Let’s get started – please turn off your monitorsToday we are focusing on the business benefits of maintaining a blog to enhance communication with customers and prospects and become part of a larger community interested in a particular issue.We’ll look at blogs as a low-cost means of communication. You’ll learn how to create a blog using a web-based blogging tool available free of charge. And, you’ll learn how to add different types of content and media to the blog (text, images, videos, links, gadgets), and learn about blog management and maintenance.You will leave our workshop, not only knowing not only how to start a blog but also how to promote it and keep it alive to maximize the benefits for your business.
Overview of this afternoon’s session…
(5 minutes)A&S are in the phase of expanding - spent the last two years getting their bic/clothing VB up and running. They are opening their second store VB2. 1) Are any of you also thinking about how you might expand your business one day? When A&S decided to turn A’s bike repair shop into a store, they thought it was a big risk. S quit her job and they weren’t sure the biz would be a success. They’ve forgotten @ that and they joke @ who gets to take the credit for how well things have gone. A - his bike expertise, S – org’l skills, and (daughter) Julie - trendy design of VB. 2) Do you have someone you partner with in your business? Do you feel your skills are complementary? A, S & J agree that digitizing their data from the beg’g was one key to success. They can’t imagine run’g the biz w/out computer. 3) Do you already use a computer at work? They also can’t imagine how the biz would run w/o website they set up for launch. While they know the w/s is technologically simple, they’re proud of design & the image conveys @ VB. They post event info for their clients: cycling races, special deals and new products. 4) Do any of you also have a website that you update regularly? They’ve begun to use email effectively–they like engaging people. They’re looking for ways to combine their website with email’s on-going dialogue. Let’s now see how Andy and Sofia are dealing with the challenge of engaging people online.
(20 minutes) 2. Business Scenario (Question Card) – Break into groups of 2/3; one reads the card exchange and then the group discuss the questions on the reverse side. We’ll come back together and discuss your idea.Discussion questions1. How would you describe the challenge Andy and Sofia are facing?2. Andy and Jane are exchanging emails between themselves which makes their communication two way or bi-directional. In this sense, what other types of communication do you know of?3. What are some concrete ways in which Andy and Sofia could overcome this particular communication challenge?4. Have you heard of Web 2.0? Do you know what it is? What are some of its characteristics?Group Discussion – See next page (4A)
(5 minutes) On the projector screen, show Andy and Sofia’s Velocity Bikes blog which you can find at the following link: http://blog.velocitybikes.net/. Make sure that when you show the blog, text, photos, and video can all be easily seen and identified. Make sure that at least one of the blog posts has a couple of comments from different users. You can show the top part of the blog first, then scroll down to the last post so thatit’s obvious to students that what they are seeing is a blog.— What do you see here on the screen?— Whose blog is this and what is it about?— What different types of content can you identify in this blog? (Blog, photos, video, text)— Who has posted on this blog? Is all the content posted by Andy and Sofia?Now, you will learn how to build a blog for Andy and Sofia’s Velocity Bikes business.— New Post button— Add Image button— Customize how your blog looks buttonPreparationLoad http://blog.velocitybikes.net/ in the browser on the trainer computer. To do that, go to www.blogger.com and log in using the following credentials:• Username: email@example.com• Password: vel0c1ty
Hands-on Activity (1 hour)Step 1 Activity Launch (Please turn on your screen now)From the desktop, open your browser and go to Blogger (www.blogger.com) Open a Google account if they don’t already have one. The Activity folder for this topic contains supplemental files (images and text) that are to be inserted into the blog created by the students.Step 2 Step-by-step ExerciseFollow the instructions from the Student Handbook and guide students in practicing how to do the following:— Create a blog account— Customize blog graphics— Add different types of content to a blog— Add gadgets to a blogStep 3 Quick ReviewPreparation— Create gmail account— Use the complete step-by-step instructions in your Student Handbook(Start wrapping up in 30-45 minutes)
Step 1 Consolidating Key Learning PointsKey Learning Point 1: Why having a blog is good for businessHaving a blog is a way of communicating with people, especially those outside your immediate environment. Your customers might read the blog but so can others who are not customers (yet!). The informal nature lets entrepreneurs go beyond business-talk and sales pitches. It provides space to talk about something they care about, something they are passionate about – and get valuable feedback. Blogs spark a real conversation that allows entrepreneurs to gather differing opinions and ideas about their biz & products.Recommended questions— How might your business benefit from having a blog?— What might a blog allow you to do that you couldn’t with more trad’l communication?Key Learning Point 2: Having a blog is a plus, not a mustThe first thing to think about is what type of blog you want to have, and what it is about your business, your skills, your knowledge, that you want to share. Having a blog for the sake of having a blog (everyone has one so I have to have one too!) is a waste of time. Blogs should be personal in that the content on the blog should be original. Don’t worry about whether what you’re writing is worth reading, readers will let you know soon enough! You can reference other blogs or websites as long as you cite the source clearly and explain how the link you’re including is related to your blog theme and why you believe it’s worth visiting. Think about style too – not just graphical style but writing style.
Debrief Steps (20 minutes) Step 1 Consolidating Key Learning PointsKey Learning Point 1: Why having a blog is good for business / Recommended questions— How might your business benefit from having a blog?— What might a blog allow you to do that other, more traditional means of communication wouldn’t?Key Learning Point 2: Having a blog is a plus, not a must / Recommended questions— Which side of your business could you communicate about through a blog?— What sort of writing style do you think you would use in a blog?— Other than writing style, what else might ‘informality’ refer to in the world of blogging?Key Learning Point 3: Keep your blog alive / Recommended questions— You just learned how to add different types of content to your blog. What are some reasons why adding new content might be important?— How often do you think it’s necessary to add new content to a blog?Step 2 Encourage to apply— Choose the right content. — Choose the right platform/CMS— Decide whether to host or not. — Get the word out.— Blog maintenance. Recommended questions— You sit down to create your blog - What should you think about/decide before you sit down at the computer to create the blog, as you just did with the VB?— Do you know of any other blogging tools available? Which ones?— Once your blog is up and running, what should you do to ensure its popularity?
Step 3 Wrapping upGreat! You have learned how to create a blog completely from scratch and have covered all the different aspects of starting and maintaining a blog for your business! I hope you found this lesson useful and that your blog will help you keep your existing clients and attract new ones to your company!
HP Life: Blogging Presented By:Nancy Sanders, MBA, Business Analyst
AgendaVirtual Entrepreneur Story ContextBusiness Scenario Specific ProblemDemonstration Software IntroductionHands on Activity Software demoDebrief Business application
Hands on Activity - Blogging Break into groups of 2-3 Go to www.blogger.comOpen the activity folder on the desktop (text, images) Follow the instructions in your Student Handbook - Create a blog account - Customize graphics - Add content and gadgets
Debrief How does this apply to your business? Is blogging good for your business? Is a blog a must-have? Maintaining your blog
Where do we go from here… Create a blog for your business Post your first blog Attend next week’s project management workshop Go to: http://www.maricopa-sbdc.com/Staff/staff.htm Sign up for one-on-one counseling