5 Digital Skills to Learn Today

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In the past few years we've seen a strong trend toward digital accelerate as business and social interactions moved online amid the Coronavirus pandemic and shift toward hybrid and remote work. As people and organizations adapt, a new set of digital skills has emerged, and previously existing digital skills like website creation and video content creation have become invaluable.

Below are 5 digital skills to add to your skillset, and an overview of new tools for helping you utilize them for yourself or your brand:

1. Blogging

Blogging is a key digital skill.
Blogging is an invaluable marketing still due to its versatility, and ability to be leveraged in any industry.

For the past decade blogging has been an increasingly popular trend. For some it’s a content marketing strategy to help promote a business, and for others, it's a new career path that offers freedom and the opportunity to make a job out of sharing information about their passions.

Blogging has a wide range of tangible benefits. It can help boost attention to your business and attract customers, establish you as a thought leader in your industry to bring in new connections and job opportunities, and even serve as its own revenue stream if you learn to set up your own blog, or look for paid copywriting opportunities.

Depending on your goals, there are a plethora of tools at your disposal for blogging. Websites and social platforms like Medium and LinkedIn (see this LinkedIn Help article on publishing blog posts on LinkedIn to get started) allow users to write, host, and publish articles within their platforms. These articles get attached to your profile on the respective platform, and give you a link that can be used to share the article across other networks. 3rd party publishing platforms like these are great if your goal is thought leadership and sharing insight with your audience for your own personal brand, or your company.

If your goal is to make money from blogging vs. using blogging as a promotional strategy for your business, setting up your own website is a better option (see digital skill #2 below for more info on website creation). The advantage of setting up your own blog vs. blogging on someone else’s platform is that it opens up opportunities to monetize your blog through strategies like advertising, affiliate marketing (linking to other websites and products to promote products, for which you receive a percentage of the sale), and even ecommerce. This may sound like a lot of work, but there are plenty of tools that make setting up your own website for your blog and monetizing it simple.

2. Website Creation

There’s a reason companies like Shopify and Squarespace are seeing so much success right now. As if commerce wasn’t moving toward the web before, the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed more businesses online than ever before. Shopify has seen its stock sky rocket in 2020 as brick and mortar businesses transition their strategy to online.

And e-commerce businesses like online retail aren’t the only businesses benefitting from establishing a web presence. Personal brands (influencers), agencies, restaurants, you name it. They’re all making an effort to replace foot traffic with web traffic to continue growing and maintain revenue.

Whether you’re looking to create a website to promote your own brand or business, or you’re a marketer trying to take advantage of the mass shift to the web, there are some great website creation tools that make it easy to learn how to setup a website, and immediately start reaping the benefit of an online presence. In addition to Shopify (e-commerce platform with features for website building and creating an online store), there are several other website builders you can leverage to setup your site, or get into setting up websites for others: 

  • Webflow: Webflow is emerging as a popular all-in-one website design and hosting platform that is being used by everyone from bloggers to enterprise SaSS companies. It’s no-code solution lowers the barrier to entry for non-coders to create beautiful websites for their brands, and its integrations with professional tools like Google Analytics, e-commerce (see Shopify below), and marketing platforms offer Webflow users plenty of options for building their businesses online. They also have a growing community of pro users that you can hire to create your site, and online tutorials for learning how to use it yourself. 
  • Shopify: Shopify has exploded as SMBs take their businesses online. It’s online store setup features, all-in-one web hosting, and design templates enable users to quickly setup and publish an online store for their business and build out pages for all of their products and services. Shopify is highly recommended for businesses of all sizes looking to sell products online, with plenty of case studies and examples to guide you. Shopify has also expanded its service offerings over the years into marketing tools, and has features like email marketing, ad management, and point of sale (buy now buttons, forms, affiliate links, etc).
  • Wix: Wix is a no-code website creation platform designed for ease of use, and has the ability to support goals for both businesses and individuals. It offers website templates, design tools, e-commerce tools, and integrations with marketing functions like email. Wix makes for a great end-to-end solution for people just starting out in setting up websites, and is also adding enterprise tools for businesses. 
  • Wordpress: Wordpress has been a favorite for bloggers and corporate website builders for over a decade. Wordpress has many of the no-code aspects of other website builders like out of the box templates, plugins for marketing integrations like SEO and social sharing tools, and ecommerce support.

3. Virtual Event Hosting

The events industry has been one of the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and shift to remote work, with many countries canceling events for an extended period of time. Businesses that depend on events as a part of their marketing strategy or core business (Ex. conferences and trade shows) have been forced to find a way to host events online.

Digital events are growing in popularity, from panels and online talk shows to full conferences with thousands of attendees going digital. To support this shift, a variety of virtual conference hosting platforms are popping up, along with people specialized in using them. Virtual event hosting has emerged as a new job category, with its own skill set for managing the technical, marketing, and hosting components of virtual event production.

Platforms for event hosting have also shot up in popularity, including video streaming platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Cisco’s Webex. These platforms have standard features for video streaming, live chat windows, etc. There are also more specialized platforms specifically designed for the online conference model like Attendify, Hopin, and Workcast with a deeper feature set. Learning how to use these platforms and their features for managing online conversations and events is a skill set that can be beneficial for growing your own business (think hosting live Q&As about your products, or inviting partners to participate in a live discussion with an audience), and also offered to other companies as a service.

Check out these virtual event hosting tips from Forbes and Hootesuite for more info about learning this new skillset. 

4. Video Content Creation

With so much of our interaction with each other taking place online, video is one of the most engaging, and personalized ways to interact with people. Social platform newsfeeds are full of video content receiving high engagement, and the skillset to film and edit professional video clips is in high demand as a result. Website landing pages with a video included on them can convert up to 80% more sales leads than pages without a video.

In order to leverage video, influencers and brands have a variety of tools at their disposal that range from entry level to advanced. On the advanced end of the spectrum, video editors are using Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects, and Apple’s Final Cut Pro as examples of tools with a ton of features for fine tuning video and audio edits.

For entry level creators, the iPhone has built-in editing tools so you can cut footage, and social platforms are adding video editing tools to their offerings to support creators, like Instagram and YouTube.

5. Live Streaming

In taking video content creation a step further, live streaming continues to grow in popularity as individuals and businesses leverage live streams to connect with their audiences in real-time. Gamers live stream to communicate with their followers on platforms like Twitch, and influencers livestream their day-to-day lives for fans on Instagram and Facebook.

However, live streaming is not reserved for influencers and individual brand personalities, as platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are also seeing brands leverage livestreaming to share an inside look at their companies, highlight products, and interact with their fans to build brand loyalty.

Check out Sprout Social’s 10 Facebook Live Tips to learn more about live streaming best practices.

As if the internet wasn’t popular enough already, the events of the past few years have pushed even larger audiences online, growing the digital economy, and opening up a plethora of digital skills for people to obtain and monetize.

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