While I don't necessarily think that you can completely learn everything from an online course, for some people, this is a starting point... and if you're going to look at this option you should be armed with some info.
The world of online copywriting is a little murky so you will want to do your research to ensure you don't sign up for a course that is a waste of your valuable time and is void of any real information or tips that will boost your overall skill set in digital marketing.
A good copywriting course will allow you to pick up tricks of the trade, learn the ins and outs of the business and, at the same time, help you to build you network and examples of copy so you can get out there and start making some serious money from your craft.
Why people invest in an online copywriting course?
Why it's not essential, many people look to sign up for online courses and it's your decision if you want to go down that path.
The expertise shared by qualified and experienced online course providers will provide a detailed and comprehensive guide for you throughout your career and be a go to for those times when you need to confer and ensure your copy has all the 'right' elements to achieve the engagement you and your clients seek. Some courses are accredited, which is what you should look for if you're going to go down this path.
Whether you're changing professions or starting to focus more heavily on copywriting in your day to day work, you should have a grasp on the elementary concepts of the skill and also be up to speed in all areas of effective writing, good grammar and the tools of success for online copywriting experts.
Think about it this way; you wouldn't drive a car without a licence (or hopefully not), and you shouldn't write content without the tools and guidance from experienced and knowledgeable copywriting experts. While there is no substitute for experience, if you're looking to have formal qualifications there are courses available for basically everything imaginable.
What to look for in an online copywriting course
If you have decided to go down this path, be picky when you are looking to invest in a course and if you are looking to do a course online, I would keep in eagle eye out for the following factors ahead of making your decision which course to go ahead with.
Consider your budget - what are you getting for your budget, is it an online course delivered virtually by an educator or a manual of information that you work through independently. Work out what the format is to make an informed decision on what you want from your course.If any or all of these elements don't check out, maybe shelve the idea of an online course for now and focus on gathering as much information as you can via alternative routes.
Consider your time - are you after an 18-month course or something that will brush up your skills in a few hours, be sure to enrol in a course that suits your availability otherwise you will wind up not being able to complete it and wasting your time and money.
Review what is being offered - drill down and read the course materials and topics, do you need a 101 version or are you after a more specific, experienced training for your copywriting - do the research and if you think the course doesn't fit your needs, you can contact the training group to discuss what other options might suit.
Ask your colleagues - probably the best way to find out the best course is to ask around. Make some posts on Warrior Forum or have a chat with some of your like-minded copywriting buddies to find out what courses they recommend (or don't recommend for that matter). I believe that word of mouth is probably the most valuable way to find out course information and feedback that is genuine.
Check their reputation - are they property registered? Do they have a reputation for delivering quality courses? What's their experience and do they have courses that are backed by industry professionals. Be thorough and check out the details to ensure you are getting what you paid for and not some generic eBook with useless information and regurgitated information you could easily find on the web.
Call them via Skype or similar to speak with the course co-ordinator - get a feel for the business that is offering the course and give them a buzz, you will usually be able to find out in ten seconds or less if they are the sort of group you want to be associated with and spend your hand earned cash with. Speak with the course coordinator and ask some questions so you can figure out if the course is for you and to discuss the style of course delivery.
Be aware that whatever course you choose, you will need to focus still on getting plenty of experience and gathering knowledge yourself. Signing up for some great blogs can often be an alternative for formal training, as they provide just as much information however in a more informal format. Check out blogs such as:
- Men With Pens
- Business Casual Copy
- Casey Demchak
Ok, let's cut to the chase, here's some well-known copywriting courses you may want to check out if you're going to be looking to enrol, note I have not undertaken any of these personally and you should investigate these thoroughly before enrolling or signing up for more info:
American Writers and Artists Inc - this company based in Florida USA is a solid way to develop online content and get a better understanding of what is involved in becoming an expert copywriter. American Writers & Artists Inc. | Make Money Writing | Copywriting Courses | Get Paid To Write | Copywriting Careers
The Blackford Centre - this business offers courses in copywriting, plus an extensive range of long distance learning courses. Uk-based, they have been around since 1994 and have a reputation for being a great operation in the delivery of online courses. Home-study courses, distance education courses - Blackford Centre
Emarketeers.com - another good option if you are looking to get training to become an online content writer. The site offers training courses ranging from developing digital content, to email marketing right through to web analytics. Courses start from 460 GBP, and more info is available on their website. Digital Marketing Training Courses In London & Manchester | Emarketeers
The Writers Bureau - perfect for newcomers who want to learn the basics. UK-based The Writers Bureau offers online study courses covering creative writing and copywriting. With over 27 years offering courses, they are a good option for new writers looking to learn all the skills for their new career. The company offers writing courses, proofreading and editing courses, journalism courses and novel writing courses. Creative Writing Course - Learn with our Online Writing Courses
You should also check out any national writing associations who may also provide copywriting courses for you that might assist with your knowledge building. That said, if you look hard enough and follow some of the best copywriters in the business you can find most of this information online if you know where to look and ask the right questions, while it may not be formally presented in handbooks and study guides, the information is out there if you look.
My final recommendation is before you go down the course route, be sure to search and learn using all the other free resources available. Most of the lessons I have learnt up to now has been through experience and learning from some of the industry's most experienced writers and of course reading through thousands of blogs and forums. If you're truly looking for online copywriting lessons, sometimes the best knowledge can be gained direct from some of the industry greats.
I'm interested to hear if anyone recommends online courses and if so, which ones.