I have some 2000 friends on Facebook. Of course not all of them are close friends, but also family and business peers. Most of all are in ELT (ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING) one way or another: as teachers, publishers, writers, distributors or students. Of course, our news feeds are packed with info about methodologies, new materials, suggestions on lessons, and self-congratulatory posts on how great it is to be a teacher. The latter, I must confess, are not among my favorite posts: you didn’t see Steve Jobs talking about how great it was to be a brilliant marketer all the time. He presented us the results of his work in terms of concrete products. Of course, with teaching, not all products are tangible, customers are more likely to talk about the quality of our service. However, if we are teachers, we should be teaching on the Internet: not only languages – our main job – but other stuff we have fun with, things we like, activities we are good at and we can share with other people.
We live in a fascinating age where we can show our work on as many and varied platforms as we care to look for: photos on Instagram; videos on YouTube and Vimeo; pictorial suggestions and ideas on Pinterest; snippets of your expertise on Twitter; blogs on WordPress…. to name just the most common. I’m surprised you guys – the experts in inparting knowledge and sharing strategies in meaningful and structured ways – are not doing that more often online. Most of you keep posting cat pictures and your latest dinner photo on Facebook. That’s fine: some of the cats are even cute, but you can do so much more.
Everytime I go through my news feed I’m fascinated to find out how my friends know about so many different and interesting things: pets and how to treat them, unusual recipes, places to go to on vacation, art, suggestions on movies to watch, you name it. Most times, however, they just share a copy of something written by another person they might have come across online and expand a little bit on that.
Well, do more.
Create a blog on the topic and let us learn from you. I have no idea how to cook, and would love to read a simple cooking blog written by any of my friends and would be glad to share with her the results of my efforts, for example. If, for some reason, you don’t like to write, use pictures, videos, cartoons. The important thing is to come up with a story. Create a thread that can lead us to what you are trying to teach us, the goal you wish us to reach. Make it didactic and systematic, set exercises, answer our questions, help us. Who knows, you may even make money out of it, if it gets great readership.
I myself started a blog (LINGUAGEM: jorgesette.com) a year ago just for fun, discussing not only language, my favorite topic, but other themes I enjoyed (movies, art, books, culture, TV shows, marketing, sales), but now the blog is becoming more and more professional, as it’s helping me promote the language eBooks I publish on Amazon.com. As I write in English, I’m easily read all over the world, and it’s really gratifying the sense of pride and accomplishment you get when I see my humble stuff being read in the US, India, Pakistan, France, etc. This year (2015) we’ve been getting more than 3000 views per month, and getting stronger.
So, my recommendation is don’t think about the money first: publish something on the Internet for fun: gather an audience, build a network, and make new friends. Then, if it works out, turn it into a business.
Don’t waste time: start teaching us today! It’s fun.
On the other hand, for those interested in reading how a professional blog for customers should be written, please refer to my previous article: Should you have a blog as a marketer:
You know, I’d just like to try the ‘old-fashion’ way and attempt the traditional publishing route first. What you suggest makes complete sense, and I have entertained the various possibilities and self-publishing venues. I’m ready to tackle self-publishing if my original attempt falls flat.
Your post here is loaded with excellent information. Thank you for sharing.
Have a lovely Brazilian week.
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Thanks for your kind words and feedback. Keep me informed of your publishing plans please.
You’re most welcome, Jorge. I will. If a traditional publisher decides to publish my book, you’ll hear me yell for joy all the way in Brazil 😉