Have you been scouring the internet for the best copywriting courses? If yes, then you’ve probably noticed the seeming lack of rhyme or reason in the answers you’re getting.
First and foremost (in the words of Douglas Adams): Don’t panic!
New copywriters come from many different backgrounds. Some seek English degrees, some have worked in journalism or technical writing, and some are self-taught writers. If you’re just starting out as a copywriter, you may have one of these backgrounds. There is no “required” resume you need to be a copywriter–so long as you learn the skills and apply them well.
Among this diverse group, many will seek out copywriting courses. Right now, you are focusing on learning the basics. Later, you may find yourself revisiting courses like this to brush up on your skills and learn the latest techniques, as many do.
While courses will offer different approaches and types of content, there are some critical skills you should make sure are included with your copywriting curriculum. The best copywriting courses cover these key topics.
The Best Copywriting Courses Teach SEO
Since you’re new to the world of copywriting, you may be wondering, “What the heck is SEO?” SEO is one of the most crucial things you can learn about your content and how to get it seen by an online audience.
What it is:
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and is essentially a fancy way of saying how to make your pages rank better on Google. When Google ranks the online content you write for your clients, it uses several factors to determine how high to place you in search results. Search results are basically when someone types a keyword or phrase into Google, and a list of pages related to that topic pops up.
Google keeps some of its ranking techniques under wraps from the general public. However, there are some dependable SEO ranking factors you can focus on in crafting your content, including:
- Keyword research and density—while Google has largely moved away from ranking content that is just stuffed with keywords people are likely to search for, it’s still important to understand the words and phrases your audience is typing into Google. Once you’ve done some research, usually with an SEO tool like those offered by Moz and SpyFu, you’ll need to target specific keywords and have a certain density of them in your content, including in section headings and links. You can often also use closely related words, and Google is smart enough to find and rank you for those as well.
- Good writing—The writing needs to sound like it was written for human beings, not for Google. Natural writing is persuasive with complex and varied content. This style of writing is more likely to do well in Google rankings than in robotic writing. Robotic writing tends to focus on getting Google’s attention rather than meeting its audience’s expectations. Your writing should use a voice that’s appropriate for the types of potential customers, or “personas,” the client is trying to attract with their brand.
- Link building—Building links between internal and external pages can help build the authority of your content over time. It also helps if you can get some backlinks to your content from other authoritative pages. Backlinks help boost your domain authority when other published webpages ranked on Google link to your content. Google uses backlinks to discover and rank content.
The best copywriting courses will dive deeper into SEO and how the Google search engine indexes and ranks pages.
The Best Copywriting Courses Focus on What’s on the Page
It’s easy to get caught up in all the marketing lingo and industry personas but harder to take a sober look at what’s on the page. Because at the end of the day, that’s what your audience is left with, and your content will usually only get one chance to get your client’s message across.
As much as we like to believe there’s some magical mojo to good copywriting, a lot of it just comes down to mastering the fundamentals.
Readability means everything when a bored reader who has to parse through dense text will quickly click away—and just like that, you’ve lost your client a potential lead. The best copywriting courses will teach you how to format your writing so that it’s pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate.
A few key formatting techniques you should learn include:
- How much white space to use throughout a piece and when to break up longer paragraphs
- When to use headings and subheadings to break up text into digestible sections
- Placement of bulleted and numbered lists and when they’re most effective
- Pull quotes
- Call-to-action text
- Using media such as graphics and videos to break up text on the page
These are just a few of the key formatting techniques a good copywriter should master and can learn from the best copywriting courses.
The Sentence Level
It may seem rudimentary, but you’d be surprised at the published content you can find full of grammar mistakes and difficult-to-follow sentence structures. Or worse, the writing contains nothing but passive sentences and reads like a medical dictionary.
While it’s okay to use “is” once in a while, the problem arises when that’s your go-to verb. It sets you up for content that sits still. It doesn’t propel the reader from one sentence to the next. Writing in nothing but short, punchy sentences with active verbs can also sound unnatural. Ideally, you want a mix where active sentences significantly outnumber passive ones.
Most sentences should get to the point fairly quickly, also. Don’t use a more complicated word where a simpler one would do the same job. Even for highly technical audiences, straightforward writing that doesn’t waste their time is best.
Find a copywriting course that helps you hone these important skills.
The Best Copywriting Courses Are Timely
The fact is that, as technology progresses and the times change, some copywriting techniques will work exceptionally well, while others will become outdated and ineffective.
Google makes hundreds of minute changes to its SEO algorithm every year. While, on the whole, this won’t upend proven SEO practices, sometimes the more major of these changes are important to note. On top of that, how people search for content changes as well, as technology such as Smart Home devices allow people to search the internet using their natural voice patterns instead of keywords.
Finally, new marketing approaches are popping up all the time. Without latching on to every trend that comes along, it’s important to recognize when something becomes proven enough to be a new mainstay of the industry.
The best copywriting courses adapt to these changes. If they taught their students to approach copywriting one way and then a more effective approach comes along, they should update their material to give you the best information possible.
More than anything else, the best copywriting courses give back to you what you put in. Receiving a certificate for completing one of these courses won’t necessarily mean much to clients, and it won’t act as an equivalent to a college degree. However, it will give you the skills you need to feel confident working as the best copywriter you can be.
Here are a few examples of some of our favorite copywriting courses:
- Moz Academy–Moz is often considered a definitive source on everything SEO. Moz offers several certifications, from the SEO essentials to more technical aspects.
- Hubspot Academy–You may know Hubspot mainly as a CRM program with tools for web hosting and design, sales, marketing, and customer management support. But did you know Hubspot also offers online certifications in a range of subjects, including content writing, social media marketing, online advertising, and many other marketing and sales-related subjects?
- EDU by Content Workshop–Content Workshop offers certificate programs in copywriting and graphic design. Some examples of the copywriting skills you will learn to include writing fundamentals, SEO, marketing writing, and how to workshop and improve your content through feedback.
Connor Holmes is a content writer with Content Workshop who comes from a diverse writing background. He worked as an award-winning public safety staff writer at his hometown newspaper, The Cape Coral Daily Breeze. He earned his MFA in creative writing and has professionally published fiction and poetry. He has also tutored English to students from grade school to grad school.At Copywriter Exchange, we’re a group of master content marketing pros who bring their diverse talents and backgrounds to bear on the art and science of creating high-performance content tailored to your needs. We exist to help copywriters thrive in today’s economy by connecting them with the resources they need to step up their game. Join now to access our templates, guides, and courses to help you grow your career, skills, and network.