Get Blogging NI free 6 week training course with Libraries NI and TrainingMatchmakerdotcom PR image
  This week, Trainers brought the Get Blogging NI 6 week course for Libraries NI to life in Lisburn City Library. An audience of 10 bloggers and aspiring bloggers and marketers, (well they all opted to want people to read their blogs), heard from Trainer Chartered Marketer Christine Watson:
  • where blogging, voging, vlogging, audio blogging and podcasting came from
  • how to get started [or restarted blogging]
  • some tips and tricks of the trade
Supported by Content Creation Trainer Tina Calder and joined by Mary Ellen of Libraries NI, a former blogger herself, the induction evening of the 6 week course focused on ascertaining blogging aspirations and inspiring action. It’s a free 6 week course so one important element of the training was encouraging the room to recognise how the course was structured week by week and to appreciate the diversity of knowledge, experience and skills of each of Trainer not least to encourage everyone to persist with their learning [as the course founders and organisers we as always have the big fear experienced by every event planner top of mind, especially when the only investment needed of the attendees is their time and energy, will anyone show up next week?] Indeed the Libraries NI objective was to deliver the programme to ten individuals. achieved that magic number last weekend and conscious of the likelihood of no-shows we agreed to increase capacity on the eventbrite booking platform to 15 – a number that was easily met given how much interest there was in the free programme – from across Northern Ireland and beyond. For every trainer and event manager this common ‘no show’ practice beggars belief but things happen, kids get sick, cars break down, days are so jam packed that by the time the evening comes along the energy reserves are too depleted to honour commitments and that’s ok, but it means that event planners and trainers delivering free programmes need also to think like the cheap airlines and consider overbooking to offset a no show rate of between 20% and 55% – from our own experience. Although, with that too comes a different fear – what if everyone does actually show up? In this instance we were good though our venue and training could have hosted an overbooked complement of 15 learners. A ninety minute training allocation isn’t considerable but in week 1 we managed to cover:
  • where blogging, voging, vlogging, audio blogging and podcasting came from
  • Getting Started, the basics
and touched very briefly on:
  • Creating, Marketing and Distributing Your Content
  • Building Audience, Readership and Engagement
  • Commercialising and Monetising
  • Legals and Ethics
  • Measuring Success
  • The Costs of Blogging
We also included some really interesting background to the YouTube channel, [you, don’t happen to go there to date these days, do you?] and posed the question of journalism and media versus blogging. Intrigued to find out more about the history of blogging? Well, of course, there’s a blog for that… check out: From the room Content Creation Trainer Tina Calder even created our very own Get Blogging NI graphic using free and easy to use design tool to help demonstrate how quickly professional visual content can be drawn up for your blog and learner David is set to try out Canva over the week ahead. As the Trainer I described Canva as a way to add words over your photos and as a Chartered Marketer and Digital Marketer I encourage everyone to go online and give it a go, from kids party invites for your home life to banner graphics for your blog page to posters and flyers for your business – it really is a platform for all and one that is by no doubt disrupting the traditional graphic design industry.   So, that takes us on to what we did to encourage learners to return for round 2 next Thursday evening, well… we allocated some homework and shared some of the very useful tools and tricks of the trade. How do we as Trainers know if these were useful to the delegates in the room? Well, we took five minutes at the end of the programme to ask: ‘What was the one biggest thing you learnt or will take away with you this evening?’. The answers we aspired to hear from the room:
  1. Blogging is accessible – even if you are tweeting, you are in fact microblogging and if you don’t want your own blog platform you can in this day and age use options such as Facebook Notes, LinkedIn articles or Guest blog in order to just do it and ‘Get Blogging’. Costs are not prohibitive – blogging is free if you want it to be but you can always invest in a £1 video stand from Poundland or more, should you choose to.
  2. There are more bloggers in this world than realise it, if you have a blog section on your website and it has some content on it produced by you then yes, you are a blogger. InternetLiveStats was a great tool to represent our point here.
  3. If you want people to read your blog then you are going to have to aspire to become a marketer as well as a blogger. The Get Blogging NI programme covers more on this in week 2, 3 and 4
  4. Follow Kipling’s poetic advice: “I KEEP six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.” – read the full poem over on the Kipling Society Website.
  5. Go with your Heart – Always start with your Why and surely then you can’t go far wrong in terms of investing your time and energy in blogging and if you do, well, that’s ok too as long as you are not breaking the law you can simply take steps to change your blog and/or your blogging in the future. Our learners at this point got one of our little heart shaped post it notes and a little time to really think about their own personal or professional Why.
  6. To go and seek inspiration from other bloggers. It was a surprise to many to learn that the Huffington Post is classified as one of the most successful blogs in the world and to hear of the blogs earning the most monthly income. Find out more here from Forbes and here from another blog. Neither was Zoella known to everyone in the room nor her disappointing Advent Calendar escapade. We are a huge fan of benchmarking and Money Saving Martin is one of our favourite bloggers on a personal level. It would really be great to hear of more inspirational blogs discovered and read from our little group, over the course of the next 6 weeks [sure, maybe we could collectively write a blog on that before our course graduation on December 6!]
  7. To learn about all of the different types of blogs – not just that there are blogs, vlogs, podcasts, facebook notes, tweets and linkedin articles but that there are lots of options from listicles to guest blogging to thought leadership to creating versus curating, collaborating and repurposing.
  8. To be aware of all of the platforms available for hosting blogs, yes, wordpress does have the highest market share by far but other options are growing in popularity year on year – check out the increases in SquareSpace and Wix. You can read up more on all the options available from Blogger Dave Chaffey, Smart Insights who has compiled his essential digital marketing tools for our benefit. During week 1 we also showed behind the scenes of wordpress, for us, uploading a blog is akin to creating a Microsoft Word document – when we click ‘visual’ instead of ‘text’.
  9. To be conscious of your blog brand – you – what people say about you when you’re out of the room.
  10. To think about your target audience/reader/viewer at all times and take time to consider who they are and what ‘a life in the day of’ means to them. Will they read our blogs on their commute, on a bus or train, which often takes place between the hours of 8 and 8.30am or 5 and 6pm and actively discourages video consumption for example?
To give a flavour of the next 3 weeks we also introduced:
  1. a video by Qualman – Socialnomics and discussed the 7 second attention span and what that meant for our blogging [in terms of readers anyway and not necessarily those google search spiders that we may well aspire to].
Above, we’ve added the url link and below we have ’embedded the youtube video’ on our wordpress blogging platform [spot the difference, which do you prefer as a reader of our blog?]: 2. The Digital Landscape and the thousands of tools, many of which are free, that can help us as bloggers achieve lots of different objectives: The ChiefMartec super graphic outlines 6,829 tools in the digital landscape for us to choose from to achieve all sorts of things.  3. Homework – delegates are encouraged to use or Libraries NI free emagazines titles to create a blog relevant to their Why and their target audience. We can’t wait to next week to see what everyone comes up with or sooner if we get to stalk their blogs online! On a rather apt note November 1 was #AuthorsDay and for creative inspiration or to overcome potential Writers Block we have one delegate freely agreeing to try out the HubSpot blog ideas generator tool.   The free #GetBloggingNI course runs at Lisburn City Library until December 6. A collaborative network of Trainers and Bloggers will work together to deliver the following course modules:
  •  What is Blogging
  •  Getting Started, the basics
  •  Creating, Marketing and Distributing Your Content
  •  Building Audience, Readership and Engagement
  •  Commercialising and Monetising
  •  Legals and Ethics
  •  Measuring Success
  •  The Costs of Blogging
  For more free learning opportunities for bloggers and aspiring bloggers, well, of course, there’s a blog for that – check out Free Training Opportunities for Bloggers and if you are inspired to learn do tell us and others – you can leave us a review on facebook or google or share a post on social media using the hashtag: #TrainingMatchmaker   Blog written by Chartered Marketer Christine Watson – Trainer on November 2, 2018 Total Time Investment: 90 minutes   Photo by Brendan Gallagher Photography of Christine (centre) with Blogger and Creative Trainer Angeline Murphy and Libraries NI Information and Learning Manager Paul Kelly at Blogging Inspiration Session which took place in Ormeau Road Library on 18 October during Get Online Week.  

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