With an abundance of digital marketing jobs available due to an increased reliance on the internet to do business (thanks, COVID), starting a career in digital marketing is as attractive as ever. While many might consider going back to school to enter the career-path, many are choosing to do so online and for FREE!
The most daunting part of any digital marketing job posting is the number of skills required for the job, even for entry-level positions. Please, do not be discouraged! You can learn many of these skills using nothing but your computer – free of charge.
Facebook Ads is a sought after skill for many digital marketing positions today, but there’s a serious shortage of talent. For this reason, the company created Facebook Blueprint which is Facebook’s certification platform designed to educate marketers on how to use its ad platform.
Facebook Blueprint offers many learning paths through modules where you can learn everything about the platform including:
- How to install a Facebook Pixel for conversion tracking
- The difference between various campaign types
- How to set up your Business Manager account
- How to set up campaigns to work with Facebook’s ad optimization algorithms
- How to prepare for the Blueprint certification exams
While the purpose of the modules is really to prepare people for the exam, many are discouraged from taking it due to the cost of attempting the exam: ~$300 CAD.
While being Facebook Blueprint certified certainly looks great on a resume, it’s far from needed! If you put in the time and effort to learn everything from the modules, you can easily learn the skills necessary to become a Facebook ads pro.
Codeacademy offers both a free version and an expanded paid version, however the free version works just fine for learning enough for a job.
If you’re new to coding, we recommend you start with the HTML/CSS course. All websites are built in HTML and CSS and, by learning the basics, you’ll be a step ahead in understanding how websites work and will pay dividends if you ever end up doing some SEO work at some point in your career.
Google Skillshop Certifications
Google Skillshop Certifications are beginner level courses that will help you develop a base knowledge of the various Google products related to digital marketing.
To be clear, these certifications will not make you an expert with these tools.
Taking the time necessary to go through Google’s modules and learn the products has some serious advantages. By learning the ins and outs of Google Analytics you can develop your skills as a web traffic analyst and become the go-to person for goal tracking implementation. By learning the Google Ads products you open doors to a career in PPC advertising. By learning the Google My Business modules, you learn how to optimize your profiles for SEO rankings. All are valuable skills to have as a marketer and may open doors to various career paths within the digital marketing industry.
Luckily, all of these are free, so there’s no excuse not to have the certifications. Just, please, do not cheat! Despite how tempting it may be.
Search Engine Optimization
While there isn’t a single best resource to learn SEO, there is an endless supply of resources dedicated to reporting on changes in search engine algorithms and it’s important to stay up-to-date with any updates. Here is a list of some of our favourites:
- Moz: Moz’s blog is a great beginner-friendly resource for learning some SEO basics, though keep in mind that they sell their own SEO software and are constantly plugging it in their posts. Since there are better tools out there, we urge you to resist the temptation!
- SEMRush: SEMRush’s blog is another terrific beginner-friendly resource, though plugs its own software similar to Moz, so watch out! SEMRush also offers its own certification exam if you decide to take it. However, the exam is so easy that the certification doesn’t hold much teeth, but can be a great way to test your SEO knowledge.
- Search Engine Land: Search Engine Land is geared towards intermediate to advanced SEO and PPC professionals and is a terrific resource both. Though we don’t recommend diving in until you have an understanding of the basics.
- Search Engine Watch: Search Engine Watch is another intermediate/advanced level resource, however is mainly geared towards SEO (with little-to-no PPC topics). When it comes to learning the technical side of the latest algorithm updates, this resource is indispensable.
Reddit is a forum board on steroids with over 300 million users, many of whom are adult working professionals. The website consists of thousands of communities called “subreddits”, each with their own rules and culture. Here are some of our favourite digital marketing subreddits:
- /r/PPC: This subreddit has over 80,000 users and is dedicated to discussing news and information about the pay-per-click industry with a heavy emphasis on Google Ads and Facebook ads, though you’ll sometimes find posts regarding other PPC platforms such as Amazon. Since PPC is fairly technical, this subreddit is a great way to learn from seasoned professionals through various text posts of comment threads.
- /r/marketing: This subreddit has well over 300,000 and is dedicated to the topic of marketing as a whole. Do be careful in this sub because, while there are many marketing professionals in the sub, many are oblivious when it comes to digital marketing so there is some bad advice. Always make sure you read the comments on posts to see if any posters are debunking OP’s (original poster) claims.
- /r/socialmedia: The social media subreddit has over 160,000 users and is dedicated to discussing the use of social media in a professional environment. From experience, this sub is not great for information on social advertising (see /r/PPC for this topic), but is terrific for discussing organic social media topics.
Photopea is an incredible tool for anyone who is interested in learning how to use Adobe Photoshop without having to pay for the software. The software was developed by one person and is designed nearly identical to Adobe Photoshop’s user interface with many of the tools working almost identically. It works directly in your browser, so there’s no need to download any software.
Simply open up any generic Photoshop Youtube tutorial and open Photopea. Since most of the same tools are there, you should have no problem following along!
Is All This Really Enough?
While all of these resources are a God-send for anyone looking to break into a digital marketing career path, it’s not always enough. The reality is you will always be competing with others who also have access to these free resources, so it’s often a good idea to supplement the above with some schooling.
While traditional colleges and universities do a good job at preparing students for the job market, their textbooks are often 2+ years out-of-date and, since digital marketing changes drastically on a yearly basis, these programs often leave graduates with outdated knowledge.
Luckily, there is Jelly Academy – a digital marketing school taught by seasoned professionals, covering topics such as search engine optimization, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, social media marketing, public relations, and more! All instructors work in their respective fields on a day-to-day basis and have worked on campaigns in a seemingly endless variety of industries.