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Better Blogging & More: Skills for Edu-Opinion Writing

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Better Blogging & More: Skills for Edu-Opinion Writing

Hosted by Bellwether Education Partners with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

June 27-28, 2017
Washington, D.C.

Program Background
Event Details
Feedback from Past Participants
The Better Blogging Network
Qualifications for Applicants
Apply Now

Applications are now closed. We expect to notify applicants by the end of April.

PROGRAM BACKGROUND

Bellwether Education Partners seeks applications for our ninth Better Blogging & More session, a new media training designed for current and aspiring education opinion writers. 

Not all education blogs and websites are equal in their reach or quality. Some receive thousands of daily visitors, while others get a few dozen or fewer. On some, the writing is crisp and accessible, while on others, good ideas and important viewpoints are lost in overheated rhetoric, jargon, or cumbersome prose. While the recent profusion of education blogs and opinion websites lets fresh voices join the debate, the volume of information available online can make it difficult to stand out. The Better Blogging & More session aims to build participants’ tactical marketing and writing skills, advancing their ability to express and promote important ideas in the education landscape.

The training does not focus on what to write. Instead, this training focuses exclusively on how to write and effectively market your opinion writing, whether on your own blog or an external website. Applicants who are uncomfortable with an ideologically diverse environment are discouraged from applying. This seminar is strictly viewpoint-neutral; participants and coaches come from across the political and ideological spectrum.

Past participants rate this training as among the most effective they have ever attended:

“The Better Blogging training should be required professional development not only for education bloggers but also communications professionals. While the training covered what I expected, like tips on topics ranging from headline writing to social media promotion, it also offered me strategic [advice] on how to completely rethink my organization's blogging fellowship and guest blogging program, as well as our approach to communications more broadly. Since I attended the training, we have become much more thoughtful about the voices and ideas we elevate  on our blog and beyond.” 
Ari Kiener, EdAllies

 

EVENT DETAILS

The full-day event covers both writing skills and concrete promotion strategies. In the writing-focused portions of the day, participants will receive hands-on practice, coaching sessions with professional writers, and opportunities to receive feedback from other participants. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Use basic guidelines for writing brief, reader-friendly commentary pieces
  • Write ledes and headlines that attract and retain readers
  • Self-edit and effectively revise copy

The sessions on marketing tools and tactics will cover:

  • Strategies for increasing readership and profile
  • Effective use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms to amplify your message
  • Tips to effectively pitch your content to other blogs and websites

All sessions are led by accomplished journalists and new media professionals with an established track record of producing high-quality online writing, attracting and maintaining a significant reader base, and effectively using new media strategies to influence public debate and media coverage of specific issues. Our accomplished roster of coaches includes Pulitzer Prize winners, editors at leading national publications, and social media professionals with deep experience in marketing.

 

FEEDBACK FROM PAST PARTICIPANTS

This training consistently receives exceptionally high ratings from attendees. Here’s what attendees have to say about their experience afterwards:

“The Better Blogging seminar greatly improved my writing. I am blogging more concise, poignant pieces and my voice as a teacher has gained greater confidence. I am now starting to network online and build a loyal readership.”
—Marilyn Rhames, blogger at Education Post and alumni support manager at a Chicago charter school

“[This] was some of the best training/professional development I’ve ever received … and in such a short amount of time!”
—Brianna Crowley, high school English teacher, Hershey, Pa., and blogger

“The training gave me the tools to make my organization’s blog stand out from the crowd. The presenters offered insights into not only creating content that jumps off the page but also marketing it so that it attracts the widest audience and has the biggest impact. I go back to tips from the training on a daily basis, as I'm creating headlines, promoting our blog on social media, and talking to teachers about how to tell their stories most effectively.”
—Kate McGovern, Teach Plus

 

THE BETTER BLOGGING NETWORK

Alumni of the Better Blogging training stay engaged and connected to fellow attendees long after the event is over. “Graduates” are invited to join the Better Blogging Alumni Group, a Google group of past attendees who share blog posts, solicit feedback, and cross-promote the work of their colleagues.

 

QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPLICANTS

Participants will be selected based on quality of application and ability to benefit. Priority is given to applicants who are active personal or organizational opinion writers, but aspiring writers or bloggers are also encouraged to apply. If less than 50 percent of your writing is about education, you are not eligible to attend.

If accepted, you must commit to attend the entire day-long event in Washington, D.C., which begins at 8 a.m. and will end by 5:15 p.m. on June 28. If we get enough interest, we will also hold a pre-training Better Blogging Boot Camp session on the afternoon of June 27, which offers an introduction to blogging and defining your niche as a writer.

The training is free, but participants must cover their travel and lodging costs. A small stipend for travel and lodging may be available based on demonstrated need.

If you have questions, contact events@bellwethereducation.org, otherwise you can apply below. We expect to notify applicants by the end of April.

 

APPLICATION

Each session, Bellwether receives far more applications than we have seats available, so we encourage you to answer questions as completely and carefully as you can. Applications are now closed. We expect to notify applicants by the end of April.