Journalism isn’t dead, but I wouldn’t want my kids studying it at university. Consumers and brands are producing more content than journalists. Or you could say they’re journaling more than journalists. But is your content any good? And how do you get good at writing great content? Today we’re going to look at content marketing training.

Today I’m going to show you over a hundred content marketing training options. We’ll view them briefly, but let me give you first a framework for choosing what your content is supposed to be doing before you get good at writing the content; if that makes sense.

There are really six points I want to suggest that are most important. Start with the end in mind. What stage in the journey are you trying to get your readers to with this piece of content? Second, build the arguments that will reach that conclusion. Start with the conclusion, then what are the arguments you need to put out for that conclusion to hold water and to be compelling. Then write the introduction that will earn the right to make those arguments. Then stress test the flow. Is it compelling and is it logical? Then write your copy.

So really I’m arguing you work backwards from the end. Where do you want your buyers to reach? How am I going to get there? And make sure that you’re getting them there before you write the first word. As writers, we are tempted to write lots of words, and then see if we can strap them into a flow. Start the other way around, get your flow right first.

Now let’s take a look at that content marketing training, options that you have. All right, the first of our sites today is Top 60-Content Marketing Education Resources. Thank you, Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures. Frankly it’s a good list. There are sixty, as he says, and I found them to be good. There are some serious punters here. Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute. There’s Copyblogger. There’s Heidi Cohen. There’s a lot of really good names here, Hubspot. They’re all great sources, so frankly I have no issue. I have a lot of love and respect for what has been done here. Thank you so much, Arnie.

The next one is a 52-installment content marketing course, so called. Now this is on Copyblogger, which I mentioned before. Frankly, love the other one, but I’m actually going to steer to use this one. Fifty-two instalments. Now he says somewhere in the article that it took him 7 hours across 3 days. Here we go, “Yes, I read all 52 articles. It took me 7 hours in over 3 days. I recommend you do the same.” So do I. Frankly, I’m going to recommend all of my team at Math Marketing does this as well. I will use it for our own body of new staff. It’s a great collection of really quality content training, and he has recommended it and so do I; that you do all 52, and you can do it pretty intensively if that’s your bent.

Ten free online courses. This is much more shaped around social and inbound from Kyle Pearce founder of DIY Genius. Thank you, Kyle. Good focus. I value it, but I’m still back on the one from Copyblogger. I think those 52 instalments are probably the one that I’m going to suggest.

Let me move on to the next one, “How to Hire a Content Manager”. Now this is quite good. I recommend reading this from two perspectives. One is if you’re looking to hire a content manager, a good source. It covers salaries, it covers skills, attributes, personality. Really quite useful. The other thing is that if you’re looking to become a content marketing manager, then this would be a great place to start. Read the article and look at the traits and experiences that you need to gain; and get busy gaining those experiences. There is absolutely no doubt that content marketing manager jobs will be more and more in demand in the future. So take a look at it.

We took a look also at the article that has been most shared. We’ve got here over 3,000 tweets, 4,800 Facebook shares, and nearly a thousand Linked-In shares; so obviously lots of you love it. A four-week program to help writers get back on track. It’s focus is pretty much if you’ve taken on a job that requires you to write, and you’ve kind of lost the groove, how to get back in the groove. For that reason, valuable. Again, for my guys, I’m sending them all the Copyblogger course, but I see the value of each of these sources. They’re all taking a slightly different twist on it, and I think you’ll find them useful.

Well, so much for learning the mechanics. We need that content to compel them to reach a conclusion. For that, we need a framework. Let me synthesize what we’ve learned so far from the research, and then I’ll add my 20 cents worth in the conclusions about what I think that framework should be.

There are lots of paid resources and online courses, but those wanting to develop their content marketing skills may want to consider the free resources that are also available. That can require a bit of digging. Successful content marketing comes from carefully curated articles and solid content. Good headlines, communicating greater benefits, and writing for your audience are all signs of good content marketing. Hopefully today’s course summary and synthesis and index has given you a great list of courses that you can consider.

I might just add one thing to that, and that is write lots. You won’t become a great writer by reading, you actually have to write; so do lots. Unlike what I’ve done in the most recent blogs, where I’ve looked at research and then added my own twist. I’m actually not going to change or even twist today’s content marketing training. I think that the articles, or excuse me, the training options that I’ve shown you … Those have done a great job of synthesizing them have already done a plenty good enough job, so let me load that intact.

What I do want to add is the framework that I spoke about at the top of the video. Let me just remind you. Start with the end in mind. Think about the buyer and their journey, from where, to where. Where are you trying to get the buyer to with this piece of content? And where were they before they read it? That’s your starting point, and the content has to manage that journey, effect that journey.

Number two, therefore write your conclusion last. What’s the final thing that you want to say, that this whole piece is leading up to? Write that first. Now maybe, if your content has a call to action intent, you’re building up to a call to action. Fine. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s a softer, more nurturing piece. For the moment, I don’t care; this point holds true, write your conclusion first.

Then, what are the steps that you need to have argued to get to that conclusion. Just the headline stage. Then what’s the introduction that will earn you the right to argue those steps that that conclusion will bring to close. Then stress test it. Make sure that your flow is right, logical, compelling. You’re not backtracking, but it’s compelling and taking them forward. Then write your copy.

That would be my best advice on how to build great content, and the courses on the actual content itself. You’ve got some great insights from those who’ve already done the hard work of synthesizing that training.

I hope that was useful. If you got value out of that, then every week I’m posting a new one of these and you’ll hopefully get value from those as well. So I suggest that you subscribe, if you haven’t already. Go to align.me/blog or if you prefer on YouTube. Go the youtube.com/alignmeb2b and subscribe to one of those options. You’ll be the first to hear about these as they come out.

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Now, if you’ve done both of those things, final suggestion … What would you like me to cover in future weeks? I’m doing one of these every week. I’ve been doing this for several years. I’m committed to keep on doing it. What would you like me to cover? I’ll do the research, I’ll argue a twist on it, from a B2B perspective, or from a funnel logic perspective. For now [email protected] is the way to do it. This is the email address here. We will find a better method for you to give feedback in the future, but for now send us an email at that address. I will definitely include it in future events.

That’s it for this week. I hope you found it useful. Lot’s more next week. Until then, may your funnel be full and always flowing.¬†

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