please talk to me about blogging to build a profile for new business(13 Posts)
I've developed a passion for a niche educational field (music education for the disadvantaged). I've created an innovative inclusive orchestra in our primary school and the head has turned it into a job. This is not something that any teacher with a music degree can do (sorry sounds like bragging but need to be clear).
I've worked my way into the main uk online forums on the topic and see that what I've done chimes with what Ofsted wants to see, etc,etc but isn't being done by other people.
I would love to make this my main job. But I would want to earn as much as I do at present doing part-time legal work.
Has anyone used a blog to raise their profile in this sort of situation? If so, where did you host the blog, and did you always write it as if it were a job interview? (ie measuring very carefully what you said).
Not sure I fully understand what your desired part-time role would be - consultant to help other schools/maybe community groups to do what you have done at your current school? Or a travelling "disadvantged children orchestra" organiser in a few schools?
You say the Head has turned it into a job, so has he paid somebody to do it?
Just trying to work out who your prospective client audience is.
I blog on my niche (marketing) and I use the content to push out in a newsletter. Mine is on my website.
A blog will allow you to softly sell what you do and to gain followers of what you do. I think the question is, will the people likely to pay for your services be likely to read it? If it is Head Teachers etc, I think you would need to supplement with some direct marketing.
Blogs are meant to be authentic, so I would say that most professional blogs are written with some care re perception but with enough personality to make it interesting.
However, if depends if yours is going to be purely personal and you happen to blog about the orchestra.
My blog isn't my main form of marketing though, so hopefully who is in that situ will add their view.
Not sure if that helps.
Watching with interest... As I also want to make a care change of the same sort of nature (ie not at all related to current salaried job!)
A friend of mine who is self employed (in recruitment) said to me last year that it is old hat to give yourself a job title and try to sell a fixed list of services. She said, 'write a blog about all the stuff you are passionate about, drop in the odd reference, qualification, seminar attendance, examples of your work, and people will come to you.' Possibly with projects that you wouldn't necessarily have pitched for.
Also she said use LinkedIn and Twitter to put yourself amongst groups of like minded people/businesses and get yourself into the "but I might know someone who can" sort of space.
sorry, should explain better.
last year: was parent volunteer starting an orchestra from scratch
this year: have become paid external service provider to the same school - head felt that my work had become too central to be done on a voluntary basis.
plan next year: attempt to reproduce experiment in different school
five year plan: change the way music education is provided and funded (in Venezuela, they pay for their "Sistema" out of the social services budget, not the arts or education budget).
so margo your questions are really helpful - I need to think about the fact that the blog will be around in 5 years' time....
Well done for doing something good/rewarding and getting paid for it.
I can see that a blog which reflects the development of the orchestra(s) could attract a following of people interested in such things. Would you have enough to say? And how much would you not be able to say due to keeping the kids involved anon (if you have to, child protection)?
A blog could help you raise your profile and help you reach the influencers within schools, if not the decision makers. It can also act as an "online business card" for what you are doing.
I would still ask if you need to do a blog. If actually your decision-makers are a handful of Head Teachers (or others, I don't know enough about school procurement) could a testimonal, case study or video (if you have that) from your original school sent directly to the decision makers be enough?
A blog won't harm you (and may give you a creative outlet, that I guess your legal job doesn't offer), but to be effective it needs it be updated requlary. So you need ideas and time. But it can be done, as the fact M N is going a Blogfest. I saw some of the bloggers on twitter talking about a blogging conf they were at today. It is big business.
May also post on the bloggers forum? And hopefully somebody else who does do as you asked about.
margot that is very helpful.
I think you are right to point out that the decision-makers aren't going to read a blog and also to point out child protection.
Find your decision makers and find what your decision makers read - that's where to target your efforts. But even before you do that, you need to research your market thoroughly. I am (in a good way) that your school has managed to find funding for what you do - our last school couldn't find funding for TAs, for example. I think what you're doing and the fact that the school is willing to support it is brilliant, but what evidence do you have that other schools would follow suit?
On your original point, yes, you should think carefully about tone of voice in all your marketing. Talking about 'the disadvantaged' wouldn't earn you any brownie points round here.
I would recommend a blog or a website. That way if prospective customers want to know a little more they can do so without feeling obligated and without having to contact a stranger. Let them see what you've done and what you can do for them. Don't get too wound up on the child protection stuff. Make yourself aware of it but a lot of people go overboard on this. Who watches the watchers, eh? Perhaps the school would be happy for a group pic of the orchestra for your blog or site. If not, ask if you can link to the school's music page where there may be similar info. Or ask if you can do a write up about the orchestra for the school website and link to that. It sounds like a great business and all businesses these days should have a presence on the internet. Market yourself in an exciting way. Think Sister Act! I think what you're doing is great and it sounds exciting. If your blog/website can put that across you'll be on your way. Do you have any video performances of the orchestra, or does the school? Bear in mind a lot of schools can't afford to pay for such stuff but if you're doing it freelance it's obviously going to cost them a lot less than if they had to employ someone.
Now you see I look at the idea of a blog as achieving your five-year plan. Think of it as a series of thought-pieces and good articles about what musical education can achieve, and different ways of funding and managing it.
Plus, get some coverage in a national paper, and the TES -- invite them along to see exactly what you're doing with the orchestra in this school. Your blog then supports your new positioning as a thought-leader and leading practitioner in this field.
They will come to you then ...
but 99% of blogs are only read by the writer and their best friend .....
DH does a semi blog on his public facebook page, posts to twitter (but NEVER reads it) and links that to linkedin
the website is updated regularly
but I'm not sure a blog would be that useful - if nothing else because by writing about his work he could have data protection issues with the schools he visits ....
For what you are doing, a blog which consists of a number of well thought-out and persuasive articles could work better than a 'sales-y' website. I can see it working well if you try to generate press coverage (articles in eg Music Teacher magazine) which then links to your blog why you discuss WHY what you're offering is so important and beneficial that decision-makers should allocate some of their hard-pressed budget to it (ideally with stats like "maths results increased 300% as a result of this music initiative !)
Good luck! I am trying to offer schools some workshops with a chamber group at the moment which are fully-funded and free for a particular target group of schools and STILL having enormous difficultly in getting them to take up the opportunity.
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