Digital media is a wide-ranging sector, people in this industry could be journalists, copywriters, social media experts, or even the people planning and selling advertising space on websites.
Jobs in online media
Online journalists could be reporters, doing much the same job as print journalists – researching and writing stories, interviewing people – but with the responsibility of uploading stories online through the website’s CMS (content management system). Alternatively, you might focus your efforts solely on the copywriting side of things.
The main difference between writing for online rather than print is it’s possible to embed videos into articles, link to other articles, and reach readers immediately by sharing the stories online, encourage debate from site users: it’s a more interactive and easily accessible type of journalism.
Depending on the size of the website, there are a number of different roles you could pursue, including: web editor, reporter, deputy editor, sub-editor, assistant editor, staff writer and copywriter.
If the website is smaller or more specified to just one topic, one person could take on all the roles. You’ll need to have a good understanding of web development to do this though, as well as having the journalistic expertise to bring readers to the site.
SEO specialists – search engine optimisation specialists – make sure a website’s content comes up when someone searches for it online. They are responsible for managing all SEO activities such as content strategy, link building and keyword strategy (keywords are the terms that internet users search for), driving traffic to the website. These experts will execute tests, collect and analyse data, identifying trends and insights, producing reports and forming strategy based on the results.
Jobs in social media
Social media editors are another crucial part of digital media. In some cases, the social media editor is in charge of finding new distribution outlets; in others, they are doing hands-on reporting using new crowdsourcing tools. As well as monitoring and producing posts across social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, social media experts work with others at their website/organisation on long-term crowdsourcing projects, helping reporters find sources through structured call-outs, coordinating breaking-news coverage, creating the best possible ways of engaging with readers/users and encouraging them to share and comment on content.
Social media agencies help businesses understand how social media can make a real difference to them and to how they engage with potential customers.
Jobs in digital media management
On the management side of this industry are digital media managers, account handlers, account managers, new business managers and other organisational roles. Most companies are now diverting a huge amount of their money to advertising via the internet or through any form of digital or interactive media. This is mainly because of the level of accountability they can find. Every click, view or movement of a mouse can now be measured and attributed to a sale, which makes it a valuable and easily analysed form of advertising.
Digital media apprenticeships
School leavers wanting to work in this sector will usually have to have A-levels; they could do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in roles like web coordinator or digital assistant, or a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) – for those with a better set of UCAS points – in roles like online community manager and user experience coordinator.
School leavers could also look at the courses on offer at further education college or university.