— January 23, 2019
The digital marketing landscape is always changing. While this is one of the most rewarding elements of working in digital for many B2C professionals, it also presents challenges for digital marketers who want to keep their skill set relevant and remain in-the-know where marketing is concerned. I consider myself to be a lifelong learner, so one of my greatest hobbies – which also doubles as a valuable professional activity – is completing online coursework and certifications. While most certifications will cost you money to obtain, there are a lot of great e-courses out there that you can complete for free while still learning valuable skills that will benefit you across many digital marketing departments. Here are a few of the best ones that I have completed over the past few years.
1. Social Marketing Training – Hootsuite Academy
I wasn’t completely new to social media marketing when I took this course, but I went through all of the lessons anyway to prepare for my (paid) Social Marketing Certification from Hootsuite, and I have to say that even I learned many new skills and gained fresh insights from completing the coursework. Even if you decide to skip the paid certification, there are many valuable lessons you can learn from this course, no matter what your current skill level may be. Topics include how to set up a new social marketing strategy, how to build online communities through social media and social advertising basics, to name a few. The lessons are highly engaging, and they come with comprehensive study guides and other resources that you can use to help your business or clients grow on social media long after you complete the course.
2. Social Media Analytics – Quintly Academy
While some of the lessons presented in this course focus on using the Quintly platform to measure your social analytics, the basic information and resources presented in each lesson provide a wonderful overview of social analytics for social media marketers who are new to social management as well as those who need a refresher on the topic. Each lesson is presented in an engaging way, and the course takes very little time to complete, making it an excellent choice for busy marketers who have trouble finding free time for continuing education. The training platform is very modern and user-friendly, so you won’t have to worry about getting frustrated by a clunky interface.
3. Advanced Social Advertising Training – Hootsuite Academy
This course is formatted similarly to Hootsuite’s basic social marketing class, and doesn’t take as long to complete. While it would be helpful to newbie social marketers, it is also very valuable for more seasoned professionals who want to learn the ins and outs of advertising on various social platforms. Like with the social marketing training course, Hootsuite allows users to take a test to get certified as Social Advertising Professionals for a price. I don’t currently work in social advertising, but I still find that having knowledge about the topic has helped me to be well-rounded in other areas of digital and content marketing.
4. SEO Training – Udemy.com
Eric Schwartzman is one of my favorite online trainers, and this course was my first from him. This class hasn’t been updated in a few years, but since it mainly covers the fundamentals driving SEO strategies, I didn’t find the lack of currency to be distracting or confusing; most of what needs to be brushed up on can be done independently in a couple of hours or less, depending on your business or client. This course is very thorough and somewhat lengthy, so I really only recommend it to professionals with a lot of time on their hands or who desperately need to get caught up on SEO theories and strategies. Schwartzman is a very engaging and competent instructor who adds a new level of interest to the sometimes dry world of online education, so many learners will appreciate his approach, as well. What’s more, you can get your certificate for completing the course at absolutely no cost – it can even be displayed on your LinkedIn profile.
5. Introduction to Marketing – Alison.com
This course is one of many engaging, user-friendly offerings from Alison’s bank of free online courses, and it doesn’t take up a lot of time like other certifications tend to. Whether you are a new student learning about marketing for the first time or a senior marketer who wants to brush up on the theories and basics behind marketing, you will find something of value in this quick course – and you can purchase your certificate of completion after test-out or display your achievement on LinkedIn if you so desire.
These are my current favorite free courses, but I am sure that new ones will capture my attention as time goes on. Education is a personal pursuit, so you may find that different courses or approaches may suit you better than working through the five classes I have listed above.