Being a beginner with any subject can be daunting, exciting, and downright frustrating. How many of us have started to play the guitar, excited to learn the easy listening classic “Baby Come Back,” only to give up after the first verse? Just me?
Learning Is Not Easy
It’s hard being a beginner, and it takes humility and grace to get through those discouraging nights Googling every article and video explaining the best way to play a F# chord. But no matter what subject you learn from scratch, there will be definite peaks and valleys throughout the learning process.
They say the best learning happens before the age of ten, our brains are so malleable we can learn any language without an accent before the end of our first decade on earth. However, after that, be prepared for some rough tides ahead, and with thick accents.
That’s not to say we can’t learn as adults, but it’s an important reminder to be patient with ourselves as we learn throughout adulthood. We’re not going to be fluent in French after a year of studying, but those chubby cheeked 3-year-olds will be fluent after 6 months of talking to their French teacher.
Technical marketing is no different, and when you enter the world of semantic markup, metadata, hreflang tags, rel=canonical, and robots.txt files, any normal beginner would be tempted to slowly walk away…and then sprint.
The Journey To The Tech Side
I came to technical marketing from the seemingly opposite spectrum of career paths. For a number of years, I owned and operated my own health care clinic specializing in nutrition and acupuncture. I was clueless on the aspects of technical marketing, but I sure did know a lot about vitamin D.
When I first realized you could optimize a website to rank higher in Google and gain more clients, I was flabbergasted. How could this be true, it’s absolutely amazing! I became obsessed. I wanted to keyword research every day of the week, write more amazing content, optimize posts and pages, and start learning the behemoth of Google Analytics. I even started laughing at SEO jokes.
I felt like a kid in a candy store, learning new skills that could be applicable to any business or any person wanting to succeed online. While I never knew how much I loved the detail-oriented aspect of digital marketing, looking back on my previous career, the nights spent on PubMed looking at cool new research on Turkey Tail Mushrooms were not your average pastime either.
Before I knew it, I became more obsessed with SEO and learning technical skills than I was with my clinic, and realized I had to pursue the technical marketing field.
A Few Tips For a Beginner Technical Marketer
Getting a job at UpBuild is one of the most amazing things that could happen to someone learning their way around the field. I get to work in an environment with the most skilled technical marketers around, learn from them every day, and optimize my own skillset. To say this is exciting is an understatement.
That being said, the learning will never end, and the frustrating nights of Googling are here to stay. We all loved those nights anyway, but learning all these cool new skills is not easy, and working in an environment with such amazing talent can have a beginner feel…well, overwhelmed.
To help fellow beginners in their journey of technical marketing, here are some tips to help you on your way.
1. Don’t Try and Learn Everything At Once.
Technical marketing isn’t for the faint of heart, and it’s not something you master overnight. This field is constantly changing, and the techniques we might use today won’t necessarily be the ones we use a year from now. With that in mind, you’ll never know everything. Be reasonable with yourself and go at your own pace. Burning out before you even begin is not what we’re going for. It also helps to slowly digest information via forums, blog posts, and videos.
2. Ask a Lot of Questions
It can be extremely hard for some of us to ask a lot of questions. We don’t want to appear dumb, or uneducated, but if you’re a beginner, you’re kind of dumb and uneducated (in the best way possible)! Learning happens when we ask questions—comment on blog posts, reach out and write emails to people in the industry, and find resources that have already answered questions similar to yours such as the MOZ Q&A Forum We’ll all stumble at different parts of the process, asking questions will not only fast track your learning process but allow you to engage with some of the best in the field.
3. Start Building
The best learning usually happens outside of the “classroom” and in the real world. While I initially learned about SEO through blogs and various articles, I didn’t truly understand the process until I started my own blog and took all those new skills and techniques out for a ride. Implementation is the best form of learning, so take your skills out for a spin and learn by doing. Build a blog on WordPress, start implementing basic SEO techniques, and experiment.
4. It’s Okay to Be Wrong
As adults, we get used to staying in our comfort zones, the comfort of being familiar and right in our little bubbles. But when it comes to technical marketing, it’s okay to fail along the way. From not optimizing your pages correctly, choosing the wrong keywords to target, or misconfiguration of your schema markup, there are many opportunities to fail. Learning is a process of trial and error, and this is no exception, especially if you’ve never tested yourself in the technical aspect of optimization.
5. Get an Internship/Take Classes/Get Some Training
Self-learning can be a fun and cost-effective way to teach yourself new skills, but when it comes down to it, investing in yourself and your future is not always free. Look into online learning opportunities such as Distilled University, follow the Moz blog, acquaint yourself with Google Analytics by taking their online courses, and don’t be scared to invest in yourself. Learning new technical skills can be overwhelming, but get out there and start training.
Welcome to the Club
If you’ve already found yourself lost in the world of technical marketing, don’t sweat it. Frustrations will be inevitable, and crying into your popcorn while trying to learn advanced Google Analytics is par for the course. And while you might feel overwhelmed along the way, just imagine your future self-mastering Google Tag Manager, Analytics, and schema markup while enjoying cheesy SEO cartoons like the one above.