What is this thing called digital communications and marketing?

Years ago when I was a student journalist we used typewriters – both electric and manual – to write our stories, and I enjoyed the tactile sensation of writing that way. When editing, we actually used scissors and glue to move paragraphs. Computers, smartphones, and the Internet didn’t exist in our analog universe.

Fast forward to 2015. As a communications and marketing consultant, my tools are decidedly digital. This blog and website are powered by WordPress, a leading open source web content management system. I use another open source CMS, Drupal, to help a client maintain their website. For another client, I learned a sophisticated, custom-programmed system for human resources administrators in order to write a web-based manual on how to use the online system.

So in my working lifetime I’ve seen a massive change in technology, which I’ve adapted to and embraced in my work. I call what I do digital communications and marketing because I work at the intersection of communications/marketing and technology. I still practice time-honoured traditions like storytelling in content and preparing communications/marketing plans, but I do so with an awareness of the role technology plays in delivering those stories and realizing those plans.

Having led a number of website redesigns for organizations and worked closely with IT departments and digital vendors, I can also talk nerdy geekspeak. When phrases like “information architecture” and “content strategy” get tossed around I’m right in there. I keep up with the digital vocabulary – and how it relates to communications and marketing – by reading informative articles like the ones in Ragan’s PR Daily, which you can subscribe to as an email newsletter. Ultimately, though, I stay current by simply using digital tools hands-on. Doing with digital is the best professional development.

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