Copywriting is a skill that can feature in many different industries and business sectors. Whether its SEO copywriting to build up a web page, advertising copy for a TV commercial, marketing materials for an event, or a press release for a new product launch, copy is key.
You could be here because you are already working in public relations, marketing, copywriting, or advertising roles, or because that is a career option you want to pursue, or you simply want to better understand your current role. Either way, the right professional training can build upon your skills, teach you about writing for different platforms, and how to create content that makes an impact.
Here are some suggestions for the best places to find professional copywriting courses, and get started on your training, whatever your current experience.
Adult education copywriting courses
Why not start right at the beginning and learn the fundamentals of copywriting to help you create web content, company sales literature, or explore new career options in advertising or marketing? Adult education courses can be a great start along this road, are held regularly at local colleges throughout the year, and can be an affordable introduction to the world of professional copywriting.
Courses, like this one at City Lit in London, are led by expert tutors that have a range of experience across journalism, advertising, or marketing. Delivering course content on the fundamentals of copywriting, showing examples of good and bad practice, a look at print and digital media, and writing headlines is all part and parcel of these introductory courses. You can also gain a good understanding of different types of copy, from newsletters, web pages, and long-form copy to digital advertising.
While this level of course does not typically focus on routes into the business, adult education colleges often have a range of business writing courses on offer, so you can move on from a beginner course and continue your professional development.
The Chartered Institute Of Public Relations is one the biggest organisations for PR professionals in Europe. This is an organisation dedicated to setting standards and best practice and they promote on-going professional development and training. These courses are ideal for anyone already working in PR who wants to improve their copywriting skills, particularly if they will be producing a variety of different content.
Their mastering the art of copywriting course is 2 days packed full of knowledge, with a practical exercise in between. Participation is key to get the most out of this course, as you learn the ‘7 stage copy technique’, different copy templates, how to write effective headlines, and reducing ‘waffle’ into succinct copy.
You’ll gain knowledge to write content for different platforms, such as marketing material and email newsletters, and if you wish to take this further, CIPR also runs subject-specific courses. These cover specific aspects of copywriting and communications in more depth and include ‘writing for online audiences’ and ‘writing better press releases’.
Alongside their training courses, there’s also a choice of 3 professional qualifications for those wanting to develop a career in PR which include aspects of copywriting. They are:
Entry point to other CIPR courses, and ideal for those looking for entry-level PR jobs. The first section of this course covers practical content creation skills, for both audio and visual platforms, before moving on to the role of PR and a PR firm/employee. This is equivalent to an A-level standard course.
Professional PR Certificate
This course is a more in-depth look at PR and is ideal for anyone looking for career progression. This course covers the fundamentals, from media relations skills and how social media impacts PR, to writing for different channels.
Content creation could include blogs, press releases, and mastering the art of writing a high-impact tweet. You’ll also pick up tips on how PR campaigns can be planned and how their success can be measured.
A course for experienced PR professionals looking for a senior position that involves strategy and planning. Advanced level understanding of content management, PR concepts, media engagement and PR leadership are also included.
Entry requirements vary depending on the level of course you are taking, but each offers professional training across different aspects of PR, and a solid grounding in crafting content for different platforms. Some of these courses are run at accredited training centres, while others are based at several CIPR locations.
Principles Of Great Copywriting
A great interactive course that provides lots of opportunities to practice and gain confidence in your copywriting skills. Learn about how copy is altered for different target markets, traditional and digital media, writing headlines, and the challenges that you may face writing for different platforms. This course is aimed at those working in marketing and communications who are involved in copywriting, junior level copywriters, or graphic designers who want to gain a better understanding of copy.
Advanced Copywriting Skills
A next step up from the principles of copywriting course, with content aimed at those already in a marketing and communications role, or who deal with agencies or in-house creatives.
This course covers marketing briefs and creative responses to them, how words and images work together, brainstorming advertising concepts and copy, how to sustain a brand message across different media, and how to explore tone of voice in your copy.
Deciding on a copywriting course
Distance learning offers a more flexible, often affordable way of improving your copywriting skills, but there are a few things you should look for before you book. These include:
• Choose an accredited learning provider – To ensure you get the best quality tuition it’s important you look at the accreditation the learning provider has. Also, research who is leading the course and the experience they have, and whether you get a recognised diploma on completion. If the training provider issues qualifications then look to see if they are their own, or academically accredited and recognised. You can gain from both types of courses, and learn valuable skills, but accredited courses often have more standing in the professional marketplace, when you are looking for employment.
• Find a course that matches your needs – Training can be a big investment so think about what you want to get from the course and how it will benefit you in the future. Do you want a general copywriting course that covers writing for different platforms, or would you rather go in-depth on a specific copywriting skill? Some courses will be quite practical and interactive, with assessments to test your knowledge, while others may be more theory led, and focus more on strategy than actual content creation.
• Look at the detail in course descriptions – Can the course leaders back up their credentials? For example, The College of Media and Publishing has a list of organisations that have sent their staff on its course, which could help endorse the content before you buy.
• Where to find the courses – Check out the business education sections in national newspapers for blogs and articles on copywriting training, visit job sites such as Reed.co.uk, which have course sections, or ask for recommendations through professional and networking sites. Although experiences can be subjective, and everyone has a different perspective, finding out which copywriting courses have provided value for money, and what specifically people have gained from them, can prove informative as you make your choice.
Sometimes there are two questions to answer when it comes to copywriting training: which are the best professional copywriting courses, and which are the best for you?