Do you remember my post of 30th January about the creation of a Better Bloggers group? Here’s what happened.
In a rush to start with a group of twelve or so, a Delicious Dozen, Marion and I accepted the first twelve applicants which meant we had to turn away about twenty equally fabulous people.
We did say we would run this group again and we shall, albeit in a different format based on what we’ve learned in the pilot and both Marion and I will circulate that news when we are ready to go. For now, I thought I’d update you with stories from the lovely and lucky twelve we manifested:
- John O’Flynn, our token man. John’s blog is called YouCanAchieveIt and he’s a corporate coach. Due to the day job, half term and a personal family matter, we haven’t seen nearly as much of John as we would have liked. No doubt he was overwhelmed by the 1300+ messages in our Google Group over the first 23 days of February.
- Kerry Hales, The Communications Coach, KerryHales.co.uk – look at that gorgeous photo on her banner of her son, who Kerry calls her “Little Man”.
- Sally Kirkman, Media Astrologer. Sally was another affected by half-term but she took a trip to Cologne and blogged all about it. Sally’s taken to blogging like a duck to water. She has also posted some very nice personal photographs, I feel Sally is a gifted communicator.
- Amanda Thomas, Acupuncturist from Whitstable, in Kent. Amanda writes about Shonishin, parenting, her adventures, her practice and self-actualization. Wikipedia doesn’t even have a page on Shonishin so you will have to refer to Amanda for more info on what that is.
- Liz Dew, the WeddingMarketingDiva, or Scully as she’s known to me. Liz is very busy looking after her own clients and even writes their blog posts for them. She’s also dead keen on social media marketing and our expert on Pinterest.
- Yvonne Halling, the BedAndBreakfastCoach.com. Yvonne was launching a brand new business at the start of this; what better time to be blogging? She also started to promote her Champagne Day App during February so a creative time for Creator Yvonne.
- Bianca Tait’s Creative Circles. Bianca is a pal who I had been nagging about blogging for ages and she just didn’t get it. She does now – and how! During February Bianca appeared in the Daily Telegraph one Saturday and you can read all about that and other gems at her blog.
- Ntathu Allen of YogaInspires.co.uk. Ntathu is one of our more experienced bloggers and she inspired us all with her regular features of Poem of the Week and Prayer of the Week and she’s just committed to go on an exciting trip with her daughters for Christmas. You heard it here first. No doubt Ntathu will be blogging that story in due course and let’s hope blogging will get her there.
- Jan Marchant, a life coach who has 7StepsToPositiveLiving. Visit Jan’s blog to catch up with her Inspirational Insights, also a regular feature. My favourite post of Jan’s involved sand, sea and snow, an intriguing combo.
- Sarah J. Allsop (or Sarah J. Green as she was known to some of us before she wed) writes a travel blog called Wed & Fled, based on her intention to have the longest ever honeymoon with her new husband on their motorbikes. Read how life intervened and brought them back to the UK far sooner than they could have imagined when they set off. Sarah uses her own photography to good effect and intends to be a travel blogger. She’s well on her way.
- Janet Swift is another good writer with multiple blogs and many a technological challenge. However, the last few days have seen Janet become more prolific than ever as she caught the blogging bug at her LifeChangingCafe. My favourite stories of Janet’s are about her beloved pets.
- Last but not least is Allison Galbraith. Allison is a very proficient and businesslike writer, having previously been a diligent delegate at one of Marion’s Article Marketing Bootcamps and a lesson to us all when it comes to the creation of a SEO-sexy blog post title. Check out Allison’s leadership coaching and mentoring blog MacintoshWright.
So, what have we learned and shared? We’ve learned the joys of blogging and to commit to the deadline and publish three a week without fail, giving up procrastination and perfectionism. Between the Delicious Dozen, at the time of pressing Publish on this, my own post today, they have published 100 blogs and generated 642 comments. 100 blog posts in the first 23 days of February when nearly half the posse were affected by half-term. Wow!
They have created a community which has encouraged and supported them to start to find their own authentic writing voice and showcase their expertise, opinions and stories.
They’ve learned how to create a compelling headline for their blog post, grab themselves a gravatar so we can see their lovely faces on their comments, source and credit an image without copyright infringement issues, create hyperlinks, and how to comment in a way which makes them look good on third party blogs and websites.
We’ve encouraged them to get their websites looking as sparkly and shiny as possible as what’s the point of all this blogging if not to bring people back to yours for a look-see, how to be a bit more confident working in the back end of their own websites, how to make it easy for visitors to share your posts via social media, auto-tweeting your blog posts, a bit about Google Analytics, why are you blogging at all, what to do with your visitors once you get them, using Twitter and Facebook effectively and getting your visitors to return again and again. Phew!
I must say it was not our intention, Marion’s and mine, to get into most of that stuff but we were led by the enthusiastic and knowledge-hungry delegates. We just wanted them to get the blogging bug and the blogging habit and to write three times a week and post without fail, ready or not, to comment proficiently, to encourage and support each other to write as well as they might on blogs and websites which are as presentable as they could be.
I am sure our delegates would each be the first to admit that after only twenty three days, they all still have a long way to go but a broad understanding of most of this and an average of 8.33 posts each is something to be very proud of, no doubt about it. And not to mention the content they are all beginning to stack up now on their websites, allowing their readers to start to know them, like them and trust them; attraction marketing in action.
This caused Marion and I to have to up our game. Marion has created another handful of nifty little videos on her YouTube Channel and I’ve written twenty-five posts myself and one of those brought over 380 visitors to my site in one day. Wow again! It also brought me two emails yesterday from long-lost people in my life because they were able to find me so easily online. I am convinced that is because of the energy a blog creates.
I love blogging. I love bloggers. There’s no point in pretending otherwise. And I am very grateful to my co-pilot Marion, and to the Delicious Dozen in John, Kerry, Sally, Amanda, Liz, Yvonne, Bianca, Ntathu, Jan, Sarah, Janet & Allison. We’ve got these last few days for a final push, Team. Let’s breast that tape on the 29th with joyous abandon. We’ve put ourselves out there in the virtual world and nothing but good has come of it.
What we do know now is that a lot of people are interested in blogging and being a lot better at it and in how blogging can help you grow your business and get better known in your niche and be a lot of fun.
More than 180 people looked at our advance publicity for this pilot, that’s how much interest there is out there. And I’ve spoken separately to three people who missed the deadline to join the course but gently persuaded me to give them some tips any way. My pleasure. Loved it. And Marion and I discovered a reader who missed the pilot (shame) but whose writing brings us both joy. It’s written by Sue Engle and it’s called YourJoyfulHeart. There’s aspirational writing for us all.
I wonder where all this blogging will take us next?