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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 summer break! :)

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


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.
  • Learn about Google Ads, Google AdSense and Google Ad Manager.
  • Finish our semester-long campaign website and related social media channels.
  • Work on your final exam, due no later than the end of the day on Tuesday, April 30.
  • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan, due Tues., April 30. (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).
  • OPTIONAL: Read Chapter 8: "BrandYou"

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!

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:

    What should be in your social media marketing plan?

    Your final social media marketing plan should include the following sections and elements:
    • Executive Summary/Overview
    • Social Media Presence
    • Competitive Analysis
    • Goals
    • Strategies
    • Target Market
    • Tools & Implementation
    • Monitoring & Tuning
    • Budget & ROI
    In addition, your Social Media Marketing Plan should include documentation of the research and planning of your campaign, including:
    • Branding research (logo/name survey results)
    • User Personas
    • SWOT Analysis
    • Wireframe(s)


    Using elements of a “Research, Writing, and Creativity” rubric – your work will be evaluated using the following criteria:
    • Research and Preparation: Student demonstrates thoughtful preparation and research
    • Content: Meets all the criteria for the assignment. All content is in the students’ own words (or cited appropriately) and is accurate.
    • Complete and Thorough: All aspects and sections of the assignment are completed in full with no holes. Demonstrated the ability to research to complete all tables, templates or outline requirements
    • Creativity: Students demonstrate creativity and innovation in completing the assignment content and any layout or design elements. The final product is unique, powerful, effective, and compelling.
    • Conventions: Document is easy to read and all elements are very clearly written, labeled. The document has no misspellings or grammatical errors. All template elements or outline sections are complete and thorough.

    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:


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




    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.

    Adding Google Analytics to your Wix site -- and a free alternative option: StatCounter

    Wix only allows accounts with a connected domain to add Google Analytics. If you have a connected domain, then use these instructions to get started.

    No custom domain? There are also free alternatives to consider, such as StatCounter. Here are instructions for installing the tracking code on Wix.

    Introduction to Google Ads


    In mid-2018, Google announced a rebranding of its various ad initiatives. The company now has multiple connected platforms including Google Ads, AdSense, the Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager.

    For this class, we will focus primarily on Google Ads -- since that is the program most likely to be of use to aspiring professional PR and advertising students.

    Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is an advertising service that enables you to create your own ads to appear on relevant Google search results pages, as well as on other Google Ads-enabled websites. Thus, companies that want to promote their services would use Google Ads to advertise for acquisition of new customers.


    With Google Ads, you can create ads that are eligible to appear on Google within the search results. Your ads are also eligible to appear on some Google Ads partner sites.

    Unlike some traditional forms of advertising, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad! Thus, your ad will generate lots of impressions - but your ad costs are linked to the "click-through rate" (CTR), which is what ultimately matters in driving traffic to your site.

    How do you determine what each ad will cost?

    In many cases, you will bid on "keywords" that are matched to the types of search engine queries that people make. There are branded and non-branded searches.

    What is the difference between branded and non-branded searches?

    BRANDED SEARCHES: If the customer already knows your brand name, they will likely type that into the search engine or they may already know the website address and go directly to your site. If they type your brand name into the search engine, this is known as a "branded search."

    A good starting point is to do a general search for your brand on Google. Does your brand show up? If so, how high does it rank? Be aware that people might misspell your brand name -- do typos and variations of your brand also show up prominently?

    Branded searches include any searches that originate with an attempt to search for your brand -- including typos and variations.

    For example, branded searches for the 3D virtual world Second Life would include "Second Life," "2nd Life," "Second Life game" and even typos (e.g. "Secund Life").

    NON-BRANDED SEARCHES: What about searches that happen when people don't already know your brand name? Maybe your potential customers are looking for a type of product or service, but are completely unaware that you even exist! A "non-branded search" encompasses searches for general descriptors and phrases that relate to your brand without actually including your brand name.

    For example, popular non-branded searches for Second Life might include "virtual world," "3D virtual game," "avatar game" and "virtual life."

    How does Google Ads work?

    Non-branded searches present a huge opportunity to acquire new customers and/or website visitors! You can use Google Ads to place "bids" on ad placement on searches for both branded and non-branded searches. However, chances are pretty good that other companies are also targeting non-branded searches - so the prices may vary dramatically for your ads based on how in demand your keywords and phrases are. You have lots of options on how to bid and spend your money. You can use Google Ads to pay a higher amount for prioritized placement among ads -- or distribute your costs more evenly so that your campaign budget lasts longer.

    Here is a video that further summarizes how keyword bidding works on Google Ads:

    One thing to note is that Google rewards you for relevancy over the long-term. To deter companies from bidding on popular phrases that have nothing to do with their brand or service, Google will actually factor in the accuracy of your ad copy and keyword bids into its algorithm that determines where your ad is placed. Thus, you don't want to "spam" or "bait and switch" potential customers with ads that are irrelevant to their searches.

    Will my ads only be displayed on the search results pages on Google?

    Not necessarily. You have the option to place an ad only on Google's search pages and/or the Display Network of partner sites. If you choose to include the Display Network, your ad can appear across the Internet on numerous sites that match the theme or topic of your campaign. These ads can include images, interactivity and even video.

    For Display Ads, you can either import in your compliant ad or build a new Display Ad right inside the Google Ads Display Ads tool. 

    How do I get started with Google Ads?

    Looking to get started using Google Ads?

    Sign up for your free account. Although you don't necessarily need this for class, here is a link for a free $75 (when you spend $25) in starter advertising for first-time Google Ads users.

    Once you are logged in, you can start to write your ad copy and then use the ad creation tool to identify the keywords that you want to bid on. You can also target your ad for placement in particular geographic regions and other variables.

    How can I learn Google Ads?

    Google has a self-paced online learning platform that is free to use. Academy for Ads is a great way to learn everything you need to know to get up-to-speed on Google Ads!

    Visit Academy for Ads >> 

    There are also several tutorials available on the official Google Ads YouTube channel.

    How Do You Measure Success in Google Ads?

    Other Useful Tools:

    • Use the Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaign.

    Monetizing with Google AdSense


    As the semester comes close to ending, many students may find interest in the topic of monetizing their content. This means that you can potentially make money from the work that you create!

    Google AdSense enables content creators to monetize their sites via displayed ads. So, if you are a content creator or publisher, you would likely want to participate in the AdSense program to make some money!

    To get started, you need to first have a Google AdSense account.

    To learn more about Google AdSense, visit the Academy for Ads help pages or watch the various tutorial videos provided by Google. 


    For Blogger:

    If you have a Blogger account, getting set up with AdSense is easy. Here are the instructions:
    For Wix:

    If you have a Wix site, you can set up AdSense using these instructions:

    For Wordpress:

    If you have a Wordpress account, watch this video to learn how to connect AdSense to it:


    For Tumblr:

    For Tumblr blogs, you can add AdSense using the instructions in this video:



    Many journalists and content creators have websites that include advertising that originates from one of several ad networks. However, managing multiple competing ad networks might get complicated quickly. Google Ad Manager (formerly Doubleclick for Publishers) helps you centralize and manage the inventory of ads originating from the various competing ad networks so that you get the most value out of your advertising. It can also be used for scheduling, reporting and targeting of your various ad opportunities.

    You can learn even more about Google Ad Manager at the Google Publisher University.


    For an overview on how ad serving works, please watch the video below. (Note: I recommend watching only the first 3 minutes as the last minute is an ad for a specific service).

    Examples of ad networks that work with Google Ad Manager include:

    Additional Resources:

    Facebook Ads

    Facebook Ads is an influential Web ad service that enables you to target specific audiences inside the popular social network.

    Facebook has a series of tutorials that will walk you through the basics:

    You can see the entire tutorial series here.

    Here's another video that goes in-depth on the basics and intermediate level skills necessary to learn Facebook Ads:


    Facebook has a page filled with case studies that you can explore to see how both small and large companies are using the Facebook Ads platform to expand their reach and build their business.
    Here are even more video tutorials that walk you through the basics of creating a Facebook ad and then identifying your target audience and budget in the Facebook Ads creation tool. (Note: The specific menu options may have changes since these screencasts were originally recorded - but they are still useful as they show a general walk-through of the Facebook Ads creation process).

    Creating your ad 


    Defining your target audience and budget 

    Facebook Advertising can be displayed as a traditional ad on the right-hand side of the news feed or in the news feed itself.
    • News Feed
      • These ads will appear in the center of the news feed along posts from friends and followed pages. This "native ad" blends in seamlessly with the general news feed content. You can even pay for placement of a recent Facebook post so that it appears in the news feed for targeted recipients -- even if they don't yet "like" your page.
    • Right Side Column
      • These ads appear on the righthand column adjacent to your news feed. The size of these ads is considerably smaller than a News Feed ad.
    Read the full FAQ for more info on these and other options.

    Related Links:

    There is some debate about the effectiveness of Facebook Advertising. This video shows one ex-advertiser's experience with "Facebook fraud" and fake Like followers after a recent campaign:


    Did you know that Facebook offers free online courses including certification covering the basics of Facebook Ads and other social media initiatives?

    Check out Facebook Blueprint to get started.

    April 16 - Guest Lecture - Darren Helton, Performance Marketing Manager

    On April 16, our class will host a video-based live Q&A with Darren Helton, the lead performance marketing manager for Linden Research, Inc. (maker of social VR and gaming products).

    Darren will be available to take your questions about all things related to paid digital campaigns, including trends and best practices using search, display and social media advertising.

    WEEKS 12 & 13: Social Media Marketing Plans and Building Facebook & Twitter Pages


    Over the next week, we will:
    • Continue to 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 best practices in building an official Facebook, Twitter & YouTube presence for our campaign sites.
    • Continue to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due April 30)
    • Create a Facebook and Twitter page for your campaign. These social media sites should then be linked to your main campaign website.
    • Start posting Facebook and Twitter 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 Facebook followers by the end of the semester.
      • You should try to have at least 10 Facebook and Twitter posts by the end of the semester.
    • Continue to work on and revise your campaign website, including modifications to help optimize your content for search engine indexing and rankings.
    • Optimize your Wix-created website for mobile devices using the mobile editor built into the Wix.com edit tool. Your final campaign site will be evaluated for how it appears on both desktop and mobile devices.
    • Run an SEO audit on your site when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool.
    • OPTIONAL: Read Chapter 7: "Staying Current in Digital Space"

    Creating a Facebook Fan Page & Facebook Business Manager

    Now that you have your new Web destination site, you'll also want to begin to nurture a strong community of followers and fans via social networking platforms, such as Facebook. Each team may want to designate a social media stakeholder for this responsibility or you might want to share those responsibilities.


    1. Your designated social media editor should log in to Facebook and then visit this link to set up your fan page.

    2. You'll want to classify your page by Category. Although the choice is yours, you might look at the options under Brand, Product, or Organizations. There are several choices that might be appropriate for your project there.

    3. You will also get a chance to "name" your page. Make sure it matches your branded Web property!

    4. When ready, check the confirmation box and digitally "sign" the form and select "Create Page."

    5. Now you can customize your page. You might want to populate the page with your custom logo, profile information and even any of the many Facebook Apps.

    Key Image Specifications for Facebook Timeline:
    • Profile Photo: 180 x 180
    • Cover Photo: 851 x 315
      • Should not include price/purchase info or "calls to action"
      • Need a cover photo? Find a free cover photo for your Timeline at one of these sites:
    • Video Cover: Want a video for your cover instead? Learn how
    6. Once your page is ready, you can choose to take it public.

    7. Ready to add a Like button to your new Facebook fan site on your Wix page? Use these instructions.

    8. Use the Facebook Fan site to send alerts and updates about additions to your site. You might also promote it to friends and interested, related communities via Facebook and other social network sites.

    9. After you are done inserting the Facebook Like button, you might want to explore some of the other easy-to-use apps on the Wix App Market that you can add to your Wix.com site, including embedding of a Google Calendar, Crowdsignal/Polldaddy surveys, live chat and more. Check out a list of them all here.

    Learn more about managing your Facebook Page >>


    Some businesses go further than simply creating a Facebook page. For example, if your business has multiple stakeholders that use your official Facebook page and/or it uses multiple Facebook services (e.g. Developer apps, advertising, etc.) then you might want to connect your Facebook page to Facebook Business Manager.

    Use Facebook Business Manager if:

    • You need to centralize management of more than one ad account or page for your business.
    • You need to request access to Pages or ad accounts from clients outside your organization and/or you want to grant access to an outside vendor or organization with controlled permissions
    • You have multiple team members and you wish to keep your personal Facebook profile private/separate.

    Best Practices in Facebook Page Management

    Facebook has an official guide to Best Practices with some great tips. However, here are even more best practices in communicating with your followers on Facebook:
    1. Be conversational in your voice/tone with your followers. In many cases, it is best to use a casual tone that people can relate to. While it is important to stay "on message" and not offer personal and polarizing opinions, many social media managers infuse humor and personality into their posts to capture the attention of their followers.
    2. Ask questions to inspire conversations. When you ask a question of your followers, you are likely to inspire engagement with you on Facebook. Be sure to answer back and/or respond to any conversation that unfolds!
    3. Respond to Facebook comments, when appropriate. Many companies make the mistake of using Facebook as a one-way channel to deliver company news and updates. However, these organizations are missing the point of Facebook -- it is a media outlet that is best suited for social conversations that are not one-sided! Don't be afraid to respond to your followers. Most will appreciate that you acknowledge their opinions. 
    4. Don't feed the trolls! Some conversations can lead into a never-ending cycle of negativity. If the exchange is less about intelligent conversation and more like a rant, it might be best to be reserved in how (and if) you respond. In extreme cases, companies will block or ban followers that are not willing to engage in reasonable conversation.
    5. Share photos and videos. Visual media is more likely to grab the attention of your followers than simple text. This also means that you should consider changing out your Timeline cover photo often, as well. It also means that you should pay closer attention to the thumbnails that are generated when you link to other content.
    6. Consider exclusive content. Is there any insider information that you can reward your loyal followers with? Inspire more loyalty among your fans and followers with exclusive extras, insider tips and tricks and/or behind-the-scenes photos.
    7. Use post targeting. Some updates are only likely to appeal to a portion of your followers. For example, a particular post might only be aimed at customers in a particular geographic region. If so, you can use the "Add Targeting" option to limit who sees your latest post.
    8. Post useful info - not spam! Don't "hard sell" your followers -- they will likely view any blatant commercial posts as "spam" (which can lead to a decline in "likes" of your page). Consider your readers and what they will find interesting and/or useful. Many organizations use Facebook to establish credibility and authenticity with their fans. For example, a restaurant might post interesting recipes or food preparation tips. These posts might occasionally be accompanied with a gentle nudge to readers about your services -- but it is never a blatant commercial plug.
    9. Don't post more than two times a day. For commercial products, less is more. If you post too often, you run the risk of being perceived as spam. However, media and news properties are different. If your brand is centered around the idea of delivering news and/or information, then these non-commercial updates are more likely to be welcomed and perceived as useful to your audience. For example, CNN posts breaking news several times a day -- all of which is expected by those followers. 
    10. Use the "pin" feature. You can now "pin" a post to the top of your Timeline to ensure that it is seen first among visitors to your page.
    11. BONUS TIP: Use the call-to-action button, if appropriate. Facebook has a call-to-action button that you can add to the top of your page. This enables visitors to click through to complete an action. Options include "Book Now," "Contact Us," "Use App," "Play Game," "Shop Now," "Sign Up," and "Watch Video."
    There are numerous other tips to consider, too. Take a look at these articles from various social media experts about best practices in Facebook engagement:

    Facebook Insights

    Facebook Insights allow any admin of an official Facebook page to learn more about fans and followers including demographics and engagement patterns.

    The social media giant recently overhauled and expanded this important metrics platform to include richer and enhanced data streams that provide better insight to your Facebook followers.

    Twitter Analytics

    Are you familiar with Twitter Analytics?

    With Twitter Analytics, you can learn more about the performance of your Tweet activity, as well as your followers.

    The Tweet Activity Dashboard helps you learn more about your followers, including:
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Affinity for other Twitter brands/influencers
    • Top Interests
    • Timeline Activity Summaries (No. of Faves, No. of Retweets, and Replies)
    To access your Tweet Activity Dashboard, visit http://analytics.twitter.com. 
    Disclosure: In some cases, you may be prompted to set up an account with Twitter Ads in order to activate full analytics. This might involve associating a credit card with your account, but you won't be charged unless you actually place a paid Twitter Ad campaign. Further, some non-business analytics dashboards will not include all data. For example, Affinity information may not be available for those with low follower counts and/or some consumer accounts.


    Twitter recently expanded the original analytics dashboard to also include a new Twitter Card dashboard that can be used by advertisers who wish to pay for media-rich campaigns on Twitter.

    "Twitter Cards," which add a media-rich content area that extends beyond the typical 140-character Tweet. With a Twitter Card, you can add videos and other media experiences directly into your Tweets.
    One important thing to note is that you can't begin to use Twitter Cards until you first "validate" your site with Twitter. This involves adding approved "metatag" code to your site. If this is of interest, instructions for adding metatags on Wix are here:
    Once installed, Twitter Card activity will be tracked in the Twitter Analytics dashboard. You can use the dashboard to learn more about making your Tweets successful.

    Instagram Insights

    Like other social media platforms, Instagram also has a dedicated analytics dashboard known as Instagram Insights.

    Instagram Insights help you learn more about your followers and the people interacting with your business on Instagram. For example, you'll find insights such as gender, age range and location. You can also see which posts and stories your audience sees and engages with the most. Insights and metrics about your account include paid activity as well. Reach, accounts reached, impressions, and impressions by day reflect both paid and organic activity.

    To get started, your Instagram profile must be a Business profile as Insights is not available on "personal" Instagram accounts.

    Learn more:

    Managing your Social Media Channels: TweetDeck and HootSuite

    Managing multiple social media channels can be a pain. That's why there are services that you can use to help you monitor and maintain your social media channels in one centralized spot.

    HootSuite is a social media management service that helps you stay on top of multiple social networks -- all from one centralized "dashboard." You can use HootSuite to schedule messages and tweets, as well as to track mentions of your brand/organization. You can also gain a richer understanding of social media traffic trends and developments that help you follow newsworthy developments related to your organization.

    HootSuite offers a free version that you can use to get started -- but professional organizations will likely want to investigate upgrading to the premium paid versions (to unlock useful extras and features).

    Check out HootSuite to get started.


    Another great social media management tool is TweetDeck, which is an app that allows you to better organize and monitor your Twitter feeds. Use TweetDeck to arrange your feeds with customizable columns with useful filters, including hashtags and relevant keywords. You can also use TweetDeck to advance schedule your Tweets.

    Check out TweetDeck to get started.

    YouTube Analytics

    YouTube Analytics is an analytics tool that enables you to view detailed statistics about the videos you upload.

    With YouTube Analytics, you can view data that tracks:
    • Popularity and Number of Views
    • Demographics
    • Community Engagement
    • Discovery
    • Audience Attention
    Did you know that you can pay to promote your videos using YouTube's "Promoted Videos" feature?


    Social Media Marketing Campaigns

    Here is a handy "Creating Valuable Content" checklist that you can use in consideration of your content development strategy (courtesy of the Content Marketing Institute):

    Generation Like


    In class on March 28, we will watch the PBS "Frontline" documentary "Generation Like."

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

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


    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
    • Continue to revise your work-in-progress website.
    • Begin to work on your Social Media Marketing Plan (final version due April 25)
    • 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.
    • OPTIONAL: Read Chapter 6 “Integrated Digital Campaigns: Planning, Execution & Metrics"

    Creating a Landing Page for your Campaign Site

    A landing page can be used to target a niche or specific audience or user persona type for your campaign. Here are some examples of landing pages for the same product -- yet each has content themed specifically to a different type of use case or audience:

    From an SEO perspective, landing pages are also valuable since they help calibrate your content around a specific phrase or keyword. This can help with achieving higher relevancy on those terms for keyword indexing by the major search engines.

    To build a landing page within your existing site in Wix, see these instructions. As an alternative, you can create a new landing page template as a separate site using one of these templates.

    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.


    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)


    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:

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


    Over the next couple of 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).

    • 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 March 8.
    • Run an SEO audit on your site when it is ready using the Wix SEO Wiz tool. 
    • OPTIONAL: Read Chapter 5 "Digital Marketing Metrics"

    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?
    • 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:

    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.


    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:

    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.

    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.


    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!

    There are tons of 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:

    WEEK 6: Wireframing & Design Explorations


    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.
    • Learn about content management systems and website creation tools, such as Wix or Wordpress, that can be used to build an original campaign website.
    • 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.
    • Optional: Read Chapter 4: "Digital Marketing WebSocial"
    • Please watch the video "Social Media Marketing: The Movie" 

    Social Media Marketing: The Movie and Gary Vaynerchuk Keynote

    Please watch the following 45-minute presentation "Social Media Marketing: The Movie."

    This short film, created in 2018 by digital marketing agency Ignite Visibility, includes interviews from several key industry experts and influencers and offers practical tips and strategies for social media marketing. This information can be used for crafting your own social media marketing strategy in our semester-long class project.

    While not required, I am also including another suggested video from acclaimed entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. His presentation aims to inspire emerging social media marketers with his own unique take on the qualities necessary to succeed in the current media landscape.

    Fair warning: Gary V. loves to drop explicit language throughout this presentation, so you'll hear plenty of F-bombs scattered throughout this unique presentation. Also, be warned that the lead up to the section on social media and content strategy is a bit long but the opening 20 minutes serves to add context to the remainder of the presentation.


    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:

    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