Hey guys! With the whole self-isolation thing going on, it’s an awesome time to learn a new skill (or ten). I’ve been hoarding some of the best guides / resources on digital marketing for the past ~5 years or so, and recently decided to transform it into a guide.
To make it an awesome read, I also created learning paths for most of the digital marketing channels. So, it’s not like, “go read 4835 articles,” but more like, “Read A, then B, then C,” and so on.
Before we start talking about specific channels, though, let’s discuss HOW you can learn digital marketing best.
First things first – you need to decide which channel to start with.
If you have a knack for writing, we’d recommend going with Content Marketing or Copywriting. On the other hand, if you’re more analytics-oriented, go for Search Ads or PPC.
As a given, you DON’T have to learn all the channels. You can just pick one that you like, and specialize in it!
Once you’ve decided on which channel to roll with, you should also establish a learning methodology.
As with most things in life, reading on digital marketing won’t take you far. You need to also put everything into practice.
We usually recommend going with one of these 4 options:
Create a test learning environment. Basically, you create a website for a basic product or service (heck, even a blog would do!), and start applying whatever you learned about digital marketing to get leads and customers. Even if you have ZERO budget, this can be an interesting learning experience. And yes – it’s possible to start w/ a zero budget.
Get an internship. This can be a bit painful if you’re in the middle of your current career, but hey, swallow the pride. If you do your best, you’ll be doing some real work 6 months after the internship.
Offer a local business to help them with marketing for free. Find a business you think you can help in your area and reach out to them!
Create an affiliate blog. Pick a niche, create an affiliate blog, and start pumping out some content. This is mainly relevant if you want to learn SEO or content marketing.
And here’s what you SHOULD NOT DO:
Read a guide or two, buy a course, whip out your own website, repurpose the course and start pretending to be a marketing expert to potential clients.
There’ are way too many people doing this as-is. Please stop! You’re setting yourself up for failure.
You’d be surprised how many people we see on Facebook Ads groups asking, “hey guys, I closed my first client, now how the heck do I deliver on my promises?”
…Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to learning some digital marketing!
How to learn content marketing
Most traditional advertising channels are focused on directly selling a product. If you turn on the TV, you’ll see a TON of ads for this product, or that product or service.
Content marketing is a form of indirect advertisement.
The idea here is, instead of directly pitching your product to your target audience, you create content (article, video, infographic, etc.) around the problem your product solves, and pitch that instead.
To make this a LOT clearer, here’s a practical example.
Let’s say you’re a marketing agency that specializes in helping SaaS companies with their digital marketing (meta, right?).
Instead of directly running ads yelling “We help SaaS companies!” you create a mega-guide on the topic and advertise that.
…Which is what we did.
We created a mega-guide to SaaS marketing and promoted the hell out of it all over the web. This netted us around ~10,000+ traffic and 15+ leads in the first week, and we STILL get traffic to the piece, 2 months later.
We even posted it on r/entrepreneur and got around 600 upboats.
Now, you’re probably wondering, is this option better than just running ads to your service / product?
Yes, yes it is. Here’s why:
It’s free (ish). The only resources it took was our time to write the post, edit it, and promote it. Ads, on the other hand, can be super expensive.
It builds your brand authority. Who’d you trust with your marketing? A random guy that popped up on your Facebook newsfeed, or the guys that wrote the most comprehensive guide to SaaS marketing you’ve ever read? Exactly!
If you want to learn how to do content marketing, here’s what we recommend:
First, learn the basics. You can find a ton of online courses or articles on this. Here are some of our favorites:
HubSpot’s Academy content marketing course
Neil Patel’s guide to content marketing basics
Content Blogger’s guide to content marketing
Learn how to create and promote authority content
Hubspot’s guide to content creation
Copy Blogger’s guide to creating epic content
How to promote your content
Learn how to create SEO content (more on this in the next section)
How to use the skyscraper technique
How to create SEO content
How to create top content with the Wiki Strategy
Learn how to do content marketing for a local business with Google’s course
Read some case studies. Some of our favorites include:
How Chris Von Wilpert made $100,000 by creating and promoting a single blog post
How Mint grew to 1.5 million users (a big chunk of the credit goes to content marketing)
How to learn SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another super popular digital marketing channel.
In a nutshell, SEO is the act of optimizing your web pages and content for Google so that your website pops up when people look up certain terms.
For example, let’s say you’re a project management software. Would it benefit you if you popped up #1 when people Google for your keyword?
Yes, yes it would. You’d be getting highly qualified leads for your software every day, for free, with ZERO ad spend.
Here’s what an SEO specialist does on a daily basis:
Content Creation – Create SEO content (or work with freelance writers)
On-page SEO – Make sure that all content on the blog is optimized for Google and interlinked to each other
Technical SEO – Make sure that the web dev team is following SEO best practices when working on the website
SEO Strategy – Doing keyword research and finding new web pages and content to create
Link-building – Conducting link-building (or supervising outreach specialists).
Now, here’s how to learn SEO…
SEO Learning Path
First off, learn the basics.
SEO Basics by Backlinko
SEO in 2020 by Backlinko
Awesome SEO tutorial on Reddit
Then, learn how to do technical SEO, set up tracking, and optimize your website
Setup Google Analytics and Search Console
Improve load speed. Check out this article by Moz
Optimize your web pages for SEO. For this, you can use RankMath if you’re using WordPress, and Content Analysis Tool if you’re not
Losslessly compress all your images. This should save ~75% of space for your images and drastically increase site load speed (which improves SEO). If you’re using WordPress, you can use Smush to automatically compress all images on your site.
Learn how to do keyword research
Top guide on How to do keyword research
Learn how to create SEO landing pages
Learn how to create SEO content
Our own guide to creating SEO content
Backlinko’s skyscraper strategy (i.e. how to create and promote epic SEO content)
How to create top content with the Wiki Strategy
Learn how to do link-building
Learn link-building basics
Learn how to do outreach
Discover ALL the link-building strategies out there
Learn how to optimize article headlines
Read some case studies
How Nat grew a website to 10k+ visitors per month
How Pipedrive ranked on a high-volume keyword
If you’re learning digital marketing because you own a local business, then the game is a bit different. While 90% of the principles above still apply, you should also read about local SEO and how it works.
…And other channels
So we already tried making this post a bit back, but Reddit shadowbanned us for having way too many outbound links. If you guys want to get the full list of resources (and marketing channels to learn), you can check out the complete blog post.