Continuing education for an internet marketer is a must! The industry is always changing and evolving, so it is important to have a system in place that allows for you stay up-to-date with what’s going on in the industry. There are lots of different ways that you can keep up with industry, of course some ways are more expensive than others, but can be worth the investment.
Lets take a look at the different ways you can keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date.
Probably the simplest way to keep up with the industry is just by reading as many books and industry blogs as possible. Even if there are some SEO books laying around your office from 5 years ago, don’t even bother with them. The industry has since changed and they are already outdated. One of the great things about learning from books and blogs, is it is relatively inexpensive. Usually a book with run you around $15-$20 and as for blogs, the majority of the content is free. To be honest, some of the content that is created on top blogs like Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land and SEOmoz is better than these premium content websites that charge you a monthly fee to access their content.
Some of the best books/blogs available:
- ProBlogger: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog [Ebook]
- The New Rules of Marketing & PR
- Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs
- Social Media Marketing: A Hour a Day
There are really too many to choose from. Check out my post “100 SEO Blogs You Should Subscribe To” for a complete list.
Personally I have never been to a formal training course, however I heard that they are excellent. The key is to find a course that is being offered by a proven person in the industry. If you are learning about Online Reputation Management, having someone like Andy Beal teaching you, is going to be MUCH more valuable than a guy who just finished up reading ORM for Dummies. A few caveats to these training courses is many times you have to travel to their on-site facility and they are only offered during certain times of the year.
Some of the best training courses available:
- Bruce Clay SEO Training
- MarketMotive Certification Courses
- Inbound Marketing University
- SEMPO Institute
I have tried out a few of the membership programs, where you pay a certain amount per month to have unlimited access to their premium content. Usually it will also come with a discussion forum or way to communicate with the others in the community and most importantly, the ability to have access to professional advice if you ever have questions. The quality of these communities really do vary so I would suggest signing up for a free trial (most offer some sort of free trial or introductory price) first to see if you find it valuable. Odds are if you are joining a premium site on a credible blog that you will get your moneys worth.
Some of the best premium sites available:
Internet Marketing Degree
Boy do I wish they had an Internet Marketing degree when I was in college. Now that the field is being more and more popular there are many colleges and universities that are starting to offer the program. I would love some insights from anyone reading this post who has actually graduates with an Internet Marketing degree. My thoughts are that you will most likely gain a lot of the core fundamentals of SEO, PPC, Social Media, etc…however actually applying those fundamentals will come once you are out in the workforce.
Some of the best Internet Marketing degrees available:
People have mixed feelings about the true value and learning experience from attending a conference. I for one see it more as a networking opportunity to get some face time with the larger players in the industry. Of course, the sessions will have some valuable tips that you can gather while you are there, but to me its more about building a personal relationship with the people you connect with online.
Another question I always like to ask is are conferences worth the price of admission? Once you factor in conference tickets, airfare, hotel, and meals you are looking at upwards of $2,500. Could you have used that money on other training techniques that would offer you more value? I guess that is going to be different for everyone, depending on how well you take advantage of a conference.
Some of the best industry conference available:
Real Life Experience
Hands down I strongly believe that someone with real life experience in the industry is better off than someone who has formal classroom training. The industry just moves to fast and there is a lot of “Art” involved when it comes to our industry. From my experience, I was basically thrown into the mix, helping to manage SEO/SEM clients, setting up PPC campaigns, and basically applying what I had learned from countless hours of reading industry books/blogs. Looking back on it, if I had a mentor figure that I can look up to and learn from, I think I could have learned the industry much quicker. However on the flip side of that, sense I had no one to coach me, I had to force myself to learn on my own because there was no one to tell me if what I was doing was the right or wrong way to do things.