For anyone aspiring to start a career in content writing, there is an enormous amount of information available online. The sheer amount of data can confuse people. For the novices, it is challenging to understand which information is reliable. Similarly, there are many free online content writing courses, as well. In this article, we discuss the top five free online content writing courses for the benefit of all wannabe content writers out there.
There is an abundance of job opportunities in the content writing field. It is, in fact, an opportunity galore.
Content writing is an umbrella term encompassing various writing careers and hence has enormous possibilities and potential.
A content writing career is flexible with timings as well. You can take it up as a primary job or even as a side hustle. The number of internet users in India is growing steadily, especially with the digital India initiative. The projected number of internet users in India will reach an estimated 850 million by 2025.
If these numbers are anything to go by, then the demand for a content writing career is like never before. Also, a deficit in quality content writers and an increase in demand are creating a gap.
If you have excellent writing skills or even just good English, you can make use of this demand and supply gap to your advantage. A short-term course is sufficient to set your career rolling. With experience and practice, you can scale great heights.
The first step to getting started is, of course, taking up a course. One may take up a course at an institute of repute or online. Currently, the online platform has N number of free and paid online content writing courses.
OFFLINE VERSUS ONLINE CONTENT WRITING COURSES
Virtual classes online or face-to-face sessions in a classroom setting, what is the preferred choice these days?
Which mode offers more benefits? Online content writing courses or those offered at institutes?
What is the difference between offline and online?
Are online classes practical and efficient?
Is the pricing the same for an online and offline course?
Many would argue that there is nothing to beat a traditional classroom set-up where you can clear doubts upfront and have access physically to a trainer/mentor. The one-on-one face-to-face student-teacher interaction has been a part of our learning system for as long as we can remember.
When it comes to schooling and college, etc., the emergence of online education cannot minimize or obliterate the importance of offline/classroom education
In the case of upskilling or learning short-term courses, online courses are the norm today. With changing circumstances and scenarios, most beg to differ and prefer the online approach as against traditional offline coaching.
The trend with the millennials is learning online. The millennials are adept at multitasking and do not believe in wasting time commuting. They are more tech-savvy and adapt to new and innovative ways of learning much faster.
Online learning has taken a whole new dimension today with platforms like Skype, Zoom, and Google classrooms. These platforms can easily compare to physical classes with a facility for interaction between the trainer/mentor and students.
Let us consider the pros and cons of both to conclude. The deciding factors in play include:
- Availability of resources
In terms of time management, online courses have the upper hand.
For working professionals or college students, online courses offer a great respite. With all that multitasking, they can manage their time more efficiently with online classes.
Travelling to and fro to the institute/academy can pose a severe issue for many people. Imagine the scenario where the best institute that you want to join is distant from both your work/college and home. A considerable amount goes into travelling to and fro, not to mention the fatigue involved.
With online courses, you can join the best of the institute, whether it is in your city or outside your city. The demographics hold no significance with online classes. You have access to the best globally, literally. To top it, you can learn right from the relaxed atmosphere of your house/study room.
About the budget, classroom courses often tend to be more expensive than online courses. This is because the institute has to invest in proper infrastructure and other overheads. Also, you cannot ignore the cost of printed course materials. The cost incurred is almost always passed onto the students in the form of an increased course fee.
On the other hand, online courses require minimal, if any, infrastructure. Hence, they are inevitably more pocket-friendly.
Finally, when it comes to the learning repository, online courses score over the classroom courses yet again. Printed course material will unarguably go outdated. The online learning management system can be upgraded continuously and updated with current learning trends.
With the online platform, students can have access to a large number of learning resources. These may be in the form of blogs, articles, video recordings, quizzes, etc.
Undoubtedly, in the current age and scenario, online courses have more benefits and are the preferred choice of the masses.
TOP 5 FREE ONLINE CONTENT WRITING COURSES:
Some people want to start a career in content writing and some wish to embed content marketing in your marketing strategy, but do not know where to start. Take one of the courses listed below on content marketing essentials. These courses will guide you on content creation that can enrich and promote your brand/company online.
Without further ado, let us dive into the list of free online content writing courses.
SEMrush sells subscriptions for online visibility and marketing analytics software. It is a multifaceted SEO tool trusted by over 5000000 marketers worldwide. The academy has free courses for:
- Search Engine Optimization.
- Content marketing.
- Pay per click.
- Social Media Marketing.
- SEMrush toolkit.
- Competitive Research.
The courses and exams at SEMrush Academy are free for registered users with no strings attached. The courses are online and held by experts. Upon completion of the exams, candidates receive a digital certification that is shareable.
CONTENT MARKETING FUNDAMENTALS COURSE
Offered by: SEMrush Academy.
Created by: Ashley Segura, who is the VP of operations at TopHatRank. With over seven years of experience in the digital marketing industry, she brings in tons of insights and first-hand experience in her course
Course Curriculum: The course takes about two hours and includes 13 lessons which are:
- About content marketing.
- Implementing content marketing in your business.
- Business goals of content marketing.
- Competitor research techniques.
- Audience research to tailor content.
- Analyze content quality and relevancy.
- Content ideation.
- Content calendar.
- Optimizing content for rankings.
- Content distribution.
- Measuring content performance.
- Advanced content tips like repurposing and reusing existing content and making it more linkable.
Skill Level: Beginner to advance.
About the course: This free online course dives into the inner aspects of content marketing. It guides newbies on how to embed quality content into their business strategy. The course has exclusive easy-to-follow video lessons. There are specially picked materials for a deeper understanding of each topic. Ultimately, there is a quiz on each of the modules to test what you have learned.
Certification: There is a content marketing fundamentals exam upon course completion. Upon passing it, you will get SEMrush Certification, which is a valuable addition to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Coursera is an online learning platform famous worldwide.
It offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) in diverse fields. It has a tie-up with various universities globally and provides specialization courses and degrees as well. You can join Coursera for free and build your skills with courses from top universities. With its easy interface, you can navigate to a subject of your choice and see the list of the courses available.
The courses are mostly free, but you need to pay for certifications. In this sense, if you want access to the graded assignments and earn course certifications, you will need to pay.
THE STRATEGY OF CONTENT MARKETING
Offered by: University of California, Davis, via Coursera.
Taught by: Sonia Simone.
Course Curriculum: This is a five-week-long course is in partnership with leading content marketing company Copyblogger and UC Davis, California. The syllabus includes:
- Week one includes nine videos, four readings, and a quiz. The module revolves around understanding and creating a content marketing ecosystem in line with business goals.
- Week two includes ten videos, five readings, and a quiz. It explains the 7A framework and application of this framework to content creation.
- Week three includes five videos, two readings, and two quizzes. This module is all about mapping the journey of crafting a content marketing strategy, creating a buyer persona, exploring their journey and purpose, and applying essential elements in creating compelling content.
- Week four includes six videos, six readings, and two quizzes. The module explores various types of content that go into creating an effective content marketing program.
- Week five includes eight videos, two readings, and one quiz. This module is a bonus of content. It educates on how to manage yourself as a professional and how to manage your content. It also explores various forms of multimedia content.
Skill Level: Intermediate level requiring approximately 20 hours for completion.
About the course: It is a 100% online course that has flexible deadlines. You can reset and schedule as per your convenience. With this course, you can learn how to:
- Ideate, create, develop, and implement a profitable content marketing strategy.
- Measure the efficacy of the content strategy.
- Write compelling copy using a strategic framework.
Certification: Candidates can get free certification for a limited period.
Yet another free online content writing course offered by Coursera is Advanced Writing.
Offered by: Coursera.
Created by: Tamy Chapman, Brad Gilpin, and Helen Nam.
Course Curriculum: It is a five-week-long course taking approximately 26 hours to complete. The syllabus includes:
- Week one includes video tutorials with four readings. It is a course introduction with information on plagiarism and how to avoid it. It will also help develop critical thinking skills and enhance your expertise in using outside sources in writing.
- Week two includes two videos and nine readings with three quizzes. This module is all about advanced argument essays, adding support from outside sources, and learning about the MLA format.
- Week three has three videos, seven readings, and four quizzes. It deals with plagiarism in-depth.
- Week four has four videos, eight readings, and four quizzes. This module educates on synthesis essays.
- Finally, week five includes three videos, nine readings, and three quizzes. It deals with documented essays, giving you practice in using quotes and paraphrasing.
About the course: It is a self-paced course, a third course in the series Academic English, Writing Specialization.
This course is by the University of California, Irvine. UCI has an unyielding commitment to rigorous academics combined with cutting-edge research.
The course has shareable certificates and graded assignments with peer feedback.
Certification: There is an option for paid certification.
Coursera offers a 7-day free trial at the end of which a subscription fee is chargeable. The subscription provides unlimited access to all courses but may you can cancel it anytime.
Like Coursera, Skillshare is an American online learning platform. All courses are available through subscription. The learning mode is basically through educational videos. There are both free and paid courses on Skillshare. Membership offers access to all of its courses. But a significantly beneficial feature for people wanting to learn just a couple of courses is that you can cancel the subscription after the free trial. You will get a reminder email three days before the end of the free trial, at which time you may opt out of the subscription if you choose to do so.
Like most online learning platforms, Skillshare has a plethora of courses on diverse topics.
10X MARKETING: CONTENT MARKETING THAT STANDS OUT & GETS RESULTS
Offered by: Skillshare.
Created by: Garrett Moon, CEO, and co-founder of CoSchedule. Helping more than 8000 marketing teams across 100 countries stay organized, CoSchedule has transformed the way marketers plan and execute.
Course Curriculum: Whether you are looking at crafting blog posts, writing email newsletters, or curating social media posts, this course teaches you to build and execute a smart content marketing plan. It teaches you to create for your company/brand a publishing process that works every time, easing your work. There is even a project to assess your learning and execution skills. The modules included are:
- Find your competition-free content.
- Prioritizing 10x opportunities.
- Create your process.
- Final thoughts.
- What’s next?
Skill Level: Beginner level.
About the course: This course will teach you to create a competition-free content marketing strategy. It is a mere 30-minute class that provides heaps of valuable information. Straight to the point with no fluff or fuss, this course exceeds expectations in terms of:
- Clarity of instruction.
- Actionable steps.
- Organization of lessons.
With over 6,011 students enrolled for this course, it is perhaps one of the most popular free courses in the content writing/marketing domain.
SkillShare offers a two-month free trial at the end of which a subscription fee is chargeable.
The subscription gives unlimited access to all courses, but you can cancel at any time.
Udemy is yet another online learning platform with multi-subject courses. It is possibly the most popular of all. The platform as of now has:
- More than 50 million students.
- 57,000 instructors are teaching courses.
- Courses in over 65 languages.
- Over 295 million course enrollments.
The popularity of Udemy is such that for employee upskilling, 80% of Fortune 100 companies trust Udemy. Global industry experts have courses on Udemy, making learning fun and highly valuable. It is a different thing altogether to get insights and advice in the form of courses from leading industry experts.
One of the top-rated free online content writing courses offered by Udemy is the Secret Sauce of Great Writing.
SECRET SAUCE OF GREAT WRITING
Offered by: Udemy
Created by: Shani Raja, an ex-Wall Street journal editor.
Course Curriculum: The curriculum includes:
- Writing better.
- The secret sauce of flair.
- The four crucial ingredients.
- How did I discover the sauce (PDF workbook)?
- The power of simplicity.
- Simplicity exercises.
- The power of clarity.
- Clarity exercises.
- The power of elegance.
- Elegance exercises.
- The power of evocativeness.
- Evocativeness exercises.
- The road ahead, the tip of the iceberg.
- Final thoughts.
Skill Level: Beginner.
About the course: With over 159,750 students, the benefits of this course are all but obvious. The course focuses on four elements of writing and how to add them skillfully.
SOME MORE FREE ONLINE CONTENT WRITING COURSES:
The list mentioned above is just about the top five free courses in content writing/marketing. There are many other online content writing courses worth taking, some of which are:
- Writing for the Web (via open2study).
- Hubspot Content Marketing.
- Writing for Social Media (via edX).
- Kickstart your Academic Writing (via canvas network).
- Media Writing and Editing (via canvas network).
- Essentials of Content Writing (on Udemy)
- On writing (on Udemy)
- Also on Skillshare is Freelance Writing 101: Build A Successful Writing Career.
- Write content that sells itself: become a persuasion expert in 7 easy steps (on SkillShare).
- Learn to write what ranks (SEO blogging) (on Udemy)
FREE VERSUS PAID ONLINE CONTENT WRITING COURSES
Let us compare free versus paid online content writing courses to figure out which way to move forward if you are new to the world of content writing.
Online content writing courses take the form of either live interactive sessions or recorded video sessions. While most free courses provide recorded sessions and exercises, instructor-led interactive sessions are a norm with paid courses.
The free courses have limited resources, whereas paid courses provide access to the learning management system, which is up-to-date with changing trends.
While the free courses are devoid of live interaction and the paid courses, have the warmth of human interaction.
There is no motivation in the free courses. The mentors in paid courses are a guiding and motivating force. They not only guide on the dos and don’ts but also motivate and encourage students to bring out their best potential.
The free courses, on the other hand, are good in terms of brushing up an existing skill or even getting a basic understanding. In-depth learning and implementation are possible only in paid courses, which involve live projects and assignments with feedback.
The query resolution is another factor that one should consider. In free courses, you have to post your query and wait for a reply. You need to check for resolution regularly. Such is not the case with a paid course. The query resolution, doubt clearing, is instant and leads to a better understanding of the subject.
The most important aspect is the placement assistance after course completion. The free courses do not offer any such support or assistance. Whereas paid courses almost always have placement support. They provide resume building, interview cracking skills, and even information on relevant job openings. Some reputed institutes also offer an internship.
The instinctive thing for most human beings is to take up free courses. The word “free” itself is very magnetic. The thought of getting something without having to pay for it has always enticed human beings.
But be aware and informed that free courses most often than not have several limitations.
In conclusion, most free courses are all theory with barely any practicals, though they do have actionable points. But the paid courses involve at least 80% of practicals with a little bit of theory.
While free courses are suitable for mastering necessary English writing skills and grammar, they do not prove to be an adequate option for someone looking to start a career in content writing.
Thus, be it creative writing, academic, technical writing, web copywriting, or blogging, the free courses are an excellent platform to get a basic overview and understanding. But the paid courses are the ones that impart real knowledge and actionable competence.
Ultimately, the courses offered by institutes/academies offer placement support, which is the primary goal of learning. After all, you take up a course 95% of the time to find a relevant job and maybe 5% of the time for up-skilling or adding to your knowledge base.
Depending on your level of learning and goals, you can opt for either a free or paid online content writing course.