There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the modern world is all about branding and marketing. If you can’t market yourself, your product or your work then it’s going to be difficult indeed to get anywhere. The good news is that with the modern tools available it is entirely possible to brand yourself without breaking the bank.
There is social media, email services, website building packages and more. These can give you a great deal of reach without costing you a great deal of money. Of course, that will only work if you actually know what you’re doing. To that end, you need to take a crash course in branding and marketing. That too turns out to be entirely possible.
All you need to do is take some of the free marketing and branding courses out there. And to find out what they are, all you need to do is keep on reading.
As we’ll explore down below, there are a lot of different courses that you can take. But where do you start if you’re new to this area? Well, you can certainly do worse than follow this free package of courses offered by the Goodwill Community Foundation.
There, you’ll learn a lot of the basic ideas about such things as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. Even for people who are already a bit more advanced – for example, who have knowledge of data science and BI and how to use that in marketing, it can be nice to do this course, just to make sure your basic toolkit is up to speed and you’re doing things the right way overall before you get into the nitty-gritty.
Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Certification
Hubspot has been a pioneer in the online marketing sphere – particularly in inbound marketing. For that reason, why not go straight to one of their free courses to find out what they’ve learned? Spoiler alert: It’s a lot.
Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Marketing course covers a lot of ground through a serious of videos. Then, at the end, you can take their exam online, which will give you a certificate from the company you can wave around. In that way, you won’t just know marketing but will be able to show the world that this is so.
This degree by North Western is specifically designed for business owners, executives and marketing professionals. As such, it will teach you the practical application of marketing more than the underlying theory.
The course consists of six different social media marketing courses which all take a slightly different perspective. The course itself isn’t actually free. It costs 49 USD per month. Fortunately, there is a trick. If you go to the course, hit ‘enroll now’ and then click on ‘audit’ you’ll get most of the course’s material for free. Do note, you won’t get certified if you follow this route.
The Salford Business School in Manchester recently ran a big pilot course and – instead of letting the material go to waste in their back drawer – afterward posted all of it online. That means you can access it from their website at no cost. Nice right?
The title of this course is a little bit deceiving, for though it seems to focus on businesses, there is also a lot of personal branding stuff in there. That will help you create a better profile in case you’re looking for new work, working as a freelancer or in other ways need to make sure that how you present yourself online is impeccable.
One way to look at modern marketing is as something entirely new. After all, the technologies are new, the speed with which they communicate are new and many of the ideas are entirely new. Another way to look at it, however, is in the context of what has gone before. For, though the medium may have changed, the senders and the receivers are pretty much the same.
The University of Mary Washington course DS106: Digital Storytelling and Social Media combine the two. It explores storytelling as a whole and what has changed as a result of these new technologies. This both lets you see the new possibilities that are out there without risking that you have to reinvent the wheel. That’s probably why DS106 is one of the more popular online courses for students.
Alison has created a branding course and instead of making you pay for it, uses advertising to get their money back. That’s not a bad deal if you ask me. The course itself will take about 15 to 20 hours. During that time, you’ll learn about email marketing, affiliate marketing, Facebook marketing, and how to use social media tools such as Twitter, podcasting, and blogging.
Perhaps the idea of virality is a little bit overblown. Ideas don’t exactly spread like diseases. Nonetheless, the idea of making something more appealing so that it will spread further certainly has merit. And if you want to learn more about that, you can certainly do worse than choose this course taught by Wharton Professor Jonah Berger. You’ll learn all the tricks that will get people to share content with their friends.
If you want the certificate, that will put you back about a hundred US. Fortunately, there is also an audio version, where you don’t pay anything (and you don’t get the certificate).
Did you find what you’re looking for?
That’s quite a bit of variety, wouldn’t you say? Each of these courses is excellent for different reasons and will teach you a lot of different things. So, before you choose your poison, make sure you decide what it is you’re looking for. In that way, you’ll be able to learn a great many of the skills you’ll need.
Often, it pays dividends to take a bit of the theory along with the technical details, by the way. Though you might not see any direct application of the theoretical stuff, you’ll find that by getting to grips with it, you’ll start to identify patterns across the different forms of marketing and branding more easily. And that, in turn, will help you get more from the lessons on offer.