Talking to students prompts re-evaluation of course notes

Peter Graves

Written by Peter Graves on .

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Every time we schedule a new Internet Marketing Course it gives me the opportunity to update the course notes, and hopefully of course to make improvements.

As you will know Internet Marketing is a fast moving field, and though the fundamentals of SEO and web marketing are very consistent, the details change, and the tactics used to achieve the best results move on from one week to the next.

The next course is a bit different however, because instead of presenting to a variety of businesses who are trying to create better results with their web sites, I have been invited to speak to writing students at our local university - University College Falmouth.

As well as being an honour this has an element of humour in it - for me at least - because it will actually be my first ever University Lecture: and I am taking it.  I had at one point planned to read Mechanical Engineering at Liverpool University but took a year out first to start motorcycle racing.  Needless to say the racing won over University, so many years later I find myself at a potential disadvantage to the students whom I will be teaching, as I walk into a lecture for the very first time.  Does this mean that I'm actually too thick to be teaching at a University at all?

Secondly of course there is our own SEO and copy-writing team here, made up currently of Anna and Emma.  Anna being my other half and co-founder of the company rather unkindly pointing out "Why are you taking a course on copy-writing for SEO -  you don't do any!"  I think I defended myself well enough there however - after all I may not do as much as those two do from day to day, but I have done a great deal overall.  I am still fundamentally involved with all parts of the web marketing process, even if as we've grown it tends to be sometimes at a higher level.  And I do still teach on it several times per year!

So having dealt with the various slings and arrows and with my self-confidence shattered before I even arrive there, it is back to the course preparations.  Of course the real point of the day is to sum up the most important techniques and considerations of copy-writing for SEO on the web, put together some meaningful exercises, and ensure that the students come away with a clear grasp of the  fundamentals.

In itself this should be easy.  We have an established course already written that includes copywriting as one of its 8 modules, and which has been used and refined now on a great number of occasions.  However I have to expect them to be younger than my usual audience, possibly less business savvy, but also perhaps better writers than the average business person.  At least I hope they are; unless we are to believe the Daily Mail view of declining educational standards.

But the fundamental difference for me is that they are studying this for entirely different reasons.   Rather than studying web marketing so that their business can make more money on-line, these guys and girls are studying writing as a possible future career.  If I am to do them justice I need to focus more on the theory, frankly getting into a little more depth despite the short time available.

The fundamentals are going to be the same as ever:

  1. If you haven't chosen your Keywords properly then all the SEO in the world is a waste of time.
  2. You are both copy-writing for SEO and rankings, and at the same time writing to interest real people, and persuade them to take some particular action.  Both of these objectives have to be achieved using the same words on the same page.
  3. All the detail of keyword positioning needs to be covered of course, as does semantic variation, not overdoing it, avoiding all the various types of SEO mal-practice, and so on.

So it should be pretty easy right?  After all - all I have to do is explain what we do every day of the week for our clients, pretty much as we do in the Internet marketing course.  I've enjoyed rethinking the course for a different audience, and a differnet time scale too, and I think a couple of points will be added to the main course that I hope will make that stronger too.

Anyway I'll tidy up a few course details, and let you know once I've presented how I think I got on - or whether I get invited back again.
Have a good week!

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