Have you had way too much time on your hands lately? Maybe you’re a new grad marketer on the job search like me. Maybe you have been furloughed or laid off. Maybe you are working from home but feel stagnant. The times we are experiencing now are unlike anything we have seen, and it’s okay for you to take some time figuring out your new normal.
Once you are feeling comfortable, though, a little productivity never hurt anyone! I personally decided to build up my resume and marketing skills through free, online course content. Let me tell you, there are a ton of these courses available. We can harness them to our advantage with the extra time we have been given- which is a nice little silver lining.
As I previously mentioned, the internet is chock-full of free blogs, video content, and online courses on every aspect of marketing. It can feel overwhelming to sift through it all, and luckily with my free time I have done the hard work for you. Some of the courses I will mention I have taken myself, and the others are scribbled on my to-do list. Let’s take a look at some courses within 5 major elements of digital marketing:
Our first course is the Social Media Certification by HubSpot Academy. If you don’t know already, HubSpot is a widely used CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform. They are also known for their industry-leading thought leadership on their blog (which gets over 7 million visits per month), and their entirely free courses available through the HubSpot Academy (where over 218,000 professionals have already received certifications).
This was the first certification I took during the reading week in my last term of school. I felt that my program was lacking social media and digital marketing content, so I decided to solve that problem myself before I started applying for jobs. This course was great for that! The instructors are engaging and well spoken, and the content was informative as well. I learned a lot of new things, even as a social-media savvy millennial. Course content includes:
- Social Listening
- Content Strategy
- Influencer Marketing
- And More!
Analytics and data can come from an enormous number of places, from the web, to software, social media platforms, and more. What I’ll be focusing on with this course recommendation is data from your website and/or blog. A great, free tool to track website data to make informed marketing and business decisions is Google Analytics. What’s even better is they offer free online training courses at Google Analytics Academy.
The best place to begin is Google Analytics for Beginners. I had heard a lot about Google Analytics from my mentor and had also seen many top marketers on LinkedIn had these certifications, so I was determined to get one under my belt. This course isn’t extremely long and is a great introduction to using the tool. If you are just getting your feet wet in the online learning space, this would be a great, easy start! Course content includes:
- Google Analytics Setup
- Using the Google Analytics Interface
- Understanding Basic Reports
- Basic Campaign and Conversion Tracking
According to HubSpot, content marketing is a way to generate leads through producing high quality content such as blogs, videos, and guides to attract and build trust with a target audience. Content marketing is a huge part of Inbound Marketing, using a “magnet” approach to attract your best prospects: those actively looking for solutions. This is opposed to Outbound Marketing- sending loads of messages in front of a general audience, risking consumer fatigue and wasting budget.
HubSpot’s founder and CEO, Brian Halligan, coined the term “Inbound Marketing” in 2005 and the concept took off around 2012. It is clear to see HubSpot is the leader in content and inbound marketing, and they demonstrate it through the massive collection of relevant, high quality content in their blog and academy. This is why I chose HubSpot again for their Content Marketing Certification Course! Course content includes:
- The Power of Storytelling
- How to Build a Content Creation Framework
- Generating Content Ideas
- How HubSpot Uses Blogging and SEO to Rank #1 on Google
- And More!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. According to Moz, SEO is, “the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (organic) search engine results”. To sum this up in the most basic terms, it’s the (unpaid) way to have your website show up at the top of Google results. It’s a technical and detailed process, but can bring large returns to your business through increased webpage traffic, brand trustworthiness, and recognition.
Moz is an SEO software that helps you perform site audits, rank tracking, backlink analysis, and keyword research- all integral processes of good SEO. They are also a big player in SEO thought leadership shown on their blog. So, who better to teach us how to do it? Moz has created a free, in-depth course on Udemy.com on SEO found here. The fun part about this course is that it’s taught on a whiteboard which will bring you right back to your classroom days. Course content includes:
- SEO Strategy Development
- Site Audits and Structure
- Keyword Research
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- And More!
PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. The most popular form of PPC is paid search engine marketing, like on Google, where you can pay for a spot at the top of the search results rather than “earning” it through SEO (which takes time). Still, though, research and work is needed to create a good PPC campaign.
Luckily the company WordStream, a PPC and Social Campaign Software Platform, is here to teach us everything to know about PPC through their platform PPC University. Unlike the courses I’ve mentioned previously which were all video based, PPC University is article based. This is great for people who learn better through reading text. The courses are laid out in sections such as:
- PPC 101
- What is PPC?
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- And More!
- PPC 102
- PPC Keyword Research
- Ad Text Optimization
- A/B Testing
- And More!
- Advanced PPC
- AdWords Mobile
- PPC for Lead Generation
- And More!
So, there you have it! I hope you enjoy these courses and they lend you new skills to level up your marketing game. I recommend spreading the courses over several days, so that you don’t get burnt out. Grab a calendar and schedule in an hour a day for learning. Then go grab your coffee (or tea if you prefer), grab your fuzzy slippers, and get at it. Feel free to let us know of any online courses or resources you have enjoyed. Happy e-learning!
Written by: Amber Hoffart