Everyone seems to either have or be coming out with a blogging or Instagram class. Are they worth it? Should you pay to take an Instagram class to grow your following? Do they actually give you what they promise?
I have taken a few classes and looked into quite a few more, and it all depends. Here are the questions to ask before buying an Instagram course or a blogging course. I’ve also added a couple I highly recommend at the end of the post.
Who Is the Instagram or Blogging Course By?
This has to be the most important question you ask before giving your hard earned money for a class. Look into the person who is teaching the class. Do they know what they are talking about? Have they had success in the area of the course they are selling? Look at their blog, check out their Instagram and other social media pages, watch their stories or YouTube channel.
Do not just look at things like follower count for Instagram courses though – look for engaged followers. Do people connect to what they post and engage with what they post?
Also ask yourself, do they have a background that makes them qualified to teach the course? You want to find someone who is successful in their field but also knows what they are doing and grew their blog or Instagram following authentically.
For Instagram, you can use research tools like Social Blade and Ninjalitics to look for things like big loop giveaways, purchased followers, and the follow/unfollow game. Keep in mind that not every big gain is because of an inauthentic method. Sometimes a post goes viral or someone gets a big shout out or a big feature that helps them grow quickly.
For blogs, it is harder to know what their traffic looks like unless they share their numbers. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask. There are some tools that provide blog traffic, but they tend to be highly inaccurate. Some bloggers share their traffic on Instagram or in blog posts, so dig around and see what you can find.
You can look to see if they are on Mediavine, an ad network requiring 25,000 sessions in a 30 day period, but even this is inaccurate. You just have to meet that qualification or get close and be approved. If your traffic falls after that, your site still displays Mediavine ads.
Do your best to make sure that the person seems trustworthy before you take the class. You don’t want to pay your hard earned money for a course by someone who has not accomplished or has barely accomplished the thing they are teaching you to do.
Do you Connect With the Person Teaching the Course?
It is important to connect with the person teaching the Instagram or blogging course. Sure, they may be successful, but do you connect with them as a person? Does their personality type work for you?
Look at their blog or Instagram. Do you connect to what they post? Do you feel like you know them and want to know them from their stories? Personality shines through on blogs and in posts and stories on Instagram, so see if you get along with that person. After all, the course probably includes hours of video with them teaching you.
What Are Your Goals & Expectations for the Blogging or Instagram Course?
It is important to know your goals and your expectations before signing up. For example, if you are just looking to grow, most courses advertise meeting this goal (whether they do or not). If your goal is to work with brands or make money on Instagram though, some courses do not focus as heavily on this.
You want to find a class that lines up with your goals before signing up to make sure it can meet your expectations. Look at the modules in the course and see if there is enough value to justify you taking the course.
If you already know most of what is in the course and just wanted to learn one thing, there may be a better course for you. On the other hand, if you feel like the course can help you make back what you spent on it, take it! If the knowledge you gain is worth the price of the course, take it!
Expectation versus reality is a common theme on Instagram. You don’t want it to be a part of your blogging or Instagram class though. You want the class you pay for and invest in to be able to meet or even exceed your expectations.
Do you want a class that offers one-on-one support from the teacher? Do you want a class that gives lifetime access? Are you looking for a group to connect with as well or just a class to learn from? Is there a refund available if you find it is not meeting your expectations (and is the refund period long enough for you to actually look at the course with your schedule)?
Whatever your expectations, make sure the class you take is capable of meeting those expectations.
What Success Stories Does That Class Have?
How can you find out if the class will meet your expectations? The best way is to reach out to previous students.
See if there is a testimonial page on the course website. If there are not any testimonials, that could be a warning sign or the class may just be new. If there is a testimonial page, find some accounts in a similar niche or that have the results you want and DM those people. Ask them about the course. Tell them about your goals and expectations and see if they think the class will meet those expectations.
If there is not a testimonial page, you can also reach out to the course creator. Ask them for a list of success stories and then reach out to those students. If someone you follow talks about that course on their page, reach out to them and ask about it.
What Free Information Does the Instructor Provide?
Before paying your hard earned cash, look for the freebies that person offers. I feel like the freebies show a lot about the quality of the content. If a course creator is offering tips like using bots and pods as a free tip and teaching an Instagram course, do you really want to pay to see the rest of the tips? If they offer the very basic tips that you can find anywhere and give little information about them, do you trust you will get your money’s worth from the course itself?
Personally, I would not. I look for blog posts that are useful and give useful, in-depth information. If they are willing to give me good and useful information for free, then I assume the information I pay for will be even better.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line about Instagram and blogging classes is that some are worth the money and some are not. It is important to do the research. Some courses really do bring value to you and will help you reach your goals. However, you have to be willing to work for them. No class out there can offer you a way to authentically grow your account or your blog without putting in the work.
If you are expecting to find some big secret that works overnight, you will be disappointed or be stuck with bad advice. You have to be wiling to put in the work and use the strategies from the class for them to work.
An Instagram Course Recommendation
I have taken a few Instagram classes. As a former teacher before becoming a full-time blogger, I see the value of investing in education. I had to pay a university a lot of money (well, my scholarship did) to get my degree to teach. If my goals are to make my blog and Instagram profitable, why not invest in them as well?
I signed up for Instagram for Success (affiliate link) with Helen Sula of HeleninBetween.com two years ago (you can see a clip of an interview with me on the course page – the full interview is available inside the course). It only opens once a year, usually early in the year (this year it closes on April 16, 2020, but she is thinking about extending it).
If you happen to be reading this when the course is not open, Helene does have an Instagram Content System video course that also comes with a content planner and workbook. This course focuses on creating Instagram content that keeps people coming back for more. It dives into research that shows what types of captions work and how to create the best posting calendar and plan for you.
When I signed up for Instagram for Success in 2018, I had about 5,000 followers, decent likes, very few comments, no clue what I needed to fix or change, and no clue about working with brands. A year later, I tripled my Instagram following, have a high engagement rate, get over 100 comments per post, took my blog views from 20 a month to 4,000 a month, and signed travel contracts and worked with several clothing, high end jewelry, and accessory brands.
After spending 2019 focusing on my blog instead of Instagram, my engagement stayed high on Instagram, but my blog grew to over 50,000 page views in a month, and I left my job teaching to blog full-time. I have never once regretted the money I invested in Instagram for Success.
I signed a contract right after finishing the course for two round trip tickets from Florida to Spain with Next Vacay. That more than covered the cost of the class. When I signed the deal, I only had about 6,000 followers. I thought I needed to have 100,000+ followers to get a deal like that, but I learned how to reach out to brands and gave it a try.
Since taking the course, I’ve continued working with brands. I always choose only those that best represent my personal brand and interest my audience. We have worked several times with Westgate Resorts, staying at four of their properties including Westgate River Ranch and Westgate Cocoa Beach. I have also worked with brands like Eagle Creek, Jackson Hole Jewelry, and Hari Mari among others.
In the course, Helene goes over the algorithm, her specific hashtag strategy and hashtag research tools, developing your brand and ideal follower, and a ton of other information related to Instagram growth. The most valuable part of the course for me though was the section on monetizing.
In Instagram for Success, Helene gives you her media kit template, an email template to send to brands, and her rate sheet plus a calculator to figure out what to charge. I had no idea what a media kit was before the class and no idea how to reach out to brands, but now I have a media kit I update regularly to work with brands I love.
I found out about Helene through a previous student of her class. That person had nothing but good things to say about the class and Helene. I looked at Helene’s blog, and she has a TON of free information about Instagram and blogging. In fact, I found myself on her website for hours clicking and reading post after post. With all of the good information she offered for free, I knew I could trust her to teach me even more in the class.
In addition to the class, there is also a Facebook page associated with the class. I have made friends through the class and even met some of the girls in real life. The Facebook page is where Helene gives Instagram updates between the yearly overhaul she gives the course (you have lifetime access to updates). I can go on at any time and ask a question or share a success or struggle and get support. Plus, I have a community of like-minded individuals to network with and collaborate with on ideas.
This is one course worth the investment if you are looking to grow your Instagram, drive traffic to your blog or website, and make your Instagram profitable. If you have questions about it, feel free to email me or DM me.
Blogging Resources I Recommend
While I have not taking any blogging courses to grow my blog, I do have some resources I highly recommend. If you are like I was and struggling with SEO, check out the Make Traffic Happen SEO books. They also have a speed optimization book I highly recommend.
If you are not a reader and prefer to learn with videos, Make Traffic Happen does offer a blogging course. I have not taken the course, but several friends I trust have taken it and loved it.
In addition, make sure to join the FREE Make Traffic Happen Facebook group. DNW – Making Money From Blogging is another great FREE blogging Facebook group, and Sharon’s website also has lots of free resources. Her blogging course is another one that comes highly recommended.
When it comes to Instagram and blogging courses, don’t set yourself up for disaster. Know your expectations going in and do your research first. Just because you follow the person and love their photos does not mean their class is the best option.
You must be willing to do the work to make the course work for you. Just because you do the work and research the course first does not guarantee certain results or that you will love the class. It is at least a good start though!
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