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Marketing Your Workshop: Lead with the Result and the Transformation

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Tori McElwain with The Quilt Patch by Tori

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In my previous Market Your Workshop blog post, I shared a way you can use objectives to set clear expectations in your quilting or crafting workshop's description before the workshop, but that's not the only thing a description needs.

I've been spending a lot of time researching and learning from a few industry experts on launching. The one thing they all have in common is to lead with the result or the transformation your workshop will provide. This statement should illustrate where the learner is or how they're feeling before they take your workshop what they can do and how they feel after they take your workshop.

When I heard "result" I also thought it meant the project they would create, which is true, but don't forget that as a creative workshop instructor, you're also sharing a process, technique, or skill that can be recreated. Don't forget to work that in!

For a Brand New Workshop:

Let's grab some paper and ask a few questions first. You want to make sure you're clear on what your workshop will focus on. What is the objective of the course? What will they be able to do after the workshop? See my blog post, Marketing Your Workshop: The Role of Expectations, if you'd like more help with this exercise.

Let's write out a few phrases, sentences, or words for the next few questions: How are they [your audience] now? How will they be after the workshop? You can go deeper into emotion as well: how do they feel now about_____ [topic]? How will they feel after your workshop about ____[topic]?

Stu McLaren had an amazing free workshop where he leads with similar questions to help his attendees illustrate transformation. He explained how the contrast between how your learners feel before the workshop and how they will feel after the workshop illustrated the result in a very powerful way.

Keep in mind, as quilt or craft instructors we are specifically looking at how our learners will feel using the new knowledge or skill they've gained, not the end project they've created. Let's dive into an example!

Let's say I love raw edge applique (because I do!) and want to teach other quilters the fun they could have with raw edge applique!

Firstly, identify your audience. For this example, I would be reaching out to quilters who haven't tried raw edge applique before. So, let's answer the questions above.

Question 1: What is the objective of the course?

Quilters will sew a raw edge appliqued, simple block that they create from a simple silhouette. (If you need help with a clear concise, and measurable objective, check out this blog post.)

Question 2: What will they be able to do after the workshop?

Quilters will be able to recreate a raw edge applique project from simple silhouettes. They will be able to use future raw edge applique patterns with much more ease.

Question 3: How are they now? How are they feeling now?

They are quilting with traditional piecing and feel limited in what they can create with traditional piecing. They have ideas in their minds of projects they'd like to create, but have no idea how to make them! They see raw edge applique patterns that they'd like to create but feel intimidated.

Question 4: How will they be after the workshop? How will they feel after the workshop?

They will be able to make quilt blocks with raw edge applique. They will know what stabilizer to use, how to secure the edges so it does not ravel, and be able to create their own silhouettes or basic patterns if they choose to. They will be open to being more creative in their quilt-making. They will feel accomplished in learning a new skill and excited to learn what more they can create with raw edge applique. They could also feel empowered to dive into more advanced raw edge applique techniques and patterns.

Woah! That was a lot! Look at all the emotions and descriptions you can pull to create a description for your workshop! You do NOT have to use everything, but let's try and pull a few phrases from each question.

"The creative possibilities of Raw Edge Applique can help make your project ideas come to life! In my Introductory Raw Edge Applique Workshop, you can go from feeling stuck with traditional piecing to feeling prepared, creative, and empowered. In this introductory workshop, we will be making a raw edge appliqued block that you create from a simple silhouette. You can turn this quilt block into a mat, pillow, or wall hanging - it's your choice!"

Not too shabby! We shared the transformation, the objective, what they will be doing, how they will be able to use the project, and how they can use raw edge applique as a skill in the future. It's a great description to start with! You can always tweak it.

The most important thing is to start. It's much easier to edit a description you have than to create a new one!

What if you have no idea how the audience you're trying to reach feels or what they are stuck on? I would suggest asking them. Find a crafter friend, acquaintance, or even a Facebook group and ask "What is your biggest struggle with ____?" Try to find 3 people (or one large group) that are very similar to the audience you want to teach.

For an Established Workshop:

Now, if you already have a description, take a second look at that description to see if it illustrates a result or transformation - especially if it has been a while or it's not bringing in students. Does it answer the questions above?

For example, in my Movement in Quilting Program for Quilt Guilds, I included the transformation by stating that "quilters will walk away with ideas on how they can incorporate more movement into their own projects". It's a little vague, and it's time to rework it.

My Movement in Quilting Program objective is to illustrate what movement in a quilt is and for my audience to recognize the 4 Elements of Movement. It's a 45-minute to an hour-long program, so it's a short and fairly simple mix of a little teaching and beautiful quilt examples. The transformation for the audience is to go from not knowing what "movement" in a quilt is, to recognizing movement in a quilt and how the 4 Elements of Movement can be used to create movement in their own projects. Another tool in their quilt-making tool belt!

Tori and Mirror Mirror Pattern (coming soon)

So let's put those ideas together in a new description for the program!

Here is the BEFORE description:

"Movement in quilts is my favorite topic (besides color!). In this new program, I share how movement can be put into quilts in one of four ways: piecing, color, patterns, and quilting. I share how a quilt can have movement, how to add movement to a stagnant quilt, and how to space out movement for busier quilts. Movement can be added into simple patchwork or utilized in precise paper piecing beauties. I illustrate my quilt patterns' movement and share the inspiration behind each design. This program introduces the movement concepts and will leave quilters with practical examples of how they can incorporate movement into their quilts."

It's a little long and repetitive. It shares a little of a transformation and objective, but I feel like it's too wordy, out of order, and doesn't quite emphasize the value the audience will get. Also, some of the words I used don't quite sound like me when I present this program. For example, the phrase "paper piecing beauties" and the word "utilized" don't really fit how I normally speak.

So, I changed the order around and added the name 4 Elements of Movement, and reworded how I would present the concepts.

Here is the AFTER description:

"My Movement in Quilting program introduces movement and the 4 Elements of Movement. It's chalked full of practical examples of how quilters can incorporate movement into their quilts. I share how movement can be put into quilts in four ways: piecing, color, patterns, and quilting. I describe how a quilt can have movement, and how movement can be added to simple patchworks or used in precise paper piecing projects. I illustrate movement and the 4 Elements of Movement in my quilt patterns and share the inspiration behind each design. If your quilters find it hard to choose fabric for areas of a quilt or wonder how to choose blocks for their quilts, my Movement in Quilting Program will leave your members with a new perspective on quilt design and how best to add a little more movement into their quilt projects."

It's still not quite there....but it's closer! I always struggle more when it's my descriptions so I'm open to feedback!

Read it Out Loud:

My last piece of advice is to read your description out loud to better hear how it'll "sound" to your reader. If you have a workshop or crafty bestie that you can read it to and get some feedback from, that's even better!

Say it out loud and listen to yourself. Is it clear? Does it make sense? Does it sound natural like when you talk?

I also suggest if you're struggling with wording it just the right way, to share what you have and come back to it later. It can always be changed.

How do you illustrate the transformation for your students from before they take your workshop to after they take your workshop?

If you've found this helpful, share it with a friend!

If you're struggling with this idea and would like to brainstorm, let's book a Strategy Session!

I also offer a Course Academy twice a year. If you're stuck, need ideas, or someone to hold you accountable, check out my Course Design offers here!

Grab Your Free eBook, Design Your Workshop, here.


Click here to book a Strategy Session

To stay in touch, sign up for the monthly Newsletter here!

Grab Your Free eBook, Design Your Workshop, here.


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