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Arkansas State University

Career Options in Digital Media

The ubiquity of digital media is evident. According to the Pew Research Center, digital news outlets have now eclipsed their print counterparts, with four out of every 10 Americans preferring to stay abreast of current affairs through online sources. Approximately 78 percent of the recorded music industry’s earnings are driven by streaming and download platforms. All told, digital music generated $2.6 billion in revenue during the first two quarters of 2016. Moreover, overall digital media consumption — from web browsing to gaming — on mobile devices has exploded by nearly 80 percent since 2013. Even emerging digital media, such as virtual reality, are rapidly growing, with some projections placing the market’s value at $30 billion by the close of the decade.

With audiences and consumers shifting more and more of their attention to digital media, career opportunities for experts in communications strategy abound.

Degree candidates in Arkansas State’s Online Master of Science in Media Management (MSMM) program can take the opportunity to concentrate on Digital Media Management. This special four-course, 12-credit hour curriculum — which counts toward the 30-credit hour requirement for the MSMM — provides students with training in running publicity campaigns, developing interactive marketing, messaging across multiple media channels, deploying corporate communications to manage crisis situations, and applying entrepreneurial resourcefulness in creating and managing digital media assets. Graduates leave the program with knowledge of how to integrate emerging digital technologies into a business’s overall communications strategy, one that contributes to the business’s continued growth.

What career paths can Arkansas State’s Online MS in Digital Media Management open for you?

Content Creation Specialist

If you are looking to leverage your creativity and technical skills, digital media companies are in need of content. This content can take the form of written material, from regular blog posts to occasional white papers. Video content is also highly prized, and companies understand that they need to invest in producers who possess both a strong aesthetic sensibility and the ability to complete their projects without going over budget. Finally, such content might be natively digital: a website, a mobile app, etc.

According to figures collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in the web development field is expected to increase bymore than 25 percent over the next decade, with mobile driving much of the demand for outstanding talent. And “Mobile App Developer” was recently named by CNN as the #1 “Best Job in America.”

Digital Advertising Manager

U.S. companies spent over $59 billion on digital advertising in 2015. Traditional advertising firms now sell space on websites and negotiate placements on digital content platforms such as internet radio stations or YouTube. But digital advertising is not confined to the internet. Electronic billboards, for example, are a form of digital advertising, as are the screens you may have seen embedded in the pump at your local gas station. Whatever the technology employed, the key to digital advertising’s success lies in targeting the right audience.

Digital advertising managers plan, implement and assess the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, leading teams of both creative personnel (e.g., copywriters, coders) and data analysts. Ad purchases must meet key performance indicators (KPI), and creative content must make optimal use of the messaging capacity of the digital medium it employs. If you count project management, finance or quantitative research among your strengths, you might consider a role in digital advertising.

Digital Marketing Manager

Although they are frequently confused, marketing and advertising are not the same thing. Advertising specializes in direct appeals to specific groups. Marketing, on the other hand, is more integrated into the process of product development. Companies advertise when they have something ready to sell, but they begin their marketing efforts the minute they start designing the look and feel of a product or the scope of a service. Marketing focuses on overall branding, which comes to encompass the relationship the public has with that brand.

In the digital realm, marketers use a wider array of tools than advertisers to reach a population of potential customers. Digital marketing can take many forms:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) that boosts the company’s rank in search engine results.
  • Informational blogs that position the company as a trusted resource for information on a topic.
  • Direct email messaging with product announcements and special offers.
  • Responsive e-commerce solutions that improve customer experience and build customer loyalty.

Like digital advertising managers, digital marketing managers must be able to target (or segment) their audiences and identify innovative ways to communicate with them. They must also be thought leaders, collect significant amounts of data, and demonstrate that their strategies are leading to conversions. Digital Marketing Managers fall in the category of advertising, promotions and marketing managers, and the BLS reports that these professionals are well compensated: The median annual salary for a professional at this level is more than $125,000.

Social Media Marketing Manager

Social media is an entirely new field for marketers. Businesses now routinely maintain profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Social media managers are typically responsible for curating and coordinating a high volume of content and ensuring that the company speaks with a single voice across all of these channels. Social media managers also track engagement statistics and create reports based on patterns of customer interaction on social media. When is the company mentioned on Facebook? Is it a positive or a negative mention? Which users are more likely to review your business on Yelp — and what should be done about a bad review?

Social media managers also investigate new platforms and recommend marketing initiatives based on their research into those platforms’ user demographics, content constraints and prospects for longevity. If you want to advance in the field of social media marketing, you’ll need expertise in emerging media as well as an understanding of how to manage risk. CNN’s survey of salaries for those in this relatively new profession indicates that the median starting salary is between $57,000 and $58,000 per year. Top earners can currently expect to make almost $90,000 annually.

Arkansas State’s Online Master of Science in Media Management can help you jumpstart your digital media career.

Learn more about the A-State online MSMM program.


Pew Research Center: 10 Facts About the Changing Digital News Landscape

Billboard: Streaming Helps Drive 8.1 Percent Growth in Revenue for U.S. Recording Industry

The Media Briefing: Nine Trends in U.S. Media Consumption: In Charts

The Motley Fool: 12 Virtual Reality Stats That Will Blow You Away

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Web Developers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

CNN Money: Best Jobs in America

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