Jane reporting from the front lines.
Jane and her significant other, Tom, a recovering lawyer (visit his knowledge management blog and see what the legal profession is up to these days), conducted their first Blogging Boot Camp yesterday, at a local computer training center in Rochester, NY.
The seminar ran from 8:30 to 4:00(Jane spent from 7:45-8:15 running hither and yon for coffee, soda, juice, danish, cookies, and various items she and Tom should have purchased the day before but got too caught up in painting the living room, and preparing handouts for the seminar, to take care of), with a break at noon for lunch. It was a learning experience for all.
There were seven attendees; another one had begged off the day before with expectations of attending the September seminar, and one did not show up...we will find out why on Monday. The room was equipped with computers and Internet access for 15. While we had hoped for 10-12 participants, we're glad now that there were only seven! Part of the seminar involved actually building a blog through Typepad, which proved to be quite time consuming as each participant needed...and deserved...individual attention.
The day was delightful. Weatherwise, it rained, but inside the training center, helping seven small business professionals learn the value of blogging, we never noticed the weather outside. This first seminar was our "training camp" for participants, and for ourselves. It was a test of what we know and how well we could teach what we knew to others. In the end, we think we did a darn good job, albeit, there are some spots we need to improve upon.
The participants, according to our feedback form, learned a great deal about the power of blogging, and how to blog, and left with a fully functional blog to play with once they returned home or to work. Jane and Tom learned how to better structure the next boot camp, and which elements to pay more attention to next time. We also learned that a high-speed Internet connection is vital! Ours was less than satisfactory. Although it was business cable, the time needed to download blogs and examples probably wasted 20% of the day! Sad, but true.
We used several blog friends as examples, and will refer to many others in the months to come. Yesterday Michele Miller's WonderBranding showed an example of a three-column design with color added (we tried to play Michele's marvelous video, but it just would not donwload!), Kirsten Osolind's re:invention blog gave a good impression of the strength and dedication bloggers bring to their readers, and Collected Miscellany helped show a blog with several authors.
Jane wanted to show off all of her fellow bloggers, but Tom has quite a list of great bloggers also, mostly legal ones, and we highlighted several of them, also. Some blogs in his list included Excited Utterances, by Joy London, for her unique style, Dennis Kennedy (also a friend of Jane's), to show a blog being sponsored, as well as for his focus on topic and not design, and Tony Ramos, who will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about Power Point but were too stupid...I mean, uninformed...to ask.
There were more. Some that are not part of Jane's or Tom's link list, but were found during our research on blogs and blogging and showing them served to prove a point -- such as,
Business Blogging is here to stay!
For those small businesses that don't 'get it' yet, or can't conceive how blogging is a means to achieve greater online sales and marketing, we'll be putting together a WEBINAR for you. We are in discussion with another GREAT blogger online, and with a fantastic local marketing professional (young, handsome, and so smart!) in an effort to create a professional team of knowledgeable bloggers able to not only teach YOU how to blog and improve your online business presence, but to offer our services as writers, if you don't think you have the time or talent to populate your own blog.
Stay tuned. We made a profit yesterday! And, we already have several folks signed up for next month. With this session under our belt, some minor tweaking in response to the great feedback everyone gave us, we've nowhere to go but up! Consider this advice from a Smart Man who would have been online blogging if it had been available in those old Dick and Jane days:
Show me a great company and I'll show you one that has radically changed itself and is looking forward to the opportunity of doing so again. Lawrence A. Bossidy, CEO of Honeywell