Digital marketing is a hot industry.
Hot – like ghost chili pepper hot. ?
In 2015, it was one of the top ten industries for earning potential.
According to Yahoo! Finance, that potential amounted to $209,755.
Of course, since then, the industry has continued to explode.
As such, the demand for skills in digital marketing is on par with the demand for jobs.
Take a look at this chart from McKinley Marketing Partners:
To get ahead, you need high-demand skills in digital advertising, content creation & curation, and content strategy.
How do you maintain and improve these skills?
Many in the industry rely on certification to keep their resumes sharp and their skills competitive. But, sometimes, certification isn’t enough.
Don’t get me wrong: Digital marketing certification sounds good.
However, sometimes that’s all it does for you.
It’s often just a stamp on your resume – an indicator that you invested some money, but not that you actually learned anything.
It can easily be a resume-padder.
“Sounding good” isn’t enough to make certification worth your hard-earned dollars. Especially if it doesn’t leave you with new or improved skills.
Not all digital marketing certification courses are created equally.
Sometimes getting certified is worth it; sometimes it’s not.
So, how do you tell the difference? How do you know if you’ll be investing in a certification that will give you an actual edge?
Let’s find out.
Here’s when digital marketing certification actually means something and has substance, and here’s when it’s a waste of money.
Is a Digital Marketing Certification Worth It? That Depends (The Lowdown)
Even the most official-looking piece of paper that says “You’re awesome!” with your name printed in fancy type means zilch without some proof.
Image via christohpera
You’re awesome? Says who?
For digital marketing certification, where, exactly, is the proof you improved your skills?
How do employers know for certain you didn’t just get certified at a diploma factory from somebody who only wanted your money?
- When you can demonstrate your results and what you learned.
- When you can prove that certification made you a better, savvier, smarter marketer.
In short, your results have to speak louder than anything else.
Why Your Digital Marketing Certification Results Mean More Than a Piece of Paper
Here are some other reasons why digital marketing certifications are only as good as what you take away from them:
1. Digital Marketing Certifications Are Not Universally Respected
The value of digital marketing certifications fluctuates wildly within the industry. One may be well-regarded, while another may not win you any props with employers or clients.
The difference, according to Lifehacker, is in the amount of work and study it takes to achieve your desired certification (and that’s true no matter which industry we’re talking about).
For instance, to get certified, do you have to take a test – and that’s it?
OR, do you need to study material, complete lessons, do a lot of reading, and exercise your skills to pass and achieve that certification?
The former will not give you an advantage in your industry and job market.
The latter will grow your knowledge, improve your marketing skills, and give you tools to succeed in interviews AND on the job.
THAT type of certification is respected no matter where you go. Period.
2. Not All Courses Teach Practical, Real-Life Skills
According to the American Marketing Association, the first question you should ask yourself when considering getting a certification is “What benefits will I receive from this?”
Unfortunately, not a lot of certification courses offer any real ones other than the certification itself, a piece of paper with no real weight behind it.
Instead, the benefits you should be looking for include practical skills you can use in real-life and on the job.
For example, the Content Strategy & Marketing Course includes six modules with practical teaching that will help you create and complete a final product: a finalized Brand Strategy, with 11 hands-on exercises that prove you’ve completed the work. It was built this way to combat the very problem most certification classes don’t offer: real, hands-on experience that you can take directly into the work force.
A brand strategy is a content marketing strategy and overall brand marketing plan combined, with specific, long-term goals for your company that are achievable as you evolve. Hubspot says:
It’s a fundamental piece of any brand’s success with online marketing.
Thus, in the Content Strategy & Marketing Course (see full curriculum), each module focuses on a different step for building a brand strategy, and you’ll learn skills that directly correlate to what actually will be required of you in a professional role.
For a taste of the practical skills you’ll learn in the course, here’s an overview of the final module, Module 6: Budget, Promote & Maintain:
The actionable skills you’ll practice run the gamut from learning how to optimize your social media posts to budgeting for content marketing, setting up a content plan, and creating an editorial calendar.
Note that this is stuff you’ll actually do, not just passively learn. That’s huge.
3. The Success of the Course Often Depends on the Quality of the Teacher
Before you invest in digital marketing certification, think about who is providing the teaching.
Just like in a regular classroom, the quality of learning you’ll receive is directly dependent on the quality of the teacher.
This is another huge reason why not every certification course is worth it, and why not every type of certification is respected in the industry.
You can’t earn those improved marketing skills and higher-level knowledge from a poor teacher.
Once again, it’s all about the results you achieve from certification – not certification itself.
In the Content Strategy and Marketing Course, I’m your teacher, and I think I have proven, time and again, why you should trust me to lead you through these lessons.
- I have 7 years of experience in the content marketing industry
- I grew my content agency into a multi-million-dollar business with the help of smart content marketing
- I’ve written two successful, best-selling books: one on content writing and one on content strategy (which is the guidebook for this course!)
- In 2016, I was named one of the top content marketers nationwide
- I continue to share my content marketing knowledge through The Write Podcast, The Write Blog, and #ContentWritingChat on Twitter
Learning from an experienced teacher with success in the trenches of the industry can take you further in your marketing career. When you look for certification opportunities, make sure your teacher has the chops to teach you well.
A better teacher = better results. And results are what matter.
3 Reasons the Proof Is in the Pudding for The Content Strategy & Marketing Course
You want to walk away from a digital marketing certification course with more than a piece of paper.
So, what should “more” entail?
What should you earn from investing your time and money into further marketing education?
You should get so much more than a certification because you worked hard to improve your skills.
That’s important because employers and clients aren’t looking for that certificate, per se – they’re looking for the meaning behind the certificate.
These are what the benefits look like when you finish a solid course like The Content Strategy & Marketing Course:
1. You’ll Be Able to Create and Execute a Content Marketing Strategy
This is a question we see over and over again in our Facebook Group, Profitable Content Marketers and Strategists:
“How do I create a content strategy? Where do I begin??”
The Content Strategy & Marketing Course answers that question from start to finish. As a result, the curriculum is intense.
This is not a course you can do in a few hours or over a weekend. Instead, you’ll need to dedicate yourself to 6 weeks of instruction, which includes video lessons, resources, exercises, worksheets, cheat sheets, and tutorials.
It’s a lot of work. But, because we take you through creating a content strategy step-by-step, by the end of the course you’ll know exactly how to answer the above question, including:
- Which steps to follow –
- Setting goals
- Defining your audience
- Tying in SEO techniques
- Mapping brand goals to content
- Creating content, including content creation workflows
- Promoting content
- And more
- The methods behind the madness
- The best tools to use
- How to work out a strategy for any brand, whether that’s a future client or an employer
2. You’ll Become Knowledgeable and Grow Your Content Marketing Skills Through Practice
Practicing skills is the only way to master them.
As such, in this course, practice is key.
Every step of the way, you’ll be working on your own brand content strategy, digging in deep and putting the practical knowledge you gain to immediate use.
Every single module contains lessons and exercises that will help you become a knowledgeable, smart content marketer. By the last module, you’ll feel confident in your skills because you learned by doing.
3. You’ll Be Equipped to Guide Clients/Your Company to Better Results
Getting certified and taking The Content Strategy & Marketing Course will mean more than a bullet point on your resume.
You’ll do the work, practice the skills, and come away from it all fully equipped to tackle content strategy for clients or employers in digital marketing.
To prove it, you’ll have a complete brand strategy that you can add to your portfolio or implement for your own business.
This is an essential piece of digital marketing that forms a foundation for all other activities. Luckily, it’s one you’ll have cornered.
No Pain, No Gain
Easy street is not where you should go for digital marketing certification.
The easy way is the way to wasted money. Nobody in the industry respects certification that doesn’t require a little blood, sweat, and tears. And, the wrong certification, one that doesn’t require hard work, will not advance you to the next level in your career.
Instead, you should invest in certification that leaves you with practical skills and knowledge you can take with you into the future and use.
Whether that future involves freelancing, working for a digital marketing agency, or hustling to build your own marketing business, you need more than a piece of paper to get there.
You need experience, skills, and smarts.
That’s how you level-up.
Questions? I’d love to hear from you!
Post them in the comments, or open our on-site chat in the lower right-hand corner of the site and send us your question.
P.S. If you haven’t seen my free masterclass yet that gives you a detailed overview of the course, check it out here.