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COMSTRAT 310 Syllabus - Fall 2018

COMSTRAT 310 - DIGITAL CONTENT PROMOTION (3 CREDITS) Instructor:  Brett Atwood                                EMAIL:    batwood@wsu.ed...

WEEKS 9, 10 & 11: SEO Basics, Mobile Optimization and Social Media Marketing Basics

SUMMARY:

Over the next few weeks, we will:
  • Continue to work on our primary Wix-based campaign website including optimization for mobile devices
  • Continue to optimize content for search engine rankings on our media campaigns via Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Learn about social media marketing plans and begin work on the creation of one with the goal of driving traffic and awareness to our campaign website.
  • Learn about the importance of monitoring your business reputation on Wikipedia
HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to revise your work-in-progress website.
  • Begin to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due November 28)
  • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
  • Run an SEO audit on your site using the Wix SEO Wiz tool.
  • Read Chapter 6 “Integrated Digital Campaigns: Planning, Execution & Metrics"

Optimizing your Campaign Site for Mobile Smartphones

How does your campaign site look on a mobile device or smartphone?

One should always think about how their site appears on multiple types of screens. A mobile device has smaller screen real estate than a full-sized computer monitor associated with a desktop computer. Given the rise of smartphones, some people even have a "mobile first" strategy where mobile is prioritized over desktop access in the design choices. One option is a "responsive" design:



Did you know that your existing Wix.com website content can be modified slightly so that it displays more correctly on mobile devices? Watch this video to learn how:




Related Links:

Wikis and PR/Advertising Campaigns

Wikis and PR/Advertising Campaigns


Wikipedia.org has become one of the most popular information Web sites – despite the fact that it is a nonprofit, user-edited resource. Many people use the site for research and many companies are monitoring how they are represented on their respective entries on the site. This week, we will take a closer look at the Wikipedia format -- and the role it might play in PR and/or advertising campaigns.

To become familiar with the wiki format, register with the site so that you will have permission to edit and/or create an entry. There is a “Create Account” link at the upper right-hand side of the homepage or you can simply click here.

Once you are registered, you can use the search box to find an existing entry on your selected topic.

On that page, you will find an “edit” link that allows you to add your text or image to the existing page.

To create a new entry, there is a page that will help you establish a new entry topic here

If you want to add an image, click here for information on uploading.

Does your client already have a wiki page? If so, make a contribution to it. If not, find a related theme or topic and make a valuable contribution to the wiki entry.

Here is a great Wikipedia "cheat sheet" for formatting of your text.

CONTENT GUIDELINES:

If you do edit or create any wikipedia entry, it is important to remember that each article is meant to document existing research -- it is not meant as a place for "original research" and/or opinions. The voice and tone should be neutral and all information presented should be verifiable with attribution.

Click here for a downloadable "best practices" guide for PR professionals using wikipedia (.pdf file)

CONTROVERSIES:

There have been many controversies over use of wikipedia for PR and/or political purposes. Here are a few articles that documents some of these issues:

Additional resources:
  • Looking for even more tips on "best practices" for wiki creation and campaigns? Click here.
  • A complete online tutorial to creating your own wiki page is here.
  • There are also some general tips to help you here.  
Related Links:

Social Media Campaigns: An Introduction



(If the above embedded PowerPoint lecture does not load, you can access it directly via this link: Social Media Campaigns: An Introduction
The above lecture contains a related audio file! You can download the audio track at this link. Please play the audio track while advancing through these slides.
Related Links:

WEEKS 7 & 8: Website Creation & Optimization - Workshops, SEO & More

SUMMARY:

Over the next weeks, we will:
  • Continue to use a website creation tool, such as Wix or Wordpress, to build an original campaign website.
  • Learn ways to improve search engine rankings of content for our media campaigns via Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to get familiar with and use your chosen website builder (e.g. Wordpress, Wix, etc.) to work on your site.
  • Publish your work-in-progress website and send me your link so I can review it no later than midnight on Oct. 10
  • Run an SEO audit on your site when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool. 
  • Read Chapter 5 "Digital Marketing Metrics"

Generation Like



"GENERATION LIKE" DOCUMENTARY
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/

In class on October 8, we watched the PBS "Frontline" documentary "Generation Like."

The full hour-long video is also available online for free.

Using SEO Research Tools

As part of your SEO strategy, you'll want to use an online SEO tool that helps you research things like. A great free resource is SmallSEOTools.com, which can help with:

...and much more. Check out the site SmallSEOTools.com to see a full list of tools and research resources. In addition, here is a helpful SEO Worksheet that you can use to keep track of your SEO efforts.

Action Items for Optimizing your Campaign for Search Engine Discovery

Ready to Optimize?

Is your campaign site optimized for search engine discovery and indexing?

There are a few things you can do to increase the likelihood that your site will show up prominently in organic search engine results. These tips offer directions specific to the Wix platform, but the principles are similar for any CMS.

Add Metadata

In Wix.com, you can easily add meta title, keyword and description info. Simply go to the Settings gear icon or the Site Manager section and then select SEO (Google). Make sure to activate the "Let search engines find my website" slider, as well!

In addition, you can optimize individual pages within Wix. To do so, go to the Pages icon  and select the page you wish to optimize. Then select the gear icon and fill out the SEO title, description and keyword data for that page.

Double-Check Your Site Address

In the Settings > Site Address section, take a closer look at the URL path you have created for your brand. Is your brand name part of the URL name?

Use the SEO Wizard

Wix.com has a great SEO monitoring tool that you can find under the Site Manager (select SEO from the left-hand vertical navigation then refer to the "Get Found on Google" section to begin your audit).



Link to Social Networks

Soon, we will be creating Facebook and Twitter pages. Once those are ready, you should connect your Facebook and Twitter sites to your campaign site. Remember to also include a link back to your campaign site in your "About" fields on those social media sites, too.

Add Text Descriptors to Your Images

Do your images have tool tip text descriptors? Many images get "crawled" by search engines that rely on your text tagging and descriptions for proper indexing. In Wix.com, you can add a text tag to any image. Simply highlight the photo and select Settings and update the Title and alt text fields.

WORDPRESS & SEO

If you are using Wordpress, you can/should also optimize your pages/posts for discovery in search engines.

Here are some additional resources specific to Wordpress:



Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Best Practices


Today in class we will look at ways to improve the search engine rankings of content in our press releases and original websites.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the practice of refining your Web site content so that it has better visibility in search engines, such as Google.

Search engines are the primary way that people discover Web content. In the U.S., Google accounts for a vast majority of search engine referrals. Thus, it is hugely important that your content be properly indexed so that new users can discover and explore your creations.

This three-minute video gives a great overview of what SEO is all about:



But, what about specifics? Here is a great "cheat sheet" on SEO from my colleague Rebecca Cooney, an associate professor at WSU:
Wix also has some great tips that can be reviewed at:

It's All About Algorithm

A key aspect of search engine optimization is the algorithm that drives the decisions of how search engines "rank" and determine "relevancy" for each website. Here are some resources that help explain more about the ever-changing (and somewhat secretive!) algorithms... 
Ways to Increase Referrals

The following information addresses some of the "best practices" in SEO for websites. It is essentially divided into two areas: On-page elements and Off-page elements. The on-page elements are things that you can control on your site...they are located on the pages of your site. This includes the text/copy, images, URL paths and even the design choices you make for your site. The off-page elements are located elsewhere on the web. This includes third-party websites, such as news sites, blogs and link aggregation services.

On-Page Elements:
The following on-page elements should be reviewed for possible tweaking so that your content is better surfaced in search engines for referral.

Page Title
  • The page title appears in the top bar of your browser
  • For critical areas of your Web site, does the page title in your browser contain the proper wording?
URL
  • Does the Web site URL for key areas include text that would contribute to that page being indexed on critical keywords?
"Invisible" Page Content
  • Description Field text is also important as it is the abstract information that shows up below the linked title in your search listings
  • Keywords description fields are less important, but offer an opportunity to associate some words and phrases with your page
    • Less is more
      • No more than 5-10 keywords in your metatag
Off-Page Elements

Inbound links

  • Increase number of Web pages that link to you
    • Seen as "vote of confidence" for relevance of your site
    • Text in link is also important ("link anchor text")
  • Increase Google's "Page Rank"
    • More links on prominent sites will also increase your page ranking
Best Practices
  • Does your blog post title contain keywords that concisely capture the blog topic and are known to be relevant to your site?
  • The very first words should be the most relevant, if possible
    • Good Example: Second Life Tutorial: Customize your Avatar
    • So-So Example: Want a New Look for your Avatar?
      • In the above example, the words "Second Life Tutorial" will match to keyword searches for people looking for second life tutorials. Further, the inclusion of "customize" and "avatar" will likely help this post show up higher in search results for people looking for help in avatar customization.
       
  • To see an example of this in action, do a Google Search on the words: Second Life
    • Notice how most of the top results have "Second Life" in the first few words of the title
  • Would your blog post title make sense if it were displayed "out of context" via an RSS feed or on a third-party Web site, such as reddit?
    • Each post has the potential to be surfaced on third-party sites. Your headline should be constructed so that it compels someone to click on it.
  • Are there opportunities to mix in blog posts that are not time-sensitive?
    • Many blog posts will clearly be connected to a new and timely announcement or development. However, when appropriate, you might want to strategically develop topics that speak to "evergreen" topics that have a longer shelf life.
  • Consider organizing your narrative with sub-headers and integrating the occasional use of bold text and lists.
    • These are believed to be minor factors in the algorithm that Google uses in determining relevance.
  • If appropriate, include links to previous related blog posts within the text of your new post.
    • Interlinking increases the odds that your posts will be indexed at a higher level, according to many SEO experts.

Share Links and Network Badges

According to many SEO experts, blogs can play a key role in helping one's overall search rankings. In the case of Google's algorithm, the "newness" and frequency of posts contribute to the perceived "relevance" of a site. However, the key is to get other blogs and sites to link directly to your blog. An increase in third party referral links results in an increased "relevance" for your site.

As expected, a new blog post typically gets a burst of traffic immediately after it is published. In most cases, the traffic declines dramatically after a day or two. However, in some cases, a blog post that is not timely might continue to drive traffic to your site long after its initial publication. This is particularly true if the post is not time-sensitive and becomes indexed and related to key terms by search engines.
  • Are you pro-actively encouraging other sites to link to your post? What third-party sites should you strategically target as significant potential recipients of your blog post?
    • Reddit and Facebook are among those social networking/aggregation sites that may help generate links to our site.
    • If you feel that the theme of your post has significance outside of our own site, then submit it! Common sense rules here, but one example is:
      • Reddit.com (Submit URL here - requires registration)
  • Do you have a Facebook Like button on your post?
    • Make it easy for people to link to and share your info.
      • Facebook has code that allows you to add a "Like"button here

Research Links

HubSpot has some great tips on getting the most of paid search listings:
Other useful links:

SEO Worksheets

Moz has created two helpful worksheets that you can use to better refine and define your SEO strategy.
For each of the above, please make your own copies by selecting File > Make a Copy on Google Documents so that you have your own editable version.

More context and information on these worksheets are available on the blog post How to Prioritize SEO Tasks on Moz.com.

WEEK 6: Wireframing & Design Explorations

SUMMARY:
This week, we will:
  • Learn the basics of web design and wireframing
  • Finalize a wireframe of a proposed website for our campaign
  • Review our various homepage wireframes to identify and review key features that are necessary for our campaign website.
  • Continue to work on content management systems and website creation tools, such as Wix or Wordpress, that can be used to build an original campaign website.
HOMEWORK:
  • Complete a wireframe for the homepage of your website using Gliffy.
  • Use your selected website creation tool to build an original website for your campaign. For this week, you will get started with the site – but the actual completion of it won’t be due for several weeks.
  • Read Chapter 4: "Digital Marketing WebSocial"

Creative Commons & Finding Royalty-Free and Low-Lost Images

Creative Commons Overview

One popular option for inexpensive content is Creative Commons , where you can get free or low-cost copyright licenses for music, audio, video, clip art and photos.
Essentially, a Creative Commons license allows the creator to protect his or her creation while simultaneously allowing them to share their work without the usual restrictions of traditional copyright law. Watch the video below to get an overview of how it works.



Video not showing up? You can also access it  directly at this link.



Video not showing up? You can also access it directly at this link.

How to Give Attribution/Credit for Creative Commons Content
If you do decide to use any Creative Commons content, then you will need to pay close attention to the licensing guidelines provided for that content. In most cases, there will be a required "credit line" that you will need to provide with each image, audio or video piece of Creative Commons-licensed content that you use. For information on how to properly attribute your content, please see the following:

Royalty-free and Low-cost Image Licensing Services

Looking  for royalty-free, low-cost and/or free images to add to your campaign site?
Wix.com has built-in access to hundreds of free stock photos in over 20 categories. Learn more about the Wix.com free image directory:
Here are some other stock photo sites worth checking out: iStockphoto logo

Creating a Website for your Brand Using a Content Management System (CMS)

Typically, you would have a professional web design team or resource to help you design, build and launch your website campaign. However, we lack these resources for our class campaign. Thus, we will use one of the many simplified website creation tools/content management systems (CMS) that bring slick, professional-looking websites to those who are not design experts. Many of these sites include pre-made templates that you can even use to jumpstart your designs.
With the help of these user-friendly website services, creating a new website for your brand is now easier than ever. Examples of free website/blog creation services include:
For the purpose of  this class, we will experiment with Wix.com. Use Wix.com to create an original website for your campaign. For this week, you will get started with the site – but the actual completion of it won't be due for several weeks. Use this week to get familiar with Wix.com and to begin your site. You may use your wireframe as a starting point to create from your site from scratch and/or identify a template that contains similar design choices and elements.

GETTING STARTED WITH WIX:


Learn how to get started with Wix.com with these video tutorials.

After logging in, you'll be asked to choose a template to launch the website editor -- it will appear in your browser!

Watch this overview video to learn more.

There are tons more Wix.com tutorials on the official YouTube channel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you register for Wix, you will be asked to create a username. Please try to create a username that includes your chosen brand name. If you can’t get an exact match, then please try to get a name that incorporates your brand name in some way. This username will actually be used to help generate the URL path for your published campaign site – so you will want to make sure that it is consistent with the branding of your campaign.

Examples of Previous Semester Campaign Sites:




Wireframing Basics and Learning Gliffy


A wireframe represents a visual sketch that can be used in planning your website design and functionality. It typically happens prior to the actual building of the website - so that you can review and refine key decisions prior to any actual coding or creation.






Gliffy.com enables you to build a "wireframe" and site maps for your website. This easy-to-use service can be used to sketch and create your wireframe on the web -- and then share your creation with other stakeholders. 

An example of the Gliffy.com interface and a wireframe.















You can use Gliffy.com for website wireframing, flow charts, org charts, site maps -- and even a SWOT Analysis!

Here are some example wireframes that you can print out and review:

Project Management Software - Introducing Trello


TRELLO FOR PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Stay organized using Trello, a free web-based service that allows you to organize and prioritize your campaign elements as a team.

Use Trello to create your content development and social media promotion calendar as a team. Assign tasks and track progress on current content productions. You can create neatly organized "cards" for each task. Move your card to a new column to reflect the production status.

Get started at Trello.com.

MOBILE APP VERSION

The following video shows you how Trello works on  your mobile phone, too!


TRAINING VIDEO:

The video below shows you the basics of how to get started with Trello:




WEEKS 4 & 5: Focusing our online identity: Logo creations and research

SUMMARY:

For these weeks, we will:
  • Brainstorm and conduct trademark research on our campaign brand names
  • Explore and create various branded logo treatments for our campaign
  • Conduct a survey to identify key messaging and branding attributes for our campaign
  • Learn the basics of web design and wireframing
  • Create a wireframe of a proposed website for our campaign
  • Review our various homepage wireframes to identify and review key features that are necessary for our campaign website.
HOMEWORK:
  • Make sure you have completed the SWOT analysis, competitive analysis and user personas
  • Identify at least three potential brand names for your product or service. It is critical that you conduct a quick background check on your proposed names on Trademarkia.com to ensure that your suggestions do not violate any existing active trademarks.
  • Use an online survey tool to create a seven-question survey that aims to test the value propositions and sentiments associated with each brand name. (Optional):You can also use this tool to "test" what attributes and qualities people associate with multiple logo designs.
    • Once the survey is created, you should share it with your friends via Facebook or email. Each student should attempt to gather at least 20 responses from friends and family to your survey. (NOTE: Due to the limitations of this course, this is NOT meant to be a scientific survey. In the "real world," you would identify and/or even purchase a targeted survey response list to get a larger and more accurate response rate).
  • Once you determine your brand name, use Photoshop or a free web logo creation service to create a logo for your brand.
  • Create a wireframe for the homepage of your website using Gliffy.
  • Read Chapter 3 "Integrated Marketing Communication"

WEEK 3: Content Strategy Basics - Creating User Persona Research to Craft our Online Campaigns

SUMMARY:

This week, we will:
  • Review the fundamentals of content strategy for our campaigns
  • Review examples of user persona research and then apply these techniques to our campaign
  • Brainstorm and conduct trademark research on our campaign brand names
  • Read Chapter 2: "Becoming a Digital Guru"
HOMEWORK:
  • Continue to tweak/revise your competitive analysis and SWOT analysis. This will be used to help shape and inform future branding and messaging elements, including social media outreach strategies. (NOTE: Branding and naming exercises will occur in the next couple of weeks).
  • This week, each campaign should also have at least one user persona research profile for the audience that you anticipate targeting. Before the end of the semester, you should create at least two additional user persona profiles to include in your social media marketing plan.
  • Identify at least three potential brand names for your product or service. It is critical that you conduct a quick background check on your proposed names on Trademarkia.com to ensure that your suggestions do not violate any existing active trademarks.
ADDITIONAL HOMEWORK FOR NEXT WEEK (TO BE DISCUSSED IN CLASS AND ASSIGNED ON SEPT. 5):
  • Use an online survey tool to create a seven-question survey that aims to test the value propositions and sentiments associated with each brand name. You can also use this tool to "test" what attributes and qualities people associate with each of your proposed logo designs.
  • Once the survey is created, you should share it with your friends via Facebook or email. Each student should attempt to gather at least 20 responses from friends and family to your survey. (NOTE: Due to the limitations of this course, this is NOT meant to be a scientific survey. In the "real world," you would identify and/or even purchase a targeted survey response list to get a larger and more accurate response rate).

Creating a Survey using PollDaddy

LEARNING POLLDADDY

A great survey tool is Polldaddy.com. Use Polldaddy for surveys or polls that include images. For example, you can use it to test logos for your brand.


If the above embedded video does not show up on your browser, you can find it directly on YouTube at this link.

Learn more about how to use Polldaddy at the following link:
Note: If you are an existing Wordpress user, you can use your Wordpress username/login info to "link" your account to Polldaddy. If not, you will be asked to create a new Wordpress login in order to sign up for the free Polldaddy service (which is owned by the same company).

HOMEWORK
  • Use an online survey tool to create a seven-question survey that aims to test the value propositions and sentiments associated with each brand name. You can also use this tool to "test" what attributes and qualities people associate with each of your proposed logo designs.
  • Once the survey is created, you should share it with your friends via Facebook or email. Each student should attempt to gather at least 20 responses from friends and family to your survey. (NOTE: Due to the limitations of this course, this is NOT meant to be a scientific survey. In the "real world," you would identify and/or even purchase a targeted survey response list to get a larger and more accurate response rate).

Choosing a Brand Name & Creating a Logo

Igor International has created a great Naming Guide with information that can help you demystify the process of creating a great brand name.

Per Igor's Naming Guide, some things to consider as you review possible brand names include:
  • Appearance
  • Distinctive
  • Depth
  • Energy
  • Humanity
  • Positioning (How well does it support your core positioning for the brand?)
  • Sound
  • "33" (As per Igor's guide, "The force of brand magic and the word-of-mouth buzz that a name is likely to generate. Refers to the mysterious "33" printed on the back of Rolling Rock beer bottles...")
To get started, we'll be using a few web-based resources that will help us to:
  • Identify a Brand Name
  • Create a Logo

Brand Name Creation
Trademarkia.com is the largest visual search engine for more than 6 million trademarked logos, names, and slogans on the Internet. Use Trademarkia to identify whether or not your proposed brand name is already registered.

Logo Creation
There are several options to creating your logos. If you are comfortable using Adobe Photoshop, you can use it to craft suggested logos.

However, many people lack the graphic design skills in Photoshop. If this is the case, then you can use one of several web-based "logo generator" services. Wix.com has a great blog post with suggestions on how to cheaply (if not free) create a logo:

WEEKS 1 & 2: Intro to Course & Overview of Semester Project

SUMMARY:

During the first two weeks, we will:
  • Be introduced to the semester-long project and general course structure
  • Explore the basics of web-based public relations and advertising campaigns
  • Review the fundamentals of a SWOT analysis and a competitive analysis. Then prepare these for your product in preparation for your looming campaign
  • Review examples of user persona research and then apply these techniques to our campaign
HOMEWORK:
  • As we begin our semester campaign case study project, please identify the focus and positioning of your product and where it fits into the competitive landscape. Do not worry yet about the brand name or logo. You will conduct a competitive analysis and a SWOT analysis on the product line that they are aiming to develop a campaign for. This will be used to help shape and inform future branding and messaging elements, including social media outreach strategies. Soon you will also create at least three user persona research profiles for the audience that they anticipate targeting.
  • Read chapter 1 in your textbook ("Foundations in Integrated Digital Marketing")

User Personas

Who is your target audience? Are there multiple target audiences for your brand or product?

Rather than think about these in broad, abstract terms, you can develop "user personas" to better visualize who your potential audience is.
Orangebus, a U.K.-based digital agency, has created a great template that you can use to create your various user personas. Check it out (.pdf format) at:
More examples and templates to explore:
You can also use Xtensio again for this assignment:

Competitive Analysis & SWOT Analysis

Many students are already familiar with the concept of a Competitive Analysis and SWOT analysis. As you may already know, you can use both of these to help identify where your product fits within the overall marketplace. By developing both of these documents, you will help focus the approach used in planning your advertising and/or PR campaigns.
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS
A competitive analysis involves a simple exploration of your competitors in the product category or niche that you are aiming to develop a product and campaign for.

Xtensio has a free template that can help you get started:
Examples of completed Competitive/SWOT Analysis documents:
The above template also includes a section for a related SWOT analysis. However, you might also want to create a dedicated SWOT Analysis as a separate document.

(Note: The "free" version of Xtensio has some limitations that you should be aware of if you use it to complete this project. Please see the pricing page for information on what features are supported).

SWOT ANALYSIS

In addition to understanding your competition, you should do an analysis of  the key attributes and value propositions of your potential brand. A SWOT analysis can help you get a clearer understanding of your product by documenting the:
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats
To do a proper SWOT analysis, you will need to really consider what the key value propositions are in relation to the overall existing marketplace. This is  why both the SWOT analysis and competitive analysis are important as a starting  point to your campaign. You need to KNOW your brand and the larger product  category before subsequent work can begin.
Looking for examples? Marketingteacher.com has great examples of several brands, including:
Some people choose to create a SWOT Analysis that is entirely separate from the Competitive Analysis. If that is of interest, then check out this template:

COMPETITOR INTELLIGENCE

For all of the above, there are useful tools that can help you gather intelligence on your competitors. One web-based tool that can help you better understand the website demographics of your competitors is:

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
  • A Facebook fan page
  • A Twitter feed
  • Social media press releases
  • A targeted e-mail campaign
  • and more!
Examples of Previous Semester Campaign Sites:
Examples of Previous Semester Social Media Marketing Plans:

    COMSTRAT 310 Syllabus - Fall 2018

    COMSTRAT 310 - DIGITAL CONTENT PROMOTION (3 CREDITS)

    Instructor:  Brett Atwood                             
    EMAIL:  batwood@wsu.edu                                     

    COURSE OVERVIEW:

    This course is designed to help students apply writing, critical thinking and persuasion skills to the practice and promotion of PR and advertising in both digital and social media outlets. Students will explore various digital promotion technologies, as well as the use of emerging social media to study their ethical application in both advertising and PR.

    Successful completion of the course will prepare students for the next level of specialization courses in the College, as well as for an internship.

    COURSE TEXTBOOK (E-BOOK):

    This course uses the following password-protected e-book:
    Title: Integrated Digital Marketing Campaigns (2nd Edition)
    Author: Rebecca L. Cooney, MSC
    Publisher: Great River Learning
    ISBN #: 978-168075-7965

    How to purchase the textbook:

    From the publisher directly at www.grtep.com (about $75):
    1. Go to www.grtep.com
    2. Click on “Click Here to Purchase” under First Time User (without access code)
    3. Select Washington State University from the Institution pulldown menu
    4. Select Integrated Digital Marketing Campaigns – Rebecca Cooney from the Online Publication drop-down menu
    5. Next, you will be prompted to select your appropriate section/instructor. Please select the correct course so you are placed in the appropriate class.
    6. Complete the Account Info form information. Please use your wsu.edu email address for consistency in course communication.
    7. Complete your payment information and click Submit.  From there you will receive further instructions and prompts to access the textbook
    COURSE LEARNING GOALS:
    • Develop and manage online content promotions and branded digital campaigns.
    • Ability to develop and execute social media engagement and user-oriented content strategies.
    • Evaluate campaign success in execution using key performance indicators and online tools for web development, email, metrics, and multimedia management.

    COURSE CURRICULUM MAPPING (Click to enlarge):


    COURSE SPECIFICS:

    The course will be taught to address digital content and social media campaigns from both a PR and advertising perspective. In general, the work created and submitted is meant to prepare students for working in the “real world.”  

    Assignments will include content creation and promotion of campaign elements using both emerging and established new media technologies, including social media, podcasts, viral videos, social media news releases and website analytics. 

    Each student will develop a campaign for a fictional brand, product or organization for the duration of the semester. Students will be expected to conceptualize and create specified elements of a promotional campaign, which will include social media press releases and web- and social media-distributed multimedia content. 

    Students will learn to optimize their campaigns and content for distribution and discovery on search engines, social networks, mobile devices and other non-traditional outlets. Best practices will be explored for press release writing, tagging, metadata creation, social network seeding, community engagement and more.

    Each student will be responsible for gathering and generating accurate analytics and measurement reports for their client and campaign. Students will learn the basic data interpretation techniques of website and social media analytics services (such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights) that track visitor behavior, pageviews, keyword and third party site referrals.

    Although subject to change, the following tools, services and techniques may be used:
    • Search Engine Optimization and Marketing (SEO/SEM)
    • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
    • Social media networks  (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.)
    • Google Documents/Drive (an online collaborative word processor and cloud-based storage service)
    • Google Ads (targeted website and keyword search advertising service)
    • Google Analytics (targeted website and keyword measurement and analytics service)
    • Facebook Ads (targeted social media advertising service)
    • Facebook Insights (social media measurement and analytics service)
    • YouTube Insights (viral video measurement and analytics service)
    • Google Forms and/or Polldaddy (online survey tools)
    • Dropbox (media and file sharing utility)
    • Gliffy.com (wireframing tool)

    COURSE TOPICS & SCHEDULE (Subject to Change):
    • Week 1: Intro to Course & Overview of Semester Project
    • Week 2: Content Strategy Basics: Using a SWOT Analysis, Competitive Analysis & User Persona Research to Craft our Online Campaigns
    • Week 3: Focusing our online identity: Logo creations and brand name explorations (including trademark research)
    • Week 4: Gathering online feedback: Research and feedback on our brand name and logo creations (Learning Polldaddy/Google Forms)
    • Week 5: Wireframing & Design Explorations (Gliffy.com)
    • Week 6: Website Creation Training and Workshops (Wix.com)
    • Week 7: Workshops/Legal considerations for web publishing incl. exploration of stock photo and multimedia considerations
    • Week 8: SEO Basics: Search Engine Optimization Best Practices & Case Studies/SMM Basics: Social Media Marketing Best Practices & Case Studies
    • Week 9: Social Media Marketing Plans & Case Studies 
    • Week 10: Building a Facebook fan page & use of social media widgets/Building a Twitter feed & best practices in microblogging
    • Week 11Design & Campaign Considerations for Mobile & Tablet Platforms/Workshops
    • Week 12Learning Google Ads & Facebook Ads
    • Week 13:  Introduction to Google Analytics & Analyzing Website Traffic Reports/YouTube Insight & Video Campaigns
    • Week 14: THANKSGIVING BREAK
    • Weeks 15-16: Final Projects & Social Media Marketing Plans

    COURSE GRADING:

    Evaluation of your work will be based on the quality and timeliness of the social media, written and/or multimedia content created for the class. This does include technical quality, but also the application of key concepts and critical thinking to the productions. 

    For this course, all key components of your grade will be determined at the end of the course. Each key element is worth 25% of your total grade. Key elements include:
    • Final delivery of a campaign website and related social media elements (25%)
    • A Social Media Marketing Plan for your campaign (25%)
    • Participation & Attendance (25%)*
    • A final exam (25%)
    * Please note that excessive unexcused absences can result in an automatic failure of this class. Specifically, more than TWO will adversely affect your final grade due to reduced credit for attendance and participation. Upon the third unexcused absence, students will lose "Participation & Attendance" points. More than six unexcused absences in total will result in automatic failure of the course

    It is important to note that the majority of these elements will not be graded until the END of the semester. If students have any questions or want feedback sooner regarding how they are doing, they should contact the instructor to arrange a one-on-one meeting to review their work.

    REQUIRED TECHNOLOGY:

    This course has a heavy dependence on the use of technology and students will be expected to have access to Internet-connected computers so that they may complete each assignment. Some in-class lab time will be provided, but students should expect that much of their course work will be completed in labs or on their own computers outside of class.

    Due to the rapidly changing nature of the technology and tools used in this course, specific hardware, software and online services used may vary each semester as new digital technologies and practices emerge into the mainstream. 

    MURROW COLLEGE LAB HOURS: 

    A Computer Lab will be open for student use during the semester. This syllabus will be updated with computer lab hours and location shortly.

    For desktop support in the computer labs, please contact (425) 405-1592.

    SELECT UNIVERSITY POLICIES

    Copyright (2018) Brett Atwood.

    This syllabus and all course-related materials, presentations, lectures, etc. are my intellectual property and may be protected by copyright. Selling class notes through commercial note-taking services, without my written advance permission, could be viewed as copyright infringement and/or an academic integrity violation, WAC 504-26-010 (3)(a,b,c,i). Further, the use of University electronic resources (e.g., Blackboard) for commercial purposes, including advertising to other students to buy notes, is a violation of WSU’s computer abuses and theft policy (WAC 504-26-218), a violation of WSU’s Electronic Communication policy (EP 4), and also violates the terms of use for the Blackboard software program.

    Discriminatory Conduct Statement

    Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

    If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information).

    Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison.  (Visit oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info).

    Academic Freedom Statement

    WSU supports the faculty’s academic freedom, right to freedom of expression, and responsibility to fulfill course objectives that are approved by the Faculty Senate. This is fundamental to who we are as an institution. Along with these rights comes the responsibility to protect the freedom of expression of all members of our community, including students. The same is stated clearly in our own policies and procedures, including the Faculty Responsibilities section of the WSU Faculty Manual:

    “As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly standards of their disciplines. They demonstrate respect for the student as an individual and adhere to their proper role as intellectual guides and counselors…They protect students’ academic freedom.”

    We also want to emphasize the importance of protecting freedom of expression in the classroom. Section IIB of the Faculty Manual (page 14) covers freedom of expression and accompanying responsibilities:

    “Freedom of expression is recognized as one of the essential elements of academic freedom. On a healthy campus, there is respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the campus community and a concern for the rights of others. …It is the policy of Washington State University to support and promote the rights of all individuals to express their view and opinions for or against actions or ideas in which they have an interest… The above rights exist in equal measure for each member of the University community.”

    We recognize that faculty have a strong interest in promoting respectful dialogue in the classroom. Speech and conduct that disrupts the educational process and creates a hostile environment, as that term is defined in WSU’s non-discrimination policy (Executive Policy 15), is not protected.

    We must aim to protect the freedoms and rights of every member of the WSU community, and to promote learning about diverse perspectives while ensuring that students experience a safe, constructive learning environment.

    Academic Integrity Statement

    Academic integrity is the cornerstone of higher education. As such, all members of the university community share responsibility for maintaining and promoting the principles of integrity in all activities, including academic integrity and honest scholarship. Academic integrity will be strongly enforced in this course. Students who violate WSU’s Academic Integrity Policy (identified in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 504-26-010(3) and -404) will (i) receive an academic penalty ranging from a minimum of both a zero on that assignment and the reduction of a full letter grade on your final grade to failure of the entire course, (ii) will not have the option to withdraw from the course pending an appeal, and (iii) will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct. 

    Cheating includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-010(3). You need to read and understand all of the definitions of cheating: http://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010. If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, you should ask course instructors before proceeding. 

    If you wish to appeal a faculty member's decision relating to academic integrity, please use the form available at conduct.wsu.edu

    Reasonable Accommodation Syllabus Statement

    Reasonable accommodations are available in classes for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either email or call the Access Center (access.center@wsu.edu; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor.  New students to the Access Center are asked to visit the Access Center website to complete an application: http://www.accesscenter.wsu.edu.

    All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center.  Once accommodations are approved, students are expected to meet with course instructors within two weeks to discuss implementation.


    Pullman, Everett or WSU Online: 509-335-3417  http://accesscenter.wsu.edu, Access.Center@wsu.edu

    Campus and Classroom Safety Statement

    Classroom and campus safety are of paramount importance at Washington State University, and are the shared responsibility of the entire campus population.  WSU urges students to follow the “Alert, Assess, Act” protocol for all types of emergencies and the “Run, Hide, Fight” response for an active shooter incident. Remain ALERT (through direct observation or emergency notification), ASSESS your specific situation, and ACT in the most appropriate way to assure your own safety (and the safety of others if you are able).

    Please sign up for emergency alerts on your account at MyWSU. For more information on this subject, campus safety, and related topics, please view the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight video and visit the WSU safety portal.

    For the Everett campus, all students should also be enrolled in the local RAVE Emergency Alert system. If you are not already registered, please do so at: https://www.getrave.com/login/everettcc. You can also find Everett-specific emergency information at https://www.everettcc.edu/emergency/

    First Week Class Attendance (Rule 72)

    Students who do not attend class during the first week of the semester will likely be dropped from the course. Students with extenuating circumstances should notify the Office of Student Affairs.   Valid reasons for missing class do not relieve the student of their responsibility for that missed work.

    Academic Regulations, Rule 34a

    Students may only repeat a course graded C- or below one time at WSU during fall or spring semesters.  Additional repeats are allowed from another institution or at WSU during summer terms or by special permission of the academic unit offering the course.

    SELECT COLLEGE & COURSE POLICIES

    University Communication with Students

    Absolutely NO communication will be sent to external addresses (e.g., yahoo, gmail, and so forth). We will use either the email within Blackboard or “email.wsu.edu” system. 

    Late/Missed Work 

    Late work is not accepted in this class. Tests and quizzes missed due to absence cannot be made up. Do not ask for after-the-fact exceptions. Some consideration, however, might be given (at the discretion of the instructor) if there is extenuating circumstances such as prolonged hospitalization, family death, or extended individual sickness previously discussed. In cases of documented university conflict, you are responsible for making alternative arrangements a minimum of two weeks in advance and responsibilities must be fulfilled before the normally scheduled time.

    Course Participation & Attendance Policies:

    In order to ensure participation from all students, credit is given to those with strong attendance and promptness. 

    Specifically, more than TWO will adversely affect your final grade due to reduced credit for attendance and participation. Upon the third unexcused absence, students will lose "Participation & Attendance" points. Thus, excessive absences will result in a lower grade for the overall course - and more than six unexcused absences in total will result in automatic failure of the course

    Class attendance is vital, as material will be introduced that is not covered in the text. Poor attendance will be reflected in your grade because of missed assignments or problems with completion. Assignments missed due to absence generally can't be made up. Do not ask unless there are exceptional circumstances for an excused absence. Consideration might be given if there is documented hospitalization, family death, university-sponsored travel (documented in advance) or extended individual sickness.

    Instructor-Student Interaction

    I will generally respond to emails within 24 hours during the week. My expectation is the same for students. You need also to check your email regularly and respond within 24 hours. I generally do not respond to emails during the weekend. Nor is it expected that you will respond over the weekend. I generally do not discuss grades or any student records issues via email. Please schedule a meeting with me to discuss these issues. If necessary, I may ask you to submit a written petition together with your work in question. The classroom is typically not an appropriate place for these discussions. 

    In-Class Technology & Mobile Phone Use Policy

    Some assignments may require use of a computer laptop or other technology during the class. Otherwise, students are required to keep cell phones on vibrate or have calls transferred to voicemail while in class.  You may not take calls, text or engage in non-class related web or mobile activity while in class. The instructor reserves the right to ask students who violate this policy repeatedly to leave the classroom. Repeat violations of this policy may be cause for a reduced grade or course credit.

    In-Class Video & Audio Recording Policy

    Students should not record audio or video of the instructor or other students in the classroom without first procuring permission or consent from all recorded subjects. This includes use of "live streaming" services (such as Facebook Live and Periscope) and other social media audio/video recordings made without permission during class. Washington state is a "two-party consent" state that requires the consent of every party to a phone call or conversation in order to make the recording lawful. For more information on the legality of recording in the classroom, see: "Is it legal to record your teachers or professors?"