What if your writing career was over before it ever really began? For anyone who wants to make a living as a writer, copywriting courses are a great way to master the craft. However, the truth is that some of these courses will be more effective than others.
How can you tell which courses offer the skills and training you need to succeed? Simple: by understanding the most important qualities of these courses.
Before you put down the laptop and take out your credit card for copywriting training, make sure the course has some of these great qualities!
1. Emphasis On Narrative
Chances are that your friends and family think your life is all about telling stories. Here’s the thing, though: the best copywriting course will be all about stories!
That’s because learning narrative is a kind of Rosetta Stone for writers. Once you’ve mastered narrative, you’ve mastered many related skills that will be crucial for your career.
For example, getting a good job as a writer revolves around creating your own narrative. To do that, you must also understand things like demographic analysis, value propositions, and brand building.
A good course, then, must be both broad and versatile in terms of narrative training. You should emerge from the course with a Pixar-worthy ability to evoke an emotional response in your audience. But the course should also help you craft a unique narrative that helps you stand out in one of the world’s most crowded job fields.
You should not have to choose between being a storyteller or a copywriter when you can be both.
2. Visual Storytelling
When we think about writing, most of us think about the words by themselves. But the words aren’t really the first thing that our readers see.
That’s because writing remains a very visual medium. Before they’ve processed a single word, your readers will quickly scan the text up and down. They are checking to see how long everything is, how accessible it seems, and whether it is relevant to their specific needs.
Therefore, the best copywriting course will focus on visual storytelling. You should master communicating with both clarity and conciseness. In short, you should learn how to translate those giant walls of text into a handful of direct bullet points.
“Visual storytelling” also extends to infographics and other visual forms of communication. A good infographic can help you explain everything from a new market innovation to an old-fashioned business funnel. More importantly, good visual communication will set you leaps and bounds ahead of those who focus only on the words themselves.
Finally, visual storytelling applies to formats such as TV, movies, and Youtube. You may not imagine your copywriting career will extend to these fields, but understanding the visual language of film will make your scripts more compelling and natural.
3. Business Focus
Most professional writers are very creative people. After all, who else goes into a field that regularly requires you to create original content?
We tend to think of creative people and business-minded people as very different. But the truth is that any copywriting course worth its salt will focus the entrepreneurial skills necessary to grow your business and advance your career.
Some of this comes down to simple business communication. Striking the right tone with a new client can help secure a steady paycheck for many months. Turn them off with an ambiguous or off-putting phrase, though, and you can kiss that money goodbye.
Other aspects of business writing include writing copy for your own webpage and social media accounts. In an increasingly digital world, most of your potential customers will encounter your digital footprint before they reach out to you. It’s important that your copy is clean, persuasive, and driven by logical calls to action.
Finally, as cliche as the term may seem, your copywriting instructor should be someone with a growth mindset. As a writer, you shouldn’t settle for a stagnant career. You should instead receive the skills necessary to make each year more successful than the last.
4. Marketing Expertise
This next bit of advice goes hand in hand with the previous section. In addition to having a business focus, a good copywriting course will focus extensively on marketing.
Some of this includes wisdom we’ve already touched on, including understanding key demographics and marketing segments and how to modulate your marketing. Good marketing advice also includes the most relevant information about changing demographics and emerging cultural phenomena.
And some of the best marketing advice to writers comes down to using specific language to appeal to specific groups. For example, many writers internalize using “we” to indicate that they empathize with the customer. But customers actually respond better to “you” because it is engaging, inviting, and provocative.
It may not seem like much of a difference between sentences like “we can help you get a better writing job” and “you can start improving your writing career today.” But the persuasive use of the word “you” makes all the difference to your customers!
Finally, the copywriting course should touch on how different marketing methods work better for different channels and different forms of media. In turn, you will be able to offer a number of potential solutions to an employer and demonstrate your value as the company’s newest writer.
5. Collaborative Opportunities
Here’s a bitter pill for proud writers to swallow: the best copy never comes from a single writer. Instead, it comes from a collaborative mixture of writers, editors, producers, and other key decision-makers.
Make no mistake: you will be expected to collaborate with a number of people as part of any full-time writing gig. Even if you are a fully remote worker, you’ll need to collaborate using technologies like Slack, Discord, Skype, and more.
Because of this, any copywriting course worth its salt will offer a number of collaborative opportunities with other students. This may range from thorough peer review all the way to intensive group projects.
You might have grimaced at the term “group projects.” That’s because so many of us have bad memories of being the only person in a school project who actually pulled their weight and got things done. Why, then, would you want more collaborative experience from this new course?
The simple answer is that collaboration and group projects are the way of the world. If you don’t practice now, you may never have the skills that employers are looking for.
Furthermore, the ability to cut through the noise and lead a group to success may demonstrate skills in organization and leadership that will open doors for you in the future.
So far, we’ve touched on a number of important qualities that good copywriting courses should have. But just because a course touches on these aspects doesn’t mean they are offering all of the information that you need.
How, then, can you tell if professional copywriting courses are offering truly relevant advice? The best courses will be highly data-driven in a number of key areas.
Part of this ties into the use of technology (more on this in a minute). With the right programs, teachers and students alike can pull up relevant data and analyze it for meaning. Along the way, you should get a lot of hands-on experience with generating such reports and integrating the data into your writing.
Beyond technology, the course should have recent demographic data (for example, emerging purchasing trends for both millennials and Boomers) that help create things like buyer personas. That may seem like overkill for a copywriting course, but you will need experience both generating and working with detailed buyer personas in order to create a detailed copy.
7. Uses Learning Technologies
No single course is going to expose you to all of the technologies you will use over the course of your career. At the same time, the best copywriting courses will integrate technological literacy directly into the curriculum.
At the bare minimum, a good course will make use of a Learning Management System. Navigating the LMS is actually valuable practice because some of your future employees will use a custom Content Management System. If you can handle an LMS, you can handle a CMS.
In terms of communication, many courses now require students to use apps such as Slack and even Discord. When used right, these apps can enhance productivity and help you more efficiently communicate with a team regardless of physical distance. This is important because of the growing number of fully “deskless” writing jobs out there.
A class with a heavy marketing component should also touch on some of the different Google tools available to users. Knowing your way around Google Analytics, for example, can help you revise your professional website from the ground up. And knowing how to use Google Adwords can help you master SEO and ensure that the revised website gets plenty of visitors.
In a long enough writing career, you’ll still encounter a few curveballs in the form of challenging apps. But the greater your technological literacy, the easier you’ll be able to overcome such challenges.
8. Liability Training
Do you remember when you first fell in love with writing? For many of us, it was the revelation that “magic words” are real. The right words in the right combination can open almost any door and provide access to almost any opportunity.
At the same time, the “wrong” words can endanger your job. And if you’re not careful, it can even make you liable for legal action!
As an example, you or your client can get in serious trouble if you misuse words like “best,” “promise,” “no cost,” and “risk-free.” In your zeal to make something sound appealing to a buyer, you may as well be writing your own termination letter.
That’s why copywriting training should include a focus on liability training and liability issues. Learning what words and phrases to avoid now can be a massive benefit to your future career.
Ultimately, this goes back to the ability to craft a really solid narrative. As a writer, you must be able to create text that is persuasive without being exaggerating or misleading.
While such exaggerations can be persuasive in their own right, good copywriting training will help you master alternatives that won’t land you (and your job) in the hot seat.
9. Mentorship Opportunities
Here is another area where successful writing is like any other successful business venture: it’s all about networking.
You’ve probably heard the old adage that career success is often less about what you know than who you know. The right connections can lead to unexpected opportunities and crucial letters of recommendation to the right people.
This is why you shouldn’t settle for just any copywriting teacher. You don’t want someone that looks at you as just another customer. Instead, you need someone that is willing to serve as a mentor and truly foster talent among their students even after the class has ended.
That may sound like a big commitment on the teacher’s part, and it’s true that many (maybe even most) teachers aren’t willing to be such a mentor. But think back to the most passionate and influential teachers you’ve ever had. They were less motivated by money and more motivated by the opportunity to significantly impact the lives of their students.
Of course, you couldn’t choose your teachers back in the day, which is why you sometimes got stuck with teachers who were just marking time until retirement. With copywriting courses, you can select from a wide variety of teachers. It’s important that you select someone who is willing to help your career adapt, evolve, and expand.
Copywriting Courses And Your Career: The Next Chapter
Now you know what to look for from the best copywriting courses. But the secret to any student’s success is that they don’t stop with a single class. Instead, successful students (just like successful writers) devote themselves to becoming lifelong learners.
And that’s where we can help. We’re here to offer a wealth of copywriting knowledge, including courses on website copywriting, email marketing, content strategy and conversion optimization.
Need someone to critique your copywriting? Or even help with special challenges like writing for social media or video?
Visit https://strategicopy.com/copywriting-discovery/ to request a complimentary copywriting consultation.