Conduct a Blog Workshop

blog workshop

There is more than one way to do just about anything, and this holds true for running a blog workshop as well. I prepared many slides for the blog workshop I ran last week at the Highland Park Public Library in New Jersey. I had so many slides that we didn’t get to cover all the topics. No worries: we are planning to hold a part II of the workshop, although scheduling may be such that Blog Workshop II does not happen until late fall. One participant wished I hadn’t answered so many questions along the way, and I plan to do a summary lecture at the next workshop with no questions until the end. However, the questions asked were so useful to new bloggers that I’m glad I allowed questions at this initial workshop.

Enjoy the slides:

In particular I showed how to leave a comment. I related the importance of commenting: a way to connect with other bloggers, a way to get links back to your blog. And I find that many new bloggers have more fear of the comment box than they do of the publish button. Get used to commenting, I urged the audience. And leave thoughtful, thorough, friendly, well-crafted comments that are related to the blog post.

If you want to read about the workshop from the perspective of an audience member, see Val’s post called Blogging Advice from Blogger Leora Wenger.

If you have the opportunity to set up a blog workshop in your area, how would you approach the challenge? Here are some guidelines for setting up a blog workshop:

  1. Prepare many slides on a variety of topics. You may not be able to cover every topic, but you will be able to tailor your talk according to the needs of the audience.
  2. Decide beforehand whether you will answer questions as they come up or you will ask the audience to hold questions until the end.
  3. Emphasize commenting. Beginning bloggers may have energy at first, but if several months into their blogging they still have no readers, they may need the push into commenting on other blogs in their niche.
  4. Use the slides I created for ideas. But please do not copy images without permission. When I uploaded my blog workshop slides unto Slideshare, I noted that there were quite a few presentations of blogging workshops. Maybe I will take a look at a few of those presentations before my next workshop.
  5. Topics you may choose to cover: SEO, social media for blog promotion, creating content, blog scheduling, images and image permissions, and editing posts.
  6. Prepare handouts. At each of my social media workshops, I give out a sheet with links so people can learn more. I link to at least one post on this blog that gives the audience an idea of how experience bloggers have commented on a particular topic. One participant wanted me to print out all my slides in advance, but I can’t imagine killing that many trees. Maybe next time I will upload my slides to Slideshare before the workshop so they will be readily available to those with a laptop or iPad. I also put business cards on the table, which makes it easier for audience members to stay in touch after the workshop. I’m considering suggesting people bring business cards to leave on the table in the next workshop description.

Your Turn, Please

What topics would you cover for beginning bloggers? What would you teach as a followup workshop to those who have been blogging for a while?

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10 thoughts on “Conduct a Blog Workshop

  1. Terri,

    I hope you succeed with the writing workshops! Highland Park Public Library does a nice poetry series – I bet a writing workshop would be welcome in many a library.

    Glad you liked the slideshow. I tried to intersperse text information slides with screenshots.

    1. Praveen, I learn from you as well! I feel like I keep blogging about blogging (except when I am blogging about WordPress).

      It is a lot of fun to give a workshop on a topic as pleasurable as blogging.

  2. I was wondering how your talk at the library went. 🙂 Glad to hear it went well. I have thought about offering a blogging workshop at my local library too. Did they approach you or did you approach them?
    I too would stress commenting on other’s blogs. Without that, I would have quit by now. The other thing I would talk about is building links by guest posting.
    Thanks for this. If I get the guts up to do this, I can stop here for some more ideas.
    Bethany Lee recently posted…Break Away From Self DoubtMy Profile

    1. Bethany, the first time I talked, a few years back, it was as part of a group. But even then, I was already webmaster for the library’s website, so they knew me (I was the one who brought in the group).

      This time, the person who does events at the library had started her own blog, so she has been wanting me to talk about blogging for a while. After talking about LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, I must say Blogging is my favorite topic! Twitter is second (because so many people give up too soon – and it has so much potential in such a simple way).

    1. “getting them involved” – that’s my favorite part! I love to hear audience feedback and questions.

      I was just talking with the library organizer about doing in person blogging meetings. Our biggest issue is space – our local library only has one meeting room. But we have many enthusiastic folks, so we’ll look for a solution (maybe meeting in a tiny room).

  3. What a great idea. I would love to attend a workshop you sponsor. If only I lived in NJ.

    Your takeaways and list of things to do the next time are spot on. When you are conducting a workshop of any kind it is very easy to answer questions as they come up. That makes it more difficult to keep things flowing smoothly but you seemed to have done a great job doing both. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…A Blogger’s Favorite Quote: Bethany LeeMy Profile

    1. Susan,

      And I would love the opportunity to meet you in person!

      It seems no matter what one’s approach regarding questions, smiling and being confident in the chosen approach is key.

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