Sometimes things like client service, team management, SARS and VAT navigation takes precedence over research time to read blogs, articles and community groups about the digital marketing world.

When juggling a full-time job, family, household and personal branding, sometimes the very last thing one gets to do is the one thing digital marketers should all be doing religiously — staying relevant and informed about digital marketing.

To try and rectify this, here is a list of five tips on how to stay relevant:

1. Make time to read

Ensure that, at least once a week, you're taking out two hours of a workday to just read the latest in industry news, locally and abroad. Some of the biggest ideas have been sparked by competitors and industry players publishing their ideas or projects.

Ideas can't be created without reading articles that keep you up to date on the latest trends, designs, changes and restrictions.

For example, marketers would need to decline a pitch on a leading alcohol brand because Facebook has decided to further restrict alcohol, e-cig and tobacco content.

2. Attend like-minded events and conferences

Some of the biggest concepts, ideas and client agreements have stemmed from attending industry events. Carefully select the ones that add value and attend with presence, purpose and participation as a mindset. There's nothing worse than to see a delegate hiding behind their computer who is not taking in or adding value.

3. Keep in touch with industry peers

There are thousands of marketers out there, but the ones who have stood the test of time and created a reputation worth following online are worth engaging offline.

Speak to these people, follow their accounts, network with them in person, engage them with questions, challenges, scenarios worth discussing. You will always come away learning something you didn’t know before.

4. Stay up to date with industry growth and changes

A client educating you on something that you didn't know is the biggest compliment as a digital marketer. Usually, clients are new to the industry and have not yet converted to a digital marketing evangelist. Once they do convert and take an interest in learning things about our industry proactively, celebrate it.

It's for this reason, people should make sure they know and learn more about major industry changes. Facebook buying out Instagram was huge; it changed the game entirely.

TikTok's rise in millennial followers is an untapped opportunity to reach the youth. Twitter's decline in growth internationally should make marketers concerned. However, content consumption is high and engagement at an all time increase.

Not knowing these things could potentially do harm to your brand or clients. Stay engaged and in the know. How? See point one: Read, read, read!

5. 'We've always done it this way' is a dangerous phrase in digital marketing

The beauty — and sometimes the challenge — is dealing with a constantly evolving target and moving goalposts. Just as one thing is mastered, three new things crop up. Such is the world of digital marketing.

There is nothing more amusing than the inevitable group freak-out whenever Facebook or Twitter redesign their layouts. The key here is to be flexible, keen to learn on the go and open to change. Not always the easiest thing, but it is imperative for digital marketers to stay ahead of the game.

In the industry community, the outcry of fury and flurry in comments are true and reliable. The only thing that is reliable about digital marketing landscapes is just how unreliable and ever-changing they are. Embrace it, and win.

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