Q. I graduated in ’09 and have been working as an educational product developer/editor in Asia. I will return to the US in January 2011, where I will start a position in fund-raising and donor relations at a nonprofit magazine.
I am interested in eventually transitioning to an agency role, specifically in digital PR or digital media planning. Do you have any suggestions for what my next steps should be? I really do not want to pursue a masters degree because I don’t want to take on any additional debt. -MS
A. Your career plan strategy makes good sense. As last Saturday’s post discussed, digital and social media opportunities will increase in the near and long term. In order to give you the most relevant advice, I asked Ketchum VP and digital specialist Ben Foster to provide suggestions that will help you map your own Social Media career game plan. Here are Ben’s recommendations:
CREATE A DIGITAL PRESENCE–When transitioning to a digital role, it helps to have a portfolio of digital work you can point to on the internet. If you don’t have a blog, start one. Blogs require a lot of effort, but they can be very rewarding in terms of establishing yourself as a thought leader as well as teaching you the basics of search, content strategy, and web analytics. Pick a niche that you’re passionate about, write 4-5 posts, then start publishing.
Also, see if you can help any friends/family with creating a digital program for their organization, business, or group. It’s a great way to learn about the tactics necessary for broader engagement in a low risk environment. Helping them set up a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account can help you learn how to build a following through interesting content.
LEARN BY DOING–There are countless books, websites, and articles that teach you the basics, but the best way to learn something is by doing it. This helps you with the first part, creating a digital presence, and can also give you interesting stories to tell during an interview.
In an agency, clients look to you to provide expert advice and guidance. In order to provide such guidance, you need to have experience. Being able to draw on past experience to tell stories about what works is a great way to show instant value to a client and the account teams that support it.
STAY UP TO DATE ON CURRENT TRENDS–Subscribe to Mashable, Read Write Web, TechCrunch, Wired, and any industry specific blogs you may be interested in. Seek out case studies and examples of how businesses used Social Media to solve a business problem so that you can have great examples in an interview.
Clients appreciate when you can add value by bringing them a way to execute on a new trend to meet business objectives. Also, it helps build the case for selling an idea by giving an example of how a brand used social media.