Digital marketing is in the top three most in-demand skills today, according to Google.
Fortunately, we’re living in wonderful times where the bar of entry to learning any expertise is almost nonexistent. If you have a computer and an internet connection, you can learn life-changing skills.
Marketing Courses Help Writers Make Money
I went from knowing very little about marketing and thinking it’s just a hyped-up-snake-oil industry to running a micro-digital agency in London in less than a year.
When coronavirus swept the globe, I quit my job at National Geographic China and decided to become a fiction writer. I read rigorously, wrote until I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore, and devoured every bit of available knowledge, often clocking in 100-hour weeks behind the computer screen.
You don’t have to do half the work I’ve done to get the same results.
Here are five free courses that connected the dots for me, listed from super-basic to advance levels. Most classes from this list are hosted at Coursera, which is the best platform for free college-level education right now. You have to dig for good courses if you’re looking to save money. The money saved is paid in time spent on going through the online rubble, and that’s why you can extract immense value from this list. Other platforms, including Udemy, MasterClass, and EdX may be better for paid content.
1. Google Garage: Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
Google is one of the largest employers on the planet sharing courses for in-demand digital skills, focusing on data science, design, and digital marketing.
If you have previous marketing knowledge, then Fundamentals of Digital Marketing may be a boring start. The course covers the very core of what it means to market an idea. Lessons cover “building an online presence” and “planing a digital business strategy.”
The internet can be overwhelming at times, and Google Garage is an excellent place for beginners to start learning about digital marketing.
Where: Google Garage
Time: 40 hours
Ideal students: Writers with no marketing experience
Goodies: Free Google Certificate for Digital Marketing
2. University of California, Davis: The Strategy of Content Marketing
Sonia Simone and Brian Clark of Copyblogger offer a free online course on how to write compelling content that gets eyeballs and helps accumulate sales.
The course is easy to follow and packs unbelievable knowledge for free. This is where I learned the basics of copywriting, editing, industry standards, SEO, market research, and straightforward content writing. My writing really picked up after I took this course.
One-third of all students started a new career after taking this course, and 13% reported a pay increase.
Both Sonia and Brian are renowned copywriters with an outstanding track record, so you’re learning from the best.
Time: 20 hours
Ideal student: Online writer who has written at least 50 drafts
Goodies: Shareable, low-cost certificate from one of the top US universities.
3. Skillshare: Copywriting 101: Crafting Your First Ad Campaign
Copywriting is the most lucrative skill in the writer’s toolbox.
Online writers earn real money when they start moving readers towards a specific goal. You have to be a compelling wordsmith, good salesman, master marketer, and armchair psychologist to write good copy.
Instructor Heather Baldock offers a step-by-step copywriting course that feels like having a cup of coffee with a friend. The course tells you exactly what most other free courses don’t. You’ll learn how to write headlines, radio scripts, brand manifestos, personal portfolios, and commercial copy for your first advertising campaign.
Heather is a super accomplished copywriter who works with Harvard University, national health centers, baseball teams, government agencies, and successful commercial businesses.
The course is free for new Skillshare users. You can apply for a 7-day trial account and finish the course on your first day.
Time: 40 minutes
Ideal students: Copywriters searching for fresh ideas and intermediate writers and marketers who want to learn copywriting and basic writing principles
4. University of California, Davis: Advanced Search Engine Optimization Strategies
SEO is not what most writers think it is.
You can’t just stuff a bunch of popular keywords and shoot up to the top of the search engine results anymore.
The following class makes sense for people who are already SEO savvy and know a bit about information architecture. The class is probably bland and boring for beginners, but don’t jump to the advanced SEO lessons if you don’t know the fundamentals.
David Lloyd, a senior manager for global marketing at Adobe Systems, is a knowledgeable instructor who delivers that tipping-point information for SEO experts. The videos are not super engaging, but they are free.
Time: 25 hours
Ideal student: SEO savvy writers looking for perspective and more tactics
Goodies: Shareable, low-cost certificate from one of the top US universities
5. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton: Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content
Ivy-league schools know their business. Wharton is famous for giving us Donald Trump, who is—for better or worse—undeniably an excellent marketer.
The class is beyond engaging, and the lessons are easy to remember. The course teaches how to think about viral ideas and what drives people to consume more content. Some lessons will connect the dots for new online writers and help them understand why individual content performs where other content flops.
Jonah Berger, the instructor, is an international best-selling author, and an expert on change, marketing, social influence, and viral ideas. His book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” is a must-read for marketers, social influencers, and writers.
I’m planning to revisit this class every so often as a reminder of how viral ideas work.
Time: 4 hours
Ideal student: Everyone trying to make money on the internet, from Java coders to writers, video editors, and startup founders
Goodies: Shareable, low-cost certificate
6. Free Email Course: How to Master SEO in 2022
Digital agencies know their business.
In this 5-part email course, MadX team will cover topics that will help any business rank higher and grow organic traffic over time. We have the experience of working with all level businesses across the world, so we're packing our experience in this absolutely free SEO course. The course will arrive daily to your inbox, offering one digestible lesson inside each email.
Where: SEO MASTERY Course
Time: 2 hours
Ideal student: Startup founders, entrepreneurs and SMBs that are too busy running the business.
Goodies: Free eBook on content strategy, SEO checklist
The best free marketing courses are not just the ones that cost nothing, but also those which offer a comprehensive curriculum.
The key is to find an online course with a wide range of modules and lessons for you to explore at your own pace. There’s no need to worry about time or money constraints when it comes to learning how to market your business effectively!
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