Most of us were taught growing up that you go to college to find your career path. All too many of us know just how often it doesn’t work out this way. For a lot of people, college is a time to figure out who you are and what you really want to do with your life. Then there are some of us who don’t figure that out until much later in life.
No matter when you chose to break into freelance writing the good news is you don’t need a degree in journalism, writing or English to be successful. In fact, some of the most successful career writers don’t have a degree at all – or have one that pertains to an abandoned career path.
Now, just because a degree doesn’t mean you shouldn’t study and perfect your craft. These days you can learn just about anything online.
If you’re not ready to invest in a degree, but still want to learn more about becoming a paid writer, you have plenty of options. Or are you looking for some sort of credential to prove you know what you’re talking about before you find clients? These certifications are much less expensive than a college degree and many are free to obtain.
Copyblogger Certified Content Marketer
If you’ve got some understanding of copywriting and content writing and have a little bit of money to invest, then Copyblogger’s programs might be the right place to start. However, if you’re just starting out and breaking into Copywriting there are other programs that would be better suited to you.
There is more than one way to take courses through Copyblogger – and not all are always available. If you’re looking for immediate training, then the sites training section is for you. This is where you’ll find courses on content marketing that will definitely give you the skills to succeed in writing for a living.
For $149 each, they offer four different courses – and all of them have a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, so there’s little risk here.
- Online Business Masterclass
- Email Marketing Masterclass
- SEO Masterclass
- The Content Writing Masterclass
Now, if you’re looking for something a little more, official, then you can also consider becoming Copyblogger Certified Content Marketer. Unfortunately, this class doesn’t appear to have open enrollment – but they do have a waiting list. According to one review, the cost of this certification is around $595 a year or $55 per month to be a member of Copyblogger Authority, which gives you access to even more training materials.
If you’re just starting out in your writing career, then courses offered by the American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI) are more what you are looking for. These courses are meant to help brand new writers find their feet – and skip the struggle of low paying gigs, freelance platforms and content mills.
The Accelerated Program for Six Figure Copywriting
Anyone looking to become a copywriter that can afford it will find likely find The Accelerated Program for Six Figure Copywriting to be a great starting place. It’s more expensive – the course costs $497. However, you can forget the 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee, AWAI will give you a full year to decide if you got your moneys worth.
This course will help you go from timid new freelancer to confident copywriter. You can work through the course at your own pace since it is all self-study. You’ll also be a part of the AWAI pool of writers – which gives you a shot at a $10,000 contract with AWAI themselves.
If you’ve got the money to invest, copywriting is one of the best paid niches and this course will certainly give you a leg up to get started. After finishing the course, you can also display an AWAI Verified seal on your website and LinkedIn profile.
The Barefoot Writer
Another great starting place for new writers is The Barefoot Writer. Here you’ll get a reality check on what being a freelance writer is all about. You’ll learn what skills you need to get the high paying clients – and how to find them. You’ll also get an idea of which niches pay well, what you should expect out of a good client (and how to spot the bad ones).
Along with the course, for the same $149 ($108 on sale as of the writing of this article), you’ll get additional materials on how to launch a successful freelance writing career. Considering how much you get for the price – and the considerably lower price tag – this might be the best starting place for new writers who want to invest in their career.
Back to assuming you know the basics when it comes to writing for the web. You can format a blog post and have a general idea of how SEO works. Now’s the time to hone these more technical skills. The more you can offer your clients, the more you can get paid.
HubSpot offers completely free certifications that carry more weight than you might expect for the price tag. When it comes to digital marketing, HubSpot is a trusted brand. Being able to say your HubSpot certified on your LinkedIn profile will help you stand out.
Creating the content is one thing – but do you know how to market the content? How to determine what will resonate with your core audience? The HubSpot Content Marketing Certification is a roughly six-hour course with an exam at the end.
You’ll learn how to effectively use story telling techniques, how to plan your content strategy and how to repurpose existing content. The course also covers some SEO basics for blogging, how to promote your content and how to utilize guest posting to get more exposure and how to analyze your content and measure the results.
If you want to offer more value to your clients than being able to write a great blog post, then this is one way to get there.
If someone ever tries to tell you that email marketing is dead, don’t listen. Email marketing is more alive than ever. Have you even been in your inbox recently? Everyone uses email marketing in some form or another. The pizza places that send you coupon codes every day - email marketing. That blogger you follow promoting their latest course - email marketing.
The HubSpot email marketing course will teach you everything you need to know to get started in email marketing. Starting with a general understanding of how email marketing works to growing your email list and how to craft high converting emails and ending with understanding your metrics and tips on nurturing leads, they have it all.
Whether you like social media or not, its here to stay and it’s something all writers should be familiar with. Even if you don’t use your personal accounts, your professional presence should be there. You should also know how to offer basic social media marketing to your clients (hello upcharge for the social posts that accompany your blog content!).
In this course you’ll learn how to develop a social media strategy, how to monitor and listen to your audience, how to extend your reach and more. Social media may seem straight forward, but you can’t just post content with no direction when you’re representing a brand or public figure. This certification will have you ready to offer your clients professional social media strategy and posts along with your content and email marketing efforts.
Online Training Without Certification
HubSpot’s free certifications make freelance writing and digital marketing a realistic career choice for almost anyone in the world who is willing to dedicate the time to learn. However, not all great training comes with a certification at the end. In fact, most writers don’t have the money to invest up front.
If that’s the boat you find yourself in, then don’t worry – you can still learn everything you need to know.
There are tons of websites out there – like the ProWritingAid blog – to help you become a better writer. There are many influential freelance writers out there that have helped launch the careers of so many others. Some of the writers who helped inspire and shape my freelance writing career include Carol Tice of the Make A Living Writing blog and the Freelance Writers Den, Sophie Lizard of Be A Freelance Blogger, Jon Marrow of SmartBlogger and Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich
The Freelance Writers Den
Another option, if you have money but can’t afford a large, one time charge, is to wait for the Freelance Writer’s Den to be open. Out of all the courses mentioned here in this article, I’ve only started the HubSpot Content Marketing Certification. On the other hand, I’ve been a member of the Freelnace Writer’s Den for a few years now and it has been the best investment and resource I’ve ever had as a writer.
For $25 a month, you get access to a whole slew of 4-week Bootcamps that are meant to help you get your writing career off the ground. Secrets of Persuasive Online Copywriting, How to Write Case Studies, How to Write White Papers, Email Copywriting that Wows Clients, How to Make Money Blogging – the Den has everything you need to get started earning more as a writer.
You’ll also find courses like Freelance Marketing Mastery and Build a Writer Website that Works to get you started finding great clients. Again, it is a monthly charge – but it’s a charge that gave me access to life changing bootcamps.
Are Certifications Worth It? Do You Need One to Succeed?
The truth is you don’t need credentials to make it as a freelance writer. Your work speaks for itself. As you write for different clients, you’ll improve your craft, and each piece of content you create is proof that you know your stuff. No, these certifications won’t guarantee you a writing job – but they will help you gain the skills and confidence that you need to land your dream clients.