What an award-winning copywriter said about the Copywriting Apprentice

Hannah Martin of the Talented Ladies ClubHannah Martin reviews the Copywriting Apprentice

Students have unanimously given the Copywriting Apprentice their seal of approval. But recently, the course has been under scrutiny from one of the UK’s most experienced and respected copywriters.

Hannah Martin is a multi-award-winning copywriter. Her career started in the 1990s at Ogilvy & Mather in Hong Kong. Over the years, Hannah has worked for some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious advertising agencies, including TBWA/GGT, Glue London, Wunderman and Tribal DDB. Today, Hannah is a freelance copywriter working from home and co-founder of the Talented Ladies Club, an online community for working mothers.

The Copywriting Apprentice first connected with Hannah Martin on Twitter. She agreed to write a guest blog about managing a copywriting career with a young family. Hannah was interested in the Copywriting Apprentice as a possible resource for the Talented Ladies Club. But understandably, she would not endorse anything until she was satisfied that it met her exacting standards.

Hannah was first given a ‘guided tour’ of the Copywriting Apprentice course and had access to other behind-the-scenes resources and information. Finally, she explored the online learning management system alone, so she could make an informed decision about the professionalism and credibility of the course. We’re delighted to say Hannah has endorsed the Copywriting Apprentice and you can read her article on the Talented Ladies website.

We also interviewed Hannah Martin about her findings and this is what she said …

What first interested you about the Copywriting Apprentice?

“Your website calls it a professional course for copywriters. When you showed me round, what I really liked was the breadth of information. For a start, it’s created by copywriters. Nobody knows the industry better than you. You’re actually somebody out there doing it. It’s created by working copywriters with current knowledge, which is really important.

There is a proper grounding in the different types of copy – one style doesn’t fit all. You recognise that copywriting is a business as well as a skill. You’re teaching people not just the skills to become a copywriter, but to actually get work. That’s really important because one without the other is pointless. You can be the most amazing copywriter in the world, but if no-one can find you or you don’t know how to market yourself, you’re never going to get work.”

Did it meet your expectations?

“I expected it to be of a certain standard, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism and the thought that had gone into it. I know you spent a long time creating the course and that really shows.

It’s not one of those courses where you pay the money and you get the grade. You [the Copywriting Apprentice] can be confident you’re turning out good, fully-formed copywriters and I really felt that’s what the course was geared to do. While you were explaining how you’d come to create it, I could see you weren’t just there to make a quick buck. You were there to genuinely create something of value.

I loved the sticky tests. They’re fun to do. Everyone likes quick online games and you can instantly see that you’ve absorbed something properly and if you haven’t, you can go back and look at it again. It enables you to check yourself as you go along to make sure you’ve remembered the really important stuff.”

Do you think there’s a need for training in the industry?

“Oh yes, yes, yes! Copywriting is so different from any other form of writing. I find people who think they are very good writers sometimes make terrible copywriters – they overwrite. They think they need long flowery academic sentences, and complex grammar structures with lots of adjectives. But actually, copywriting is a really plain style of writing. It’s about conveying a message – it’s writing that’s doing something – its not writing for the sake of it. Every word has to achieve the client’s aim.

When you’re writing an essay or a dissertation, the more you write, the more points you get. With copywriting, it’s the opposite. The less you write, the better the copy.

You do need to train to be a copywriter. You need to understand the different things your copy will be used for. You need to understand about a press ad – how does that work? You need to understand the difference between writing for offline & online. And you need to understand how that copy works in its environment. You need to know how to structure a sales pitch, because that’s a very specific skill. And you need to learn to write in different tones of voice and understand why that’s important.

SEO is a skill that every copywriter must have today and your course includes it. Today, most of my work is online copy.

Training isn’t spending money – it’s an investment. People might look at your course and think, gosh that’s a lot of money. But when they have that training, they can earn that money back.

There’s also the marketing side of it. They learn how to find work from home. That money then becomes an investment that will reap rewards. You could spend a lot of time trying to find your own way and fail, or take the training and get the work.

None of these things you innately know, no matter how good a writer you are. They are things you learn.”

What was your opinion about the Pre-course Assessment?

“I think it’s really important. People need to know where they are and what their level is. Some courses with less integrity would take the money – because it’s money. I liked what you were doing because of the authenticity and the morality and the standards. There’s an honesty in that you’ll only take someone’s money if they can be a copywriter.

People that do the course will know they’re doing it because they do have the basic skills they need and have the potential to become a good copywriter.

The assessment helps as a benchmark. It’s really good to look back on. It’s a bit like dieting – weighing or measuring yourself at the beginning. You’ve done all this work and you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

On a day to day basis, you don’t necessarily think you’ve come very far. But when you look back over a period of time and you revisit something you thought was brilliant a month ago, you look at it and think I am going to rewrite that and do it amazingly better.”

Is a year to complete the course a reasonable time frame?

“When you’re writing a sales letter, you always give a deadline because it makes people respond. People naturally respond to deadlines.

I think having a finite time is important. If you do it [a course] over so many years, you’re not actually getting value from it. You’ll have forgotten what you’ve learnt in the beginning, if you ever complete it.

But also as a copywriter, deadlines are part and parcel of every single job. Learning to meet deadlines is an important part of being a copywriter. If you can’t meet a deadline, it’s not the job for you.”

How user-friendly was the online system?

“The Learning Gateway was very easy to access. And the way the course was broken down was very logical. You said go and have a look round and let me know if you have any problems – I didn’t need to because it was easy – I could just work it out.”

What were your thoughts on the course structure?

“It makes complete sense. The core skills you need are in the first block. It’s very logical. I like the fact it’s in four blocks so its mentally manageable. Each block is then broken down into chapters. How you’ve structured it is very good. Moving on to online copywriting in the 2nd block reflects the proportion of work today being online.”

Did you look at the course assignments?

“Yes, but not in depth. What I liked is that you give people useful, constructive feedback and the opportunity to work on something until they get it right.”

Would you recommend the Copywriting Apprentice?

“I would not have written the article about the course and recommended it had I not felt it had value. That’s me putting my name to it. I did that because I could see the course is intended genuinely to turn out people who will have a rounded set of skills and can find work as good copywriters. And you care about making sure people have those skills.

It’s not just about turning out good grades or passing or failing, it is about making sure everybody can go out and get work and do well with it.

I think it’s an excellent course and I have recommended it.”

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