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Ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels?

Because when you’re struggling to keep on top of that to-do list - whilst trying to tune into the latest technological trends - it’s hard to actually learn any new skills at all.

Shame, really. Because learning’s pretty good for us.

Over the years, multiple researchers found that one thing that people need to be happy is “difficult but doable” activities.

A pretty familiar term for anybody working in marketing; those who might struggle to get the time to even find a new activity - let alone learn one.

With that in mind, we thought we’d share some of the best free marketing courses online at the moment. All in time for Festival of Learning’s Have A Go Month this September, too.

So, if your day-to-day’s missing a little TIL, look no further.

Semrush - content marketing from SEO supremos

If you weren’t using it already, Semrush is a handy tool for both improving online visibility and also finding valuable marketing insights for your strategy. But while the solution is incredibly useful for SEOs, the Semrush Academy has some great resources for content marketers too. They’ve got two courses that are free to take online:

  • Content Marketing Toolkit: this is a 3-hour course with 9 lessons, covering all the tools you need to measure the effectiveness of your editorial - from content analysis to distribution.
  • Content Marketing Fundamentals: a 2-hour course with 13 lessons; you’ll start with what content marketing is in lesson one and learn how to repurpose and measure it by the end.

Yoast - SEO’s Yoast with the most

We’ve talked about Yoast before as it’s such a great plugin for content writers using WordPress. Basically, its user-friendly traffic light system makes on-page technical aspects like meta titles and keyword density an absolute breeze.

And although they offer a premium course, Yoast Academy also has some free training. It’s entry-level stuff but perfect for anyone who’s looking to advance their career and learn the basics of SEO.

Canva - grasping graphic design basics

So, if you’re lucky, you have a designer in-house to give those pressies a polish and any stock photos some shine. But if you’re an SME or flying solo, this isn’t always the case. You might not have the budget to subscribe to the Adobe Cloud or any time to learn the fiddly ins and outs of Illustrator.

That’s why Canva’s great.

With some brilliant advice from a handful of the industry’s top designers, this Graphic Design Basics course will get you thinking like a designer in no time.

Or in an hour or so, anyway.

Google Digital Garage - MOTs for marketing skills

OK, we don’t want to teach you how to suck eggs but sometimes the obvious options are often overlooked. And with Google’s algorithms constantly updating and shifting, it makes sense to go straight to the source, right?

Well, Google Digital Garage covers everything from data and tech to digital marketing and most of the courses here are free. Great for training teams if your budget is tight or non-existent. Plus, you’ll actually get accredited after each one - so you can give your own LinkedIn and CV a boost, too.


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Facebook Blueprint - the full story on advertising

Similarly, to keep up with the latest advertising changes to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, it’s a good idea to head over to Facebook Blueprint. In terms of advertising and marketing, Facebook’s online resource centre is pretty extensive. The blue brand can help with the following:

Getting your business online - finding out who to reach, understanding their journey and setting marketing goals

Establishing your presence - connecting with customers and getting online with Instagram and WhatsApp

Attracting your audience - enticing users on social media, planning posts on Instagram and making them stand out

Building relationships - engaging with your audience, communicating with customers on WhatsApp and going live on Instagram

Improving your creative strategy - creating compelling Facebook page & mobile ads and Instagram Stories
Optimising your efforts - setting up digital gift cards, using Shops to increase sales, using paid online events

Optimising your efforts - setting up digital gift cards, using Shops to increase sales, using paid online events

Hack Design - UX design principles from pros

Hack Design’s a haven for any budding designer - be it UI or UX.

They’ve got a bunch of helpful resources from industry pros and the first 50 lessons have been bundles together for free.

So whether it’s the fundamentals like design systems or more advanced classes in augmented reality, these graphical gurus have got you covered.

UX Writing Hub - introducing the magic of microcopy

But as the guys at Hack are well aware of, UX in 2021 is more than design alone.

That’s where the UX Writing Hub steps in.

Sign up for the free course and you’ll learn all about the psychology of design, taking a content-first perspective and writing for specific user journeys. Oh, and there are heaps of useful tips for mastering microcopy, too.

Want to get a flavour for the real thing? Here are 5 personable brands that talk the language with their microcopy.

Shopify Learn - product development and manufacture masterclass

With so many businesses jumping online this year, there’s no better time to upskill in eCommerce than now.

Shopify, which has almost 11% of the eCommerce market share according to Sleek Note, includes tons of practical tutorials on its education site. These easily digestible modules are ideal for anyone looking to set up an online shop or take their business to the next level.

Thinking about developing and manufacturer a new product? This course from Jason Wong - Doe Lashes CEO and entrepreneur who set up his Shopify business for $500 - is a great place to start.

LinkedIn Learning - resilience when remote working

eCommerce may be booming, but moving to an online model isn’t without its challenges for those non-mechanical cogs in the machine.


The good thing is, LinkedIn Learning has got a bounty of resources for the modern professional. In fact, they’ve put together this useful page of content around working from home, including links to online tutorials around:

Maximising efficiency and productivity - some good tips for CEOs and managers here, e.g. creating an executive presence on video conferencing

Adjusting to your new work environment - great resources on mental well-being for any employee working from home

Remotely manage and lead teams - lessons for managers on leading from a distance and managing virtual meetings

Get to know your remote work productivity tools - this will help you make the most of Zoom, BlueJeans, WebEx, Skype and Microsoft Teams

YouTube Creator Academy - resources to get your video production rolling

According to Hubspot, 83% of video marketers said they’d generated leads using video content. Not only that, 52% said that video is the type of content with the best ROI.

With that in mind, now’s as good a time as ever to incorporate video into your marketing strategy and YouTube Creator Academy’s the best place to start. Check out the site’s Learning Toolkits to find helpful modules on:

Going live - set up live streaming, best practices and building hype with premieres

Monetisation - how to make money from your channel with ads

Content pivoting - plan a successful streaming schedule and how to change tact

Community engagement - using comments and expressing yourself with stories

Production - expert guidance for pre-production, during filming and post-shoot

But there’s one more lesson that’s well worth making some time for...

Swap the Scroll - learning how to switch off

Research from Lenstore revealed, unsurprisingly, that our screen time has increased over the past year. But with 76% of the population (aged 16 and 24) spending more hours on their phones and 45% increasing the time they spend on laptops, it’s important to remember when to tune out.

Feeling burnout or uninspired? Swap the Scroll has a range of exercises that can help get those creative juices flowing again, without the distraction of pesky social feeds and that penetrating blue light.

Swap the Scroll’s creative exercises are short bursts of tactile mindfulness that include making smartphone boxes, dabbling in real life ‘likes’ and drawing from memory.

Worth considering if you’re eager to learn but need to recharge your own battery first.

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