With the Great Resignation still eminent, over half of U.S. teachers are considering leaving their teaching jobs due to burnout, stress, and low pay. The desire for flexibility and better pay has encouraged former teachers and academics to take jobs that allow them to spend more time with their families and have more control over their lives—one of those jobs being copywriting. However, transitioning careers is difficult, so finding the right copywriting courses to support your existing skills and help you cultivate new ones will be essential to your success.
Transitioning teachers might ask themselves, “Why is freelance copywriting the right choice for me?”
Flexibility:Freelancing allows you to work when and how much you want, as long as you meet your client’s deadlines. Since you are already used to adhering to deadlines as a teacher, project management within this new-found flexibility shouldn’t be an issue.
Increased income: As a freelance copywriter, you have a greater earning potential than you did as a teacher. You won’t need to rely on an annual budget to receive a raise; gaining more clients will earn you more money. This is also why freelance writing is a great side hustle for teachers.
Leveraging Existing Skills
The best reason to transition into copywriting after teaching or working as an academic is that you already have a wealth of existing knowledge and skills that set you up for success.
Thinking about how you can leverage your existing skills is one of the best ways to help yourself with the transition from teacher or scholar to copywriter.
Conveying information in a digestible format: Taking complex information and distilling it into the most basic and easiest-to-understand form is a skill that teachers and academics employ daily in their jobs. Copywriting also often requires you to take complicated or technical subject matter and distill it into a blog or smaller piece of content that a wide variety of people with different levels of knowledge can understand.
Research skills: Finding the right information that is relevant, timely, and accurate isn’t as easy as it seems in the current state of the Internet. Teachers and scholars often better understand how to sift BEYOND inaccurate, biased, or unreliable source material to find the most CREDIBLE information to support their argument or story.
Audience awareness: You already know how to communicate effectively with different audiences. How you talk about your subject to your students is often vastly different than how you communicate with parents, administrators, and other teachers. The same concept can be applied to copywriting for different types of audiences at different marketing stages.
Cultivating New Skills
Aside from thinking about how you can use your existing skills to help you transition to a new profession, you should also consider how you can cultivate new skills through copywriting courses during your career change.
But, in a sea of copywriting courses and advice, how should you decide which skills need to be cultivated?
SEO and Marketing Skills
Copywriting, especially blogs and web copy, often focuses on SEO goals for your client, so having a clear idea of what SEO is and how to optimize your writing for it will help you be a more successful copywriter. Along with SEO, understanding general marketing strategy and terminology will make your job easier.
Project Management Skills
Teaching and working as an academic often requires project management skills to keep your class or research project moving forward. However, you weren’t dealing with clients with their own deadlines and expectations, and you weren’t focusing solely on managing your own time and multiple projects simultaneously.
Freelance Business Skills
Running their own freelance business is something entirely new for most teachers, so it’s necessary to cultivate skills with copywriting courses that help with contracts, invoicing, budgeting, and other aspects of running a freelance business.
What to look for in Good Copywriting Courses
Since not all copywriting courses are built the same, we’ve come up with four key factors you’ll need to examine before deciding to spend your time and money on the course.
- Created and taught by experienced copywriting experts. Make sure the course you’re taking was designed and led by an organization or person with actual copywriting experience. Bonus if they have the kind of experience that reflects the type of work you’d like to do.
- Centered on skills and learning outcomes. As a teacher or a scholar, you know the value of learning outcomes to measure knowledge retention and skill building. Find courses that explicitly share those learning outcomes and how they plan to help you reach them.
- Learn at your pace and on your time. Whether you’ve already quit teaching, are working in higher education, or are starting your transition while still employed full time, finding self-paced courses will allow you to learn how and when it works for you. This means taking your time on content you need to dive deeper into and breezing over content that’s more of a refresher.
- Awards credentials at the end. Since your work experience and education might not demonstrate your ability to be a successful copywriter, finding courses that give you a certification or badge at the end will help boost your resume.
Writing & Marketing Focused Copywriting Courses
We like the following courses because they focus on skills that apply to writing clear, effective, SEO-driven copy.
EDU by Content Workshopdives into writing skills, marketing skills, SEO, and receiving and incorporating feedback.
SEO Training Course by Hubspot & MOZ focuses on SEO as part of a marketing strategy and how it supports business growth.
Content Marketing by Hubspot is a certification course to help with content marketing focused on storytelling, content strategy, idea generation, blogging, topic clusters, and pillar pages. In addition, if you’re interested in social media, video marketing, and paid search, Hubspot’s Digital Marketing course overlaps with the Content Marketing course to include digital marketing tactics.
Project Management Focused Courses
Acquiring credentials like theProject Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) might be overkill if you’re planning to be a freelance copywriter. However, it will never hurt to hone your project management skills.
The Google Project Management Professional Certificate is a great course series if you want to gain a Google Career Certificate. In addition, it claims to help you prepare for the PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management offering.
But if you’d rather not commit to six courses worth of content, you can take the individual courses within the series, such as the Foundations of Project Management.
Freelance Business Courses
Since working as a freelancer will likely be entirely new to you when transitioning away from teaching or working in higher education, we recommend that you prioritize taking copywriting courses that focus on the ins and outs of running your freelance business.
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) offers aBuilding Your Freelancing Career Specialization series intended for beginners who want to go from gig-to-gig paychecks to a steady flow of income. CalArts specifically designed the course for people seeking a career change. Similar to the project management certificate series, you can enroll in individual courses if you don’t want to take the whole series.
Taking any combination of these copywriting courses will help as you transition from teacher or academic to copywriter. Most importantly, remember to focus on how your unique experiences as an educator are valuable to your future clients and employers.
Christina Rowell, Ph.D., is a content strategist at Content Workshop and a former college writing instructor. She has over ten years of experience writing, editing, and creating content for healthcare, mental health, cybersecurity, and manufacturing clients.At Copywriter Exchange, 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.