There’s always a debate about what skills marketers should learn.
One person says it’s copywriting; another says it’s coding. One person argues it’s branding; another argues it’s strategic thinking. Add performance marketing, data science, and soft skills like management into the mix and you’ll see that the list is endless.
Is there a right or wrong answer? I don’t think so. Think about it: Career advice is autobiographical. It depends on the marketing role you’re in and what skills you picked up along the way that helped. After all, we can’t predict the future; we can only look back at our past.
And that’s how I’ll approach this post.
Rather than tell you what to learn, I’ll share the skills that have helped me on my journey as a digital marketer—six years and counting.
Seven years ago, I read a book called The Education of Millionaires. The book emphasized the importance of copywriting, which got me interested. Later on, I read a few books on the topic, practiced by creating my own newsletter, and eventually wrote most of the copy on my site’s blog, landing pages, and emails. And I’ve been doing that ever since, writing copy and content for the companies I work for.
Working in digital marketing means it’s almost impossible to avoid writing. Whether you’re creating a blog post, a tweet, ad copy, or scripting a video, you’re writing.
Plus, learning copywriting will equip you with the fundamentals of marketing. To write great copy, you have to know who you’re selling to. You have to do customer research—know what they want, need, and how they talk. All of these will make you a better marketer.
How to get started
The first thing is to forget what you’ve learned in school. Writing online is different from academic writing. If you write like how you did for school, your blog audience will be zero.
Next, pick up a few resources that’ll teach you the basics of good copywriting. Here are some I’ve personally used:
- The Boron Letters (Book)
- The Adweek Copywriting Handbook (Book)
- Ogilvy on Advertising (Book)
- The Halbert Copywriting Method Part III (Book)
- Copywriting Course (Paid course)
You’ll also do well to pick up a few books on psychology and persuasion, as they’re the basis of good copy:
Finally, you need to write. There’s no way around it. To learn how to write, you have to actually write. Create a site, apply for an internship, tweet—the medium you choose doesn’t matter; just start practicing.
2. Content marketing
Back then, I didn’t have many resources to work with. So, blogging seemed like a good way to get traffic to my website without spending a lot of money. This naturally got me into content marketing.
Content marketing is hot today. Look at the meteoric rise in interest over time: