Ellen with her coffee and laptop
On Thursday 13th Jue 2019, I first met Christine Watson, my trainer, which resulted in the creation of my Learning Plan. Since then, I have been working away at completing a variety of courses, discovered via TrainingMatchmaker.com, editing, updating and creating blog content, and attending exciting learning events such as a Google Breakfast Briefing on YouTube in the Google European Headquarters in Dublin. Below is a log of all that I have accomplished and learnt in the past month on my traineeship with TrainingMatchmaker.com.


On Sunday 16th June 2019, I headed into the Apple Store in Victoria Square, Belfast, to take advantage of some of their free classes. I had signed up for the Photo Skills: Photography on iPhone class and the Video Skills: Storytelling with Clips class. These were both 30 minutes long and taken by very friendly and helpful employees. Because I had so much fun and learnt so much in these two classes, I decided to stay on for the next class called Photo Lab: Disrupting the Portrait Co-created with Christopher Anderson. This class was 90 minutes and really helps you to unlock your creativity. It was inspired by and created with the photographer Chris Anderson, and if you search the hashtag #TheDisruptingSeries on Instagram or any other social platform, you’ll be guaranteed to find some interesting shots inspired by his work. We played around with coloured gels, light boxes, the natural light and shadow in the store, as well as anything we could find in our pockets such as glasses and keys. The end results were fascinating – I had taken photos from perspectives that I never even realised existed, with cool effects like lens flares and coloured tints, just from using everyday objects. These type of photos are the ones that stand out, that catch people’s eyes and make them stop to look.
I returned to the Belfast Apple Store on Thursday 4th July to take two more classes (yes, they really were that good!). I took the Photo Skills: Editing on iPhone class, which showed us how to use the editing features built into the iPhone to make our photography as good as it could be. After, we did a Photo Walk centred around ‘Taking Portraits on Location’. This was an excellent way to put everything I learnt in the #TodayAtApple classes into practice, as we set off with iPhone Xs to shoot some portrait photographs in exciting locations in Belfast, such as the Cathedral Quarter. It was very beneficial as you really had to think about what locations would be most suitable for the style of photos you are aiming for.
Below are some of the images we shot along the way.
Portrait Photograph of Valentina (Erasmus Trainee)                                                           Portrait Photo of Ellen    

Instagram for Business

I completed the Instagram for Business course run by Facebook Blueprint (check out my certificate of completion below). This gave me an insight about how businesses use Instagram profiles to interact with current and potential customers, with access to tools which allow them to track who their post has reached, and gives them the option of promoting their products or services through advertising on the app. Platforms such as Instagram are very important to firms in this day and age in order to reach certain target markets via visual storytelling.
Instagram for Business Certificate


I watched a series of video tutorials to help myself get to grips with free graphic design platform Canva. These lessons help show a canva user how to use the different functions such as the templates, texts, photos and elements, as well as encouraging a more creative outlook. It encourages the creator to use mood-boards in order to get the message of the graphic across in an effective manner. I would highly encourage aspiring or established marketers to use this site if they haven’t already as it is very user-friendly, yet you’d be surprised by what you’re able to produce!
Here are some of the graphics I created related to blogposts that I was working on as part of my TrainingMatchmaker.com traineeship:
Graphic reading "Learning Plan"                                                       Graphic reading "Your Definitive List of Local Business Awards"


My Trainer – Chartered Marketer Christine walked me through WordPress one afternoon, showing me its different features such as posts, projects, and media, regarding how to publish, preview and edit posts, amongst a wide range of other tips and tricks. I also watched various WordPress tutorials which are featured on the WordPress site under ‘Support’. WordPress is a key platform for many businesses and bloggers, powering over 26.4% of the web, hence I am glad that I got the chance to not only learn how to use it but be guided by a regular user – both of Christine’s business websites are hosted on WordPress.

Hashtag Marketing

I thought that it would be a great idea to educate myself on hashtag marketing as I believe that it is an up and coming marketing must. I read a variety of blogs and articles regarding hashtag marketing including ‘How to use hashtags for better marketing campaigns‘, as well as a more specific blog on ‘Top Hashtags for Tourism in Northern Ireland‘ by Tourism Trainer – Chartered Marketer: Christine Watson. This enhanced my understanding and awareness surrounding this form of marketing, highlighting its importance as social platforms continue to grow. I also got the opportunity to participate in a Twitter Hour – I completed a Twitter takeover of TrainingMatchmaker on twitter during #BelfastHour.

Business Awards in Northern Ireland Blog

I updated a blog previously written by my trainer Christine Watson regarding Business Awards in Northern Ireland. This involved a lot of secondary research and auditing in order to ensure that readers receive up-to-date and correct information (to the best of my knowledge). This blog allows local businesses and their marketing representatives to easily access a list of awards that they may wish to enter, enabling them to easily view the entry deadlines, ceremony dates and available categories.

Instagram Influencers in Northern Ireland Blog

I updated a blog previously written by my trainer Christine Watson regarding Instagram Influencers in Northern Ireland. This blog enables readers (who are often businesses) to easily find Instagram influencers who are based in Northern Ireland. It indicates their follower levels since 2017 as well as their follower growth rates. This makes it very accessible for businesses to reach out to various influencers either to create links and relationships or even to offer a product sponsorship or endorsement. This blog also introduced me to the concept of Influencer Marketing and highlighted to me that this tactic is more than just blogger outreach.
However, I still intend to return to this blog and find some more up-to-date links, add even more influencers, and split the blog into different categories, such as travel bloggers, business bloggers and beauty bloggers (to name a few) to enable an even easier and quicker experience for those using it.


I completed the Snapchat Advertising Core Competences Course. This gave me great insight into the advertising aspect of this social media platform – popular with those aged 35 and under. This Snapchat Advertising course covered areas such as the ad formats that Snapchat offers, using Ad Manager, how to appropriately target customers, creative best practices, campaign optimisation and management, and finally how to measure the success of an ad or campaign. As a Snapchat addict, I found this course incredibly interesting as it explained how each different format works in different ways and outlined what formats or targetting methods are suitable for different situations. It made this easy to understand by creating scenarios and case studies.
Snapchat Advertising Core Competences Certificate of Completion

Google Breakfast Briefings

I attended a Google Breakfast Briefing in the Google HeadQuarters in Dublin. It was a briefing on ‘Leveraging Youtube to Drive Performance’, covering topics such as Youtube for Action and creative best practices, delivered by Youtube expert Kelsey Bowers. This was a fascinating and interactive experience filled with facts and figures and trends predicted by Google and third party companies.   Google Logo at the Dublin Headquarters                                      Image of Ellen outside Google


I completed the Social Marketing Training Course on Hootsuite, which covered topics such as Social Media Profiles and Strategy, Advocacy and Community online, and content marketing, involving content calendars. Throughout the lessons and videos, the course integrated best practices for social marketing across various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, to name a few. I thought that this was a very useful course as it depicted how businesses and professionals leverage a variety of social platforms at once to target and engage with customers.
Hootsuite completion screen

Twitter Flight School

Before my traineeship I had never used Twitter but in a few mere hours I managed to complete both the Twitter Video Advertising Campaign Basics Course and the Twitter Video Advertising Foundations Course on Twitter Flight School. These give me a better insight into video on Twitter in relation to ad campaigns, involving aspects such as ad targeting, pricing, creation, launch, optimisation and reporting. Hence, they were informative courses, highlighting the importance of Twitter in this day and age. Twitter Course 1 completion screen                                      Twitter Course 2 completion screen  
To put my newfound skill into practice I got the opportunity to participate in a Twitter Takeover on @trainingmatches and @watsonsmarketing during business community event – online networking hour: #BelfastHour. This provided me with great insight into the interaction of businesses around Belfast on Twitter. It was a great way to engage with others while promoting Training Matchmaker as well as putting my new Twitter skills to the test. In doing this, I also used Hootsuite to schedule some of these tweets, which was very useful as I felt a lot more organised and prescheduling some tweets allowed me a little extra time for social listening and active engagement with other real businesses active in the online community.

What comes next…

I began the course on Story Telling by Disney Pixar run by Kahn Academy, however I decided that it was not a main priority compared to the courses that I completed above, so I have set a goal for myself to complete this course over the next two weeks.
I looked into courses run by Harvard, MIT and Open University, however my Trainer – Christine and I at my mid traineeship review coffee meeting made an executive decision to complete a course from one of these resources by January 2020 as, although they are incredibly beneficial, they are also time-consuming, with courses relevant to my interests taking up to 40 hours to complete. Courses that interest me include Marketing in the 21st Century, Social MarketingRetail Marketing and Personal Branding for Career Success. Similarly, I have not yet completed the Google Digital Garage course as it is also 40 hours, hence, I have set a deadline for 30th September 2019 as it seems incredibly useful to my line of study and my future employability.
I also created a LinkedIn profile, so in the coming months I hope to get to grips with this platform and perhaps undertake one of their online courses, which fall under the LinkedIn learning platform that Microsoft which owns the LinkedIn brand bought from Lynda.com for a grand sum of $1.5 billion.  Courses which interest me include the Masterclass in Building Resilience – a course by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and expert Adam Grant.
As a Spanish student and a soon Spanish dweller, I also hope to find a variety of useful Spanish language courses – if these are related to marketing or business then all the better!

About Me

I am Ellen Connolly and I have just completed my second year of Commerce and Spanish in University College Cork. I have a keen interest in marketing and wish to improve my skills in the related areas. Using trainingmatchmaker.com, I hope to unlock my creativity by learning how to use various platforms and undertaking a number of online courses that will help me to enhance the vital expertise that an aspiring marketer needs. Aside from academics, I am a keen cellist and regularly play with orchestras and quartets. I am moving to Spain in August and, if all goes well and I “master” the art of blogging and using social media, maybe you’ll hear about my experience away from Ireland!
If you enjoyed reading my learning log or want to contact me, connect with me on LinkedIn.
Image of Ellen Connolly

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