Over the past few months, I’ve had a couple people ask me about how to get started in copywriting or content writing. (The difference between those two is a topic for another day, but you can read about it here.) They wanted to know where they could learn more about it and improve their skills.
I remember wondering the very same thing not terribly long ago. Thanks to webinars, blogs, podcasts, and meetup groups, you no longer need a marketing degree to do marketing writing.
You can find LOTS of short courses and workshops online. You usually have to pay to enter these, of course. But if you’re completely new to professional writing, these classes may be a sound investment for you. Think of it like paying for a mini education that will ultimately pay you back. No student loans needed!
However, if you have a background and/or proven skills in professional writing and just need to switch lanes into copywriting/content writing, paying for an online class isn’t your only option. If you’re willing to put the time into it, you can teach yourself.
I’m proud to say I’m a mostly self-taught marketer and copywriter. I had to put plenty of work, discipline, and unpaid time into it, but I’m very pleased with the outcome. You can take the same road.
As I researched more about these fields of writing, I discovered several reputable sites that regularly produced content about content writing. I joined their email lists, visited them whenever I had a question, and read their articles regularly. I attended free webinars they offered, joined Twitter chats they hosted, and above all, practiced what they taught.
I made sure everything I learned from these sources stuck with me by:
- Implementing anything new I learned in my next writing project
- Reviewing written pieces from other sources to see if/how they implemented these practices
- Sharing what I read on social media, adding a note about the points I found most interesting.
- Passing along the most interesting articles I found to my bosses, other co-workers, and eventually my own clients, adding a note about what made them worth reading
- Sharing about upcoming webinars or live virtual events with my co-workers, so we could all attend and then discuss it afterwards
All that to say—if you really want to learn content writing or copywriting on your own, you can. It’s entirely possible when you’re willing to work for it. If that sounds like you, then check out these three sites. They were (and still are!) on my list of go-to’s for learning materials.
Copyblogger is a site entirely dedicated to teaching content marketing, with an emphasis on writing. It’s kind of a jackpot. They cover lots of sides of content marketing and often highlight the role of writing in them.
With their blog articles, you’ll find enough to whet your appetite and get you headed in the right direction, but they don’t usually go in-depth. The writers write in a lighthearted, irreverent tone, and their stuff is pretty easy to read. You won’t get bogged down in lots of detail or technical stuff.
What they offer:
- Content marketing blog
- Free membership to their training library, with access to free e-books, webinars, and forums. (I’ve just joined this myself, so join with me, and we can rave about it together!)
- Paid certified content marketing training programs
- Paid managed WordPress hosting for your website
Once again, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is entirely dedicated to educating people about content marketing. They fulfill this mission through a variety of mediums, so you can learn how you learn best. The greatest part? All the content on their site is 100% free.
You’ll notice that they cover a lot more than just writing. That’s not a bad thing though. To do marketing writing well, it helps to know as much about the big picture as possible.
What they offer:
- Custom Research
- White paper & e-books
- Paid Content Marketing University
- Content Marketing World conference
Hubspot offers marketing software and partner marketing programs, neither of which I’ve used. But who knows – maybe one day? For now, I stick to reading their marketing blog.
It’s been one of the most helpful ones I’ve found. They cover a WIDE variety of topics, but again, it’s helpful to know about the big picture. Their articles always include solid research, stats, good examples, and plenty of screenshots to show you how to implement what they’re teaching.
The writers write clearly and expertly. Most articles are deep dives into the topic, which I enjoy. Just remind yourself you don’t have to master it all at once. And if you need to pass over certain sections of the post that are too advanced or not relevant yet to keep from feeling overwhelmed, then – by all means – ignore it.
What they offer:
- Marketing blog
- Library with e-books, templates, webinars, and more
- Free courses
- Custom research
- Paid certifications
If you start reading these sites regularly and practicing what you learn, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be able to speak about these topics intelligently. Find (or create) ways to implement and review the lessons you learn as soon as possible, so they don’t fall by the wayside accidentally.
If you have more questions about getting started in copy/content writing or marketing, send them my way. And if you’d like to read my future posts about those same topics, take 3 minutes to join my email list.
Please let me know what you think of the three sites I recommended. I love hearing from you!
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, you may also like 3 Podcasts for Copywriters – and don’t worry, they’re not the same ones mentioned here.