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Online Copywriting Training
If you want to become a copywriter, the first step in the process is finding an appropriate way to learn what you need to know. The question is: what’s the best way to go about it?
Online copywriting training has a lot going in its favor. With a traditional book-based system, there's no motivation for you to reach a certain stage. If the book doesn't excite you, you might be tempted to stop halfway through. And even if you finish it, there's no other kind of reward available, apart from the satisfaction you'll feel from having read the whole thing.
With online copywriting training, that's not a problem. In many cases you'll be set targets you need to reach by specific deadlines, helping you keep your motivation levels high. You'll also get feedback on any exercises you complete, something a book on its own can't always provide. On top of that, many online courses include links to copywriting samples, FAQ pages and writers' resources, as well as offering the potential for learning through multimedia.
Copywriting Training Guidelines
Where do you begin?
Before you start any training course, you need to know what you’re looking for. Copywriting training should provide you with the skills to write copy for a wide range of projects, including:
• Sales pages
• Product descriptions
• Press releases
• Long and short copy for brochures, websites, etc.
You should also learn standard copywriting techniques, such as:
• How to write great headlines
• Using the active voice rather than the passive voice
• The key points of persuasive writing
• How to compile a sales letter
• How to find a product’s USP
• The “secret” words that make readers act
These are all part of a copywriter's toolkit, the "bread and butter" techniques needed to complete copywriting jobs efficiently and effectively. Any online copywriting course worth its salt will cover each of these topics in detail.
Free versus Paid Copywriting Training
Once you know what to look for, you have to decide on how you're going to access the training.
You'll find plenty of free sites offering copywriting tips, as well as complete courses you have to pay for. So which option will provide you with everything you need?
You have two choices. You can either spend your time hunting round for titbits of free information on this website or that website, or you can bite the bullet and pay for a complete and comprehensive course. Paid courses in general offer better value for money. The initial outlay is greater, but you get all the materials you need up front. You don't have to waste time trying to find the next installment, or the answer to a question, because it's all right there at your fingertips.
Digital Copywriting Training Resources
Once you decide to source your copywriting training online, the world is your oyster. You’re free to follow a particular course, but you’ll also be able to tap into a huge range of resources.
One such resource is YouTube, where you can find copywriting training by some of the top experts in the field. Save links to your favorites and you’ll always be able to pop back and top up your knowledge quickly and easily. Often these tips are in the form of excerpts from books or interviews, where the expert in question talks about a specific aspect of copywriting and the best way to get it under your belt.
Videos can be extremely useful, because some people find it easier to absorb information by watching it and listening to it rather than reading it. Another way to achieve this is by subscribing to popular podcasts about copywriting. You’ll find podcasts listed by category and popularity on the iTunes site at http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/, or you can browse directories such as http://www.podcastdirectory.com/ to find what you’re after. Podcasts come in the form of audio and video, so it’s just a case of choosing your preference.
What To Look For
Some of the most popular online copywriting training courses are ones that have been around for a long time. Whichever course you eventually opt for, make sure it offers a comprehensive range of topics, covering all the basics. You want to be able to learn everything you need to know, but you don’t want it to take forever. You want to be able to put the skills you learn to work as soon as possible so that you can use your copywriting talents to build a portfolio, attract clients and earn money.
Every site you visit will include a sales page. Copywriting sites should have sizzling sales pages, because they’ve presumably been written by copywriters who know what they’re doing. Watch out for any errors on the page, including spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. If you spot any of these, keep on looking!
Likewise, beware of sites that promise you work at the end of the course. The best courses will guide you through the copywriting process, giving you the tools of the trade that you can employ in your own work. By completing exercises and getting feedback, you’ll be able to build a portfolio which you can store online. Your portfolio doesn’t have to include published work, as long as it looks good and reads well. And if it’s good enough, clients will hire you.
Questions To Consider
Are the main points covered in depth?
Is it worth the money?
Can I get help when I need it?
Are there any bonuses?
Can I afford it?
Is it from a reliable source?
Can I work at my own pace?
Is there a solid guarantee?
Where To Look
Here are some typical online copywriting training courses that you might want to consider:
AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting
One of the original online copywriting training courses, this one is recommended by renowned copywriter Bob Bly. It’s a comprehensive program that includes a 1-year guarantee if you pay by installments, or you can purchase it outright for $495.
The course focuses on writing direct sales letters, a market that can be difficult to break into. The skills you learn are the same for almost every kind of copywriting, if the price doesn’t put you off.
The Ultimate Copywriter
This is my own copywriting course, which includes techniques and formulas I use every day in my own work. Unlike the AIWA version, this course aims to give you the tools to complete every type of copywriting job, from articles to product descriptions to sales pages.
This course includes a selection of “cheat sheets” to put information at your fingertips, and costs around $50.
The Writer’s Bureau
This is a UK-based home-study course laid out in a series of modules and tutor-marked assignments. Assignments can be emailed, so technically it can be undertaken from anywhere in the world. Cost for enrolment is £274 (about $400), or £288 if paid in monthly installments.
Online Copywriting Success
Online copywriting training should provide you with the tools you need to be able to write copy for any publication. Your success will depend on a number of factors, including:
• Your own determination
• Choosing the course that’s right for you
• Sticking with it to the end
Any training program is only as good as you make it. Take your time, work through the information slowly and carefully, read everything you can on the subject, and get as much additional help from online videos and guides.
Copywriters are made, not born. If you can do those things you’ll be well on your way to being able to join their ranks.