Aug 18, 2015

How to Progress Your Digital Marketing Career & Find Your Happy Path

by Digital Marketing Institute

As a digital marketer you’re hot property. So now’s the time to make a plan to take your career to the next level. Do you know how many opportunities you really have? You can start your own business, move quickly through the digital marketing ranks, go freelance, craft your own agency, start your own blog or vlog – anything you dream of really.

Yes, sometimes you can forget how lucky you are to work in an industry buzzing with so much potential – great people, endless jobs and a huge demand for the very skills you possess. But the question remains: are you going to rely on good luck and other people? Or are you, my friend, going to carve your own career path?

Stop blindly following everyone else. Instead, create your own digital marketing career plan…

1. Define Your Digital Marketing Career Needs:

Define Your Digital Marketing Career Needs | How to Progress Your Digital Marketing Career & Find Your Happy Path

Yes, life is mental. And people are too. Days are long and sometimes things that don’t matter can take over. That’s when you have to take time out and take stock of the values that make you smile and keep you motivated. Ask yourself the following questions regularly: What are your digital marketing career needs? Are you getting what you want from your career? Are you happy and motivated or drained and overly stressed?

It’s important to place yourself in the right head space to define what’s really important to you for your digital marketing career. So forget other people and their needs, opinions and niggling voices and set aside a weekend to think by yourself. Your voice is the only one you should hear as you plan your next digital marketing career step.

Step 1: Get Your Career Priorities Straight:

Rank your career needs under the following criteria in order of what’s most important to you (of course feel free to add your own if we’ve forgotten any needs that particularly resonate with you):

  • Training & Education – I need to continuously learn new skills to stay excited.
  • Progression – I want to work somewhere I can progress my career.
  • Culture – I’d love to work in a positive environment where I can make friends.
  • Money – I can’t deny that money is an important motivator for me.
  • Location – I’d love to walk to work or live in the city centre, for example.
  • Values – I need to believe wholeheartedly in my company’s vision and the product/service I’m marketing.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Career Potential.

Okay, now take that same list and assess your current career situation under the same criteria. Ask yourself how your current role is meeting your needs in the following areas…

  • Training & Education – Does your role allow for continuous learning?
  • Progression – Is there potential for you to move up the career ladder in your current company?
  • Culture – Is the culture a good fit for your personality?
  • Money – Are you earning enough money or do you want/need more?
  • Location – Do you have to endure a lengthy commute to work every day?
  • Values – Do you wholeheartedly believe in the company’s vision and are you happy to market this product/service?

Now that you’ve completed the two exercises above you should have developed a clearer picture for both where you’re at and where you want to be in your digital marketing career. Your next step is to define your digital marketing career mission.

2. Define Your Digital Marketing Career Mission

Define Your Digital Marketing Career Mission | How to Progress Your Digital Marketing Career & Find Your Happy Path

What does your ideal career look like to you? That’s what you need to figure out before you write your digital marketing career mission. Your career mission should encompass who and what you want to be. Make a list of your digital marketing career heroes (those influencers, bloggers and business owners you admire) and take note of which parts of their career you would like for yourself. Do you want to start your own blog, for example? Do you wish you had the guts to become a digital marketing entrepreneur?

Top Tip: If you’re the planning type and would like to take it one step further you can make a list of the steps you plan to take to make sure your career mission gets met.

Your Career Mission Template:

Now it’s time to create a career mission template (this can be a one line, a paragraph or a few lines – whatever suits you best) that helps you define what you want from your career. You can use the following template to help get you started:

  • I want to help the world by (insert your business or blog idea or particular skill you want to use).
  • I’ll get there by (insert the great thing you’re going to do to help you get there – e.g. creating a business, starting a blog or mastering Google Analytics).
  • I want to be (insert the kind of person you want to be).
  • Ultimately I’d love to achieve (insert your ultimate career mission – eg. make money from my blog, become a Digital Marketing Director of a well-known company, etc.)

3. Find an Industry Mentor:

Find an Industry Mentor | How to Progress Your Digital Marketing Career & Find Your Happy Path

Whether it’s a boss, a previous boss or someone influential in your industry you admire, you need a digital marketing mentor. It should be someone you admire, respect and – let’s face it – kind of want to be. A good tip is to choose someone already in the role you want for yourself.

People love doing favours for other people but remember you’ll need to provide value for your mentor – can you help them with your website in return for their advice, for example? Remember to always keep your mentor clued into your digital marketing success and don’t forget to show gratitude.

4. Befriend Ambitious People:

Befriend Ambitious People | How to Progress Your Digital Marketing Career & Find Your Happy Path

Never underestimate the power of people…ambitiousness can be infectious (in a good way). You are the sum of the 5 people you hang around with most according to motivational speaker, Jim Rohn – so wouldn’t it be cool if one of those people were super successful and crazy ambitious?

People who are ambitious about their digital marketing career are more likely to support you emotionally and give you practical tips to help you achieve your goals. They will also be better placed to understand and empathise with your struggles and – hey – they’ll understand how awesome it is that you got a blog post published on Moz or that people are raving about your new article in the community.

How to Find Ambitious & Successful Digital Marketing People:

Your Workplace – Are there any particularly ambitious people working with you? Someone who is starting their own digital marketing business, for example? The excitement that your colleagues have for their own side projects and businesses can be super infectious. Offer to buy an ambitious colleague a coffee and to help out when one of their projects. You’ll benefit from seeing your own enthusiasm for the industry soar.

Networking Events – Networking events are, of course, a hotbed for digital marketing talent. You’ll find plenty of ambitious, like-minded people at these events. Make sure you come armed with a smile, your business card and your personal digital marketing career mission. Again a powerful way to make friends with ambitious people is to offer to help them with their career, their blog or their business.

Through Twitter –I’ve heard plenty of stories of people meeting their digital marketing business partners, mentors or future colleagues through Twitter so give it a go and start talking to people you respect and admire online. Oh and don’t forget about LinkedIn and relevant content communities – you can make friends through participating in group discussions on, for example.

4. Build Your Personal Brand

Build Your Personal Brand | How to Progress Your Digital Marketing Career & Find Your Happy Path

Now that you have some digital marketing experience under your belt you can set about building your personal brand. This involves two phases – 1. Equipping yourself with the skills and experience needed to become an expert in your field and 2. Showcasing that expertise and honing your personal brand.

Think: Who am I professionally and who do I want to be? How do I want to be seen and what do I want to be known for? How can I help people?

Then follow the steps outlined in this blog post: ‘Create an Unstoppable Personal Online Brand’ It will help you define and build a better ‘brand you’ so you can become influential and super hireable in the digital marketing sphere.

5. Never Stop Learning:

Never Stop Learning | How to Progress Your Digital Marketing Career & Find Your Happy Path

In a digital marketing world that moves at lightning speed knowledge is power. Although it is important to specialise in and master a digital marketing discipline like content marketing or SEO, there a variety of other skills that can help you propel your digital marketing career forward. Hopefully, your boss or industry mentor will teach you lots of useful tips. However, sometimes the best learning comes in the form of what we teach ourselves…

To ensure your skills stay up to date read the most popular digital marketing blogs, especially those written for your digital marketing specialist discipline. You should also follow your favourite industry influencers on Twitter who will share their experiences, advice and best practice tips to help you progress your own career. Start your own blog and share your content to help you learn how to increase traffic to a website, distribute content effectively and increase your subscriber database.

Check Out This Blog Post That Shows You Where to Go to Learn:

7 Epic Inbound Marketing Resources Every Business Can Learn From

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