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Semester Project Overview

For the duration of the semester, we will be creating fictional brands that the class will use to generate original social media, PR and adv...

Good Night, and Good Luck

To the students of COMSTRAT 310:

Thank you!!!

I had a fantastic time working with you this past semester. It was a pleasure to work with all of you on your semester-long campaign and projects.

Please have a safe and fun winter break! :)

WEEKS 15 & 16: Learning Google Analytics, StatCounter & Web Analytics Tools/Final Projects & Social Media Marketing Plans

SUMMARY:

For the final weeks of the semester, we will:
  • Learn about website analytics tools (such as Google Analytics and StatCounter) that enable a better understanding of site/campaign traffic, referral and behavior patterns.
  • Finish our semester-long campaign website and related social media channels.
HOMEWORK:
  • Work on your final exam, due no later than the end of the day on Wed., Dec. 11.
  • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan, due Dec. 4. (Note: Please see the syllabus for a rubric that includes criteria on how this is evaluated).
  • Continue to Facebook and Twitter updates frequently (several times this week) and attempt to build a larger follower/fan count by outreach to friends and family, as well as activity on like-minded social media pages. (Note: Please see the syllabus for a rubric that includes criteria on how your website and social media campaigns are evaluated).

Take-Home Exam - Due Dec. 11

The following is your one and only exam for the semester!! Please complete and email me your responses by the end of the day on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

There are only two written response questions on this exam (both valued equally in scoring).

1. For this question, you will first need to identify and select any current web-based advertising or PR promotion for a national brand or organization that uses multiple social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Then, once you've made your selection, give a brief (minimum 3-5 paragraphs) analysis and critique (good or bad) of this campaign. Be sure to cite specific examples, if appropriate, of how the campaign aligns to some of the guidelines and "best practices" cited in class and/or in our lectures.

Please do NOT use an existing example cited on this blog, in class, lecture notes or in the blog.

Things to consider:
  • How effective do you think it is at reaching its intended target audience?
  • Are they engaging in a one-way or two-way conversation? How?
  • How would you characterize the general voice/tone in their messaging?
  • What data might they use to quantitatively or qualitatively determine if the campaign was a success? Are there any publicly-available resources that might tell you how well the campaign is doing? If so, what did you find?
  • Is the campaign optimized for search engine and social media discovery? How?
  • Does the campaign have the potential to go viral? Why or why not?

2. We've talked quite a bit about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and even Social Media Optimization (SMO). Thinking about your semester-long project and website campaign,  please share your thoughts on specific strategies that you used (or should have used) to improve its organic search rankings in Google and other search engines -- as well as your social media presence on Facebook and/or other outlets.
  • How is your campaign site or social media presence doing in organic search on Google? (Does it show up at all?)
  • What, if any, specific techniques and tactics did you use?
  • What other things might you do to help with your search engine optimization and presence?
  • Please provide specific examples that are applicable to your project.
That's it! Please email your responses to your instructor (Brett Atwood at batwood@wsu.edu) no later than the end of the day on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Semester Project Overview

For the duration of the semester, we will be creating fictional brands that the class will use to generate original social media, PR and advertising campaign elements. Rather than use “real” brands or services for each campaign, you will orchestrate your campaign around a single fictional brand that you create.

The types of fictional products or services will vary, but some examples of categories include:

  • Non-alcoholic beverage (e.g. soda pop, sports drink, coffee, etc.)
  • Energy Pill
  • Airline
  • Internet-based music company
  • Shampoo or Hair Grooming Product
  • Stylish clothing line
Each student may identify other brand categories to be considered, but the above is only meant as a starter list for consideration. For each of the above soon-to-be-created brands, each student will research varying brand names and logo treatments as they consider the competitive positioning of the brand in the presumed marketplace.

When naming your brand, it is important that students NOT use any existing or "real" brands for these projects. However, you will use a trademark search engine to investigate whether your suggested brand names already exist. You may also use Adobe Photoshop or, alternatively, a free online tool to generate an original logo for your "fictional" brand.

Your campaign prep work also includes user persona research and a SWOT analysis to help determine brands strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Remember: You are inventing the brand and the attributes that define it! This is the perfect chance to examine the competitive landscape of your product to identify "opportunities" or under-served niches that you can aim to reach with your campaign. It's a clean slate!!!

Your initial research helps to define your brand, messaging, audience and its position in the marketplace. This is all essential to the second phase of your campaign: the actual social media marketing, advertising and public relations outreach that will help bring awareness of your campaign to the masses.

Over the duration of the semester, students may create some or all of these elements:
  • A social media marketing plan
  • An SEO-optimized campaign website
  • Social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • A performance marketing campaign
  • A targeted e-mail campaign
  • and more!
Examples of Previous Semester Campaign Sites:
Examples of Previous Semester Social Media Marketing Plans:

    Landing your First PR or Advertising Job

    Looking for a job in PR or Advertising? Getting that first gig can be tough. Here are some resources that may help in your search:
    Socially network in the following LinkedIn Groups:

    Research the company before you apply!

    Understanding Google Analytics

    Would you like to know more about the Web traffic click-through patterns and keyword referrals on your site? Google Analytics is a free Web-based tool that will give you rich data on how people interact with your Web site content.

    Visit Google Analytics to learn more.



    With Google Analytics, you can even get "real time" reports of what is happening on your website:

    REAL TIME REPORTING




    In addition, you can track the following type of website activities:

    AUDIENCE
     


    ACQUISITION



    BEHAVIOR



    NOTE: For Wix.com accounts, you must upgrade to a paid account with a unique vanity domain name in order to connect Google Analytics tracking to your webpage. A free alternative that does work with Wix.com is StatCounter.

    Additional Resources:

    There are several online resources that you can help you better understand and analyze the data that you get from the various Web analytics services.


    WEEKS 14 & 15: Learning Google AdWords & Facebook Ads

    SUMMARY:

    For these weeks, we will:
    • Learn about best practices in building an official Facebook and Google AdWords campaign.
    • Create official social media campaign accounts for your brand (if you have not done so already)
    HOMEWORK:
    • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan, due Dec. 4
    • Continue to post social media updates frequently (several times a week) and attempt to build a larger follower/fan count by outreach to friends and family, as well as activity on like-minded social media pages. 
      • You should try to have at least 30 social media followers by the end of the semester.
      • You should try to have at least 10 social media posts by the end of the semester.
    • Your final campaign site will be evaluated for how it appears on both desktop and mobile devices beginning Dec. 4
    • You can begin your final take-home exam at any time, but it should be emailed (batwood@ wsu.edu) or turned in to me no later than midnight at the end of Wed., Dec. 11.