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Online vs offline Marketing Courses

It would make sense to say that the ideal way to learn about digital marketing, SEO and online advertising is through a web based course. Plenty of headlines talk about ‘online SEO courses’, ‘online marketing courses’ and ‘SEO tutorials’ you can take through You Tube, or a platform like MOZ or Hub Spot. You might not even have realized that there are plenty of traditional college courses you can take to learn this industry though, and actually everybody has a different learning style. What works best will also depend on the outcomes you’re looking for in your own career (or the direction you want to take your business in).

Even if you DO know that other options exist, you might be wondering which option will look best on your CV, and what potential employers or clients will be most interested in. That’s not such an easy question to answer, but with the right information you can make the decision for yourself and choose the right course for your own career, and make it work for you by showing that you know what you’re talking about during meetings and interviews.

Whether you want a straightforward SEO certification, or a university diploma that you can use working for a digital marketing agency, you’ll want to explore all your options before signing up to a course. Here at Course Peek we’re committed to presenting you all the information you need to assess your options, and compare them fairly and squarely. Part of that is considering whether you want to do all your learning online, or include some classroom based offline marketing courses or Diplomas on your CV. So, for some pointers on making the decision between online and offline SEO training options, keep reading.

There are a few considerations, including:

  • Cost involved in each method
  • Time you’ll need to commit to study
  • Ability to learn in whichever environment you choose
  • Career progression and what you want to use the qualification for

Of those, two big factors will determine everything else – what style of learning you prefer, and are comfortable with, and the specific skills you need.

Choose a course to suit your style of learning

If you thrived at school, and enjoy a classroom environment, where you get instant interaction and feedback with the teacher or learning facilitator, and can do work in groups, then you will naturally gravitate towards this style of learning to further your SEO career. You can do a Diploma style course part time or full time in most cases, and will probably still have a lot of online learning components you can use. Having said that, there is not usually a particular topic or subject you can’t study online, if you really prefer to learn by yourself and receive feedback and interaction online instead of face to face.

If you want to be seen as an expert, or get the chance to practice SEO in an institution environment, and work for a large company, then an offline course will be something that shows certain qualities without you having to do so many ‘extracurricular activities’ and use them on your CV. Try to think about the things those employers might be looking for from anyone they hire:

  • Teamwork skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Able to handle responsibility and work in diverse environments
  • Networking and thought leadership
  • Problem solving

All of these things are emphasized in a classroom environment, and it is only up to you to explain how your course offered them using examples in a job application. You will have to create more opportunities for yourself if you don’t learn in that organized framework that already gives you opportunities for teamwork, problem solving and networking.

You also get to learn alongside people from businesses that already use SEO, and with different perspectives and background to offer, offline. Yes, experts might offer online SEO tutorials, and you can still get most of this if you take an online course, but you will have to look around for your own networking opportunities, and reach out to the businesses you want to work with. Whichever way you look at it, you probably won’t be getting the same kind of support as a classroom environment offers.

Online adds to offline SEO training programs

If you are a self-motivated individual, or feel confident to send out e-mails, organize and attend meetups in your own time, and manage your schedule, then an offline course will not stop you from offering all of these things above to an employer. You’ll still be able to offer everything mentioned above, but you’ll have to be very clear about how you’ve developed all of those skills for yourself in an interview or when you contact them.

It’s already a well known fact that in the world of online learning study can ‘fit in’ around your busy life, but it’s important to be realistic and honest about how likely you are to stick to a self made schedule, and how good you are at absorbing the content by yourself, or whether you have a support system in place to help you do that.

Choose a marketing course that will provide you the skills you need

It can be easy to believe that you can teach yourself everything you need when there are so many brilliant entrepreneurs who have done exactly that, from Steve Jobs to Gary Vee, and even Mark Zuckerberg himself (remember he did drop out of Harvard, but he is never against further education). Luckily, you have so many options available these days that you can do pretty much any mix of learning styles that suits you and your employer. It’s not always an ‘either/or’ choice, but you have to have a clear goal before starting to study. Think about exactly what skills you need? Which providers offer them? What is the most popular method for learning them? Do the people you look up to have an opinion? All of these questions can help you work out your own course and get started learning.

Marketing is a skill that still involves some traditional principles, and those can still be taught in an online environment, or a classroom. You get foundation skills that teach you about how to appeal to your target market, how to structure your offers and your copy, and assignments that allow you to showcase those skills when doing a traditional marketing course. Those will help you promote a business through all available channels, from tv and billboard advertising to direct mail. You will need more than that if you are keen to learn SEO though, so it’s important to think about your overall mission and goal with studying marketing.

You can take SEO classes, SEO workshops and courses to give you niche skills, and they can be short courses that are easy to do alongside a university degree, or a different full time job. A lot depends on whether you want to build your career around SEO though, or just use it as needed on the side of your core skillset. You might want to switch from a traditional advertising agency to a digital marketing role, or create your own course or method to be shared around those in the industry.

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