5 Free “Must Take” Social Media, Inbound Content, and Digital Marketing Courses

Online Courses

The world wide web makes the world go round

For many businesses, even local mom & pops, having a web presence is now vital. The Internet has drastically changed marketing. In fact, you could think of modern marketing as two distinct eras, the “pre-Internet” and “post-Internet” ages.

While digital marketing is now vital, many people don’t truly understand how the field works. First, it’s not enough to throw stuff at the (Facebook) wall and hope it sticks. Professionally run social media, ad, and inbound content campaigns will produce much better results than amateur efforts.

In an ideal situation, every business owner and manager could simply whip out their checkbook and hire a digital marketing expert. In the real world, many businesses are bootstrapping. Further, even if you can afford to hire an expert, it’s still a good idea to know the basics. Knowledge is a good thing in and of itself, and you’ll be able to contribute to your digital marketing efforts.

Fortunately, there are many resources out there for people who want to learn about digital marketing. Books, YouTube videos, blogs, there are so many options. The best choice, however, might be a free digital marketing course. Not only will these courses provide a ton of information, but they tend to adopt a hands-on and test-driven approach.

Oh, and of course, these ones are free. In no particular order (really, they’re all great):

1. Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Certification

Hubspot is one of the most well-known and respected companies in the digital marketing industry. The company offers a powerful inbound marketing/sales platform that is used by countless companies and websites. When it comes to inbound marketing, it’s all about building relationships with viewers, adding value, and building knowledge.

Unsurprisingly, Hubspot has cemented itself as a thought leader in the field of inbound marketing. Through their Hubspot inbound marketing certification program, the company provides a ton of knowledge and will add a lot of value to anyone looking to get involved in inbound marketing. Their goal is simple: they want to build a relationship with you in hopes that you’ll spread word about their company and use their platform.

Through the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification program you will learn:

  • Inbound marketing 101

  • Content & website optimization

  • How to properly use a blog

  • Creating content that “has a purpose”

  • How to integrate inbound into email

  • Optimizing the sales funnel, landing pages, and other assets

  • Making your customers truly “happy”

2. Google Academy

The Google Academy is one of the most extensive digital marketing courses available. Google, clearly, is one of the biggest names in the business. Via the Google Academy, you can learn about a huge range of subjects, including Ad campaigns, Search Engine Optimization, Analytics and eCommerce.

The courses themselves are quite extensive and detailed. If you successfully complete a course and pass the certification exam, however, you’ll possess one of the most widely recognized and respected certifications available. Be warned, the certification exams can be tough if you’re not properly prepared.

What Google Academy courses will teach you:

  • Digital marketing basics

  • How Google’s ads work

  • The contours of Google’s search engine

  • How to appeal to search engines

  • How to market with video

  • How to use Google Analytics

5 Free “Must Take” Social Media, Inbound Content, and Digital Marketing Courses Click To Tweet

3. Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

A viral hit is a sort of Holy Grail for marketers. The right viral campaign can literally make a company. For example, there have been some smashing success stories on Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding platforms that were the result of viral marketing.

Yet how do you actually make something go viral? Part art, part science, 100% challenging, viral marketing success is tough to come by. Fortunately, Coursera and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business teamed up to build a viral marketing course that you can take online, right now, for free. To get a certification, however, you will have to pay.

The course is taught by Wharton Professor Jonah Berger, the author of the best-selling book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On”.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why do some ideas stick?

  • How can social influence shape and inform behavior?

  • How powerful is word of mouth and how can you harness it?

  • How can you leverage social networks?

4. Social Media Marketing Specialization

Another course offered by Coursera, the Social Media Marketing Specialization will help you make the most out of your social media campaigns. Quite frankly, a lot of companies and even some digital marketing experts misuse social media.

Fortunately, you can learn to do it the right way. The Social Media Marketing Specialization is divided into six individual courses:

  • What is Social?

  • The Importance of Listening

  • Engagement & Nurture Marketing Strategies

  • Content, Advertising & Social IMC

  • The Business of Social

  • Social Marketing Capstone Project

The course is offered in conjunction with Northwestern University. You can pay to take the course and earn a certificate. Or, you can audit the course for free. By taking the course, you’ll learn:

  • The fundamental nature of social media

  • How to actually build a social media campaign

  • How social media works within a business environment

  • How social communities form and interact

  • Advanced social media strategies

  • How to produce and leverage content.

5. Writing for the web

Writing is a craft that many people spend years cultivating. Written content is also one of the most popular and powerful forms of content for digital marketing. However, online content has its own rules and conditions that make it much different from other forms of writing.

Even if you’re a good writer, it’s vital to make sure that you know the principles for writing online. The Writing for the Web (WriteWeb) offered by Open 2 Study makes learning these fundamentals easy.

Through this course, you’ll learn:

  • How writing for the web differs from other types of writing

  • How to craft good web content

  • How to write content that engages audiences and produces outcomes

  • How to care for your content strategy