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How to Start a Career in Digital Marketing (2021)

McKinley Marketing Partners shows digital marketing is the most in-demand specialty in the marketing field. Over 60 percent of companies plan to hire more digital marketers to their teams as online marketing trends become more massive. With the high demand, digital marketing is a smart career choice so one should learn digital marketing to become an expert that will help you to grow your business, especially when you combine this huge opportunity with the right skill sets. If you’re interested in digital marketing, read this article to learn its definition, how to build a presence to get hired, the required skills, and career options in this industry.

What is Digital Marketing

Digital marketing refers to the marketing efforts delivered via online channels, such as social media, emails, and websites. Compared to traditional approaches, like billboards and direct mail, digital marketing helps businesses gain a larger audience at a lower cost. Many fields are revolving around digital marketing, such as:

  • Project management
  • Web and mobile development
  • Content management and creation
  • Design, photography, and video production
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Web, social media, and eCommerce analytics

I will cover the details in the next section. Yet, whatever career path you choose in this industry, it’s essential to be tech-savvy and updated to the latest trends because the methods are constantly changing. Digital marketers also need to be excellent at communication as they will work together with other teams, including content, tech, and design.

How To Build Your Presence

A solid online presence is vital for building your reputation and increasing the chances to be discovered by potential employers. Follow these steps to build your digital presence.

  1. Create a portfolio. Show your projects as a digital marketer on a website or social media, or make a sample if you don’t have previous work. For example, the digital marketing strategist Maggie Stara managed her own social media and included it as her portfolio.
  2. Implement marketing strategies. Use relevant hashtags, keywords, and ads to get traffic.
  3. Analyze the performance. Take a screenshot of the analytics and add it to the portfolio.
  4. Join communities. Marketing networks can put your services in front of businesses actively searching for marketing solutions. You can gain great SEO benefits from these profiles too.

What Skills Are Needed For Digital Marketing?

Skills needed for digital marketing actually depend on the career path you choose. For example, a digital designer has to master design applications, while an SEO specialist must have keyword-researching skills and understand tools like Ahrefs. Yet, here are the basic skills for a digital marketer.

  • Data analysis. Although a digital analyst will take care of the data, every digital marketer still needs to understand how to read the analytics to create data-driven strategies.
  • Design-based thinking. Refers to the human-centered process of empathizing, defining, ideating, prototype, and testing on user experience.
  • Creativity. Brings more personalized and out-of-the-box marketing approaches for potential customers.
  • Communication. Presents plans to the team and compels a story for the audience, either in writing, like emails, or spoken form, like online meetings.
  • Digital psychology. Combines psychology and behavioral economics to analyze the audience’s behaviors.

Career Opportunities in Digital Marketing

The available career options in digital marketing vary from graphic designer to SEO specialist. Here are five of the top jobs you can consider, along with the responsibilities and free learning resources to start with.

1. Content Marketer

A content marketer produces educational material addressing readers’ needs, pain points, and questions. The person aims to reach a broad audience and convert them from visitors to customers.


  • Researching trends within the niche.
  • Applying relevant keywords from the SEO team into the content.
  • Creating editorial calendars.
  • Creating valuable and engaging content in various forms, such as blog and social media posts.

Free learning resources:

2. SEO Specialist

The main objective of this digital marketing career is to make sure the company’s website is optimized for search engines, especially Google, and increase the ranking result.


  • Creating link-building strategies.
  • Researching keywords for the company’s website and related marketing channels.
  • Monitoring the metrics of SEO performance.
  • Keeping updated on SEO trends and search engine guidelines.

Free learning resources:

  • Udemy SEO Training. Is a video course helping you understand general SEO techniques from keyword research to on-page and off-page optimization.
  • Yoast SEO Training. Covers the SEO introduction and the technical and content sides of SEO in the form of videos.

3. Data Analyst

A digital marketing analyst works with various marketing data, like social media performance. Thus, the person must be experienced with analytical tools, including Google Analytics and social media insights.


  • Analyzing marketing, customer, and web behavioral data.
  • Testing marketing campaigns and developing the key metrics.
  • Creating actionable insights based on the analytics.
  • Making reports of website and campaign performance.

Free learning sources:

4. Digital Designer

This digital marketing career is suitable for those who love creating digital artwork and experiencing designer software, such as Premiere Pro and Corel Draw.


  • Prototyping the creative concepts into visual design.
  • Creating digital assets for various graphic projects, such as mobile apps, websites, and advertisements.
  • Staying up to date with the latest industry trends to outdo competitors.
  • Advising colleagues or clients about visual brand identity.

Free learning sources:

5. Digital PR

Digital public relations (PR) helps businesses increase their online presence as they build digital media relations with other groups, like journalists and other companies.


  • Building a network with external parties, ranging from the public, press, and related communities.
  • Creating presentations and press releases.
  • Searching for the right influencers and bloggers for supporting business campaigns.
  • Sending online press releases to get backlinks and social media mentions.

Free learning sources:


You have learned the fundamentals of starting a career in digital marketing. This industry is in-demand, and the perfect time to build the skills is now. Take time to think of the ideal career path to specialize in and learn from the available learning courses. Good luck!

Juliet Jones


Juliet is an Editor at, all in one content marketing agency. She loves creating articles about technology, innovative product reviews, and technical writing to help scale up digital growth. She is a writer by day and a frustrated singer by night.