Event: The Blogcademy Melbourne.

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This year has been one of professional development. I’ve completed two unpaid internships at Meanjin and The Lifted Brow, I’m working for Outback Championship Wrestling as their TV show’s host (which I have no idea how to do!) and I’ve spent my fair share of dosh on both in-person and online workshops, the most expensive of which was the Blogcademy, at upwards of $AU800.

That event took place last week at the Establishment Studios on Grattan Street in Prahan and was hosted by darlings of the blogging world Gala Darling, Shauna Haider and Kat Williams. I’d secured my place earlier in the year before I’d done many of the other workshops I mentioned above so by the time last week rolled around I was feeling about as professionally developed as I’m going to get so I wasn’t as excited as some of the other Blogcadettes seemed to be. Another factor that contributed to my stillness was that I’ve long stopped trying to monetise my blog, and instead I’m focusing on my freelance career (more to come on that soon).

Having said that, though, what I was most looking forward to was being around successful businesswomen who I hoped would inspire me going into the New Year.

While I certainly felt galvanised by Gala, Shauna and Kat and their stories, I felt that the workshop was a bit “Blogging 101” and that anyone who already had a blog, as was the case with all but one or two of the attendees, would already be familiar with much of the content.

I told some of the Blogcadettes at lunch on the first day what I was hoping to get out of the class, and that watching the Headmistresses divide the modules that make up the Blogcademy amongst themselves based on who was best equipped to teach them impressed me. As someone who really values their time and will not work for free anymore, I really respect the three women’s routine and that they were also able to work on their own businesses and blogs in the downtime between teaching modules. (What impressed me less was that the handful of volunteers assisting over the course of the two days were unpaid.)

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Putting to use my newfound Instagram skills after abusing the photobooth.

As the second day wore on, it became clear to many of the Blogcadettes that we perhaps weren’t going to get our $800 worth of blogging wisdom. The first half of the day consisted of taking the perfect Instagram picture, which is all well and good for those who rely heavily on that mode of social media such as Gala, Shauna and Kat, but I really hoped to get something more out of the social media component than how to take the perfect selfie. We then proceeded on to a one hour and fifty minute lunch before starting back on how to monetise your blog. By that point all the attendees had had a chat about the Blogcademy not living up to our expectations and that disillusionment could be felt in the Establishment Studios.

I’d told one of the other Blogcadettes my admiration for Gala, Shauna and Kat’s time management skills and she agreed but added that it could be construed as boredom, disinterest and concern with what was happening on their Twitter and Instagram than being engaged with us. It really hammered home that they’re businesswomen looking to make money from us; they’re not our friends as much as they may make us feel that way when reading their blogs (which could perhaps be the benchmark for successful blogging).

A couple of other people said that the bulk of the notes they made whilst in the workshop were of how they would better facilitate it, which is a pretty damning testament. Many others were disappointed at the lack of engagement and one-on-one time; “was anyone addressed by name over the two days?” someone wondered. (The consensus was mixed on the use of nametags, which I think could have been helpful.)

I’m making the Blogcademy sound like a painful, not al all valuable chore of a workshop and it was anything but. I got some good feedback on my blog, and somewhat of the kick up the ass I needed to implement changes to it. I probably wouldn’t recommend it, and I would encourage anyone looking to help out the next time the Blogcademy rolls into town to ask for payment; with 150 attendees in 2014, there should surely be some funds left over to support other budding businesswomen. (What’s that they say about women who don’t support other women…?) But the most invaluable aspect of the workshop was meeting the awesome women in the blogging community that travelled from interstate and overseas to attend, which I really respect and admire. Those who live in Melbourne are some kick-ass ladies I’m really looking forward to meeting up with again.

Failing that, at least I’ll be able to claim the Blogcademy back on tax!

11 thoughts on “Event: The Blogcademy Melbourne.

  1. Holy crap – I’m really glad I didn’t fork out the money for this, then! There are SO MANY courses out there that require a pretty penny, it’s often hard to find honest reviews online.

    Do you think you might have been a bit ahead of their target market, though? Sometimes it’s hard to find a course that teaches on your level, because a lot of these marketing/blogging/social media courses are for beginners. I feel like the Blogcademy was probably for rookies, which you, my dear, are not!

    I hope that lots of other newbie bloggers managed to get something out of it, though :)

    Thanks for providing such a frank review Scarlett!

    • I think I definitely was ahead of their target audience, and I had been blogging the longest by far of all the attendees. But I don’t feel the Blogcademy was marketed that way; I don’t recall seeing anywhere that it was for beginners.
      I’m still glad I went though to scratch that curiosity itch and to meet all the awesome people I did.
      Glad you enjoyed the review.

  2. I have heard so many negative things about Blogcademy, and this really confirms it all. They were just in Auckland and I’m so glad that I didn’t go! To be honest, their blogs don’t seem very good to me, or perhaps they once were good and now are coasting. I have done the A Beautiful Mess ebook course which was great, only like $50 and from people who I think are much more influential. $800 is so much – more than most conferences or workshop I have done through my professional job!

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  4. It’s so great to finally see an honest review! I agree with Lena – their blogs aren’t interesting or offer anything new or exciting, and haven’t for years. Their engagement/comment/reader levels are staggeringly low for such self-proclaimed “high profile bloggers”. I considered going at one point but first decided to compare their site stats from what they mentioned in the Blogcademy “media kit” to actual real life stats from various analytics sources. Of course they didn’t add up, so I decided to spend my $750 and buy a new computer, which I now use to research blogging advice for free! There is so much fantastic advice available without all the sparkly diversions from real content. It’s great that people form lasting friendships at the workshops, but the 3 people hosting them are so cold and uninvolved towards attendees and it really shows.

    By the way I’m pretty sure having an unpaid intern in Australia is illegal unless it’s through study or a work experience program. It leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that they ask people to work for them for free under the guise of “exposure”. They earn more than enough to pay people for all the hard work they want them to do, which in business is the RIGHT thing to do. Cupcakes and confetti don’t pay the bills, ladies.

    Thank you for your honesty, I’m sure many, many people will appreciate it. xo

  5. I am so glad you wrote this. I wanted to attend Melbourne but I thought the money put into it can’t surely be worth it, and it seems like it wasn’t. I only felt a little “jealous” I guess, because everyone was taking selfies all day on my instagram feed… but like you say, if half the morning was a class on that exact thing, no wonder there were so many… and maybe thats how G, S and K make their money, by making the people who don’t attend feel jealous because everyone is posting it all over social media? Anyway, thank you! And you are awesome by the way, I just found you via a google search on Blogcademy.

      • Well yes! That is a plus, haha! On a side note, I totally agree about the whole thing where the people helping out should be paid. That is so wrong!!!

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