So you want to become a copywriter? Excellent! I’ve been a copywriter since 1986 and it’s a great way to make a living. A good living, if you can do it right. And you’re researching the market for training courses. Another tick for you. Because without a doubt, the better you are at copywriting, the more likely you are to make a good living. In fact a £50,000 a year job/turnover is well within your reach. IF you pick the right trainer.
But that’s where the problems start.
HOW do you pick the right course for you?
So here are seven things to think about. They’re warning signs that should be flashing like a fire-engine in your brain if you spot even one.
1 What do you get for your money?
This is the most basic question for any buyer of any product. And the sad fact – the embarrassing fact for the companies offering them – is that most if not all copywriting training companies just give you a textbook, or a printed manual.
That’s it. Sure they dress it up with talk of ‘communities’ and ‘online resources’. But what comes in the post along with your bills and junk mail is an A4 publication. Hardly seems worth all those hundreds of pounds, now does it?
2 Who, exactly, is behind the course?
Many of the providers of copywriting training courses like to hide their identities. Oh, there’s a nice logo and they give themselves fancy names, but pictures of the actual people who designed and deliver the courses? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Which is odd. If they’re proud of the work they’ve put into their copywriting course, shouldn’t they be proud to stand up and be counted too? Maybe they aren’t quite as experienced as they’d have you believe. Maybe if they revealed their identities, you’d just go, “Who?” Maybe they’re just shy. Who knows? Certainly not you.
3 How much genuine interactivity with the course provider do you get?
For a copywriting training course to work, you need to be able to interact with your tutor. Ask them questions, get your work assessed by them. Complete exercises. Do quizzes.
If they just want you to hand over your money in return for a printed manual then watch out.
4 How much more are you actually going to learn from the copywriting course compared to buying a few books?
Think about it. You hand over three, four or even five hundred pounds of your own money and you get a book in return. Sure it’s printed on A4 and double-spaced in a ring-binder, but when you condense it all down, what are you getting other than a glorified copywriting book?
If you like learning from books (and many people do) you can spend around fifty pounds and get the collected wisdom of copywriting giants like David Ogilvy, Drayton Bird and John Caples.
5 What are those testimonials really saying?
What do you know about the training provider? You go to their website and there’s a bunch of testimonials.
But everyone can manage to get a few punters to say something positive. Where are the results? The figures? The statements of how things have improved afterwards? Those are the sorts of testimonials that count. And if they’re on video, even better, because nobody can fake filmed testimonials.
6 What is the reputation of the copywriting trainer?
Google the copywriting trainer and see what you get. If all the references are from their own website then you know you’re buying from somebody who’s failed to establish themselves as an authority in the real world.
Sales promotions, discounts and ‘special offers’ are the last resort of the truly desperate. A product that’s in demand has no need to cut prices just to entice punters to buy.
When the Mini launched in the UK you couldn’t get a pound off the list price. Venture into an Hermes store and ask for a Birkin bag with a discount. You’ll leave the store so fast those bags will just be a blur. The fact is, quality will out and has no need to offer itself up cheap.
You work hard for your money. Don’t hand it over to the first smooth-talking salesman or woman who promises you the earth as a copywriter, if you’ll only buy their course.
Do your research, ask the right questions. And always check the small print.