While there are no set requirements to become a copywriter, it is never a bad idea to better your skills and enhance your knowledge. If you think that you know all there is to know about being a copywriter, this could be a detriment to your success as there is always more to learn. There are a whole host of different content writing qualifications out there that are ideal both if you are looking to become a copywriter, or if you are already in the field and want to refresh or advance your skills. But before we look at how to set about choosing the right content writing qualification for you, let’s explore why it’s a good idea…
Why do a content writing qualification?
It can leverage you above the competition
Content writing is presently a very saturated market, so any way that you can get ahead of the competition is a good idea. By having a content writing qualification, if a job comes down to you and one other application and you have similar skills and experience, a content writing qualification could mean you are more likely to get hired.
It can increase your career prospects
A content writing qualification can enhance your skills for so many more jobs than just writing articles. It can teach you a plethora of skills, including academic writing, writing for websites and newsletters, optimising your articles for SEO and how to write press releases. You will be able to take these skills and go into careers such as content marketing, advertising and PR – plus they are transferrable across a range of industries.
It could increase your earning potential
The higher skilled you are at something, the more you can get paid. A content writing qualification can mean instead of only being able to take on entry-level jobs, you can apply for those that require someone with more knowledge. The higher level the job, the higher the pay is likely to be.
It will increase your knowledge of the profession
Never get complacent – if you only ever do the same writing, in the same style, without learning anything new, you will never grow and improve. By taking a course, you will not only brush up on your knowledge but also learn new techniques and methods for writing.
How to choose the right content writing qualification
When it comes to choosing the right content writing qualification, you need to think about a few things:
There are so many content writing courses out there, with some costing more than others. Be sure to do your research into the different options and find one that fits in with your budget. There are many copywriting courses that are free or inexpensive, as well as ones that cost a lot more. Be mindful that it doesn’t necessarily fit the bill of “you get what you pay for” but look at how in-depth the different courses go and make sure you will get your money’s worth.
The length of the course
The course you choose can vary greatly in length. Some could be a one or two-day course, some a matter of weeks or others may last for a year or more. It is important that you consider how long it will take for you to complete and how easy it will be to fit in with all of your other commitments. If you have a full-time job already and the course will require a certain amount of work each week, ensure that you can juggle the two together.
The type of qualification
What do you want to achieve from your content writing course? Do you just want to improve your skills, or do you want a proper qualification at the end of it? Think about your reasons for doing the course and use this to decide which one is best for you. If there is a specific qualification you need for a job that you have had your eye on, then make sure you will receive this at the end.
The skills it covers
Think of the skills you want to cover in your course and make sure the one you choose teaches this. If there is a specific element of content writing that you want to learn, such as writing for SEO or for a specified industry or audience, read the syllabus first and find the one that best fits what you are looking to gain from it.
What qualification is right for me?
Some of the most common content writing courses include degrees, diplomas and certificates.
A writing degree, such as in Journalism, English, Marketing, Communications or Advertising, can be done full time in 3 years, or part time in 6 years, and is an internationally respected and understood qualification. It is an essential requirement for many high-level jobs and is considered a very high standard or qualification.
A diploma is a vocational qualification and typically takes one to two years. It is a widely recognised qualification and is the equivalent to the first year of a degree. It is designed to enhance your technical and professional skills and understanding and if you wished to study further (and dependent on your provider), you could top it up to a degree in two years.
Writing certificates can typically be completed within a year. There are many writing programmes online nowadays, but not all offer a certificate of completion. Look for those which offer qualifications that are accredited by an official body. These courses are a great option when looking to study for interest and to start your career, particularly if you haven’t really written before and want to determine it is the right path for you.
Other qualifications include a Masters if you already have a Bachelor’s degree and want to move into a specific area of writing or journalism, or you could choose to do a certificate or diploma as part of a recognised CPD programme by an accredited institute.
These are just a few pointers on choosing the right content writing qualification. Be sure to do your research thoroughly beforehand and don’t rush into it. You want to make sure it will fulfil your aims and also fit in with your schedule.