Over Chinese New Year, I returned to KL to meet up with friends and old colleagues for the festivities. One question that kept popping up was, “So, what do you do now?”
That prompts me to go into a long spiel about how I’m working in digital marketing in Singapore.
The next question would always be something like, “What is digital marketing exactly? Like what do you do in digital marketing?”
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing encompasses a whole host of different products and services that cater to helping businesses get the most out of their online presence. It pairs traditional marketing techniques with technology and data.
I won’t go into too much detail about it because chances are most of you already have an inkling of the industry if you have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account.
How to Become a Digital Marketer?
This industry is unique and always changing. Because our world is becoming increasingly smaller and more connected, businesses are always on the lookout for people and resources to help with their digital marketing.
I’ll let you in on a secret.
If you’re able to learn, develop and master just ONE digital marketing skill. You’ll be able to use that skill to help you generate some good side-income. Yes, you heard that right, just ONE skill.
Of course, the caveat here is you have to know how to utilize that unique digital marketing skill along with other skills you’ve learned to maximizes your value.
To make yourself stand out, it’s not enough to just coast on that niche skill. You can spend so much time mastering a unique skill but there’s a bunch of people out there competing with you both in terms of price and quality of work.
So, it will work in your favor to incorporate things like good time management, interpersonal skills, good work ethic and most importantly, constantly keeping up-to-date with the latest changes in the field.
Okay, Enough Talk. Tell Me What Skills I Need To Learn.
I’m going to focus on a few key areas that give you an edge when you want to pursue digital marketing as a side-hustle.
1. Copywriting and Blogging
The most sought after and competitive job in the digital marketing space is copywriting and blogging. This can range from writing a copy for a website, landing page, email newsletter, blog posts, articles and so on.
Many businesses take writing for granted. People think that having a good grasp of a language is enough for someone to write well. As we know, this isn’t true. The quality of a copy comes down to not just good grammar but also creativity and the effectiveness of the message.
Here are some great copywriting examples highlighted on HubSpot’s blog.
You should also be able to adapt your writing style to suit the business. If the target audience is novice investors, do you still use industry jargon to get your message across?
One way to position yourself as a good copywriter is to become an expert in a niche topic. For instance, I write about finance and investing. I choose to focus my time and energy on knowing the ins and outs of the finance industry. It makes sense to market myself as a finance writer because I know what I am talking about.
- Skills Needed: Able to write well.
- Added Advantage: Well-versed in translating content or writing in other languages. Knowledge and expertise in a certain industry.
2. Search Engine Optimizer
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important aspect of online marketing. As an SEO specialist, you know exactly what needs to be done to a company’s website to improve in its page ranking on a search engine. In other words, how to be the No. 1 result when people type a keyword on Google.
An SEO specialist doesn’t create content or write. However, a copywriter can have SEO skills. As Google’s algorithm learns about search behaviors and crawls websites for search terms and relevant content, the role of an SEO specialist becomes increasingly valuable.
It takes a certain finesse to know what keywords and links you need to use and how to structure a website’s content in order to get a better ranking. If you’re able to harness this skill, there’s plenty of opportunities to work with marketing agencies and businesses to enhance their online presence.
Psst, here’s a quick SEO audit you can perform for your site.
- Skills Needed: Knowledge of SEO and how Google’s (or other search engines) search algorithm works.
- Added Advantage: Have content creation and copywriting skills. Able to analyze website data to pick out what changes need to made to its content without affecting the overall brand messaging.
3. Social Media Manager
This one is a no-brainer. Most small businesses don’t have the resources to keep an active and consistent social media feed. Heck, even I am struggling to keep a social media presence right now.
Someone’s gotta post stuff on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and so on. This is where a social media manager comes in handy. The job isn’t as easy as it sounds. How hard can it be to post on Facebook, you say? Well, are you able to come up with two or more posts a day aligned with the company’s image and social media goals? What creative formats does the business have that you can work with? Does the business want original social media content or re-posting articles and videos?
You need to take into consideration how much leeway a business gives you to manage their social content. On top of it, some businesses want you to create content that can go “viral”. You may even have to handle replies, direct messages, comments, and PR debacles that go viral on these social media platforms. It’s time-consuming work that a lot of businesses outsource to marketing agencies and freelancers. So, this is a good way to start raking in some extra cash.
Furthermore, if you’re well-versed on what works on each platform, you can really position yourself as a skilled social media manager. For example, knowing how followers engage differently on Facebook versus Twitter helps you craft more effective content on both platforms.
A recent example of quality social media posting I’ve come across is Scoot’s Facebook page. The messaging is always on brand and notice the style of language they use as well. Also, notice the difference between Scoot’s LinkedIn content as well.
- Skills Needed: Ability to come up with high-quality social media content easily and consistently. Savvy with the different social media platforms (knowing things like content delivery, audience engagement and behavior, analytics, and so on).
- Added Advantage: If you’re able to provide visual content such as photography and video as well, you’re able to market yourself as a full-stack social media manager.
4. Facebook/ Google/ LinkedIn/ Youtube Marketing Specialist
This category is specifically for paid advertising content on all the platforms mentioned in the header.
At my current job, I am trained specifically for Facebook advertising and marketing. How is being a platform marketing specialist different from a social media manager? A platform marketing specialist helps business create effective digital ads while a social media manager creates consistent, organic social media content. There’s a huge difference in approach between these two.
Learning how to create ads, target different audiences, understanding online purchasing patterns, knowing funnel strategies and how to optimize those ads for companies is a crucial marketable skill right now. For example, there’s a potential to carve out a space for yourself on LinkedIn right now. The type of content that works on LinkedIn doesn’t work as well on Facebook or Instagram.
I see a huge space for LinkedIn marketing that is quickly rising to compete with other digital giants.
Neil Patel is a renown digital marketing blog that provides a lot of tips about digital marketing and paid advertising. You can check his website here.
- Skills Needed: Knowledge of how ads work on a platform, able to strategize content and advertising with a set budget.
- Added Advantage: Able to read and understand metrics such as CPC, CPM, CTR, understand the consumer behavior of the industry or business that you’re working with, social media management and content creation can go well with this specific niche.
5. Social Media Influencer
Or if you want to be atas a bit, thought leader or key opinion leader.
Among all of the above digital marketing jobs, being an influencer is the most visible, competitive and exhausting job of all. You need an uncanny ability to create engaging content, get people to buy into your image, and work with brands that resonate with your own personal brand.
As an influencer, you are the social media manager, creative director, content creator, salesperson, strategist, and marketing analyst all wrapped up in a neat Instagram post.
Most influencers take a long time build a strong organic following. It isn’t glamorous work by any means but it’s a good way to start building up alternative income streams. If you have something to say or you want to give voice to an issue that needs attention or you consistently post things on social media anyway, this is a right fit for you.
Check out this article on how to make money being an Instagram influencer.
- Skills Needed: Able to come up with creative, engaging social media content consistently.
- Added Advantage:
Have a personality or good looks or both.If you’re an expert in a specific niche, you can create personalized content for that subject matter.
The possibilities of working in the digital space are endless. Businesses need content strategists, web designers, UX/UI designers, photographers, videographers, data analysts and market researchers among the other skills mentioned above. That’s why I say learning one skill is enough to help you.
There’s a word corporations like to use. It’s called “synergy”. If you’re a jack of all trades, accumulating a bit of skill in each role, that might help get you a full-time position in digital marketing. However, if you want to just earn a side income, you should focus on one area. Really dig deep to understand your work, being an expert in one field trumps being a know-it-all.
Put yourself out there, show people what you can do, test out your newly developed digital marketing skills by creating your own content and offer your services to people. Over time, you’ll sharpen your skills and build credibility. Eventually, you can progressively earn more income from it.