Content Marketing

The 10 Best Skillshare Classes for Content Marketers

By Amanda Walgrove April 6th, 2015

Admit it: Isn’t there something at your job that you wish you could do better?

Last month, we published “The 10 Best Skillshare Classes for Freelancers” on our sister site, The Freelancer, and we figured it would only be fair—to our readers, and to Skillshare’s varied selection of classes—to dig in and find the best Skillshare classes for content marketers.

Skillshare gives anyone with Internet access the ability to learn about a specific craft and expand creative boundaries. On the platform, classes are mostly free and divided into categories such as writing, design, photography, and DIY. Most classes run between one and two hours, and all are divided into roughly 10-minute videos students can watch on their own time. For each session, participants are challenged to complete a project, share their work, and engage with a community of students and creators.

Anyone can enroll in certain classes for free and take part in discussions, but for $8 per month, users receive unlimited access to all 1,107 offerings. The site also offers scholarships and discounts for teams and organizations.

So whether you’re looking to fine-tune your social media strategy, devise an editorial calendar, or boost your productivity, there are plenty of classes to choose from. Here are 10 of the best:

1. The Modern Marketing Workshop

Seth Godin has been leading the modern marketing revolution for almost 40 years, having published over 20 books while running a must-read marketing blog. As Joe Lazauskas put it here on TCS, Godin is the godfather of modern marketing—or, at least, the type of modern marketing we all want to be doing.

Now, Godin is sharing all the stuff he learned the hard way with over 12,000 Skillshare students. In his three-hour marketing workshop, he walks students through the four building-blocks of modern marketing and provides a dictionary of more than 50 important terms. At the end of the class, participants are tasked with creating a marketing campaign for their business or favorite brand, including outlining the story they’ll use to communicate their initiative and a creating detailed calendar for executing their objective.

2. Context Is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy World

Entrepreneur and public speaker Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the idea that people should do what they love and focus on doing it really, really well. He’s already sharing his insights with over 1 million Twitter followers and readers of his bestselling book, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. Now, he’s reaching thousands of new students on Skillshare. In 23 videos, Vaynerchuk teaches his class how to sell brand stories on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest.

3. Art of the Start: Turning Ideas Into High-Growth Businesses

Every business is unique, but there are several key aspects that all successful businesses have in common. As Guy Kawasaki writes, “Here’s a tip: Those who set out to make meaning are much more likely to succeed than those who set out to make money.”

Having advised countless brands, including Apple and Pandora, Kawasaki and Bill Reichert team up to share their decades of experience and help students organize their thoughts, bring their business concepts to the next level, and grab the attention of investors. The assignment is to create a 10-slide pitch deck for your business idea, including basic company info and an outline of your “wow” factor in 10 words or fewer.

4. Getting Started With Email Marketing

MailChimp‘s email marketing class launched just last month, and it already has almost 5,000 students. This large class size isn’t too surprising given that MailChimp has over 7 million users who send over 10 billion emails through the platform each month. Whether you’re new to email marketing or revamping your content strategy, this Skillshare class, taught by MailChimp Product Marketing Lead Allyson Van Houten, can guide you through creating an email that is consistent with your brand and provides a direct call to action.

It should be noted that MailChimp’s class is also a good example of B2B content marketing in itself. By offering a class on Skillshare, MailChimp gets exposure for its brand while providing helpful information to its audience. Don’t have time to schedule a webinar? Film a lesson on your craft, cut it up into a few sessions, and post it on Skillshare.

5. The Art of the Story: Creating Visual Narratives

As the president of Sterling Brands and co-founder of SVA’s Masters in Branding program, Debbie Millman has captained redesigns for over 200 global brands like P&G, Colgate, Nestle, and Pepsi. And over the years, there is one thing that has kept Millman inspired and grounded: her love of stories.

In this class, Millman challenges students to visualize a piece of personal writing, be it an email, text, short story, poem, or quote. The goal is clear—to translate text into a visual narrative that conveys a message. As Millman says in her introductory video, this class is for everyone from kindergartners to PhD students—which includes marketers who want to push the bounds of their own creativity.

6. Strategic Design: The Art and Science of Branding

Lippincott, a brand strategy and design firm, tapped senior partners Su Mathews Hale and Michael D’Esopo to share their process for rebranding some of the world’s biggest businesses. Using Lippincott’s work with Hyatt Place as a case study, Hale and D’Esopo offer a comprehensive look at the strategies behind naming, designing, and audience-building for brands. Keeping things in the hospitality industry, the class assignment is to rebrand Carnival Cruises with a new name, tagline, and logo that will appeal to millennials.

7. Get Stuff Done Like a Boss: Design Your Workflow and Double Your Productivity in 21 Days

Tiago Forte is a productivity coach and founder of Forte Labs, a productivity consultancy firm based in San Francisco. In this class, Forte takes the normal coaching process and condenses it for his Internet audience. With digital tools, step-by-step instructions, and interactive exercises, students of this class design and build a workflow for maximum productivity so they can spend less time scheduling and more time creating.

Forte’s productivity workshop stands out among the crowd of classes by boasting over 14,000 students, 150 discussion posts, and almost 300 published projects in the gallery. Forte also teaches a follow-up class, Design Your Habits: A Hands-On Introduction to Behavior Design.

8. Paid Traffic Fundamentals: Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads

Your content marketing budget is precious. So if you’re going to try paying for some website traffic, you want to know you’re getting the most eyeballs for your buck. And you definitely don’t want to waste money on platforms that aren’t right for your audience. To help you figure out the best strategy for your brand, Internet marketer and paid traffic connoisseur Nate Ginsburg provides an overview of the biggest paid traffic platforms: Google and Facebook.

At the end of the class, Ginsburg encourages students to pick the platform that’s best for them and then start a few campaigns with a small budget. Paid distribution can require a good deal of trial and error, as we’ve outlined in our paid content distribution 101 e-book. But you can’t figure out the perfect strategy for your brand until you start boosting some content with cash.

9. Make the Most of Instagram: Build Your Brand

Struggling to stand out among the noise of Instagram’s 300 million accounts? Photographer and filmmaker Gareth Pon takes a quick 30 minutes to offer practical advice on perfecting your Instagram profile, making sure your visual content is consistent, and cross-posting to other social networks. With over 228k followers on Instagram, Pon is the founder of the South African Instagrammers Community, earning him the title of Africa’s top Instagrammer. Students of this class are tasked with curating nine photos that represent their Instagram brands. Why nine? They’re the first photos you see on every Instagram profile, which, collectively, makes up the the first impression you give off to your audience.

10. Become a Better Blogger: Content Planning

You won’t find a much more comprehensive guide to blogging than this one. In 12 videos, content strategist Andrea Goulet Ford guides students through setting up a three-month editorial calendar for their blogs. This includes defining your audience, finding inspiration, and beating writer’s block. Students even receive access to Ford’s Google spreadsheet, which they can fill in and format to suit their individual needs.

As Ford writes in her Skillshare course description, starting a blog is easy; keeping up with it is hard. But maintaining one is worth the effort if you want to build a loyal audience.

For content marketers, Skillshare provides the perfect ecosystem for honing certain skills, and giving back by sharing your own knowledge about a certain craft. While marketing gurus like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk have already begun testing out the platform, it would be interesting to see more brands and small businesses add Skillshare to their content marketing mix.

Image by Dmytro Zinkevych
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