So you’ve heard that content writing is one of the best ways to earn money online and want to give it a shot.
Cool — but there’s just one problem: you don’t know if you’ve got the right skills for the job.
Fear not, dear friends; in this post, I’ll share the best free and paid content writing courses to help you get started. Let’s dive right in:
The Best Free Online Content Writing Courses For Beginners
There are tons of free content marketing courses on the internet, but how do you know which ones are worth your time? Below you’ll find a curated list of the best free content writing resources that I’ve personally taken. (You do trust me, right?)
- Recommended if you wanna learn: inbound and content marketing
- Expertise level: total noob
- Certification: yes
If you’re a total newbie to content marketing, Hubspot Academy is the best place to start.
Hubspot is a customer relationship management (CRM) company that serves about 100,000 customers all over the globe. When they’re not selling kickass software as a service, they host an awesome learning platform that anyone can access for free.
There’s lots to love about Hubspot Academy:
- wide range of certification courses, from content marketing to email to business consulting
- easy to understand and navigate
- it’s free!
To enroll, all you have to do is sign up with your email address and you’ll get instant access to the whole shebang at zero cost.
I think it’s super important for any writer to know how content marketing works, and Hubspot Academy does a great job of educating beginners on that front. They don’t just teach you content writing — they also help you see the big picture and realize how your role fits in the grand scheme of digital marketing. This helps you understand your clients’ needs better, which allows you to craft better deals and land ideal projects.
For aspiring content/copywriters, here are my personal course picks:
- Inbound marketing certification course
- Content marketing certification course
- Email marketing certification course
Backlinko Content Hubs
- Recommended if you wanna learn: content writing and SEO
- Expertise level: advanced beginner
- Certification: no
It’s not enough to just write good content — you have to make sure that people see it on Google’s first page, too. That’s why it’s important for any content writer to develop some serious search engine optimization (SEO) chops.
Backlinko remains my ride-or-die when it comes to SEO. They regularly publish informative content hubs and have everything you need to learn about SEO and content marketing.
You can start here:
What I love about most Backlinko is that they explain things like you’re five years old.
SEO can be a complicated thing, and most of the time, you’ll get lost in jargon and technical terms. Backlinko does away with all of that and breaks down huge concepts into small, bite-sized pieces instead. Perfect for busy bees who need to learn everything on the fly.
Backlinko also runs a paid course called SEO That Works, which we’ll talk about later along the way. For now, let’s move on to the next resource:
Very Good Copy
- Recommended if you wanna learn: conversion copywriting
- Expertise level: competent
- Certification: no
If you want to venture into writing conversion copy for landing pages, sales letters, and emails, look no further than Very Good Copy.
It’s one of the most jampacked resources on content and copy you’ll find anywhere. On VGC, you’ll find free micro-courses on how to write persuasive copy. You can check those out here.
If you feel like you wanna learn more about copywriting, then you can check out the next resource:
- Recommended if you wanna learn: a bunch of stuff about content and copywriting
- Expertise level: complete noob to competent
- Certification: no
Copywriting Course teaches you how to write good copy, and it does that pretty well. What makes it stand out from all others is the extreme number of resources on just about anything related to content and copywriting.
From free courses on copywriting to headline generators to freelance pricing calculators, this site has…everything. Keep it bookmarked in case you need a quick cheat sheet.
Paid Content Writing Courses (That I’ve Personally Taken)
Free courses are great, but if you’ve got a few bucks to spare, why not invest in some paid ones? Paid courses are better-structured and often contain more in-depth industry knowledge. They’re also great if you’ve already got the basics and would like to level up.
Here are some of the best paid courses that I’ve taken over the years:
- certification: yes
- level: total noob to advanced beginners
- price: starts at $495 per certification course
- it has a certification that most employers or clients will probably look for
- thorough explanation of topics
- they bring in industry experts to teach you the ropes
- Each course is quite pricey
- Courses can run long and you run the risk of being bored
Digital Marketer is one of the biggest providers of digital marketing training and certifications across the internet — and their badges are easily the most recognizable.
But here’s the kicker:
Their certification courses do not come cheap at $495 a pop. If you take 4 of them, as I did, it can easily cost you $2000.
The lessons are quite extensive and really go deep into tried-and-tested digital marketing strategies, so you need to pay attention and spend time digesting them.
They also have modules and downloadable templates that you can use.
I learned a lot from Digital Marketer, and I still apply a lot of what I learned to this day.
Here are my favorite takeaways:
- How to make a customer avatar
- The different types of blog content you can produce
- Email segmentation
I’ll be honest though: most of their programs run long and can be pretty boring. The production quality (at least when I took it back in 2017) can also use some pizzazz just to keep the learners engaged.
That said, if you’re a little bootstrapped at the moment, Hubspot can be a great alternative to this program.
SEO That Works
- certification: yes
- level: competent to expert
- price: starts at $497/mo
- well worth the investment
- it’s very beginner-friendly
- Provides a lot of actonable tips
- It’s also expensive AF
At this point, you’ve probably figured out that I have a soft spot for Backlinko. I guess that’s what happens when you encounter a resource that makes your job a hundred times easier by explaining difficult concepts in a very simple way.
That’s what SEO That Works did for me.
It’s a paid course that teaches you tried-and-tested SEO strategies to help you grow your traffic organically. What I love about SEO That Works is that most of their strategies are rooted in creating great content paired with solid promotion strategies. It didn’t cut any corners or offer sleazy shortcuts just to boost your traffic
Here are my favorite takeaways:
- using medium to long-tail keywords
- the skyscraper technique
- creating content for niche influencers or linkreators
I’ve since used these strategies to grow tactical.com’s traffic to about 10x back in 2020. I also used them to create a custom training track for Terran’s writing team, which has grown 3x over the past year.
Now, this course costs a lot of money (that’s around 6 grand a year!), so you have to make sure that you’ll really take the time to implement the strategies you’ll find here.
Marketing Made Simple (Storybrand)
level: competent to proficient
- well-structured, well-produced, and easy to understand
- it gives a lot of real-life examples
- no certification
Marketing Made Simple is a short but jam-packed course that you can finish in about a day. From the creators of Storybrand, this course teaches you how to convert customers to your website through clear copy and clean design. It also teaches you:
- the basics of UX
- how to create a winning lead magnet
- how to write sales emails —
- — and so much more.
My favorite takeaways include:
- Keeping the copy simple and customer-based – too many websites talk about themselves but only a few ever address the customer’s needs from the get-go
- Homepage wireframe – their template has become the basis of all the home and landing pages that I’ve helped develop and it’s been giving me great results so far. Their wireframe is optimized for conversions and everything just clicks into place
This course would best benefit those who already have the foundations of content marketing and would want to level up. At only $275 a year, it’s a great bang for your buck considering the returns in terms of signups and conversions.
More Paid Content and Copywriting Courses (That I Wanna Try)
Here are a few other paid courses that I haven’t tried yet, but am interested to check out:
I’m not sure if the hype is worth the $1500 price tag, but Marie Forleo’s flagship course always causes a stir every time they open enrolment, and I’m curious as heck to see if it’s really as good as advertised.
Much like Brian Dean, Neville Medhora from Copywriting Course also has a paid version of his program. At $997 a year, the Copywriting Course subscription grants you access to their exclusive community where you can get “unlimited critiques, office hours invites, help with your projects, and access to all training materials.” It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
Level up with these online writing courses
There you have it, folks: 9 free and paid courses to help you jumpstart your content writing journey.
While all of these are great, you still need to put in the work to create valuable content. Even the most expensive course would do zilch if you don’t practice and apply what you’ve learned.
I hope you found this guide useful and if you’ve got anything to add to this list, don’t hesitate to comment below!