Do you remember some of your favorite teachers? I know I do. From grade school to high school and through college, there were always certain teachers that imparted great knowledge on me. These are lessons I've taken throughout my life. Those teachers were hugely valuable to me, and I'll never forget them.
Not everyone will become a school teacher, but everyone with a blog has the chance to become a teacher nonetheless. We can use our blogs to teach others the lessons we've learned. If we do, we'll be much better off for it. That's because:
Teaching is personally rewarding. When we help someone learn something of value, we feel good about ourselves. We just helped someone take a step towards their goals and dreams.
We learn through teaching. When we teach people how to do things, or just teach them concepts they didn't know, we learn something about ourselves.
Teaching pays. There are many money-making opportunities that come from teaching. So on top of helping ourselves and others learn new things, we can also take steps towards making a real career out of blogging. It's a win-win-win.
How can you become a teacher through your blog? Anyone can do it, but there are certain guidelines to keep in mind. Follow these, and you can kick off your new teaching project right now. You might even be able to use your existing blog to start teaching people.
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1. Go with what you know
When I talk to clients about using their blogs to teach people, they often think that they have nothing valuable to teach. Baloney, I say. We all possess a unique set of knowledge, and we can use that unique perspective to teach others. The trick is picking a subject about which you are already knowledgeable. That way you have a baseline to start your teaching blog.
You don't need to know everything there is to know about the subject. You just need a baseline that allows you to start with a few simple lessons. If you've been blogging for five years, chances are you are knowledgeable enough to teach someone how to start a blog. But let's face it: if you don't know the differences between the different types of light blubs, chances are you're not going to start a home improvement blog.
2. Always be learning
It's not enough to have a baseline of knowledge about any subject. In order to run a successful teaching blog, you have to become an expert on the subject. While you can start the blog when you're not quite at expert level, you won't last long if you don't become one. That means spending a large amount of time learning your subject matter better than anyone else in your field.
This can prove difficult, especially for bloggers who also have day jobs (that they'd like to quit so they can blog full-time). Here is a quick and dirty outline of how I suggest people develop an expert understanding of their chosen subject:
- Read for at least an hour and a half a day. If you're not putting an hour a day into your studies, you'll never come out ahead. Ideally you can find two or three hours to read up on your subject. But the hour and a half marker is important when combined with the next step.
- Use an off-day for a six-hour session. Taking six hours out of your off-day to study might seem excessive, but it's the kind of sacrifice you need to develop expert status. An hour and a half per day, six days per week, plus one six-hour session, means 15 hours per week. That's a good number, and it's less than a typical part-time job.
- Find a week or 10 days for intense learning. If you have vacation time at work, you might want to consider a stay-cation. Use the time and dedicate eight to 10 hours per day to your studies. If you can do 10 hours a day for seven days, that's 70 hours. If you get in your 15 hours a week and do this you get over 800 hours for a year, which will help you accelerate your path to expert status.
It's not easy, but it's not supposed to be.
75% social, 25% SEO
When promoting your teaching blog, there are a few strategies you can pursue. You can go for high Google rankings by focusing on SEO, or you can focus on promoting your material through social media. Of course, both have value. The key is finding a balance. The great thing about teaching blogs is that with just a little up-front effort you can put most of your efforts into social and put much of SEO on auto-pilot.
Here's the thing I love about teaching blogs: The SEO almost takes care of itself. If you take the time to craft attractive, informative headlines, Google will find your material in search. The only things you really have to do are:
1. Ensure that your articles have an acceptable level of keyword density.
2. Build a strong backlink portfolio by guest posting on other blogs.
The rest of your focus should go on social. That means not just tweeting your link and posting them on Facebook. It means:
- Interacting with users on Facebook and Twitter.
- Answering questions in comments section.
- Sharing articles in your niche from other sites.
- Developing relationships with others in your niche and with regular readers.
- Providing short, original soundbytes on Twitter and Facebook.
It means, in other words, going all-in with social. The account has to be authentic, or else it won't be effective. People won't follow you if you only tweet links to your posts and occasionally tweet something original. You have to interact, you have to share. Same goes for Facebook. People won't Like your page if you just use Graffiti RSS. Share pictures and other items related to your niche. Show them that you want to be a part of their world. Then your social strategy can take off.
If you take a stroll around the internet and look at all the blogs out there, you'll be able to quickly tell which ones are worth your time. Those are the ones that teach you something. Whether it's home improvement projects, musical instruments, literary theory, or even blogging itself, there is much more value in a teaching blog than any other kind. It's not easy work, not by any means. But if you have a chance to quit your job and become a full-time blogger, it will be by teaching people something you know.