Many freelancers today, even those at the top, have no formal education—just years of working in the trenches to learn what makes content effective. With content mills making the barrier to entry low for writers, how can you stand out from the crowd if you don’t have experience?
This is where certifications can help.
Here are 6 companies offering certifications you should check out. See if something speaks to you and pursue it.
If you’re into MOOCs, check out Coursera for great content strategy courses. They offer over 60 courses under the subject "content marketing."
There are also several specializations you can get. Here are two of our favorites:
Northwestern University, Content Strategy for Professionals Specialization. This is a 5-course specialization that culminates in a capstone project where you show the skills you’ve learned over the several weeks of coursework.
University of California, Davis, Search Engine Optimization Specialization. This is a 6-course specialization that includes a hands-on project to showcase what you’ve learned. The courses cover SEO and content optimization, perfect for freelancers.
Hubspot offers so many certifications that would look great on your profile. Here are the best of the best:
Inbound Certification. If you want to know everything about inbound marketing, this is the course for you. It is a 5-course certification with course titles like "Attracting Strangers to Your Business," "Converting Your Visitors," and "Delighting Your Customers."
Content Marketing Certification. Chock full of information, 11 courses help you understand content marketing from a writer’s perspective. This course covers subjects like creating a blog, the power of storytelling, and generating content ideas.
Email Marketing Certification. Want to add emails to your list of skills? Hubspot’s Email Marketing Certification covers 9 different courses where you’ll learn subjects like "The Components of a High Performing Email" and "Developing Relationships with Lead Nurturing."
There are 15 different certifications offered by Hubspot; some are sales related and others cover Hubspot’s software platform. Check out their website to see what stands out for you.
3. Content Marketing Institute (CMI)
CMI opens enrollment for their Master Class series several times a year. There are 8 core classes you must take to get your certification, and they offer over 50 elective classes that all sound nice to have.
They continually update their curriculum and cover such subjects as planning, audience, story, channels, and measurement.
Copyblogger has a Certified Content Marketer designation perfect for content creators and strategists.
You can offer your clients advanced level skills and get listed on their website as a "Certified Content Marketer" or "Master Level," depending on your scores at the end. This is handy for top-quality clients to find you.
Mediabistro offers a wide range of writing and editing classes that will set you apart from other writers. Expert classes on blogging, B2B copywriting, digital journalism, SEO, and more are the perfect complement to anyone’s profile.
Consider mentioning some of their courses and watch the clients take notice.
American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) offers courses in copywriting, including niche copywriting markets, B2B copywriting, web writing, and publishing. If the link tells you that enrollment is closed, bookmark it and check back later.
You can also earn "badges" that prove you have the skills clients are looking for. Badges include online ad copywriter, editorial/content marketing copywriter, email copywriter, lead-in copywriter, funnel copywriter, video script writer, SEO copywriter, and social media copywriter.
A certification won’t necessarily lead to success. But it might help you gain the skills you need to delight your clients and keep them coming back to you with new work. And it’s a confidence booster to say to a client you’re a certified content master.
If you’re new to copywriting, consider getting a certification. And if you’re an experienced copywriter, consider checking out some of these certifications. You, too, need to keep your skills current and to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques.