Collaborating with other teachers can be a really good way to bring new and interesting content to your site, and to get your content in front of new people.
Rather than seeing other teachers as competition, if done well, working with other teachers can benefit both of you. For example, I’ve written guest content for other sites, taken guest posts, promoted other people’s events, had my events promoted, been a guest on podcasts, and had guests on my podcast. The list goes on. I know that some people have also done joint events and joint webinars. I haven’t done this yet, but I think it’s a great idea.
I did do a joint Blab with another teacher once. I didn’t really like the platform enough to use it myself, and it doesn’t exist now, but still it was a new experience, and especially if you’re both new to something, doing it together makes it a bit easier.
One of my friends publicised a webinar that I did a couple of years ago, and I’m still getting requests for the replay because of it!
Links from other reputable sites are good for increasing your domain authority and search engine rankings. Most of my traffic comes from search engines, and if I can do something that makes my content more appealing to search engines whilst not compromising my integrity (there are plenty of questionable practices out there), I want to do it!
In addition, there’s something nice about building up good working relationships with other people in the industry, because they may become friends and people with whom you can bounce around ideas, share wins or frustrations, and have a virtual cup of coffee. This is particularly nice for those of us who work remotely.
Having said that, I wouldn’t take part in every collaboration. Here are some things to think about.
1. Do you have the same type of audience?
It’s perfectly fine, and even a good thing, if you and the other teacher bring completely different skills to the table, but will your content be relevant to both audiences? I’ve worked with other business English teachers before, and I’ve written a post about listening for a website that focusses on listening skills. I could also see myself contributing to sites about good writing skills. However, if the site were aimed at children, my content wouldn’t be relevant to them, and the content from the other site is unlikely to be interesting for my adult readers. The same would apply to a joint webinar – especially if you’re going to try to bring both audiences together, you need to be sure that both audiences will benefit from whatever you’re going to teach.
2. Will the collaboration get you in front of your ideal customer?
Following on from the last point, it’s not so beneficial for you if you get a lot of new followers or subscribers who will have no interest in the type of content that you put out. So – publicity is good, but not all publicity is equally helpful, and it’s smart if you can get your content in front of people who are likely to be interested in what you do, and your future content.
3. Is this content that I want to promote?
This is a tough one, but if you don’t think the other blog or site is very good, do you really want to promote it to your followers just so that you can get some extra page views by contributing to the other site. This could be a question of quality, presentation, or style. There may be nothing wrong with the way someone does something, but if there presentation style drives you crazy, maybe it will drive your audience crazy too! There are Youtube videos that I won’t watch – the information is fine, but the in-your-face presenting style gives me a headache!
Are your teaching styles compatible? It’s ok if you have different approaches, but if someone teaches something that is directly at odds with what you believe people should be doing, that might be a problem.
I’m quite selective about what goes on my blog, because it reflects on me and my brand, and I’m not willing to sell my soul for page views!
4. How similar are our products and services?
If you have a similar audience, the chances are good that your content will be mutually useful. I’m happy to promote my friend’s walking group with a focus on practicing English in berlin. I don’t do any face-to-face meetings, and maybe it’s something that my readers in Berlin would enjoy. I have another friend who does coffee and question sessions on her Facebook page. I’m happy to promote that too, because I don’t do that. However, if one of those friends decided to do a grammar course, I probably wouldn’t promote that, because I have a grammar course. So although it’s great to help other teachers out, I think it’s also good to keep in mind what you are offering.
5. Will it be fair?
There are some unwritten rules such as if someone lets you write a guest blog for them, it’s good if you share that with your followers too. Equally, if someone does a guest post for you, it’s good to put the same amount of effort into sharing it as you would for one of your own posts. Nothing will happen to you if you don’t do these things, but you may find other people less likely to want to work with you if you get a reputation for not being willing to give as well as take.
What experiences have you had with collaborations? Let me know in the comments.
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Achieving results online with adult language learners
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In the 40 chapters of the book, you’ll find several articles that I have published online, along with exclusive content that can only be found in the book. I talk about my experiences of setting up an online language teaching business, what I’ve learned, and how I’ve dealt with a variety of challenges, both in terms of organisation and running the lessons.