Copywriting - To train or not to train

To train or not to train

When considering a move into Copywriting, it is tempting to just have a go and see what happens. After all it is one of those things that, assuming some writing ability, can't be that hard can it?

I have a sneaking suspicion that is not true.

All aboard the bullet train


I offered my copywriting 'services' to my friend Sarah who has a small start-up business targeting local Mums.  I had grand plans to help her build her on-line presence, learn how to use social media to best effect, create un-missable fliers distributed in all the right places...and a million more ideas mind-mapped in my new Black n’ Red notebook.

Brilliant! So long as I could work out how to do these things myself!

After a quick chat over a glass of wine, it became apparent that the novelty and excitement of having a go at this herself was one of the reasons driving her to start her business in the first place, and as she put it,

"you don't know any more about this stuff than I do, do you?"

I was offering my help for free and my friend still didn't want it - a little galling perhaps, but she had a very good point .

The service on offer has to meet a client's need, whether that be a higher quality output, time saving, or at the very least stopping them having to do something they don't enjoy.   

It did hammer home the message. Unless I can gather some evidence that I am any good at this stuff I will never be able to convince anyone to dip into their hard earned profits to give me a chance.

After all, if you don't think I could do it better than you could, why on earth would you pay me to do it?

Stop the train I want to get off...

No experience...Can't get a job...No experience...Can't get a job...

I wont mention chickens and eggs, but you get my drift.

It became clear that to give me the confidence to break the cycle, to protest my brilliance in the face of doubt, I would need a bit of help.

I would need to be sure I could actually do it.

So I guess I need to learn to actually do it.

And the best way to do that? Find someone who really is brilliant to teach me...

First Great Western calls at over 270 stations*...

Where to start...Where to start...Where to start...Where to start...

Just a quick Google search confirms the wealth of training opportunities promising great notoriety and wealth. Hmmm tempting, but it got me thinking, if not this, what do I want from a course?

If in doubt, write a list...

Top 10 things I want from a Copywriting Training Course

  • UK based
  • Distance Learning (Preferably with on -line support)
  • Text book / papers to work from
  • Content up to date, well written and relevant
  • Flexible timescales
  • Reasonable price
  • Tests / assignments with good feedback
  • Helpful, friendly person to talk to if I have any problems
  • A friendly community of other course participants
  •  Support /advice afterwards for  starting out

After applying my list to a number of different courses, I found the two that best fit my criteria:

1.     The Accredited Diploma in Copywriting from the Blackford Centre for Copywriting:

2.     The Copywriting Apprentice Distance Learning Copywriting Course:

The 2 courses cost a similar amount, and appear to have a similar depth and breadth of study materials, tutor marked assignments etc. So I started to look for differences.

Tabular comparison of copywriting courses
Copywriting Course Comparison

Funnily enough it occurred to me whilst raking through the websites of these two courses, that one of them was making me really excited about the prospect of starting it, whilst the other one was grating on me a bit - I felt like it was trying too hard to sell, sell, sell...And that put my back up a little!

I don't think the course looked bad, the student testimonials are great and they are obviously experienced in delivering this course. However, if I am going to put my hand in my pocket and do some copywriting training I want to learn to do it in a way that I feel suits me, and suits my attitude towards the subject matter.

What impressed me about the Copywriting Apprentice website was the way it was written, the way the company sells itself through the content on its site....and with a healthy dose of social media, definitely an interest of mine, thrown in for good measure.

If I am going to learn to be a copywriter, I want to learn from someone who leads by an example that I would like to follow

I’m off to send an email.

This train is now approaching its final destination...

So next time Sarah says to me, "you don't know any more about this stuff than I do, do you?"
I can reply,"well, maybe I do." 

By that point the novelty of starting a business might have worn off a bit and she'll be pleased with some help so she doesn't have to do it all herself.....

…By that point maybe I’ll be charging for my services ;-)

...The next station stop will be "Training"!

 In the words of Thomas the Tank Engine...."Wheesh"

Check back to follow my progress...

*Source: Wikipedia


  1. Hi! I hope you see this comment. I too am looking at these two courses. The Blackford accreditation is super valuable, but then so is a course that utilizes social media. I'm interested to hear how the course went. Thanks!

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Thanks for writing. I can certainly recommend the course, I really enjoyed doing it and found my tutor to be very knowledgeable and really enthusiastic. She also wasn't afraid to push me a bit to make sure I did the best I could! Why don't you send Joy an email or give her a ring to talk about the course (details on CA website) - she'll be more than happy to answer any questions. If you have any other questions about the course you can find me on Twitter @weenixlen . Just a note though, the course doesn't cover social media... Good luck with whatever you decide! Nicky

    2. Ah thank you so much!!