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As a blend of technology and creativity, digital media finds itself in various industries and jobs. This day and age, you can find digital media on several platforms including social media, websites, advertisements and video games. Understanding what digital media is and how it’s used can help more make more strategic decisions for your company as a marketing or business professional. This guide explains what digital media is, where and how it’s used and the various forms of digital media.

What Is Digital Media?

Digital media refers to technology or content that’s consumed or encrypted through a machine-readable platform. While the term “digital” encompasses anything with numeral digits, the term “media” refers to a method of transmitting information. Therefore, digital media can be defined as information shared through a digital device or screen. Essentially, it’s any form of media that relies on an electronic device for its creation, distribution, view, and storage.

What Are the Benefits Of Digital Media?

When you use social media to your advantage, it provides several benefits for both individuals and businesses alike. Here are some of the benefits that digital media provides:

Makes It Easier to Share and Modify Information

Digital media has made it easier for both companies and individuals to share, access, and modify information. For example, if a company prints an advertisement in the newspaper, they can’t make modifications once the paper has gone to press. If it purchased an online ad, however, it can contact its advertising department and have them pull the ad, make the necessary changes, and republish. Therefore, digital media has given companies greater control over their marketing efforts.

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Increases Brand Awareness

Digital media’s ease of use has changed the way individuals live and how companies conduct business. From a business perspective, it’s helped companies with not only their daily responsibilities, but also in helping market their products and services. Having digital media at your disposal makes it easier for your company to reach a wider audience, therefore, increasing your sales and revenue in the process. For example, when you want to market your new skincare line, you can easily post about it on your website and social media channels. Before digital media, you would’ve had to rely on people seeing your products in a store or in a print advertisement.

Facilitates Social Interaction

Digital media has allowed both businesses and individuals to maintain relationships and friendships across time and distance. It facilities social interaction and allows people to connect with others despite their location.

While individuals use social media to express sympathy, receive support, share updates, and to send messages to friends or family, businesses use social media to connect with their target audience and to market their products and services.

Boosts Productivity

Thanks to digital media, the internet, and technology, many jobs can be performed anywhere and at any time. The ability to use email, smartphones, and the internet has made it easier for working professionals to finish their tasks quickly, giving them time to get more done during the workday. This increased productivity then helps companies generate more sales and revenue, making them more competitive in their industries.

Increases Availability of Learning Resources

Thanks to the rise in technology, more and more companies want employees with computer and media skills. Therefore, it’s important to stay up-to-date with these changing requirements by continuously developing new skills. Digital media facilitates this learning by supporting both teaching and self-education through online videos and tutorials. Digital media makes it easier for these resources to reach a wider audience at both a lower cost and greater quality. For example, it can help connect students with educators on widely used platforms.

Easier to Find Qualified Job Candidates

Many companies, and particularly hiring managers, use digital media to attract and source talent to their organization. It especially helps them attract digitally savvy candidates. Rather than advertising an open job in a newspaper, a hiring manager can post about the position on the company website, on the company’s social media accounts, and on various online job boards. This allows them to reach a wider net of candidates, therefore, increasing their chances of hiring a qualified candidate who best fits what they’re looking for in an employee.

How Has Digital Media Affected Print Media?

Digital media has essentially replaced printed media created by pen and paper. Many magazines and books have begun to replace their printed formats with online publications. Not only is it more cost-effective, but it also allows them to distribute their information and products more easily.

Teachers have also relied more on digital media over the years. Rather than using paper and pencil when creating lesson plans, they’ve used digital media to create these plans on an electronic device such as a tablet or computer.

Which Industries Use Digital Media?

Thanks to its many forms, digital media is used in several industries. Because digital media is so vast, these industries have several avenues where they can share their information. The use of digital media products, in particular, allows a variety of industries to deliver experiences and information to a wide range of customers across the globe. Here are some industries that use digital media:

  • Healthcare: The healthcare industry uses digital media to advertise its services and connect consumers with healthcare professionals and institutions. For example, if you’re looking for a doctor, you can use the internet and your computer to find information regarding reputable physicians in your area.
  • Government: The government uses digital media to share general information and news alerts with the public. For example, the White House can report information on their website, or through their social media accounts, various news articles, or television broadcasts.
  • Entertainment: This industry uses digital media through several methods including films, television shows, and music. For example, whereas analog film cameras were once used to make a movie, digital cameras have now replaced them. Thanks to digital media, film, and other forms of entertainment such as music, have become easier to distribute to audiences through the click of a button.
  • eCommerce: eCommerce websites use social media to share information about their products or services. For example, they can use both their website and social media accounts to build brand awareness, market their products, and help them generate online sales.
  • Education: The education industry uses digital media to educate students on various subjects through the use of digital formats. For example, teachers can use laptops to display their lesson plans in the classroom, while students can use digital tablets or laptops to take notes. It’s also worth mentioning digital media’s affect on coursework. For example, whereas journalism used to center on print media, journalism coursework has since expanded to include the teachings of digital media and how to use its various platforms to better disseminate news.
  • Marketing and advertising: Both the marketing and advertising industries use digital media to disseminate their promotional materials. For example, a company’s advertising department can share a digital advertisement on a website to promote the company’s products or services. This gives them a wider range of views compared to if they only ran a print advertisement in a newspaper.
  • Sports: The sports industry uses digital media to televise sporting events and share updates on games. In addition, some coaches may use electronic devices to create game plans or share plays with their team.
  • Non-profits: Non-profits use their social media accounts and websites to raise awareness, connect with people, and collect donations. For example, a non-profit can use social media to share information about a new fundraising campaign.
  • Publishing and media: The publishing and media industry uses digital media to share various forms of content including blog posts, videos, podcasts, and news articles. While companies have their own websites that house these forms of content, they can also use their social media accounts to promote this content and redirect users back to their website.

Who Uses Digital Media?

Several media companies, commercial brands, and individuals use digital media. Because it’s used across a wide range of industries, there are many positions in the workforce that use digital media on a day-to-day basis. Here are some careers that regularly use digital media:

  • Video game designers: Video game designers use digital media to create games through computer software. They develop stories and plots, characters, and design scene layouts.
  • Animators: Animators use digital media to bring their drawings and illustrations to life. They can work on movies, video games, television shows, and commercials. Though they use their hands to draw, animators transfer their drawings to a computer program to give it the ability to move. An animator’s job involves the development of storyboards, animation editing, and creating visual effects to enhance their animations.
  • Filmmakers: Filmmakers create, edit, and use digital video for entertainment and educational purposes. Their work is delivered through various formats and can be found in movie theaters or online viewing platforms.
  • Video editors: Similar to filmmakers, video editors capture and piece together video footage for TV shows, films, sporting events, music videos, and other videos. They use video editing software to enhance the quality of the video before its disseminated to an audience.
  • Videographers: Videographers use digital media to capture video for various clients. While some film weddings or documentaries, others create promotional video content for a larger corporation.
  • Broadcasters: Broadcasters refer to digital journalists that use cameras to relay news and information to the public. They may also use their knowledge of coding, programming, graphics, and multimedia design to assist in their daily digital media responsibilities.
  • Social media managers: Social media managers use social media to advertise, promote, and market content to a target audience. They monitor a company’s social media channels, reply to comments from social media users, develop various social media strategies, and implement these strategies to increase brand awareness and gain greater online viewership.
  • Web developers: Web developers use digital media to create web pages and websites for their clients. These online platforms disseminate various media including blog posts, videos, and images.
  • Graphic designers: Graphic designers use digital media to create logos, images, or other visual concepts for various clients. They collaborate with their clients and use their feedback to create a design that fits their brand. As with animators, though a graphic designer’s sketch is often done by hand, they transfer it to a design software to refine their creation.
  • Sound editors: Sound editors use digital media to select and gather sound recordings. They do this in preparation for sound mixing or mastering.

What Are Digital Media Skills?

Just as digital media has grown through the years, so has the number of digital media skills. If you own a digital media company, there are several important skills to look for in an employee. Here are some common digital media skills and skills that relate to digital media that are useful in the workplace:

  • Communication skills: Every digital media role requires the use of communication skills to convey information to a greater audience. Communication skills in relation to digital media can encompass a wide variety of knowledge such as the ability to edit, provide client services, use social media, or write.
  • Content management skills: If you or your company runs a website, it’s important to have strong content management skills to not only create content, but also to effectively market it and gain readership. Some content management skills as they relate to digital media include content promotion, content management systems, social media planning strategies, and content generation for social media platforms.
  • Marketing skills: This digital media skill refers to your ability to digitally promote your company’s goods or services. Through the use of social media, for example, you can use your social networking platforms to promote a particular service. Some common skills within marketing include brand strategy, digital production, email marketing, and social advertising.
  • Computer skills: Given the number of industries that use computers and laptops for their digital media purposes, gaining computer skills is highly important for several careers. It’s also essential to learn technical computer skills regarding software programs related to your field. Some technical computer skills include the knowledge of specific design software, video editing software, photo editing software, or animation software.
  • Web design skills: Web design skills refer to your ability to create and arrange webpages. It also involves the understanding of various programming languages and usability testing.
  • Web analytics skills: These skills refer to your ability to guarantee that the content you create remains competitive and continues to claim the top rankings on a search engine results page. It involves metrics, interpreting numerical data, and analyzing website visitor patterns.
  • Receptiveness: Because you’re likely to receive feedback and criticism in a digital media role, it’s important to accept it gracefully. For example, if you’re a social media specialist, you may read negative comments on the social media channels you monitor. Being open-minded regarding user comments or concerns can ensure you don’t let negative comments affect your mood.
  • Attention to detail: When you create something using digital media, it’s important to have strong attention to detail to ensure you’re dispersing high-quality content free from error. For example, if you’re writing an article on a breaking news story, it’s important to get the right information to the public. To do this, you need to pay attention to the facts and report only accurate, non-biased information.

Types of Digital Media

Though there are several examples of digital media to consider, they all typically fall into the following categories:

Owned Media

This refers to media that you or a company controls and is in possession of. Some examples of owned media include an electronic device, a website, a blog, video, or a social media platform. Increasing the amount of digital media you create gives your business greater visibility. This visibility then increases your brand’s authority and improves its ranking on search engines.

Earned Media

Earned media refers to shared information via word of mouth, testimonials, social media, or another format. Essentially, it’s advertising from your own customers. For example, if a customer recommends your services on social media, this is media you earn because they liked your services enough to share about it with others. Unlike owned digital media, you don’t have control over what people say about your business and its products and services.

Paid Media

Paid media refers to digital media that you’ve paid for in order to promote your products or services. Typically, paid media aims to drive traffic back to your owned media. You can pay for an online advertisement to improve your website’s traffic, increase sales, and drive a profit. Examples of paid media include display ads and paid search ads.

Examples of Digital Media

Now that you know more about digital media, consider the following examples to give you a greater understanding of the formats in which it’s used:

  • Digital audio: Audio refers to sound that we listen to through a digital device. This can include a song, a podcast, or other auditory message. You can access digital audio both online and offline.
  • Digital video: Digital video refers to a moving image that encompasses both visual and auditory elements. It is recorded, stored, and sent to consumers via a digital format. Like digital audio, digital video is accessed both online and offline. Some examples of digital video include live videos and movies.
  • Online advertising: Online advertising refers to a form of digital media that’s used to promote a product or service. Examples of advertising include website banner ads or social media ads. You can place advertisements on various digital platforms and formats including websites and billboards.
  • Virtual reality: Virtual reality provides users with an immersive experience where they can sense colors, images, sounds, and other visual and auditory elements. It allows users to explore various environments that have been virtually generated.
  • Augmented reality: Augmented reality comprises both virtual and real environments. For example, let’s say there’s a mobile makeup application that allows you to try on makeup. The application uses both your real self along with virtual elements to apply digital makeup, creating both a virtual and real-life environment.
  • Social media: Social media refers to websites and applications that allow individuals or companies to disseminate information to the greater public. While individuals use these online communities to share personal information with friends and family, media companies use it to promote their brand and share content and commercial brands use social media to advertise, market, and sell their products and services. It also provides companies with a way to communicate with its customers. Along with sharing information, consumers and companies can comment and reply to other users.
  • Video games: Video games refer to electronic games with images that you can manipulate. They are used on both computer systems and are displayed on various formats including television and computer screens.
  • Websites: A website refers to a collection of webpages that uses the same domain name and is published on at least one web server. Websites typically house content and information for readers to digest.
  • Digital photos: Digital photos refer to standalone photographs comprised of pixels. Created through the use of light, digital photos are captured, stored, and shared through a digital format. Though they often accompany written content, they can also stand alone.
  • Electronic books: Electronic books are books, magazines, or newspapers created for educational or entertainment purposes that can be read through a screen.

Now that you know more about digital media, consider the ways in which it can benefit you and your business. When used strategically, you can use digital media to grow your business and increase revenue.

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