Writing skills don’t cut it anymore. It’s a digital market and that means media professionals should have digital skills.

Learning the basic digital skills necessary to improve your company’s hold on the market can be explained by highlighting four areas media professionals should improve in: creating video, personal branding, coding, and understanding SEO.

Videography Skills (and even on your smartphone)

The importance of using video to reach audiences cannot be emphasised enough. Video has established itself as an essential way to reach audiences over social media and the digital world with several media outlets pivoting to video instead of online writing.

Don’t fall behind this shift in the media industry.

Read this post on necessary steps to take when creating video, even when using a smartphone. Watch the video below on how to edit video once you’ve collected footage and audio.

Self-branding on social media

As media professionals, we must constantly be on all forms of media. That means we should be experts and actively use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Having a powerful personal brand gives a media professional better credibility since this is the digital market they are trained to influence. It also shows possible clients social media skills in your ability to gather a following and create engagement.

Even though it’s social, still think of these platforms as a different way to brand yourself or a company while using them. Using that perspective will help to get an idea on how to best use those platforms for your organisation as well.

For an example? Me. My goal is for people to see me as a young and quirky journalist who’s passionate about current events and capable of informing those around her through writing, video, and photo. I’m also a Game of Thrones nerd.

Facebook:

I share more family and friends oriented content on this platform because those are my followers here. I’ll typically share things relating to my personal life and interests as well as news articles that will spark dialogue between followers. I’ll also share photo albums and videos of the work I’ve done.

Twitter:

With Twitter, I tend to share news articles that are relevant to my followers as well as things that are more humorous. I know I can be looser on this platform and say some silly stuff that people are more likely to engage with.

I make sure to share news articles though because on multiple occasions I’ve had people tell me I’m their source of news when they scroll through their feed each day.

Screen shot of @MakenzieHuber twitter feed

Snapchat:

Snapchat is used to show “in the moment” events. This platform is where people want to see what’s really going on where you’re at — as authentic as social media can get.

I’ll take videos and photos of my adventures, funny moments with friends, or visual information I want to share with followers. Similar to Twitter, Snapchat is a loose, fun platform where the most engagement from followers will come from humorous posts.

It’s important to understand this so I can reach my audience in the most effective way with information I try to communicate.

Instagram:

Screenshot of @MakenzieHuber instagram account

It’s all about the visuals and aesthetic on Instagram. I try to show my creative side on that platform — my photography skills, even if it’s just on a smartphone.

With the development of Instagram stories, I’ll use it to show what’s going on in my daily life in a more aesthetic way than I’d use Snapchat.

Coding

I’ll be the first to admit that coding scared me. It still kind of does. But it just might be one of the most beneficial skills a media professional can have at the same time.

We work and live online — that’s part of living in the digital age. How are we expected to do our jobs effectively if we don’t understand the digital world?

With programming, it’s easier to change website layouts to create narrative, interactive, non-linear articles or posts. This makes your or your client’s site more engaging to an audience. Coding skills can also beef up a site’s tracking to collect data and report website performance.

Gaining beginner and basic skills for coding will improve efficiency as a media professional and help you think differently than others in the field. Those who learn to code will start to think in terms of data, which gives them a different perspective from colleagues.

Unfortunately, we can’t teach you coding in this blog post. We can, however, recommend easy-to-use programs to help you learn quickly.

  • Codecademy.com: Free courses to learn different software such as Python, HTML, and Javascript.
  • Lynda.com: Requires a membership, but offers multiple courses for coding such as “produce web graphics,” “develop apps for iPads and iPhones,” and “code clinic.”
  • GA Dash: A project-based and interactive learning platform.

Understanding SEO

Just having a website isn’t enough. It needs to be found so a company or your client’s website reaches its necessary audience. The way to ensure that is to understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Read this post about the anatomy of SEO, which highlights how to use SEO to improve traffic, search rankings, and websites in general.

What are some other digital skills you think media professionals should gain in a growing digital industry? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box.

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