It’s that time when prognosticators try to pinpoint what business forces will prevail in the coming year.
Forbes has published a list of the digital skills it sees as essential, and TEKsystems polled 250 more than CMOs to find out what they’re looking for in 2018. After sifting through the data, here are my picks for what savvy communicators should dive into this year:
1. Analytics. This one wins—no contest. If you are not using analytics to measure your PR and content activities, or not doing so at a high level, prioritize honing this skill in 2018. Learn about custom dashboards, and commit to tracking metrics that matter to your clients. If you’re not sure where to start, read this transcript of a #MeasurePR chat.
2. Content strategy. CMOs are looking for people who can figure out what the audience wants—and how to reach them at the right moment. Devising a content strategy that cuts through the noise and gets results requires several skills. Communicators should brush up on monitoring conversations, analyzing data and tracking results.
3. Design. Visual content rules. The roles of writers, designers and videographers used to be separate, but those lines are blurring. Design skills will remain highly desirable in 2018 and beyond.
4. SEO. No matter how good your content is, it’s only worthwhile if people can find it. SEO savvy is a huge asset for people working in communications. Search algorithms are constantly changing, however, so stay on top of significant Google pivots.
5. Basic HTML and CSS. You don’t have to learn to build websites or program software, but you should know coding basics. Get comfortable navigating a content management system. Familiarize yourself with WordPress, and figure out how to update and format content. At the very least, learn enough to converse intelligently with IT pros, developers and webmasters.
A version of this post first appeared on The Proactive Report.