A 2018 Digital Marketing Career in a Nutshell [Beginner’s Guide]

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Digital Marketing Career

Choosing a digital marketing career is a becoming popular for many people these days. When you start looking into this arena as a possible career path, you’ll see pictures of exotic locations, working at coffee shops in Bali, and the allure of the 4-hour work week. The “gurus” of the industry might tell you that you can set up your life in a weekend or just 90 days, but for most, it’s not that simple.

Despite what these “experts” say, a digital marketing career is hard work, but the laptop lifestyle is very possible if you do the work up front to set yourself up.

For more ambitious people, you might see a path towards creating an empire on social media and living on your own terms. The most aggressive brand builders like Tai Lopez or Gary Vaynerchuk, building their personal brand is part of their daily lives. It’s not uncommon to see these entrepreneurs posting for 18 hours a day on Snapchat. Some of those posts are created in advance and scheduled with automation tools, like Buffer. They also do a large amount of impromptu posting with videos and Twitter posts.

If you think I’m a fan of this business model, I am, whether you choose to be a freelancer or an agency. It’s not as easy as some marketers would have you think, but if you look into the facts of the industry and use common sense, you can supplement your income if you’re already working and eventually create the organization of your dreams. The best part is that all of this can be done without a college education.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing Career

Digital marketing is a general term for a variety of marketing techniques. If you’re choosing a digital marketing career, it’s best to become a master at least one of the different versions of this industry.

Digital marketing skills are in extreme demand these days. Here is a list of some of the many techniques you can learn and specialize in the get your career moving in 2018…

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization or a.k.a. SEO is a widely known digital marketing career. It involves creating a link from search engines to your specific site. Considering Google is the most popular search engine, all SEO is geared towards optimizing for that particular website. Your job is making sure the website is properly formatted, to keep the website on the first page of Google.


Copywriting is writing with the intent of making the reader perform some kind of action after they finish. This means if you want your reader to subscribe to your email list, make a purchase, follow you, or even like your post you need a well-written and persuasive group of sentences to get them to do it.

Copywriting is a very challenging part of marketing, and it should never be overlooked. Being persuasive in writing takes time and practice to master, so if you’re considering to become a copywriter you should prepare yourself for a ton of work. However, copywriters are some of the most rewarded digital marketers in the world today.


Most people these days are familiar with what blogging is. However, most people still don’t realize how important it is in digital marketing strategy. A good blog can bring almost any company 3-4 extra leads per month within a few months and create long-lasting trust-filled relationships with each customer that comes to your website.

Content Marketing

Blogging is an extension of content marketing, which also includes whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, reports, etc. Content is what solidifies the relationship before and during the sales cycle with your clients. On average, it takes 4-5 pieces of content before a customer enters the sales cycle. If your content doesn’t provide enough curiosity or provide enough value your customers won’t even bother talking to you.

Bad content will alienate your customers from your brand. Good to fantastic content will expand your brand while you sleep. Any business that is serious about digital marketing needs to include content marketing strategy to stay relevant in the minds of their customers.

Ad Management

Virtually every social media platform has an ad function these days. Becoming an ad specialist is one of the most sought-after skills for digital marketing today.

Ad management does take a high degree of skill, but so do all the skills on this list. The trick is getting results quickly. If you can create or hire someone to create a profitable campaign for you in short-order your services can make millions of dollars for the right customer.

Social Media Management

Digital Marketing Career Social Media Manager

Most companies agree having a social media presence is important for business, but lack the skills or consistency to make it a viable money-making solution. Social media management as a digital marketing career is now in high demand.

Most companies don’t know the benefit of monetizing social media. They think about it like a novelty and something they should do because everyone else is doing it. If you crack the code of making money with social media, you can sell that strategy as a service at a premium to your customers.

If you’re Facebook junkie or love building your following and conversing with your fans on Instagram then start pitching your services immediately to big companies. They will pay you to make content for them so they don’t have to. The best part is they will pay you anywhere from $1,000 – $10,000 per month depending on your experience and track record.


Many people confuse branding with graphic design, but having a great branding specialist on your team will bring all your marketing and product design together. Branding is what powers your marketing efforts of all larger companies today.

Every good brand has a branding expert. Without branding, your ads, website, brochures, etc. will all look different. Branding creates continuity and continuity creates trust with potential clients.

Should You Go to School for Digital Marketing?

A digital marketing career does not require a college degree in any field. Corporate marketers know how quickly the digital trends change and your competency is your resume.

Schools move too slow to keep up with what works and what doesn’t. The best school you can attend is to read, watch and apply what other successful marketers are doing. Most digital marketers have a blog, YouTube, or are active on social media. The information they give freely plus the experience you gain by applying what you learn will teach you everything you need to know.

To Specialize or Not To Specialize?

One of the worst things you can do, at the beginning of your digital marketing career, is to be a jack-of-all-trades. Your customers, before they hire you, will want to see a level of competency for their most pressing needs.

If you say you can do everything, you have to have the portfolio to back it up. Then you might struggle to get the clients you want and the price you need to do your best work. Specialists typically do the best, unless you’re an agency that has an organization of specialists.

Freelancer or Agency

Digital Marketing Career Freelancer or Agency

A freelancing digital marketer is how everyone typically starts on this career path. Mastering at least one of the skills mentioned above is where you start. On your journey, you will meet other marketers with different skills. Partnering with those marketers or outsourcing what you don’t know will allow you to take the next step and create an agency.

Pro and Cons of Being a Freelancer

Many people stay as a freelancer, because of the freedom associated with it. The downside is you are all alone. It’s difficult to create all the products, handle all the customer service, sell the business and do the work necessary to keep the business thriving.

Pro and Cons of Being an Agency

Digital marketing agencies also create a great deal of freedom, but you are now the manager of employees. Those employees have needs. If you’re not comfortable being a manager then having an agency may not be for you.

How do you choose?

Making a decision on which path to take in your digital marketing career is daunting, to say the least. This industry is full of opinions. Who you listen to will greatly affect how you think about your career path.

The truth is there are millionaires in every field of digital marketing. The key is to stay the course and become an influencer.

A Digital Marketing Career is Always Evolving

The face of digital marketing changes virtually every six months. Those changes create an enormous amount of opportunities for ambitious individuals.

Right now there is a convergence happening. Companies are in need of services. Combine that with schools lack the ability to teach these programs well, and freelancing and remote work is in. If you’re considering a digital marketing career, now is the time. Keep posting and creating content and you’ll find yourself pitching your services to large companies. It takes patience and hard work. If you can make it through the tough times, the laptop lifestyle could be in your future.

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Anthony Catullo