Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

5 Quick and Easy Stress-Relief Strategies

February 22, 2017

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We have all experienced stress—it is unavoidable. Common stressors include family, friends, work, significant others, finances…and the list goes on. For college and graduate students, one significant stressor is often school.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 80 percent of students say that they experience stress on a daily basis. Obviously, this is not healthy. Stress has been known to lead to nervousness, loneliness, sadness, headaches, upset stomachs and fatigue. Severe levels of continuing stress can even cause depression.

Because you cannot avoid stress, you must learn to manage it in order to live a healthy and enjoyable life. Below, thanks to the American Psychological Association, the ADAA and healthline, we were able to compile a list of the five quick and easy stress relief strategies that you can use every day.

  1. Talk it out

Call, email or text someone that you trust. Simply expressing your feelings and concerns to someone else will automatically help to relieve some of your stress.

  1. Listen to Music

Listening to music has a myriad of soothing effects. In addition to calming your nerves, listening to music can “slow the pulse and heartrate, lower blood pressure and decrease levels of stress hormones.” This is especially true of classical music.

  1. Exercise

When exercising, the pituitary gland releases endorphins, which are proven to improve your mood. Exercising also prevents “excessive neuronal firing,” which helps you feel more calm. These effects can be felt even after exercising for only one minute.

  1. Stay positive

Always look at the glass half-full. By replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones, you will be able to better manage your stress. Staying positive can also lead to a longer life, a stronger immune system, and “better psychological and physical well-being.”

  1. Breathe

When you are calm, your breathing is slow and originates in the diaphragm. When you are stressed, your breathing is quicker and shallower. To reduce stress levels, focus your attention on deep and concentrated breathing—it will allow more oxygen to reach the brain, which, in turn, will help you relax.

Remember, stress is not something that can be avoided. Everyone deals with stress at some point in their lives, and everyone handles stressful situations in a different manner; however, these five quick and easy stress relief strategies are sure to work for anyone! So, next time you are stressed, give them a try!

To learn more about coping with and reducing stress, follow any one of the links provided above.

 

February 16, 2017

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Analytics involves a lot of difficult numbers,  but the information you gain from those numbers is worthwhile. Analytics give you a chance to find out if you are effective at reaching your target audience. Analytics provides a roadmap to show you where your brand has been and figure out where to go from here. This roadmap shows the reason behind what posts work, when you should post, and why you should post effective content.

Website Analytics
Analytics give us information about how your public is reacting to the information you are giving them. Website analytics will tell you what kind of content that your online visitors are seeking when they visit your site.  Analytics will show you how long people spend on each page.

Do you have a lot of people leaving your website without a purchase? Analytics will help you discover how people use your website and when they leave, as well as potential indicators of trouble like spending too little or too much time in one place.  These indicators can show you the root of your website’s problems.

Social Media Analytics
Social media analytics can tell you how well you are reaching your target audience. Are you posting content that your followers want to see, or are you posting content that you think they want to see?  Analytics will allow you to track how well certain types of posts are doing.  Unsure if posting another product picture will be a good strategy?  Look at the analytics from the past and see how well your followers liked previous posts. Unsure about posting something a little out of the ordinary?  See how your followers responded in the past.  The results may surprise you.

Overall, analytics is exciting for marketers.  Analytics will tell you about the people you are reaching – their likes and dislikes, their interests, their hobbies, and their locations.  You may see opportunities through analytics you had not before.

Three Challenges of Transitioning from College to Career (And How to Crush Them)

February 9, 2017

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One of the toughest things college students face is the transition from university life to full-time work. The hours are different; the expectations are more challenging, and you often don’t have your best friends around anymore to help ease the stress.

Here are the top three challenges you’ll face in your transition to the work world and how to combat them.

Working 9 to 5

Having to be somewhere five days a week, eight hours a day is a big adjustment. You’re used to making your own schedule, blowing off class when you feel like it, and having a week off for spring break. No such luxuries in the work world. It’s a different schedule altogether.

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I’ve had new grads come to work for me who confessed that sitting in front of a computer all day was hard for them. They just weren’t used to having to stay in one place all day. It’s understandable, but you don’t want to look like a slacker who can’t handle a desk job. So how can you maintain your sanity?

Take a Walk

Get out at lunch and walk. Ditch your cell phone and go electronics-free for thirty minutes. Take micro-breaks and walk the stairs in the building. Just getting your heart beat up and a change of surroundings will help.

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Run Errands

Tell your boss you need a change of pace now and then. If there’s errands to run, parking meters to plug, lunch for the employee meeting to pick up, offer to do it. Not because you’re the lowly recent grad, but because you need to get out.

Smartphone Withdrawl

Unless your gig is to be on Snapchat all day, you’re going to have to curtail your texting and social media on the job. Yes, you can probably get away with a fair amount of online connecting throughout the day, but the price you pay is that you’re never completely engaged at work. It creates a never-ending bad feedback loop.

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If you always have part of your mind on your Snapchat feed and your friends’ texts, you’re never 100% committed to your job. The inability to focus will produce lackluster work, and  you won’t fully connect at work so that you can make a difference. There are plenty of studies that prove that the constant distractions and inability to focus will cost you plenty in your career.

Restrict Your Cell Phone Use

Leave your phone in your car when you go to work. I can hear you screaming from here, but just try it for a week and see how your productivity at work improves. Yes, you’ll initially feel naked without it, but the constant need for social media assurance is killing your ability to focus on the job. If you haven’t seen Simon Sineck’s video on millennials and their devices, it’s a must-see. He artfully outlines how the constant interaction with your phone is undermining your ability to relate to others and make an impact at your workplace.

After you’ve successfully weaned off the constant device checking, bring the phone into the office and leave it turned off in a desk drawer. Schedule three times a day when you will check it and stick to the schedule. Turn it off in between those times. Over time, you’ll stress less about what you’re missing and be more successful at work.

Assignment Expectations

When you handed in an assignment at school, you knew if it was an A paper or a this-will-get-me-a-C paper. Moving into the work world is challenging because there are no C’s. You have to hand in A’s all the time, or you’ll soon be branded as the weakest link. If you hand in enough below average work, you’ll be looking for another job in short order.

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Ask For Clarification

When you get a task at work, be sure to ask when it’s due and what the expectations are around it. Who is ultimately going to see the work? The CEO or an intern? Who else is counting on your contribution and how will it affect their ability to do their job? And always, always make sure you understand why this particular assignment is important. If you don’t, you may mistake something critical for busywork and cost the company money and possibly yourself a job.

No Task Is Too Small

I had a recent college grad who was assigned to upload products into a client’s website. She forgot to keep checking on the upload, and the software got stalled at product #300 out of 10,000. She didn’t notice the error all day. To her, it seemed like a boring, menial task but to the client, whose website she was supposed to update, it meant products available in an overcrowded warehouse that couldn’t be sold. It was a big deal to them. When we took her to task for her lack of attention to the assignment, she got offended and handed in her resignation. She saved us the trouble of firing her. What you do at work, no matter how small it seems, it matters. Treat it as such.

It is tough to go from classes to career. It’s a whole different set of rules and expectations. You may find it exhilarating; you may find it overwhelming. Keep in mind that every college grad you’re working with has been there. Be honest about your adjustment worries and ask for help.

Working for Yourself

And if you’re thinking that 9 to 5 and working for someone else isn’t for you, next month I’ll be sharing what agency owners around the country learned in their first year of running their own marketing firm.

Marilyn Heywood Paige is the Vice President of  FiG Advertising and Marketing in Denver Colorado. She earned her Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University in 2013.

Other articles by Marilyn Heywood Paige

Lessons from Groundhog Day

February 2, 2017

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Groundhog Day is my favorite “non-traditional” holiday. There’s something exciting about a quirky groundhog predicting the weather based in Punxsutawney folklore. In addition to the holiday, there is an excellent 1993 movie Groundhog Day featuring Bill Murray, in which he is covering the Groundhog Day festivities for his local news station and gets stuck repeating Groundhog Day again and again. Here are some practical lessons from Groundhog Day that can be applied to graduate work in the IMC program:

  1. Once you master your school routine the program will become more manageable.

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Bill Murray is initially thrown off-guard when he realizes he is trapped within Groundhog Day. However, his character uses that to his advantage to avoid stepping in a puddle, to perfect his television reporting skills and make the most of his newfound small-town lifestyle. The IMC program runs each class with the same structure as the introductory IMC 610 course. Students can use knowing the class routine to their advantage to work on research, reading, discussion posts, responses, writing and editing. Moral of the story, make the most of your “Groundhog Day” routine course schedule to excel in the graduate program.

2. Strive to make the most out of your word choice.

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As IMC communicators, we tend to be long-winded on paper and in-person. The IMC program aims to make students concise communicators. Although you may have a lot to say on the topic, sometimes less is more.

3. Take advantage of the accelerated 8-week terms.

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Unlike Bill Murray’s take on Groundhog Day, each of your classes will end within the 8-week term. While 8-weeks may seem short, there is a lot of work that goes into the two month span. If you find a course challenging, really lean into it because there are only 8-weeks and you can learn so much from your classmates, professors and colleagues. Plus, switching classes every 8-weeks keeps life interesting and students have the opportunity to learn about many different IMC topics.

4. Remember the end game is graduation!

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While in the program, it may feel like graduation is so far away. However, after you complete your 11 courses you will have your master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Remember, you will also have 100% departure once capstone is complete.(You can do it!)

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone!

Five Ways IMC Prepared Me For Agency Work

January 26, 2017

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Marilyn Heywood Paige shares the real-world application of IMC in the agency setting.

Wondering how your IMC program compares to work in the real world? Read on to discover five ways that WVU’s IMC Master’s program will prepare you to succeed in a marketing agency.

Multiple Weekly Deadlines

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You may groan at how many papers there are to write every week. (I know I did.) I took two courses at a time, so the pace of the work was vigorous. The assignments were very challenging, and juggling two classes meant there were multiple deadlines every week.

Agency work is pretty much the same. At any given time, I have twelve to twenty clients relying on me to deliver results. In a busy week, I can deliver a finished project to a client every day.

There Is No Late

There were many nights I was stressed out during my degree program and worked feverishly to get my assignment in on time. Turning in a paper late meant a grade of zero, so there was no late. Ditto for agency work. Clients don’t care if you have the flu or picture2overslept. If their newsletter doesn’t get out on time, or their website isn’t finished when you promised it, they will no longer trust you. They will soon be looking for another agency, and you get a zero on your paycheck. And honestly, it just feels bad when you can’t meet your client’s expectation, so you learn to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to avoid that scenario. (You also learn to manage your client’s expectations more effectively, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Writing and Grammar Matters

There is War and Peace amounts of writing in the IMC program. Between class discussions and papers, it’s a ton of writing every week. Add to it that APA style is not just encouraged, it’s enforced, and you have a fairly strenuous demand on your writing skills.

Other than having to provide copious citations, the amount of writing in IMC is comparative to the writing I have to do at my agency. Between emails, proposals, blogs, picture3websites, white papers, media releases, and social media posts, I can write 5,000 – 10,000 words a week.

And yes, APA style and grammar matters. When you are being paid to write for a client, you are representing their brand, so bad grammar, misspelling, or misquoting a source is a big deal. Plagiarism has even worse consequences. If you copy and paste an article from a website and put it on your client’s site, Google will lower their SEO rankings and possibly penalize the website. Just like in school, don’t steal someone else’s words without citing it or adding a backlink.

Capstone Course

Perhaps the most valuable course of all was the Capstone because that’s where you get to put all the pieces of your coursework together and demonstrate your competency in each.

Being able to see a brand from the complete 360 will make you unique in your field. There are endless numbers of specialists and experts of particular channels. However, few of our peers have true proficiency in evaluating an entire brand and knowing how to drive results in an integrative process. Working at an integrated marketing agency, I use the skills I learned in my program and the Capstone course every day.

Continuous Learning

Every week there were handouts and textbook chapters to read for class. The program’s accelerated pacing necessitates constant reading.

Agency work is similar in that marketing channels are constantly evolving. I have to stay up on what’s happening in social media, e-mail marketing, marketing automation and other channels if I want to remain competitive with other agencies. I never want a client to ask me about a tactic I’ve never heard of, so I read. Often.

If you’re thinking about working in an agency when you finish your IMC degree, the program is a great way to prepare for the demands of client-based work. You can read more about how to get an interview at an agency and how to land an agency job if you have no experience.

Marilyn Heywood Paige is the Vice President of FiG Advertising and Marketing in Denver, Colorado. She earned her Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University in 2013.

Make Advocacy Great Again

January 19, 2017

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 Joshua Habursky is the Director of Advocacy at the Independent Community Bankers of America and Adjunct Instructor in the Reed College of Media teaching the strategic social media course. Habursky is also the Founder/Chairman of the Grassroots Professional Network (GPN), which is a group that hosts events and webinars for advocacy communications professionals. GPN recently put on an event on communicating and advocating before the new Presidential administration. Here is a recap of the event.

In mid-December, the Grassroots Professional Network convened a powerhouse panel of lobbyists and communicators on the politically-active George Washington University campus to offer grassroots advocacy professionals meaningful insights on the prospects for the Trump Administration and Republican Congress in the first 100 days and beyond. I’d like to share some of their views and encourage you to watch it online, if you were not able to be there.

The first 100 days of the new administration will mean big changes for those at the forefront of grassroots, grasstops and advocacy. The event featured experts in government relations from a variety of fields for the fourth installment of the CQ Roll Call lunch and learn series produced by the Grassroots Professional Network (GPN) and hosted by the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.

Tony Gnoffo, policy editor at CQ Roll Call, moderated the lively discussion among the following panelists:

Rich Gold – Partner at Holland & Knight
Gloria Story Dittus – Chairman of Story Partners

Howard Marlowe – President of Warwick Group Consultants
David Lusk – CEO/Founder of Key Advocacy
Mike Fulton – Director of Public Affairs & Advocacy at Asher Agency

The consensus was the growing list of promised or must-do legislative and regulatory objectives will be “nearly impossible” in the first year, let alone the action-packed first 100 days. Funding the federal government for the remainder of the year, a much-desired infrastructure bill, comprehensive tax reform, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, confirmation of a new Cabinet and vacancy on the Supreme Court, and raising the debt ceiling would be formidable in the first term, according to the panelists who brought more than a century of experience to the audience.

The panelists offered hope and optimism for the next two years, but encouraged the grassroots community to “go beyond the beltway” to find authentic voices with incredible storytelling capabilities to resonate with new federal leaders and policy makers. They unanimously agreed that Donald Trump’s successful tactics online and hosting rallies locally are resonating with the American people and offers opportunities to build bridges in key Congressional districts and states.

The role of coalitions was emphasized as a cost-effective tool to show breadth of support for issues backed up by local voters who can communicate to their members of Congress. The election results signify a shift from a non-profit, community-based grassroots focus to one appealing to government that will be managed and operated like business units.

The feeling of the panelists is Donald Trump has selected senior vice presidents to run each federal agency under his leadership as CEO in order to bring about change sought by his supporters. They said that business model approach with Republicans controlling the White House and both houses of Congress may not be enough if legislation cannot be drafted, compromised on and enacted with the backing of the American people. Cultivating local and state influencers will be a key, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan being in step with President Trump.

With the hefty “to-do” list awaiting Congress and the Administration, the panel warned that there will be little room for dissension and controversy in the GOP and among conservative Democrats they need to bring about action.

It was pointed out multiple times that it will be far easier to mount opposition campaigns to Trump’s repeal, restore and replace objectives. Effective challengers to President Trump’s policies were identified as conservative Democrats and long-time safe Republicans such as: Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Bernie Sanders,  John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Rand Paul, Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins and Dean Heller. With only a 52-48 margin of seniority in the U.S. Senate, the panel encouraged focus on those who could help or hinder reaching cloture at 60 votes.

They encouraged grassroots advocates and fellow lobbyists to not ignore freshmen Senate and House members, many who have served with distinction in the House or in state governments.

Panelists felt that non-traditional Rust Belt voters and individuals cultivated by all political parties through grassroots would remain active (if engaged properly with solid content and tactics) in the first year of the Trump Administration. It is incumbent on grassroots professionals to educate their networks on the issues, work on key messages with anecdotes that resonate, develop a rich content calendar and leverage authentic voices in their upcoming campaigns.

I am very excited about this time of massive change and opportunity, and I can assure you that GPN and its leaders and members will be leading the way.

The session is available for viewing on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEMomTUA3Uk

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Connect with Joshua at Joshua.habursky@icba.org.

Getting Ready for the Spring Semester

January 12, 2017

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I am a bit of an organization junkie.  I keep labels in stock. I have more post-its than is safe. Organization and planning orders my world.

After I joined the IMC program, I realized that my time had come. It was time to set up the best study plan the world had ever seen.  How else is everything supposed to get done in addition to my schoolwork?

Here are my top six tips for students preparing for a new semester:

Get a planner.  

Some people like paper planners, and some people prefer digital planning systems.  Figure out which will work best for you and then use it.  Write it all down, or enter it all.  Set up reminders, sticky notes, and notifications that you think will help. Keep a running to-do list that gives you a snapshot of your week.

Print out your syllabi for each class you take.

I know printing out anything for an online system seems a little strange, but trust me on this one.  You never know when you’ll need a quick check on some requirement and *gasp* NO WIFI.  True story.  Print out the syllabus and keep it handy.

Write down everything.

Here comes the planning part. Write down everything.  Write down deadlines. Write down when you’re going to work on every part of the assignments.  Write down when you have family obligations or big projects at work so you know that they are coming.  That IMC project may take more time than you think; planning it all out will give you a better idea of when you can do everything.

Notes.

Take notes while reading for a quick reference for later. Jot down things you find interesting or something you’d like to learn more about later. It comes in handy when you’re writing your discussion board posts or working on a paper.

Keep it together.

I use a 3-ring binder to keep my syllabus and notes for my classes.  I have sections for my to-do list, notes, research articles, and even websites to use. Keep it all in one place.

Email any questions.

If you have questions about anything for your class, be sure to email your professor early.  Don’t wait for the day of the assignment.  Get clarification for any assignment requirements you don’t understand or ideas you have trouble with from the lessons.

Achieve Your Grad Dream in 2017

January 5, 2017

 

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New Year’s resolutions are a chance to start over, begin or simply try something new. The start of 2017 signals the time to make a change. For many people, New Year’s resolutions are not the easiest goals to attain. However, with small steps and strong willpower anything is possible. If your New Year’s resolutions include going back to school, having a successful semester or completing graduate school, here are some easy steps to help you excel.

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  1. Planning to go back to graduate school

Now is a good time to start the application process. When choosing a start date, consider how graduate school will fit into your current lifestyle. If work tends to be less demanding in the summer, that could be a better start date than the traditional fall semester. In addition, look into the types of classes you will be taking and how you can apply them to your current job or future career aspirations. When I first considered the Integrated Marketing Communications program at WVU, I enjoyed the wide array of classes that matched my interests such as digital storytelling, public relations and social media. Once you start the application process, don’t be afraid to reach out to your campus contact with any questions or concerns. Also, family and friends make excellent proofreaders for your personal statement. (As well as a strong support system throughout grad school!)

  1. Preparing for a successful semester

The key to success is being prepared and developing a work-school-life balance that works best for you. Once you get into a routine with discussion posts, responses, papers and editing the semester goes much more smoothly. Pro tip: It doesn’t hurt to have a planner or organizer handy to write down your school routine until it becomes natural.

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  1. Graduating from the IMC program

Whew! You did it! If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to graduate with your M.S. in IMC you are less than a year away from achieving that goal. As you begin this year, stay focused on your last few classes and try to do some early research for capstone. Capstone is your chance to showcase everything you have learned throughout the program and a bit of your personality with your selected client campaign.

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New Year’s resolutions can seem daunting at the start of any year, but if you take them step by step they become manageable ways to achieve your dreams.

Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2016

Dear IMC Friends and Family,

We hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday!

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Mentor and Be Mentored.

December 14, 2016

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Beliefs about mentorship are drastically shifting. Mentorship is no longer focused on guiding those “below us” on the totem pole. It is now focused on using our own expertise to teach those around us, helping them to flourish and prosper. With this idea of mentorship in mind, it is safe to say, regardless of our ages, titles or years of work experience, we each have something we can learn from one another.

Mentorship is about building a mutually-beneficial relationship between two individuals through which both parties are collaboratively learning and growing. That being said, you are never too young or too old to have a mentor, or maybe even a “board” of mentors. So, if you haven’t already, start now!

Finding the Perfect Mentors

  1. Understand your needs as a mentee.

There are many different kinds of mentors; there are coaches, connectors, cheerleaders and challengers, just to name a few. When searching for a mentor, it is important for you to understand your needs and goals, and seek a mentor that will help you fulfill them.

  1. Pursue someone who is your opposite.

Although it may feel uncomfortable at first, those that differ from you can often offer you the most diverse knowledge and most insightful advice. For instance, a big trend in today’s business world is reverse mentoring, when Baby Boomers their opposites, Millennials, as mentors.

  1. Don’t be so focused on a person’s title.

Alexa von Tobel, the CEO and founder of LearnVest claims, “It’s about the person, not their position.” When searching for a mentor, take into consideration a person’s experiences and expertise, not just their title.

Being an Awesome Mentor

  1. Set relationship expectations.

Sit down with your mentee at the beginning of your relationship and discuss expectations. This will ensure that you are both on the same page. Express to your mentee that you will do all you can to help them achieve their goals, but be sure to NEVER make a promise that you can’t keep.

  1. Be invested in your mentee.

Show interest in their lives, ask questions, celebrate their achievements and, most importantly, LISTEN! These gestures and actions, no matter how small, will strengthen the bond you have with your mentee and enhance your relationship ten-fold.

  1. At all times, be honest.

Just as in any relationship, honesty is key! No matter what the issue or question, provide your mentee with honest, not sugar-coated, advice. Also, do not be afraid to admit your mistakes and failures, as you have learned from them, and they can help your mentee learn too.