This spring Melissa Culbertson from Momcomm started an online content-building course called Content Brew. The course takes place over seven days and each day consists of a video, handout and additional explanation if necessary. Each person can work through the material at their own pace. She covers all aspects of content planning including blog posts, Facebook and Twitter. She recently talked with me about her project.
What made you start the Content Brew courses?
The idea for online courses had been in the back of my head for about a year before it actually launched! The decision to create Content Brew specifically came from what I see around me as a blogger. I’ve seen many bloggers complain about not knowing what to write about, what to post on their Facebook page and not having a good method for planning posts. Being in marketing, I’ve been planning content for years and extended that into my blogging. I decided my method could help other bloggers who feel stuck and feel like they need a good system to their blogging (while still allowing room to be spontaneous).
How has the response been?
Beyond what I ever expected! In fact, four of the five Content Brew sessions have sold out at 50 people per class (the last class was about 5-6 short of selling out too)! The initial launch of the course sold out in 3 hours! I’ve heard things like “what I really needed,” “revolutionizing” and “confidence-building.” It makes me insanely happy to hear this class has that kind of effect.
What do you think is the key element to your success so far?
Having a class that breaks things down step-by-step instead of giving broad advice. I tell you exactly what to do, but of course leave room for flexibility. Our blogs are all unique and our planning should be too. However, this course gives people a nice framework to then tweak to make it their own.
Since your classes are online is it easy for the students to interact with you and each other?
Yes! Each Content Brew session includes two chats in a private chat room as well a private Facebook group. I’ve gotten so many compliments from people who were surprised at the type of camaraderie they developed with other classmates. My favorite is watching students post their Day 2 assignments and seeing everyone come together and brainstorm loads and loads of blog post ideas for each other. It’s quite awesome! We talk daily in the Facebook groups and end up talking beyond content planning too.
Your course covers more than just creating blog posts, also building content for Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Why do you feel it is important to plan for those areas too?
Planning allows more time for interacting with readers, fans and followers. Plus, it helps you remember to post or tweet! When you write posts for social media in batches, you can spend more time building relationships and talking with others instead of trying to get in the mood to write or wondering what to say. In the marketing world, social media is nearly always planned out while leaving room for spontaneity. By no means should all your content be planned out and never flexible– that would be rather boring. And of course, you shouldn’t ever pre-plan a tweet like “I’m so happy to have my coffee this morning!” That’s not genuine. I’m talking about something like creating a list of questions, tips, etc related to the topics you write about and scattering them through your Content Calendar. This way, you’re continually engaging with your audience.
What changes are you making for upcoming sessions?
At the moment, no changes are planned. However, as new courses are developed, Content Brew will most likely turn to a self-paced format instead of an instructor-led one. That way I can teach new things and still have some close resemblance to a work-life balance!
Are you planning to do any other courses?
Absolutely! I’m working on some great things behind-the-scenes and hope to introduce some new courses over the next few months.