You’ve come to the right place! Yes, I am a copywriter, but this isn’t about me selling to you. This is about you writing your own copy that will seriously kick some arse.
Kick arse copy requires a really good understanding of your brand and your customer. People who don’t know their brand’s key messages find it really hard to sell.
So, Brand = Audience = Kick Arse Copy = Sales.
There is a ton of material and courses on writing copy and it multiples every year. You could literally spend around 5 years studying all the references or take the hundreds of courses on offer, these are just some that I’ve been studying lately:
That’s not even 1/100th of the amazing resources available for great copy. But, who has time to read all the strategies from hundreds of different copywriters – you’ve got a business to run so I thought I’d break it all down into a really quick read to help you decide what’s best for your business.
What all these references and courses will tell you is to use your “secret sauce”. That little something, something, that no other business has that makes you super unique – your KFC secret 11 herbs and spices that brings people coming back again and again.
Start with your unique selling proposition and end with an offer to access your sauce. At this point I should say that this blog is targeted at businesses who are selling and converting directly online or via direct mail. So, that’s pretty much every B2C business, B2B / professional services.
If you are still reading and thinking, I don’t know what my secret sauce is, then know this:
humans are really simple in their decision making, they base buying decisions on these simple things:
Think of your sauce, which category does it fit under? Know this before you write your copy and definitely before you engage a copywriter – nothing worse than people who say to a copywriter here are a hundred website references for you to write my copy!
Every copy reference will tell you that the next step is where are you selling? Copy that works will have different ways to connect and convert audiences and if done right the content will hit at the exact time the buyer wants to buy.
Assuming it’s online or via electronic direct mail then:
- Online = Landing page = click through OR lead generation = sales
- EDM = Killer HEADLINE
Let me show you what I mean.
Let’s use two example companies with different attraction models:
- Apple Computers – latest iphone [insert number] – Status
- Chanel No 5 – just because this is my favourite perfume – Sex
Let’s use Apple as our electronic direct mail. Apple is about status, everyone loves Steve Jobs and the ‘job’ he did building a computer business based on status. The headline is the most important message here as we are appealing to those status concerned geek people who simply can’t miss out, so headline:
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Apple Iphone – First Release 20 September 2018
Simple. Apple doesn’t need to advertise, they just need to send an email to hundreds of geeks on their email distribution list who will quickly spread the word.
Now let’s look at Channel No. 5. We’re selling sex appeal and status – we want our advertising campaign to run offline and online. Channel No. 5 has been around for many years, so you want to evoke a sense of memory, timeless class so you’d run billboards, magazine advertisement, fashion parades and you’d run the campaign in conjunction with an online targetted campaign during Christmas or similar.
So think about your buyer before you embark on any copywriting courses.
I’ve created a list of online copywriting courses and resources to help you hone your writing.
Everything on this list is free, and I’ll even give you a heads-up about the upsell each one leads to.
A word of warning before you go exploring:
There is only so much theory you can learn about copywriting. You don’t need to complete every course you come across – the rest is practice.
Instead, take a nosey around, see how the course fits with your style, then decide which one to focus on first.
The list is presented in alphabetical order; I’m not playing favourites here.
I’ve researched the best premium online copywriting courses.
Prefer old-fashioned print on paper? Me too. I love books. So I’ve also created a collection of the best books on writing for the web
A Course About Copy
Brought to you by Nikki Elledge Brown, this course is for you if you’re struggling to get your words out with confidence. The free course is available as an email opt-in at ACourseAboutCopy.com. After signing up, you’ll get three videos. The first will help you find your dream clients, the second includes tips to write your own copy and then the final video – covers how to write your about page.
If you want more of Nikki’s guidance after the freebie, she offers three levels of upselling:
The One Sentence Workbook $99 – 5 exercises to help you “write the one sentence that will change your (copywriting) life”.
ACAC Prep school, $199 – 20 micro lessons (less than two minutes) to help you become a more confident copywriter.
A Course About Copy, $999 – the full course, including to ‘Study Hall’, Nikki’s exclusive Facebook Group.
This is my go-to resource for all things copywriting.
Copyblogger is brought to you by Brian Clark, one of the most influential entrepreneurs and content marketers on the planet. He’s been writing for the web since 1998 (hard to get much more experience than that).
Sign-up for a free membership and you’ll get access to 16 e-books and a 20-part email series of lessons. The course covers content marketing, copywriting SEO copywriting, email marketing, keyword research, landing pages, internet marketing.
All this lovely learning is stored in an online library which you can access whenever you want. Their copy is so good, that just dipping in now and then will help sharpen your pencil.
The upsell is Authority membership. It costs $399 per year (payable every year) and gives access to a 200+ hours of online marketing education, monthly Q & A sessions and an online forum.
Copyhackers are an established, premium copywriting service. And (like me) they’re happy to dish out free advice to help small business owners do-it-themselves.
Head to the Copywriting Worksheets page and you will find two bundles of goodies. First you have instant access to their free copywriting worksheets. Then if you complete the opt-in box on the left, you’ll be sent a free 120-page guide on persuasion and a 7 part course on copywriting.
There’s no premium course available (yet), but there is one set to launch.
The Copywriting Academy was founded by the brutally blunt Andy Maslen. I love him for his no fluff, plenty of value style.
His free five-day mini-course is delivered as one email per day, so create a folder to keep that useful goodness in. If you’re looking for something to help you improve the selling-power of your copy, this is a good place to start.
Andy’s premium online course is called Be A More Successful Copywriter. It’s priced at £400, and the list of topics covered is enormous. It’s certainly one of the most comprehensive course curriculums I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot).
This online marketing agency has a useful bank of learning resources, with no opt-in required.
Their Tone Of Voice guide is not so much a course as an online book. It’s five chapters packed with information and examples to help you understand the importance of developing a clear and consistent brand voice, then create and capture one for your business.
They’ve recently launched a premium online learning academy covering search marketing, PPC and other online marketing topics. Distilled U costs $40 per month.
There’s no doubt that Neil Patel (Quick Sprout daddy and founder of Hello Bar) is a giver. The website is packed full of useful information, including a Definitive Guide to Copywriting.
You don’t even need to opt-in to get access. Although if you do want to sign up to his list, he’ll give you a traffic-boosting mini-series.
This course will suit you if (like me)you learn best from reading, like to control the pace and like to jump to lessons out of sequence. Want more of Neil’s online marketing teachings? He has a University section on the site with 14 free videos.
Skillshare – Find Your Brand Voice
This free course is presented by Andre Goulet Ford. She’s worked with some of the world’s largest brand, helping them switch from corporate babble to personality-packed content.
You can find the course here, or if that link doesn’t work go to the search bar and enter ‘Find Your Brand Voice’.
The course is 19 short videos that add up to a little over 90 minutes of teaching, with some practical exercises built in. It’s pitched more towards small and medium enterprises than solopreneurs, but if you are struggling to create a clear, differentiating brand voice, this is a good place to get started.
Skillshare – Become A Better Blogger: Content Planning
This is another free course from Andre Goulet Ford. Unlike the Brand Voice course, I haven’t tested this one yet but wanted to include it as I really enjoyed the first AGF course.
The course, which you can find here, runs to just under an hour, and will help you create a blogging strategy.
(But wait those courses are not in alphabetical order! I know but it made no sense to put them the other way around. It’s not an error. It’s an on-purpose change in approach).
The Copy Cure
The new copywriting course on the block, from two very experienced women. Marie Forleo (B-School founder) and Laura Belgray (from Talking Shrimp) have developed a copywriting course blended with a little B-School magic.
The full Copy Cure programme costs $399 for unlimited access to all the materials. A free 20-minute video on creating copy that converts is yours once you’ve handed over your email address.
This course is for you if you like your lectures with a little more sass, attitude and the occasional swear word.
This free course is delivered by Shani Raja, a teacher of advanced writing skills and journalism.
There’s no charge for the course, but you will need to become an Udemy member to access it.
I haven’t taken The Secret Sauce of Great Writing course (yet), but it has good ratings. At the time of writing this it has more than 200 reviews, averaging 4.5 stars out of 5, so I thought it worthy of a mention.
The feedback is positive but indicates this course is best suited to beginners. If you tend to get lost for words, this looks like a good place to start.
Delivered via the Australian MOOC Open2Study, this course is a great place to start if you are new to writing online. The course is delivered over a four week period, and requires around 2-4 hours study per week. Frankie, a Senior User Experience Consultant at Stamford Interactive takes you through the basics of why writing for the web is different, what makes good content and how to create it, plus how to take care of your web content in the long term. You can enrol and check latest start dates on the course page.
There are dozens of hours of learning material available for free, and you can’t possibly remember it all.
Instead, when you find a course, or two you like, start a folder / file of the advice that most resonates with you. Slowly you can build up your own personalised course to refer to whenever you sit down to write.
Then practice. Because that’s the key to good copywriting. Books and courses can only take you so far. The rest comes with experience, practice and feedback.
Do you need a little help getting started? Some of my clients choose to get one or two pages of kick-ass web copy created by a pro (me) to help them get started. Others prefer to have a crack themselves, and then pay me to go through their copy, polish it up and provide constructive feedback.
Before You Buy A Premium Course
I created this list to show you what training is already out there for free. Make a list of what is missing from your knowledge or experience, to help you choose the right course. Do you need lots of feedback in a forum environment? Do you need to sound corporate professional or mother and baby friendly? Do you want to pay a one-time fee, or spread the cost over months? Now if you want to pay for a premium course, you are in a position to make an informed decision.