Increased online competition and advances in search technologies mean that content writing is about more than just having a solid grasp of the English language.
Great content that does well takes into account a variety of marketing factors that even the most experienced writers don’t know about.
Before you start writing content, you need to consider:
- How you will optimize the piece using keywords, thematic relevance, internal linking, and more.
- How will you write for a diverse audience?
- How will you ensure all writing has a consistent tone and style.
- Whether you have to hire subject matter writers, or expert writers to write online content. In some industries, it can be difficult to find both.
- How much will you pay for your book?
- How many articles can you write and publish per week?
- Who will be managing the content when it comes to responding to comments, making sure links aren’t broken, etc.
- In terms of marketing, what analytics reports will you use to come to conclusions about the success or failure of each piece.
- How you will integrate different types of content – video, infographics, e-books, surveys, reviews, interviews, etc.
It’s safe to say that if you want to write successful content that gets a lot of attention, you’d better get some training in both writing and marketing.
Fortunately, getting the training you need doesn’t mean taking a ton of cash out of your budget.
There are plenty of free online courses that can help you learn everything you need to know to get links and share your business needs.
Read on for some favorites from myself and my friends!
8 Best Free Online Courses in Content Marketing and Writing
Disclaimer: I haven’t taken all of the courses listed below, but I have taken a few, and I know at least one person who has recommended others.
They have also received many positive reviews from hundreds of others who have taken the courses.
Without further ado, below are some of the best out there.
skillshare It allows you to start for free for 14 days, and after that, the annual fee is $96.00.
Once you pay for membership, all classes are free within Skillshare.
If you do not wish to purchase a membership, the courses below can be purchased separately for anywhere from $10-20.
However, I added it to the list because you can get quite a few courses for free during the 14-day trial period.
This course is taught by Eric SiewCEO of Single Grain and Founder of Growth Everywhere.
This 80-minute class will teach you different blog writing techniques, how to brainstorm a topic, and then develop your notes from a brainstorming session into a full blog post. He even goes into detail on how to create a catchy headline and featured image.
This is a beginner’s course ideal for business owners and marketers, and it has a positive review rate of 95%.
By the end of the course, you will have written an original blog post to share, which we hope will be the first in a successful content marketing strategy!
This is a cycle of Andrea Joliet Ford From Corgibytes, a team of expert developers that not only provide maintenance services, but courses to boot!
Ford was an unknown name to me, but her loyal followers seem to swear by her advice, so I gave the course a try and really liked it.
She has worked with government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and many more across the board.
This theme looks rather simple, but the layout can be quite complex. They help you build a library of resources for future reference, and they make sure you get away with three months of fully planned online content.
Udemy is probably the most popular avenue for internet marketers when it comes to taking free classes.
They have free options (all listed below) as well as paid options and offer over 32,000 courses, 18,000 instructors, and 80+ course languages.
This course is best for B2B businesses, but it’s worth noting that it’s one of the few really good Udemy classes that are free.
course via William FlanaganCEO and Founder of Audienti, which is great because it uses actual scenarios that Flanagan has dealt with in his own work as well as with his clients.
There are six sections to class, including creating interesting relevant content, publishing content to convert, and getting content in front of your audience.
It may sound unconventional, but part of content marketing is knowing how to take advantage of all that WordPress has to offer.
This is important for SEO as well as user experience.
The course covers posts vs. pages, content editor, media files, categories, tags, content widgets, and more confusing little options you have.
It’s a basic course and best for beginners, but a must-have if you have any questions about what WordPress can offer.
Coursera courses are growing.
The education platform partners with top universities and institutions around the world and makes it easy for anyone to enroll (similar to Udemy, only a little more expensive and works with colleges and universities).
Coursera also has one of the largest libraries of classes in all the different categories, so this is one of my favorite platforms.
This course has four parts: Engaging Audiences, Managing Content, Expanding the Reach of Your Content, and Ensuring the Impact of Your Content.
The course ends with a final project where you use the knowledge you gained in the previous four courses to design a content strategy package.
Designed for start-up, for-profit, non-profit, voluntary, and government organizations, the course states, it’s a great way to learn some content marketing basics and how they can relate to business strategy as a whole.
It is a beginner level course and if you spend about two hours a week in classes you will be finished in about four months.
The best part is that it’s completely free, although you have the option to get a Northwestern University-accredited certificate of completion for the course for $49.00.
This is the only course on the list that isn’t free, but at just $35 for eight hours of videos, readings, and quizzes, it’s pretty inexpensive for a Coursera course from the University of California, Irvine.
This course is unique because it is one of the few options that places a strong emphasis on the actual act of writing rather than content marketing.
It teaches you how to write and communicate effectively in the business world.
Of course, much of this is written for online audiences and online publications (although it does go into writing business proposals, memos, etc.). If what you’re looking to do is brush up on your writing skills, this solo course is a great option.
This course is part of a series of 10 courses called the Career Success Specialization, which you can choose to take from the link above.
Public site courses
If you keep an eye, you will notice various agencies and companies all over the web that often offer courses taught by professionals. Here are two of my favourites:
This course doesn’t focus on writing or content marketing specifically, but it’s worth a note if you’re interested in how these two areas can help your overall internet strategy.
You learn everything from creating landing pages, closing sales, and more.
HubSpot is one of the leading marketing resources on the web with some of the best content featured on their five blogs, so their course is undoubtedly top notch.
Once you pass the course, you get a custom badge and certificate that you can display on your website, email signature, LinkedIn profiles, etc.
Much like Skillshare, the Internet Marketing Institute offers a free trial that allows you to try out any courses you wish.
They have 70 different content marketing categories to choose from arranged by beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.
The Content Storytelling class is very unique because it helps you understand the basics of storytelling and how you can be creative so that your content is more engaging.
Creativity is something that many companies lack, so this is a great course if you are looking to get out of your comfort zone.
There is a huge demand for good content writers, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.
It is even possible to make a full time income just from content writing if you take the time to learn the ins and outs of the business.
The above list is a great starting point if you’re looking to expand your content writing skills, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.
- 10 Best Digital Marketing Certificate Programs To Enroll In
- LinkedIn adds 3 new free marketing courses
- SEO for Beginners: An Introduction to SEO Basics
Featured image: GaudiLab/Shutterstock