Building an inbound social media strategy. Exploring the intersection of race, culture and communications. Taking media monitoring to the next level. Marketing in uncertain times.
These are all topics I’ve been diving into over the past six months through professional development opportunities. Since I joined Sabo PR more than two years ago, I’ve been wanting to take my PD beyond luncheons and the occasional webinar. I wanted to enroll in a class or work toward certifications in a variety of areas.
However, finding a good fit for my work-life balance and learning preferences was challenging pre-pandemic. But in my “new normal,” I’ve been able to invest more time learning at home than I used to spend commuting or attending events. I found a sweet spot for career growth embracing more webinars and online programs. (Although, I’ll note there was a bit of research needed to get me there.)
My most recent endeavor was through HubSpot Academy earning a social media marketing certification. The process struck the right balance of helping me not only refresh myself on social media basics, but also to expand and test my knowledge of more complex applications. If you’ve considered working toward a certification or taking a specialized course online, keep reading. HubSpot Academy might be a great choice for you, too!
Range of topics and learning levels
A quick scan through HubSpot Academy’s website will show it offers a great variety of globally recognized programs. There are certifications, courses and lessons in a wide range of topics for the “most sought-after business skills.” (Oh, and they’re free, by the way.) I am drawn to the email and content marketing certifications, which are in-depth programs. But to hone specific skills, there are shorter options like the website optimization course. Have you heard of the dollar-a-day Facebook Ads strategy? There is a 35-minute lesson on that!
Having so many choices gives you control to cherry pick what you want to work on. HubSpot outlines the options to help you understand up-front the approximate time commitment and learning outcomes. I’m all about being efficient, so I appreciated being able to determine if it would be a good match early on. I liked knowing what I was getting myself into and felt it would meet my expectations – which I can’t say about every PD opportunity out there.
Helpful visuals, real-life examples and quizzes
HubSpot Academy is all on-demand, well-produced videos. They include data visualization to highlight impactful statistics to keep you engaged in the lesson. Real-life examples are interwoven throughout to help take concepts from abstract to concrete.
In particular, I liked hearing from different speakers in the industry. Hearing from real people about their struggles and best practices helped make the video lessons more relatable and interesting to listen to.
Finally, short quizzes are peppered throughout the certification process to reinforce key points. There is a lot of great information packed into each video lesson. Being able to test my understanding and retention of information in bite-sized assessments throughout was affirming for me. Altogether, these aspects made for a high-quality learning experience.
Self-paced and adaptable
A key feature that sold me on HubSpot Academy, like other online learning platforms, is that it’s all self-paced. I liked that I could fit the courses into my schedule whenever it worked best for me. Because of the on-demand video format, you’re also able to pause and rewatch, speed up or slow down and turn on/off captioning as needed.
I absorb information best when I’m able to write it down as I’m listening. I also like to try to keep my notes neat so it’s easy to find and reference information later on. Taking full advantage of that pause button and captioning helped me make sure I accurately and legibly captured facts. While this extended the time it took for me to complete the certification, it makes me feel more confident that I could retain what I heard.
You’re bound to discover new tools and services
One very practical takeaway for me from the certification I completed is a robust list of free and paid social media tools and services. I loved that several examples were included throughout the lessons. The next time we’re seeking to utilize a specialized tool or service for a client, I have a fantastic list of options ready to explore.
Additional resources to expand understanding
A neat “extra” I had overlooked at first, but am so glad I later found, is the resources tab on lessons. This allows you to download presentation slides and transcripts, explore relevant blog posts or articles and access workbooks to practice what you’ve learned.
The additional resources are nice to have on standby if you need more examples for better comprehension. If you have special interest in a topic and want to explore it further, you can trust that HubSpot has aggregated a great list from reputable sources.
Online learning platforms are becoming ever more popular for their convenience during this increasingly virtual world. There are quite a few of them out there. If you’ve tried HubSpot Academy before, what was your experience? Or are there other options you would recommend exploring?