The Day-to-Day as a Digital Strategist
Digital Strategy is the work behind digitally-rich projects like websites, social media, SEO content, digital marketing, and more. Digital Strategists identify opportunities for growth and make plans for new website releases, content for their client with a specific end goal in mind, or an advertising campaign. Digital Strategists work with Digital Marketers of all sorts, senior staff, Developers, Business Analysts or Marketing Analysts, and sometimes other professionals depending on their employer. Digital Strategists work at marketing agencies, corporations, startups, or freelance in various industries from tech to retail.
Digital Strategist’s responsibilities vary dramatically between each employer and project. When working on a smaller team, Digital Strategists tend to wear more hats and multitask. On larger teams, the Digital Strategist is much more specialized and will only do two or three of the tasks listed here and while their teammate handles the rest. You might find a Digital Strategist planning customer and brand journeys, meeting with clients or their team, uploading content that is properly formatted and up to current SEO best practices, amplifying client content on multiple platforms, creating SEO and social media strategies, pulling campaign results and analyzing the data, adjusting campaigns and strategies throughout the process based on data, doing competitor and market analyses, optimizing Google Ads and Bing Ads, or crafting email campaigns.
What Skills Should Digital Strategists Have?
Digital Strategists must be skilled in all aspects of digital marketing. They’ll need to know how to get information from clients, like their brand story and current challenges, and make a plan that will utilize search engine marketing, social media marketing, content strategy, email campaigns, advertising campaigns, and more to achieve the client’s goals and provide the proper return on investment (ROI). In the beginning, the Digital Strategist must be able to sift through website data, the buyer’s journey, current strategies, and brand voice in order to optimize the client’s business and create a new digital marketing strategy.
They must know how to use and the best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing (SMM), and content and email marketing. Most companies will use a project management tool like Jira, Trello, Confluence, or something similar and it is helpful to be familiar with these. For many clients, Digital Strategists will be creating and uploading content, emails, and social media posts. For this purpose, the Digital Strategist should be familiar with how to use social media platforms, content management systems like WordPress, and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
The systems that they create for this client should be able to be replicated for long term growth and consistent engagement.
Digital Strategists are expected to be proficient in and sometimes certified in Google Ads and Google Analytics. Some companies will also expect proficiency in Bing Ads and other analytics platforms. The Digital Strategist will need to be able to analyze and translate data from these analytics dashboards into strategies, proof of results, and proof for pivoting or altering a campaign. They will also need to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) throughout the project and adapt their plan as needed. The Digital Strategist must be good at planning, strategizing, and thinking creatively. They should be fantastic communicators who can understand clients’ needs and translate their strategies and data into terms that the client can understand. They should be great teammates as they’ll almost always be working on a team, even as a consultant or a freelancer.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Digital Strategist
Digital marketing utilizes the internet and web based digital platforms to promote products or services. This includes the use of digital advertisements, social media, brand identities, and more.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic using tactics like keywords and backlinks to create organic, high-ranking search engine results.
Google Ads is the new name for Google AdWords. It is an online advertising service that allows advertisers to pay for the display of brief advertisements, video content, listings, and calls to action within the Google Display Network (GDN) to web users. You'll see Google ads on the GDN which includes Google Search, YouTube, and over 2 million other sites.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is the practice of using social media platforms to connect with your target audience or end-user. Social media marketing aims to build brand awareness and loyalty, increase sales, convert leads, and drive website traffic. Social media management can be done through content creation, keyword and target audience research, and the use of social media management platforms like Buffer and Hootsuite.
Email marketing is the practice of sending a commercial message to a group of a target audience using email. These emails might be advertisements, business requests, offers, services, sales solicitations, newsletters, donation requests, petition signature requests, and other calls to action.
Ecommerce is simply buying or selling products through online services or over the internet. Ecommerce utilizes tech like secure online payments, online shops, online marketplaces, and more to provide users with a convenient online shopping experience.
Wordpress is a content management system written in PHP that is usually paired with a MySQL database. It is free and open-source technology. Wordpress is used to build websites and offers a template system, plug in architecture, and content management.
Digital Strategist Salaries
A Digital Strategist in the United States makes, on average, $63,572 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Digital Strategists vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Digital Strategist salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $63K source n/a
New York City
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
- U.S. Average $63K source n/a
Typical Qualifications to Become a Digital Strategist
Most recruiters or employers will prefer candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, or a related field. These roles are usually looking for someone with at least 3 years of experience. That doesn’t mean that someone with limited experience can’t land one of these roles, but it might help to find a related digital marketing role, internship, or a few freelance gigs to get more experience under your belt. You can find related digital marketing roles in the Related Careers section of this page.
Searching for Digital Strategist Jobs
Digital Strategists can find jobs in many industries such as tech, retail, medical, publishing, and more. They can find work as freelancers, full-time staff, consultants, and remote workers. Digital Strategists can find jobs more efficiently by focusing on digital marketing job boards, but can also find an abundance of listings on general job boards.
Digital Strategists can look for jobs on these sites:
- Venture Beat
- Paid Content
- Google Jobs
- Simply Hired
Digital Strategists can find freelance or remote positions on these sites:
Tips to Become a Digital Strategist
If you’re looking for a job as a Digital Strategist, you should first put your skills to work and establish a great web presence of your own. By establishing your own web presence, you’re doing two things: improving your visibility to recruiters and showing that you know how to do this job. You should have a website that ranks, a polished and professional social media presence on at least one platform, and a blog.
Digital Marketers should always be learning and growing because this is an ever-changing field. Document the learning you do on your blog and add it to your LinkedIn profile. Make sample campaigns and share your process and final product on your blog and social media. Generate a small but engaged follow by sharing your work, your process, and even your job search!
The top two ways people land a job as a Digital Strategist is by networking or freelancing–or both! You can network in the digital age by direct messaging other digital marketers and strategists on social media or LinkedIn to start genuine conversations, volunteering, and attending workshops online or in-person. Start looking for a mentor or group of Digital Strategists that can guide your job hunt and give you tips. You might ask for an informational interview or casual coffee date with a few people you’ve networked with to get even more personal help on your job search. Consider networking with a recruiter as well. This can be a less stressful way to find your next job while you’re still working full-time somewhere else.
If you’ve set up your own web presence, networked, and applied for jobs for an extended period of time with few results, you might need to employ some more experience-building strategies. Often, Digital Marketers with less experience get overlooked in job application stacks. Consider trying an internship, a related digital marketing role that is less technical, or freelancing to build up your experiences. There are platforms that post internships and freelance opportunities that are easy places to get started. Finding a related digital marketing role might mean asking your network if they know of any digital marketing openings or broadening your search on job board sites. Whatever you do, make sure you’re submitting quality applications and cover letters customized to each position and company. It is always better to submit a brief, genuine cover letter that is well-researched and personalized than a general quick cover letter.
What Job Titles Would a Digital Strategist Hold?
Digital Strategist’s responsibilities are different at every company. Some will wear many hats from doing business analysis all the way to social media marketing, while others will just be creating and executing the strategy for one aspect of a client’s business. There are many related positions and employers who aren’t working with a recruiter might get this confused with other digital marketing roles.
Digital Strategists can look for these job titles:
- Digital Strategist
- Associate Digital Strategist
- Junior Digital Strategist
- Digital Marketing Strategist
- Content Strategist
- Digital Marketing Account Strategist
- Paid Media Strategist
- Consumer Marketing Digital Strategist
- ECommerce Digital Strategist
Digital Strategists could take a step further into data and away from planning by looking for a role as a Digital Analyst. Most Digital Strategists have worked with Digital Analysts before and know that Digital Analysts work to analyze the data and optimize the performance of digital marketing efforts, websites, and products. Another role that also involves data analysis, planning, and suggesting changes is Web Optimization Specialist. A Web Optimization Specialist works to analyze a website or web app and make a strategy to optimize it for advertising, SEO, users, and more. They’ll use analytical tools and strategic planning methods in a way that is very similar to a Digital Strategists but with a focus on a website or platform instead of marketing campaigns.
An analytical role that would focus more on content creation and interaction with audiences is Social Media Strategist. This role would require a Digital Strategist hone in on social media platforms, their algorithm, content creation, and communication. If they’re finding that their current job is lacking in creative opportunities, a Digital Strategist might find this the perfect pivot.
Even more broadly, a Digital Strategist could broaden their horizons with a Digital Marketer position. This position would have more creativity, planning, teamwork, and a wider variety of tasks for a Digital Strategist. It would require learning some new marketing tools, graphic design best practices, and business marketing principles.
Salary Comparison to Digital Strategist
Paid Search Manager
A paid search manager is tasked with leading search marketing campaigns, generally on Google and Bing Ads. The manager leads the day-to-day strategy, reporting, analysis, and optimization of paid search campaigns. Day-to-day campaign management includes updating bids, adding/removing keywords, monitoring profitability, and more. Strategy and optimization include designing and adjusting paid search strategy to align with overall business goals, running tests to improve performance, and working with other digital partners to develop omnichannel marketing campaigns.Learn about becoming a Paid Search Manager
Web Optimization Specialist
Web optimization specialists are experts at analyzing web traffic and making targeted recommendations to increase user engagement. Acting as user-surrogates, web optimization specialists analyze data on user behavior and advocate for new features or functionalities to improve the end-user experience. Web optimization specialists often work with web developers and designers to create funnels, web applications, and marketing campaigns. These professionals must have experience with data analysis, user-testing, prototyping and digital marketing development.Learn about becoming a Web Optimization Specialist
Marketing Managers oversee a team of marketing professionals who find ways to grow the business they're working for, execute those growth ideas through campaigns, and analyze and report on those campaigns.Learn about becoming a Marketing Manager
Social Media Strategist
Social Media Strategists design social media blueprints to achieve a client's or company's marketing targets. They also create content and manage client or company accounts.Learn about becoming a Social Media Strategist
Digital analysts work with a marketing team to analyze the effectiveness and reach of digital marketing campaigns. They use Google analytics and site tagging tools to harvest user data. This data is analyzed and interpreted to provide insights into how to improve the user experience and the effectiveness of the digital marketing campaign.Learn about becoming a Digital Analyst
Digital marketers are responsible for designing, managing, and reviewing digital marketing campaigns. Using their expertise in search engine optimization (SEO), social media, backlinks, and digital ads, digital marketers provide data and demographic-driven marketing strategies. They may also help companies develop content marketing strategies through the use of blogs. Digital marketers also use data analytics to review digital marketing campaign results and provide guidance for future campaigns.Learn about becoming a Digital Marketer
A search manager brings expertise with search engines and a deep understanding of how they work to drive results. They will generally work across search from organic search (SEO) to paid search. In this type of role, the manager would oversee both organic and paid search operations, including strategy, optimization, and reporting. In organic search, the manager would be in charge of finding the right keywords to target, improving rank for those keywords, and optimizing the site for SEO. Within paid search, the manager would build the strategy, manage the campaigns, and continually test and optimize for the best performance.Learn about becoming a Search Manager