We've reviewed PPC Blog here  before but since that post they've added a members-only training and community portion of their site  that I've had a chance to spend some time with, so we thought it was worth reviewing the training and community aspects of the site.
Why Bother with a Training/Community Site?
One of the common objections you'll hear to paying for content (whether it's a how-to eBook or the Wall Street Journal) is that you can get seemingly similar content for free.
I touched on this in my review of SEO Book's training and community site , but I think that as content and data become more and more omnipresent and commoditized, a lot of the opportunity to create great products that make people better at what they do lies in how you slice, dice, and represent portions of that content and data.
Generally a well written guide by someone with genuine expertise contains some unique insight, but even if it didn't: access to a single and comprehensive source of information on a subject can save you a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money chasing down and reacting to misinformation and bad advice.
PPC Blog PPC Training Modules
The training modules at PPC Blog are a great example of this. The modules offered to members only include:
- Choosing the Right PPC Platforms - This is a great resource for determining which platform is best for your business - this section is excellent and has a nice audio file that features PPC Blog curator Geordie Carswell  walking through the different options for PPC platforms.
- Keyword Research - This is a nice in-depth tutorial around various aspects of keyword research (including negative keyword  research, using Google tools, organizing keyword lists, etc.)
- Google Adwords Essentials - A really nice strategy guide that focuses more on best practices than tactics of using the platform.
- Affiliates & Adwords - This is a nice overview of how to work within Google's guidelines as an affiliate.
- Google Adwords for Search - This is an excellent A-Z break down of how to have success with the AdWords search network.
- Google Content Network Advertising - A similarly comprehensive guide to getting the most from the content network.
- Microsoft Adcenter (Bing) - This is a nice overview of leveraging adCenter and how to replicate and tweak your AdWords efforts on the platform.
- Facebook Ads - Another nice overview here of the Facebook platform, ad formats, etc.
- MyAds by MySpace - This is an interesting look at an oft-ignored platform and the instances where it may be a valuable and cost-effective alternative.
- Expert Audio Interviews & Video - Finally they offer a nice collection of audio and video materials for people who prefer to consume content in a different format.
The collection of content makes for a really strong "one-stop-shop" to get a lot of quality, trust-worthy information about paid search.
Plugging the Holes in PPC Training Modules: The PPC Blog PPC Community
The problem with any eBook or collection of training modules is that they're static; the key to success (in almost anything, but certainly in online marketing) is in the specific application of the best practices. This is where PPC Blog really shines and where the bulk of the value of the subscription lies.
The driving force behind the PPC Blog community is Geordie Carswell. You can take a look at Geordie's bio but the highlights are that he's:
- Managed large-scale PPC campaigns by hand
- Worked as an advertiser for products as well as as an affiliate
- Built a business on the back of paid search as a channel
The third item is really the key - building a successful business is tremendously difficult. Generating $51 million in revenue is remarkably rare. The venture-backed graveyard is full of companies who recieved millions in funding and never even cracked a million in revenue, never mind 10 or 20 or 50.
Geordie was able to grow $0 in revenue (not PPC spend, but revenue for his business) to $51 million.
That combined with the network of PPC Blog members that quickly migrated to the site as a result of their relationship with and respect for Geordie, and you have a collection of results driven paid search marketers with fresh real-world experience managing campaigns. PPC practitioners and affiliates are typically on the bleeding edge of platform changes and have a great understanding of markets and how to really drive revenue from paid search so their collective wisdom is a great resource.
Not to mention that Geordie himself answers nearly every question in the forum, meaning that for a ridiculously low flat monthly fee you have an expert paid search consultant on retainer.
If you're new to pay-per click or spend anything approaching a significant amount of money (really anywhere over $2,500/mo.) the subscription will almost certainly pay for itself. You can get a flavor for the types of modules available and browse some of the blog content to get a better idea for yourself of the types of content and perspectives you'll get with a membership, so check it out for yourself !