I, Bill Belew, wondered to myself, what if I could get a bunch of, say 50+ MBA-level students together in a classroom setting and have them take content and inbound marketing serious? Could I learn something? What would I learn?
More prone to acting than just sitting around and thinking about things, I approached a university in the Bay Area of Silicon Valley about offering a course on content and inbound marketing in their MBA program. They hopped right on it and a class called – Marketing with Social Media – was born.
On the first day of class 65, count ’em, of 74 enrolled students showed up. The other nine students missed class for one reason or the other and are playing catch up.
There were some 16 hours of instructions over two days on the first of three weekends for a full 48-hour course.
The university allows that students be given two hours of outside-the-classroom, I think that’s called homework, for every one hour in the class room
Think big smile! I gave my students 96 hours of work EACH to do on their web sites.
Calculator says – 96 hours x 74 students = 7,200 hours of dedicated effort to creating good, meaningful, original content on brand spanking new web sites.
Give or take a few dropped students and some overachievers and I am reasonably expecting at least some 5,000-6000+ hours of, ahem, quality (more on the challenges in future articles) work to be done in a variety of niches on different blogs by business-minded content creators who have a vested interest in their sites. Vested interest = they will fail the class if they don’t do what I require or they really want to launch a business idea that they have been mulling over and they are using the class to do that.
15 questions I want answered:
- Are short articles better than longer ones? And for whom or for what?
- How long should articles be?
- Is it better to post once a day, multiple times a day, weekly?
- What about linking internally to one’s own site?
- What about linking externally to other quality sites?
- What’s a good reasonable strategy for acquiring back links from other sites?
- Can my students get mojo if they link to each other and there is a relevance to the sites that are linked together?
- What about images? Captions? Descriptions?
- Do some niches perform better than others when starting out? When already established?
- What about traffic from the other social networks?
- Inbound traffic – is it better coming from search, referrals, direct, paid or the social networks?
- What are some of the challenges, lessons learned when going from zero to 65 people online working on creating quality content for marketing purposes?
- Is content marketing a good strategy to generate revenue from impressions, for selling affiliate products, for offering services, for local, national or global traffic?
- Is getting a group like this together to create a network even copacetic?
- And what about plugins? Are some better than others? Are there some that are more important than others? Are there some that are essential?
I expect to KNOW as oppose to guess at the answers to many of these questions above as well as to questions I haven’t even thought to ask yet, which is why I’ll end this article with some questions for the reader.
5 questions I want to ask you:
- What if you were me?
- What would you do with this class?
- Where would you start?
- What would you teach?
- What kinds of requirements would you make of them?
Please meet me in the comments and let me know your answers.
Consider following this series as I provide insights, lessons learned, victories and failures (if you promise not to judge) from the case studies generated in and out of this class.
3 Steps for those who want in on the content marketing discussion:
Step 1 -Subscribe to this NMX blog to get updates when they come out here.
Step 2 – Subscribe to the Bill Belew.com/blog to get more immediate updates from me at my home site.
Step 3 – Read the inbound and content marketing students experiences first hand. The students are giving weekly updates in the Guest Writer category. Oftentimes, you might read about their experiences BEFORE I do. That’s right. My editors might push them through before I see them.
PLEASE: If my students blast me in one of their posts before I see it, let me know. 😎