Digital media production is the backbone of the internet. It’s the generation of everything from video and audio to interactive online experiences. Harnessing media production skills for online marketing and business promotion doesn’t take a four-year degree but instead can often be learned through online resources and a whole lot of practice. In fact, this kind of media production is often perceived as something at which only the big firms can succeed, but much media can be created in a budget-friendly manner for small businesses.
Digital media is the same as multimedia. It's anything that happens online and through computer-based technology.
Digital media encompasses any kind of media that is created in a machine-readable-only format, and it includes everything from MP3 files and ebooks to videos and website design. No, you don’t need to go to school to learn these skills, but digital media production degrees are now hotly sought after and are offered in universities and technical institutions around the world.
From mom-and-pop shops to multinational companies, digital media is now at the fore of how a business communicates with the public. Social media and websites have become almost mandatory for companies looking to have strong consumer loyalty and a solid brand name. Having dated or obsolete online properties can make companies seem as though they’re behind the times or floundering financially.
Social Media: Beyond status updates and messaging, social media allows savvy companies an ongoing focus group experience with their fans and potential customers. Content can be user generated or brand created, but it must be compelling, engaging and shareable. Social media is not just about broadcasting your message but rather about creating open dialogue and relationships with your consumers.
Video: While many sites have pivoted to video only, the wisest companies have a balance of content styles. Video can be used on websites, in tweets, on Facebook and beyond. Even Google reviews allow video now, so the online format is a need-to-know. Video editing is a valuable skill for anyone managing online properties.
Website and Mobile Development: A functional, fast-loading, easy-to-use website is still critical. Many small businesses have taken the easy way out and deleted their websites in favor of using Facebook company pages, but this is a dangerous venture because it puts control of house marketing materials in the hands of a third party. WordPress and Squarespace offer simple web platforms, but a wide range of designer solutions exist for a variety of budgets. Mobile-ready pages and apps are now critical, as more than half of the world’s web activity happens on smartphones.
Multimedia isn’t just about video and audio and photos — it’s anything on the web. When you have e-commerce on your site, that’s part of digital media production, and so are location-based services and online games of all kinds as well as virtual reality and animation. If it’s online, it’s a digital media production application.
These are not overnight skills to pick up and rock — people spend their entire careers learning to excel in all of these. Hiring professionals to help for a small business is a smart plan, but there are also plenty of small businesses that learn how to run their online identities through social media, video and other accessible platforms while outsourcing some help in other areas, like website maintenance.
For those looking for skills in everything from content creation to copy production to video editing and even website designing, there are many great independent sites with helpful tips. Also look at pay-to-play educational sites like Lynda.com, which offers year-long subscriptions, and digital production is taught by experts in their fields via video and supporting text documents.