How To Build A Successful Communications Career Through Specialization


Written by   19th July, 2023


Communication is one of the most in-demand professions in the world. Around the globe, more and more economies are moving away from traditional agriculture and manufacturing and beginning to specialize in a wide array of service-based industries. Often, heightened communication skills make the difference between a good organization and a great one. Indeed, the way that you convey your message is almost as crucial today as the service you are providing. This is true in all walks of life, from business and industry to education and public administration, so it is perhaps no surprise that the need for experts in communication shows no sign of abating.

In the meantime, the spread of the internet and social media has also shifted much of the commercial, marketing, and advertising worlds online. Due to the drive of technology, communications is also now one of the most fast-paced fields, with changes in almost all related business models occurring at a rapid rate. In this article, we will look at how to find the right specialization in communications, why it is crucial to do so, and ways in which you can deepen your expertise in vital areas. In addition, we will also examine how the introduction of new technology, such as AI and Chat GPT, could affect future careers in communication and help shape your career path.

A Broad Spectrum

What is communication? At its most basic level, it is about using a variety of different mediums, such as spoken and written words, images, and visual messaging, as well as listening, to convey an idea or concept to another person or group of people. While these areas are also studied on a purely academic level, the majority of people interested in a career in this field will, in the future, apply their communication skills to achieve a particular goal for some kind of organization. Communications can cover a wide array of professions and areas of work, from film, media, politics, and public relations to advertising, marketing, digital content, and organizational and corporate communication.

Just as with any other field, people who become involved in communications usually start out with a fairly broad spectrum of interests and knowledge. In general, however, we can say that they tend to have a passion for communicating ideas and concepts, as well as helping to build up the brands of companies or organizations. While some people do take a more academic approach to communications as they might want to investigate the meaning of communication or how it functions, for the vast majority of people working in communications is a highly practical career with a wide range of applications.

A Recipe For Success

So, what does it take to be a good communications specialist? One key skill required is to be a great storyteller. Whether you are working in the film industry, for a newspaper, or on a marketing campaign, the ability to write or produce a convincing storyline that can interest people in some way is a great gift, though it is also something that can be learned. After all, there are similar aspects to all good stories, and with the right amount of practice and instruction, all of us can become talented storytellers.

Naturally, to be a good communicator, it is also essential to be a good listener. If you want to know what customers want, for example, then you need to work hard to understand them. This is why often, an ability to comprehend customers and shape your message accordingly to make it more effective and increase returns is one of the most important aspects of a good communications specialist. It also helps to have good knowledge of all available options, from focus groups and in-depth conversations to digital analytics and customer satisfaction surveys. To put it simply, data and customer feedback tell their own story, and understanding it is of tremendous value.

In addition, it is also a good idea to build up a portfolio of your work so that you can present your best work to any prospective employees. As discussed above, communications is a highly practical field, and often a few examples of your previous work will speak far more convincingly than a resume ever could. Whenever you create a piece of work that you are really proud of or that has been genuinely successful, save a screenshot, file, or URL so you can show it to others at a later date. One other crucial aspect of a good communication specialist is diversification. In most industries, you will be expected not only to be an expert in what you do right now but also to be flexible enough to pivot across to another area when change or transformation arrives.

A Time To Choose

At some point, it makes sense to ‘streamline’ your career or to pick an area of expertise where you want to become truly proficient. In the field of communication, there are essentially two forms of specialization, which we can loosely describe as ‘what’ you do and ‘where’ you do it. The ‘what’ refers to the kind of tasks that you perform on a daily basis. In communication, potential areas of specialization include anything from corporate digital marketing and advertising expertise to visual communication, strategic communication, and even journalism. Then there is the ‘where’, meaning all the different types of places that you might go on to work in, such as multinational companies, NGOs, public administration or even the education sphere.

As we all know, specialization can be an excellent way to distinguish yourself from the crowd and build a more lucrative and durable career in your chosen profession. This is even more true today, as the rapid development of AI capabilities puts a whole series of more general, non-specific work under threat.

While it is true that advanced technology can make our work easier, it also has the capability to reduce the amount of work that needs to be done, so it makes sense to develop true expertise in your field to ensure you are truly indispensable. Regardless of the specific area you work in, whether it is content marketing, brand creation, copywriting or data analytics, the more generic your services are, the more easily they can be replaced with automation or another cheaper alternative. On the other hand, the more specialized your knowledge, the more valuable and indispensable you will become.

Decisions, Decisions

So how do you decide what to specialize in? Just as with any other branch of expertise, this is no easy question. The first best step is to explore a range of different fields to see which one you find best suits your individual skills. There are some basic rules that might give you an indication. If you have a passion for words, for example, you might find you are more suited to content creation and copywriting, but if you have a more analytical mind, you might be more inclined toward a career in data analysis for online marketing campaigns.

Just imagine that someone has completed an undergraduate degree in communications and marketing and is preparing to start a job in the commercial department of a small startup. In those first few years of exposure to the world of communications, they might study a wide range of different areas and carry out many different tasks. They could enjoy many aspects of their work, but they may begin to find that they have a real talent for communicating with a wide range of people and helping to dictate strategic goals. In addition, they may also have a big passion for space in their spare time. In this particular case, they might decide that their ultimate career aim is to work in the communications department of a major space agency or a similar organization. After having made this decision, it makes sense for them to do all they can to not only expand their knowledge of the industry but also to develop practical capabilities that can eventually make them a prime candidate for this kind of role.

Education As A Path To Specialization

Naturally, one of the best ways to develop your in-depth knowledge of a certain branch of communications is through education. To a certain extent, you can do this independently. There is a wealth of books available and information online, as well as some online and in-person intensive courses that can provide you with guidance.

Alternatively, many people choose to enroll in an advanced degree course. After all, a degree not only offers a bonafide qualification that offers clear evidence of your commitment to your chosen path but also provides you with a sound theoretical background, specific knowledge, and an array of valuable skills that can prepare you for a specialized career.

While there is some scope for focusing on one area of expertise in certain undergraduate degrees, master’s degrees typically provide the best opportunity for greater specialization. Today, many courses are available entirely online, which is a great option if you are either already working or have no wish to relocate to another city to continue your education.

Institutions, such as St Bonaventure University (SBU), provide several degrees related to communication that can help you develop a unique skill set to put you on the right path to your chosen career. By completing an SBU Masters in Communication online, you can choose from two specializations — integrated marketing communication or content marketing — depending on which one you think will suit your current interests and future career path.

Potential Paths

With both specializations, students have the chance to learn about conceptual and strategic thinking and visual and written communication, as well as to develop a deeper understanding of global business topics. The Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Content Marketing specialization also enables you to focus on creating strategies, content, and optimization plans in relation to content used to promote brands and organizations, with a strong focus on social media marketing, idea generation, visual design, creativity, and familiarity with emerging technologies.

The specialization in Integrated Marketing Communication, on the other hand, focuses more on a combination of creativity and analysis as students learn to create a vision through the help of targeted research, designing innovative concepts and strategies for maximizing ROI. You will have the opportunity to learn how to create a winning strategy and design, examine the role of public relations and communication in a global market, develop a thorough understanding of digital marketing strategies, and also improve your visual and communication design skills in practical applications.

Stay Flexible

Even if someone has completed a degree in a particular field or begun working in a certain profession or industry, there is still plenty of scope for developing and diversifying at a later date. This is particularly true today, when, as we mentioned above, technology is revolutionizing industries at a dizzying pace.

Think back to what a career in marketing meant only 30 or even 20 years ago. The main channels for advertising products and informing the general public of a new idea were almost entirely paper or phone-based, with most major communication campaigns taking place through a combination of print media and television and radio advertising, leafleting, billboards, and posters.

While these mediums are still in use today, there is no question that digital content is now increasingly dominant. Anybody working in the communication industry is almost duty-bound to have built up at least an adequate knowledge of not only social media and digital advertising but also a wide range of other areas, from data analytics to funnel marketing.

In each new area, we soon see a large number of experts appear who can offer companies their expertise across a range of platforms. While some of them are hired because they are young and have grown up with such technology, so they are effectively trained from the start in this field, in many cases, you will find people who have taken their skills in their previous area of expertise and applied it to a new one, or at least to a new medium.

Built For Leadership?

In addition to lateral moves across disciplines and industries, many people will also experience vertical moves throughout the course of their career. Leadership is another kind of specialization, and while some fields, such as business administration, might point very directly towards a leadership position, in many communication fields, it can happen more unexpectedly.

Anyone with ambitions of leadership should also make an effort to develop their skills in this area. Fortunately, many degree courses in communication, particularly post-graduate courses, also offer students the chance to examine areas such as strategic planning and execution.

There are also numerous other ways to develop your leadership skills. Many companies offer mentoring programs, where older, more experienced workers will teach less experienced ones about key areas. Any increase in responsibility in your job will also give you the opportunity to put your skills in this area to the test.

Just as with any other aspect of the communications profession, the emphasis is on building your abilities over time, staying flexible and taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

Everyone Has Their Own Pathway

We live in uncertain times, and it is often very difficult to get the balance right between having a significant degree of specialization, which can lead you to excel in a certain area, while also developing a versatile skillset and transferable knowledge so that you are flexible enough to deal with the ever-changing environment. It is entirely possible that many people graduating today will go on to have two, three or even more specializations throughout their lives, moving in related but often varying fields.

Specialization always makes sense if you want to build a durable career. Yes, the medium in which you apply the vital skills, knowledge and experience you have gained might change, and you might even find yourself moving between industries and professions as your career progresses; however, a good copywriter, for example, is always effective, whether they are writing for print magazines, SEO content or social media ads. An expert in marketing data analytics should always be able to identify the key metrics and work out the best way to sell a product, regardless of whether that product is IT services, a sports car, or a politician.

The ability to offer something special and unique is a highly valuable proposition. Not only does a high degree of specialization in key areas make you an attractive fit for many organizations, but it also gives you a chance to focus on your passions and forge your own pathway.

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Abdul Aziz Mondol is a professional blogger who is having a colossal interest in writing blogs and other jones of calligraphies. In terms of his professional commitments, he loves to share content related to business, finance, technology, and the gaming niche.

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