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Blog Apprenticeships

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of August 2005 Pro Blogging News 19

I normally work at home alone but today I have company – two ‘work-mates’. They are not really working WITH me (they are electricians – rewiring our house) but it’s nice to have people around.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed watching today is the interaction between these two guys. One is around my age – he’s the owner of the business and the other is a young guy – 16 I’d guess – who has just started as the apprentice.

He’s a wide eyed young guy who is just soaking in information about his new trade. Every step along the way the boss points out what he’s doing and then stops to allow the young guy to have a go for himself. I can see learning happen right in front of my eyes and it’s kind of cool to watch. He’s obviously benefitting from the relationship – but so too is the boss who now has an extra set of hands, someone to climb into the dirty roof etc. It is a win win situation for both parties.

As I observe this interaction I find myself wondering what it would be like to have blogging apprentices. I’m dreaming out loud here – so don’t be too harsh – but lets see where this leads us.

What if an experienced blogger was to take on a novice blogger for an agreed upon set of time – to teach them the craft of entrepreneurial blogging whilst on the job.

The Blogger would commit to teach the apprentice their craft, would allow the apprentice space to study, learn, experiment and grow in their knowledge and experience of the different aspects of blogging. They would pay the apprentice an income – at a level to reflect the growing experience of the apprentice (gradually increasing over time).

In return the apprentice would commit to working for the blogger – writing, designing, SEO etc – whatever the blogger needed. In this way the blogger benefits from the arrangement as any work the apprentice did would become the property of the blogger who they were working for.

Such an agreement would have to of course be a win win situation for both parties – the blogger would have to be in a position to pay a reasonable income and the both parties would need to agree to stay in the relationship for a set period of time. At the end of the period parties could either go their own way or re-negotiate a deal to continue some type of association.

Just a pie in the sky idea – interested in others thoughts.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Is this going to be a bit like the sorcerer’s apprentice? :)

  2. I think it’s more like a Jedi Knight and Padawan learner relationship. =) A very nice idea, Darren. And considering you have over a dozen blogs to attend to, an extra hand would really benefit both you and your padawan.

  3. I say go for it. I’ve always had this theory that you learn more about something when you have to teach it someone else. It forces you to understand the subject mattter at a deeper level. At uni and after uni I always found when explaining marketing concepts to someone else I would be smarter for it.

  4. We do something like an apprenticeship system already at WIN when a new blogger comes on. It takes time for new hires to get accustomed to the tools, the WIN culture, and the blog-specific style guidelines. Not to mention all the tips and tricks about SEO, linking to past content, using keywords, etc.

    Whether this will become more widespread in blogdom depends on the type of blog, I guess, and how closely the blogger’s personality is wedded to it. I can see it working for “news”-style blogs like wonkette, the WIN blogs, etc. which are a combination of re-reporting, pointers to additional sources,and an injection of wit.

  5. It’s a great idea Darren, and I believe this will help a lot of people if they start working on the idea. If you’re looking for an apprentice please consider me even though I’m not worthy.

  6. Wow, interesting idea. I wonder how long something like this could last? Would they ever have to physically meet? Would there be enough for the apprentice to learn? Enough for them to do? etc…

    But then again, couldn’t the apprentice just read, say, X Blog and Y Blog and Z’s Article, and gain everything they ever needed?

    …interesting, but definitely brings up some additional questions.

  7. i guess the how it would go beyond telling people what to read is that the apprentice would be working on blogs and getting constant feedback from their ‘boss’ – teaching them how to do things better etc rather than just learning the theory….

    there are definitely issues that would need to be talked about though….hmmmm

  8. Hi Darren,
    Interesting topic. Is it just a theory piece or are you really looking to put it into practice?

    Watch this space I guess

  9. Terminator says: 08/30/2005 at 7:10 pm

    I want to be your apprentice…please….

    or maybe work with you as customer care service- to do work such as read your inbox, reply emails, write articles, source for information etc…

    please give me a chance…pls…..heheheehhe :-)

    not joking though. Who agree with my idea pls show their hands…

  10. Interesting idea, but would it be easy to find good padawans .. errr.. apprentices?

  11. If you’re still looking.. I will be your apprentice, Darren!

  12. Very good idea, Darren, worth further mulling/planning. Anthony (comment #33) really jumped in early with my main message .. the benefactor of knowledge in a master/apprentice relationship is not always the apprentice. Many of us know things internally and practice them in a “good enough” fashion .. but when we have to teach/supervise/manage we somehow learn them much better, often in a very short time.

    I’d be open to some kind of short-term apprenticeship type arrangement myself.

  13. Darren, you already have apprentices. Us! your readers. Thanks for all the continued tips and insights.

  14. […] Darren over at has a good post about Blog Apprenticeships that had me thinking about my own situation. […]

  15. I would gladly serve as an apprentice to you and I do not want any remuneration. The world of professional blogging is of great interest to me and I would happily devote time to help and learn from you. If you are interested please let me know.

  16. That is a great idea. What better way to learn more about blogging than at the hands of the master :)

  17. Hi,

    I’ve been a reader of this excellent blog for about 2 months now. This is my first comment here and i just launched my first blog 10 days ago (completely inspired by darren and the readers of this blog). I guess i am the “baby” here.

    Apprenticeship is a very interesting idea. I’m sure it will definitely work for both the apprentice and the ‘boss’. There are some challenges though:

    1. As Jay says, it’ll definitely work without much hurdles for news style blogs, where the emphasis is more on “facts” than on personal ideas and opinions. What about opinion and idea based blogs? I guess in this case the content could be written by one person, but the other tasks like design, promotion etc can be shared by two or more persons.

    2. What about distance? If the apprentice and the blog manager stay in different countries, it could be a challenge getting things across. Add to it the time-zone difference, it becomes even more difficult.

    3. What would the style of teaching be? will it be a one-on-one or will there be a set of apprentices (lets say 3 to 6 people) working with one blog manager? Probably the second style would work better, as group learning is more fun and more effective. Also if at the end of the coaching period, even if one student realizes that blogging is not for him/her and drops out, the blog manager will still have others who will “graduate” and continue their journey to become good bloggers. That way the blog manager would not have wasted his precious time.

    May be these challenges are easy to address. The results of such an arrangement far out weighs the challenges, so i think it would be a great idea to try it. If the idea succeeds, Darren and other experienced and successful bloggers can even start a blogging school. May be this is a little far away, but i think it could definitely happen.

    I hope i made some sense here, this being my first comment.


  18. I like the idea of a blogger internship – a paid training job sort of thing.

    A blogger intern could do a lot of tasks for a pro blogger, perhaps even creating his/her own posts for the pro blogger’s blogs, which would be approved before going live of course, but would certainly provide some practical lessons in SEO and writing.

    At the moment I’m negotiating with a first year business student at a local university that is interested in working for me in exchange for experience and education and some commission for results. I was quite surprised when he contacted me and guess what – he became interested after reading my blog!

    Blogs are powerful…

  19. […] Darren of ProBlogger was discussing about Blog Apprenticeships three weeks ago and enumerated some of the benefits it generates for both the apprentice and the teacher. […]

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