Before the pandemic hit, the field of digital media communication was predicted to add 140,000 new jobs in the US by 2026. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, these jobs have an average salary of over $100,000. That’s a lot of jobs that earn a lot of money! As more of our daily life and work has shifted online, the number and need for these jobs has only increased.
While all jobs in digital media communication will require you to master skills related to plan, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of a digital media strategy, different jobs in this exciting field have different focuses.
Here are four careers in digital media communication strategy:
Digital Media Communication Coordinator
Digital Media Communication Coordinators plan and manage digital messaging for a company or organization. It is the coordinator’s responsibility to ensure that the message that goes out on one platform matches the tone and style of messages that are shared on other platforms.
Think of a Digital Media Communication Coordinator as the conductor of an orchestra. Just as it is the conductor’s job to make sure the different instruments play well together to make a beautiful musical performance, so too is it the Digital Media Communication Coordinator’s to make sure the different digital media messages are communicating consistent messages to an organization’s key target audiences. As such, Digital Media Communication Coordinators need to have a solid understanding of how to produce and use for a variety of digital and online media platforms like social media accounts, blogs, websites, and videos.
They should have familiarity with online marketing techniques such as SEO and SEM, as well as a solid understanding of principles of good design and videography. Because the digital media landscape is always changing, Digital Media Communication Coordinators need to be comfortable with learning new tools and skills their organization might use to reach their target audiences.
Content Marketing Manager
Like a Digital Media Communication Coordinator, a Content Marketing Manager is responsible for helping a company or organization reach their target audiences. It is the Content Marketing Manager’s responsibility to develop and implement the overall digital media strategy that organization will use.
Think of a Content Marketing Manager as the composer of a piece of music. The composer has the vision for how different instruments will play well together. Similarly, a Content Marketing Manager creates the larger plan or how different digital media communication tools will work together coherently and cohesively. As such, Content Marketing Managers need to know how to use different kinds of digital media at the same time, from earned media like news articles and interviews to owned media like websites and blogs or newsletters to shared media like social media posts to paid media like banner ads. They need to be able to build an audience and keep that audience interested and engaged in a variety of different digital, online, and social media communication channels.
Social Media Coordinator
Think of a Social Media Coordinator as a more focused version of a Digital Media Communication Coordinator or Content Marketing Manager. A Social Media Coordinator’s primary focus is the design and management of digital media communication on and across social media platforms. Because so much of our media consumption habits involve a social media component — from sharing news articles on Facebook to commenting on YouTube videos to leaving reviews on Yelp — a Social Media Coordinator’s job, though focused, is still massive. Extending the music metaphor, a Social Media Coordinator is like the producer of a rock band. In many ways, they’re doing the jobs of a composer and a conductor at the same time, they’re just working with a smaller group of musicians.
Social Media Coordinators still need to help out with the creation of written, video, and photo content that is specifically tailored to different social media platforms. They also need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of that content, and tweak it to make it work better.
Social Media Coordinators need to know principles of design and marketing. They also need to know how these principles apply differently on Facebook versus LinkedIn versus Snapchat. And like Digital Media Communication Coordinators, they need to be comfortable with learning new tools and skills their organization might use to reach their target audiences. After all, the social media platforms of today aren’t necessarily going to be the social media platforms of tomorrow!
Digital Media Strategist
In a lot of ways, the title “Digital Media Strategist” is a catchall: Digital Media Strategists do it all. They plan and implement digital media communication campaigns, they manage the implementation of those campaigns across different digital media channels, and these channels most certainly include social media platforms.
While the previous three jobs tend to be positions found in larger companies, Digital Media Strategists tend to work in smaller departments, sometimes even in departments of one! As a jack-of-all-trades, Digital Media Strategists also often work as independent consultants. As such, while they need to know how to plan, design, and implement digital media communication campaigns, their most important skill is the ability to work closely with a client in determining the specific digital media communication needs.
Critical thinking and problem solving skills are a must, and given the fact that they are often brought in to assist smaller companies that aren’t large enough to support a team of digital media communication professionals, Digital Media Strategists also need to know how to maximize audience engagement as inexpensively as possible. The extended music metaphor I’ve used throughout this article breaks down when thinking about Digital Media Strategists. They’re kind of like session or studio musicians that are hired to fill a gap, but they’re also DJs or independent producers who make their own music that other musicians can sample and remix. The short and the long of it is: if you can master what it takes to be a digital media strategist, you’ll be online to work in many if not most of the 140,000 digital media communication jobs that are set to roll out in the coming years.
Prepare for a career in digital media
Bridgewater College’s Master of Arts in Digital Media Strategy (MDMS) program prepares students for each of these careers and more in the field of digital media. Students will develop skills in digital writing, graphic design, sound editing, videography, web design, and social media strategy. Students gain hands-on experiences where they can apply their knowledge and skills in professional projects to help build a professional portfolio.
Bridgewater College’s undergraduate media studies program ranked third in Virginia and in the top 100 media studies programs nationally from PLEXUSS, a global higher education database for prospective college students. The MDMS graduate program is an opportunity to develop skills at the next level and better prepare yourself for a career in digital media.