure you understand how they work together (Hint: Google+).
- Inbound Marketing – Creating high priority traffic via relevant content and other Inbound techniques is extremely powerful.
Bonus Skills: Learn these skills and you will never fail to impress at a party (Disclaimer: don’t actually perform, or talk about these skills at a party)
- Database Marketing – Specifically SQL. Like with HTML, you don’t need to be a master, but knowing the basics can get you a long way.
- Future Trends – Mobile, Multi Screen, New Platforms (e.g. Xbox Dashboard)
That concludes my quick list of skills for a digital marketer. Are there other directions you can go? Absolutely, this is just ones man’s list, and don’t let it stop you from attaining your dream of working as a programmatic specialist! The big takeaway is that digital marketing is about doing. There are very few areas of digital marketing you can’t start messing around with on your own. Get experience!
Let’s take a look back at my 2014 “season” stats.
Player: Alex White
Team: DigiMark 2.3
So. There it is. Alex White came in at just over 300 views for the quarter. It is easy to see the trend of views during the course. It started off slow, than started gaining a little traction as I played around with Google+ in the week of April 14th. After locally peaking in the week of April 21st, things trailed off. This is where I started to lose my drive. I got overwhelmed with other class loads, and I spent less time blogging, and less time promoting my blog. It is frustrating, because if I could have maintained my momentum over April 28th-May 12th I would have been in really good shape!
The big spike happens during the week of May 19th. This is where I got back into things, I posted again, and I promoted on Twitter, Google+, and as I mentioned above, StumbleUpon. After I archived my posts on StumbleUpon I saw a huge bump. That combined with the new content, and other promotions made a huge difference. SumbleUpon actually accounted for more than have of my views during this week.
Unfortunately, I lost momentum again as the quarter came to a close, and that successful week ended up highlighting my success over the course of the quarter. Now one thing I do want to point out, is that I only posted my blog on my personal FB page once, at the very beginning of the quarter. It was in response to someone who was starting their own blog, and wanted some ideas. I got one view from Facebook all quarter. I am actually very proud of that fact. While Facebook is a great resource for Digital Marketers, I felt like it was disingenuous to use my friends as views for my blog. My goal was to learn how to market digitally, and while I didn’t excel, I also didn’t pad the stats. My numbers would have been better with a hundred or so views from my friends and family scattered in, but it seemed a lot like selling your daughter’s girl scout cookies around the office. Everyone who works for you kind of has to buy them, and it doesn’t mean your daughter learned anything about how to sell.
One last point:
I was really excited at the international audience I achieved. There may be some random bots in there (I’m looking at you Cyprus), but it was really cool to see the World Wide Web in Action. I got views from 13 different countries, and 4 different continents. Pretty impressive for a 3 month old blog. I mean I am 22 years old, and I’ve only been out of North America once! All in all it was a great quarter. I was nervous, I made mistakes, and a mere 7,583 words later, I learned a whole bunch. Until next time.