Is formal copywriting & content writing training important?
Updated: Feb 25
You may be asking yourself if you should invest in formal copywriting training.
The short answer: Yes!
There are some incredible copywriters out there, and a lack of training shouldn’t get in the way of people applying for new roles, taking on writing projects at work or setting up as a freelance copywriter. Talent and common sense only go a certain way. Knowing how to successfully convey messages across the multitude of digital and offline mediums available, and understanding how to push emotional triggers with words is what sets great copywriters and content writers apart. I believe that this specific type of flexibility and knowledge can only come from a combination of experience and training.
So, whether you are an established copywriter, it’s part of your current role, or you are contemplating sending staff (or yourself) on a course, here are a number of reasons I feel that formal copywriting training is important:
It refines your skills. There is always room for improvement, no matter how experienced you are. Experience and practice go a long way in helping you hone your craft, however attending some training will get you back in touch with the basics. Yes, you know about the research on F-pattern reading on websites – but a reminder never hurts. You may also be surprised when you learn something new: even little tips can help greatly to refine your technique.
It keeps you up-to-date with the latest best practice. Just as digital communication channels are changing, the way we communicate using them is changing. Formal training will keep you informed about how best to communicate with various digital audiences and get the most out of different channels (think SEO rules and Google algorithms).
It reinvigorates you and sparks your imagination. It's awful when you find yourself in a writing rut: everything starts sounding the same. The interaction you get with face-to-face training has an amazing effect on your imagination and energy levels. On multiple occasions, I have been inspired by trainers and course participants to completely re-write pieces of content with great results.
It reminds you who you are writing for. It is very easy to get lost in making sure your copy fits the brief and incorporates the wishes of your client(s) or internal stakeholders. But at the end of the day, you are writing for customers and it’s their emotions you need to consider first. They buy with their hearts – not heads! Copywriting training, whether face-to-face or online, will bring this important point home very quickly!
It teaches you how to break the rules. If you know the rules (or best practices), then you know how and when you can break them for the best effect without compromising the aim of the copy. A great trainer will help you understand what you ‘should’ be doing and then show you examples of where you can make an exception.
It reminds others that you take this craft seriously. Despite over ten years’ experience, I would never have dreamed of starting up my business without some formal training and qualifications behind me. It demonstrates my commitment to my craft and professional development and helps my customers justify the investment they are making by using my services.
How often have you heard someone say “Why do you need training? Everyone can write.” Well, not everyone. And not everyone can do it well. Copy can make or break a campaign – it’s that important! For that reason, investing in training is just as important for copywriting as it is for any other discipline that contributes to the success of a business.
Recommended formal training*
Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM)’s Award in Digital Copywriting
E-consultancy’s Online Copywriting course
Informal & free training*
Copyblogger’s MyCopyblogger programme has incredible resources and sends fantastic information to your inbox.
Follow bloggers and copywriting sites on Twitter (like @copypress, @procopywriters, @copyblogger) and read one article every day.
*I don’t get paid to endorse these courses and companies, I’ve just had great experiences with them and want to pass on the information.