BaltoWash, October 21st: One-Day Blogging/Social Media Intensive
This October, for first time in two years, I'll be teaching a class in the U.S. But it won't be about lighting, or even photography.
During the Flash Bus dates in 2011, we spent about 15 minutes of my session going into an organic approach to blogging and social media. In particular, we discussed how to create positive feedback loops between your online and real-world ecosystems. This small aside created a surprising amount of feedback and interest.
That led to a full class each year since on the subject at GPP in Dubai. On October 21st, we're bringing a current version of this class to the Baltimore/Washington, DC area for one time only.
Who is this appropriate for? A wider range than you might think. For a suburban county that is not located anywhere near San Francisco, Howard County, MD has a pretty developed blogging culture. And part of that is down to the efforts of an organization called HoCoBlogs, which aggregates local sites and is the center of gravity for the community that has formed around them.
HoCoBlogs has worked tirelessly to champion a lot of ideas I believe in. So when they approached me about doing a full-day class, I jumped at the chance.
Who's It For?
While teaching over the last couple years in Dubai, I have learned to think of bloggers in three groups. For lack of better terms, we'll call them Passion Bloggers, SmallBiz Bloggers and Corporate Bloggers. (This includes the use of other social media, but the dividing lines settle out similarly for those channels, too.)
And to this you can mentally add a fourth, much larger group of people who are in a position to benefit greatly from the medium, but really have little intuitive sense of how to approach it.
We physically divide the class into sections (PB's on the left, SmallBiz in the middle, Corporate Weenies on the right, etc.) because where you are coming from has a lot to do with how you'll approach this kind of stuff.
That said, there's a lot of overlap in the execution (and thought process) between the three groups, too. But the goals of each group—and the decision tree the stems from them—will be very different.
Once you put your finger on the reason you are blogging (and by extension, your goals) the 50,000-foot view starts to get a lot clearer.
Taking a wild guess about the readership of this post, I'd put you guys at 20% PB's, 30% Corporates (or potentially so) and 50% SmallBiz. Obviously, most photographers fall into the last category. But anyone working for a large company might be surprised at what kind of opportunities lie in the second. And my own HoCo360 site probably straddles Passion and SmallBiz. (OK, maybe that did not come out right.)
Much like with photography, I don't view social media as an end to itself but rather a versatile catalyst around which you can build just about any kind of ecosystem. And this is coming from a full-time blogger who was for 20 years a full-time photographer.
What We Will Cover
The morning will be spent on more general topics: understanding different forms of social media, their relative strengths and weaknesses, how to leverage multiple channels, building virtual-to-physical positive feedback loops, building the right kind of readership, etc.
If all of that sounds Greek to you, no worries. This is being taught to the layperson and you'll have a good sense of this whole ecosystem by the end of the day.
In the afternoon, we'll zero in on the execution side of things: voice, content creation, content arcs, consistency, frequency, etc. If you can put your preconceptions aside, you'll learn about just how simple and logical it is to practice good organic search engine optimization, or SEO. (Really, it is not technical and it is not hard at all.)
And if terms like SEO make your eyes glaze over, think of it in these terms: Strobist gets ~10,000 organic inbounds from Google searches on a typical day. So it's important to have a basic understanding of this stuff. Plus, it's silly easy.
When, Where, How Much
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The one-day class will be held on Monday, October 21st. The location (pinned above) is Linden Hall, at 4765 Dorsey Hall Drive, in Ellicott City, MD. It's 25 minutes from Baltimore or DC. And we are not starting until 9:30am, which should help make it possible for south Philly types to make the drive if they want.
For those considering traveling in, Baltimore Washington Airport is 20 minutes away and is well-served by SouthWest Airlines. So it is generally pretty cheap to get to. If your company has an interest in social media, this would be a very inexpensive option when compared to one-to-one consulting.
The venue is not very big (it's a community meeting room) so seating is limited. The cost for the day is $159.00, with significant discounts for students, nonprofits and multiple attendees from the same organization. Full details are on the HoCoBlogs signup page linked below.
If you are in any way interested in having your blogging and/or social media accomplish something more than be an endless time-suck, I encourage you to come. And if you are in the Baltimore/DC area, we'd much appreciate it if you could pass this info along.
On behalf of HoCoBlogs, I hope to see you there.
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