Being in charge of a Content & Digital Marketing Agency means that you have to work 70-80 hours every week. Creating SEO content absorbs more than 50% of my working time and teaching aspiring bloggers another 10% of my time. Most people think that teaching should be avoided by established professionals because it is not considered as business-money-making time. I strongly disagree with this common belief which seems to be quite popular among my colleagues.
Every teaching hour has made me a better person in many ways. For starters, it keeps my communication skills sharp and on top of the market. Try to explain the most complicated term about SEO or Blogging or Digital Marketing or Branding or Copywriting or Ranking Factors to people that have never heard anything like that before. Now try to do it in one sentence, using everyday words but without losing track of the official definition.
You know what they say… If you really want to check the depth of your knowledge then throw yourself to the teaching field. And then wait for the questions at the end of the teaching session. Nothing can prepare you for the questions coming from people that really want to learn more.
The Thirst for Knowledge
The thirst for knowledge has an extreme power to unveil which parts of us need improvement. Teaching is the high-speed highway to the Improvement Land. It feeds us with enjoyment and passion for learning new facts and acquiring new knowledge through our students’ questions.
Self-improvement evolves through the risks we take in our lives, both professional and personal. The way I talk about my work is not the same as it used to be 20 years ago. Now, my intentions are to be crystal clear and as simple as possible. 20 years ago I just wanted to impress everyone in the room. Now, I only want my words to reach the other person. To connect.
This online Blogging Workshop in Greece, that we ran in collaboration with Social Hackers Academy, Diotima Centre, and Latsis Foundation was a life-changing experience for me. This workshop changed the way I see blogging in 4 major pillars.
How this Workshop Changed Me & the Way I see Blogging
To clear the air from any dark clouds I must confess that all my previous Business Blogging Workshops participants were professional and active bloggers aiming to elevate their blogging game. Teaching beginners how to blog was something new for me. In a way, I had to become a beginner in order to teach a group of newbie bloggers on how to create content for their blogs. It’s easier said than done!
Do you remember the first day you ride a bike on your own? I had to get into their shoes and put myself in that state where you want to start your blog but you don’t really know what’s the first step. My notebook was waiting for my notes. So I started writing down:
- What’s the first question before starting a blog?
- What are the main issues that a new blogger has to deal with?
- Which is the biggest fear of a new blogger?
- What is the strongest motivation for a new blogger?
Well, that led me to the following questions:
- Q1: Why do I want to start a blog?
- Q2: What is the purpose of my blog?
- Q3: Who am I and what I can do really well?
- Q4: What is my background?
- Q5: How to create my first blog post?
- Q6: Where can I find inspiration?
- Q7: How to create compelling titles?
- Q8: Where and how to find the right keywords?
- Q9: How to add photos or videos?
- Q10: Which categories and tags should I use?
- Q11: What is SEO and how to apply it?
- Q12: Is there a blogging community?
- Q13: How can I earn money from blogging?
- Q14: How can I use my blog posts several times?
With this list, it took me 10 days to complete the preparation process for the Blogging Workshop for Beginners. And later, another 2 days to revise and run the final editing. At the end of the Workshops, I kept a list of all the questions coming from the students. Believe it or not, the answers created a new addition of 1813 words.
The students of the Blogging Workshop taught me how to think (again) as a beginner. Priceless!
We Start From a Different Starting Point
Just because we are using our computers daily doesn’t mean that we are using them for the same reasons as the person next to us. For example, my screen time involves many hours of content creation, research, studying, data collecting, emails, online meetings with clients or team members, and one hour per day in social media just for fun.
For me, a computer is a business tool. But 6 out of 10 people around me use their computer more than 5 hours per day on social media or playing games. It was my fault to believe that all people use their computers like me. That’s not the case! Also, not all the planet uses the same digital tools that we use in our daily routine.
Lesson 1: Embrace the different starting points
During the lesson, I realized that the common ground was beyond professional skills in blogging. It was all about the connection. When a person wants to learn and another one wants to share knowledge then a magical thing happens: they connect. Effortlessly. Generously.
The willingness to discover what is out there waiting for us to create something new can make strangers bond in a heart-melting way. Sharing an experience with others while using the deepest corners of our existence, brings out the best of us. And that is an uplifting experience that opens our eyes.
Lesson 2: Questions open doors to new worlds
At the beginning of the first Online Blogging Workshop, the text of the lesson had 4.059 words. At the end and after the students’ questions, the text of the lesson now has 5.872 words. There were tiny missing parts that were noticed only after the interaction with the students.
Their perspicacious queries helped me comprehend how other people receive the message and the information I originally intended to share. So, they helped me to discover which parts needed clarification or additional information or even an entirely new chapter. The students helped me to improve the quality of the workshop.
Lesson 3: My point of view is just one point
When you teach, gradually you learn to walk in other people’s shoes. You learn empathy. We should never take anything for granted. If I have a super-strong & fast WiFi doesn’t mean that all the people in the world have access to WiFi.
You learn to take into consideration that conditions can be difficult but still a genuine talent can shine even in a room without electricity. The teacher must adapt to any given condition and be the water that fills in all the gaps.
In order to practice this approach, you need to accept that your point of view is not the only right one. You don’t need to be right, only effective, and rational. What works for you is not necessary the perfect path for other people. Teaching makes you flexible and more open-minded to other perspectives of life.
Lesson 4: Own your mistakes
We make plans… and then life happens! No matter how prepared you are – always – something happens that turns the table. Get over it and go on. Get comfortable with the fact that we control so little things in life and some kind of failure always occurs. Own your mistakes, and do your very best to recover the lost ground.
If the electrical power is off, the next best thing you can do is to rearrange the Workshop on a new day. Or if an earthquake (true story) happens… really who cares about any workshop? Run to save your life. If you are late because you were stuck in the elevator, provide an extra hour to your students. In other words, misfortunes definitely will happen. As a teacher, it’s your responsibility to provide the best possible solution or alternative. The main goal is to be an example.
Actions talk louder than words. In the blogging world, actions are measured through our digital behavior and reactions. With 4.4 million blog posts published daily, these tiny fragments of “digital actions” do form the way we think and conduct our lives. The impact is huge!
Seek No Approval. Just Go for It!
Never forget that we all started as beginners.
When I started my first company everyone around me was trying to convince me how stupid I was for wanting to build my own brand. Back in 1991, being a young woman in Tech wasn’t a common thing. Especially if there wasn’t any male figure to back up my plans. Even my parents thought that I was crazy for wanting to create an online business.
But I did it. And sold my first company 2 years later at a very good price. A year later, a friend asked me to redesign his website. My next company, started the same year offering web design services for small businesses. In 2000, my third company took its first steps. Nowadays one of the top digital services we provide combines SEO, Copywriting, and Blogging.
Human life is short
Embrace the fact that everything changes, every second. You better start doing what you want, now!
When we start to value more the small things then gradually they form a new pattern for us to walk. Have you noticed what happens when your favorite coffee is not available anymore? You get frustrated. These minor little things when are suddenly stripped out of our everyday routine can leave a sense of emptiness.
Fight the emptiness with mindfulness. Choose wisely with who and why you spend your time with. Business choices are equally important for our self-improvement and business growth. A lot of people prefer to divide their existence into two or even three personalities. The private self, the business self, and the secret self.
Well, being brave enough to combine all three and walk as a complete human being can make you fearless. In life and in the business world. Wanting to become likable won’t be your main concern. Peace of mind turns out to be the most powerful drug in the world… once you nail the road to it nothing can distract you from creating your own path.
Blogging can support our efforts to create the life we want. Once you decide to engage professionally then it pays off. When we are ready to let go of what is familiar in order to create a new chapter for us then we tend to open up in the wildness of the unknown. Offer your caring attention generously and you will be surprised how joy, happiness, and creativity will find ways to return back to you.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to teach new bloggers how to blog. They helped me to become a better listener and to reconnect with the joy of doing something new. I learned (again) how to ride my blogging bike. Thank you so much! – Areti Vassou
Students Blog Posts
We are so proud for our students’ published blog posts and we would like to share with you their amazing work. Enjoy!