New affordable workshops will empower local SMEs

New affordable workshops will empower local SMEs

CHALMERS NEWS PR has joined forces with a digital marketing agency in Warwick to launch new specialist training workshops aimed at meeting a rising demand from small businesses in Warwickshire.

FL1 Digital is collaborating with experienced journalist Amanda Chalmers to provide a series of intensive two-hour courses all geared at supporting the growth of SMEs and start-ups.

Chalmers News PR, FL1 Digital, WordPress, Google Analytics, PR, workshops, training
Photos by David Fawbert Photography.

FL1 Digital specialises in high-end custom designed and built websites but, after a successful decade of offering training from their headquarters in St Albans, Hertfordshire, the company has now rolled out the workshops to its new offices in Warwick’s Tournament Fields.

Chalmers News PR founder Amanda Chalmers is delivering the PR workshops which, she claims, are a first for the area.

The journalist and former newspaper editor, hopes local businesses can benefit from a wealth of experience after her three decades in the local print media.

Chalmers News PR, FL1 Digital, WordPress, Google Analytics, PR, workshops, training
Photos by David Fawbert Photography.

She said: “You don’t work in newspapers for 30 years without learning a thing or two about effective PR and marketing. And for the past year running my own PR agency it’s really brought home to me what a huge appetite there is among the growing number of small businesses, for learning these valuable skills.

“Getting your message across to the marketplace has never been tougher, with increased competition, crowded social media channels and busier lifestyles all making connecting with your audience more complicated than ever before.

“It is recognised that PR is of vital importance to businesses of all sizes but, sadly, it’s usually the smaller ones that miss out on the opportunities good PR can create because they don’t know how to approach it or have the time to address it among all their other day to day responsibilities.

“And, as not all business owners can afford to pay for their own PR or marketing, these short workshops offer the perfect solution when it comes to learning the important basics. From how to write a stand-out press release and where to send it – to how to pitch and build key relationships, it’s all invaluable insight and knowledge that they can take with them going forward.”

Chalmers News PR, FL1 Digital, WordPress, Google Analytics, PR, workshops, training
Photos by David Fawbert Photography.

FL1 co-founder Jason Sammon says the low-cost time-efficient training comes in response to the increasing challenges of running a modern-day SME (small or medium enterprise).

“People respond well to the idea of offering short sharp training courses because taking too much time regularly out of your business for training is a big hit. People prefer to take two hours out of their business rather than going on a long course just to get 80% of the stuff they didn’t need to know instead of 20% of the stuff they did need to know,” he said.

“Colleges are offering similar things but they tend to be more prolonged courses rather than short sharp workshops and not so much geared to businesses.”

On the collaboration, he added: “In this age of Digital and Social Networks, effective writing and PR is more powerful and relevant than ever, so adding this to our Digital Marketing focused Workshops was a natural and obvious fit.”

Chalmers News PR, FL1 Digital, WordPress, Google Analytics, PR, workshops, training
Photos by David Fawbert Photography.

The first series of workshops, at the FL1 offices, are:

November 15th WordPress

Whether you use WordPress to publish to your website or have a WordPress blog, or would just like to know a little but more, this workshop will be invaluable. This workshop is suitable for existing WordPress users and those considering starting a blog or WordPress website.

November 29th – Google Analytics

This takes you through how to understand what’s happening to your website and draw commercial conclusions from the statistics.

January 10th – Public Relations

Learn how to find a newsworthy angle to your business and compose a press release that will stand out from the crowd; correctly identify your target media; understand the Dos and Dont’s of marketing your business; use time-efficient PR methods and simple online marketing and effective networking.

January 24th – Google SEO

Everything you need to know about how the major search engines really work, and how you can work with them to achieve real results. Suitable for existing website owners and those considering building a website.

Jason said: “There is increased demand for Google analytics training, for instance, these days because people are becoming much more digitally aware and it’s become essential for businesses to have a website. But a digital presence is more than just about having a website – it’s about a social presence, link PR and SEO. It’s not like it used to be when being online just meant having a website.”

The courses cost just £45 per session, with the option of signing up for follow-on training bespoke to their business.

For further information or to book, visit:

Short courses with long-term rewards

Short courses with long-term rewards

ALMOST four months into my new life as a freelancer and the learning curve continues.

WordPress workshop FL1 Workshop
Jason Sammon delivers a WordPress workshop at FL1 Digital.

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I am somewhat of a technophobe. That may be doing myself an injustice as much of my role as a PR and copywriter – and blogger – demands a certain amount of IT know-how to get the job done.

But there’s always this inherent fear that I’m simply not making the most of the available tools to achieve the best results for my business.

Cue then FL1 in Warwick who, once again, come to my rescue with another bitesize workshop to enhance both my skills and my confidence when it comes to going it alone.

This time it was WordPress on the agenda. Before Christmas I had assigned someone to build my website for me. ( cannot be recommended highly enough!)

And, thanks to some previous experience, I’m adept at uploading and boosting my content so have been ticking along nicely ever since.

But it’s not until you learn all about the true extent of your potential WordPress ‘super’ powers that you start to become more digitally ambitious.

As the saying goes, ‘there are other well known brands available,’ but did you know (I certainly didn’t) that WordPress commands 54% of the content management system share? Millions of people every day are joining the WordPress community. There are good reasons for that. Simply put, it is user-friendly and intuitive.

WordPress is. . .

  • Free to install, deploy and upgrade;
  • Highly customisable with themes and plug-ins for great flexibility;
  • User friendly with interface components;
  • SEO friendly because it is written using standard compliance high-quality code and produces semantic markup. In non-geek terms, this makes Google and other search engines love WordPress. It’s why WordPress sites tend to rank higher than others in search engines;
  • Safe – WordPress is developed with security in mind and is considered to be a very safe and secure platform.

So all things considered – and with the rise in the number of small and medium-sized enterprises, it’s little wonder WordPress has become the website platform of choice for most entrepreneurs.

How did the two-hour FL1 workshop help me capitalise on my new-found appreciation of WordPress?

For the beginner it is suitably pitched with non-jargon language and the chance to ask plenty of questions. From the basic layout options through to effective SEO, I came away with many new little tricks up my sleeve.

I now have the knowledge and confidence to go beyond the ‘basics’ when it comes to experimenting with layout and images. I have a better understanding of where to go and what to do to boost an article’s potential readership and I have the solutions to previously unknown – and frustrating – quirks of the system. Something as simple as finding a good plug-in to stamp out spam once and for all (everyone’s nightmare) or how to edit website revisions without starting all over again.

It’s given me a renewed sense of creativity and ambition in my digital endeavours going forward.

The workshop is broken down into three main areas – WordPress overview; Users and Roles and Pages and Posts.

A fill list of bullet points covered can be found here

If you’re thinking of launching your own website – or want to make more of your existing website, sufficient training to get you up and running does not have to cost the earth. At just £50 for this gentle two-hour session, there will be plenty to bring away from it. There certainly was for me.

Don’t think I’ll be touting myself as an IT expert any day soon, but I’d say I’m now sufficiently savvy to pass on the benefits to my customers too.

Look out for news of more FL1 workshops coming soon. The St Albans-based company has opened a new office on Tournament Fields. Visit: