Digital marketing skills development: 13 ideas for nonprofit communicators
Earlier this summer, at the July #NPMC Twitter chat, participants discussed the importance of digital skills for nonprofit marketing success. It was a popular topic and a lively conversation – as usual! I missed the live chat, but found many ideas and sources of continuing digital marketing skills development in the transcript. In case you also missed the chat, I’ve pulled together a number of the suggestions and added a few of my own.
Here are 13 suggestions for maintaining and learning digital marketing skills:
1. Code academy
During the chat, Joyce Hsu from Techsoup Canada (our chat facilitators in July) shared information about Code Academy. They offer free, interactive courses on HTML& CSS, PHP and more, along with project-based programs such as “Make a Website” and “Make and Interactive Website”.
2. Smashing Magazine
3. College or university courses
Many colleges and universities offer certificates or courses in digital marketing, such as the digital marketing analytics course mentioned by Seneca Garber. Taking college and university courses can be a good way to build digital marketing savvy on a strong foundation.
4. Online course sites
Mike Mella pointed to Treehouse and Lynda as two online video-based learning sites he uses for tech education. Both are affordably priced and while Treehouse seems to have a more concentrated focus on web code and programming, both offer relevant topics for digital marketers.
5. Help sections and support forums
Don’t forget the help sections and tutorials! If you look, you’ll find quite a bit of supporting documentation to help you use many apps, plugins, services, etc. And some take it to the next level, with more formalized training, for example, the Google Analytics Academy and Hootsuite University. Also, many platforms (Joyce pointed out WordPress as an example) have their own support forums, so when you get stuck, you can search for relevant discussions or start one of your own. You’ll find that many non-techies are posing basic questions and getting answers from the tech-savvy members!
Shelley Mayer suggested webinars: many organizations, companies and consultants serving the sector provide webinars on digital marketing topics. One good place to watch is the Wild Apricot blog, where they provide a monthly roundup of upcoming webinars.
7. Learning by doing
Amy Severson pointed to the value of learning by doing. Isn’t this one of the best ways to learn anything? Roll up your sleeves and dig in, using Google and YouTube to help you along the way.
8. Twitter chats
#NPMC chat itself was highlighted by RoiAnn Phillips as a useful monthly resource. Participants definitely come with questions – and answers – for each other every month. Since we don’t talk digital every single month, if you like the idea of a chat, you should check out the many digital marketing-specific chats available, including #SM4NP which focuses on on digital marketing for nonprofits every second and fourth Friday.
And here are a few additional suggestions that have worked for me:
9. Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)
When you’re an NTEN member, you’re not only accessing their online training materials, including webinars, newsletters, etc., but you’re also accessing a very generous community. The conversations in the NTEN forums are lively and every question gets a thoughtful and thorough series of responses from the community. NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference is a wonderful conference for nonprofit digital marketers and if travel isn’t in the budget, you can try the online NTC.
Another nonprofit supporting the sector’s use of technology, TechSoup is all about connecting nonprofit organizations to the tech resources they need to succeed. I’m more familiar with the work TechSoup Canada does for nonprofits, including webinars, live events and help with access to hardware and software.
PodCamps started in Boston in 2006 and have expanded to cities around the world. They are local, inexpensive “unConference” events, for anyone involved in new media. At PodCamps, you can learn about blogging, social media, social networking, podcasting, online video, etc. Check to see if a PodCamp is coming to a city near you.
12. Ladies Learning Code
I’ve attended a few Ladies Learning Code workshops and love their vision of helping women and kids to build tech skills. Ladies learning code is a Canadian organization that provides workshops across the country, so if you’re outside of Canada, check out Women Who Code and Girls Who Code.
13. Social Media Success Summit
The quality of programming provided by the Social Media Success Summit is excellent; I’ve attended the Summit in the past and will definitely be back in the future. In my experience, most of the sessions were tactical, but really excellent introductions to the latest or most important social networks with step-by-step instructions for how to use them. It’s a virtual conference, so you can attend from anywhere and at the time of publication of this post, a deeply discounted price is available for the 2015 event.
For a full recap of the Twitter chat conversation on this topic, see the July 2015 #NPMC chat transcript.
What are your sources and resources for updating and maintaining your digital marketing skills? Please add your suggestions in the comments!