Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Résumé mistakes that will haunt you

October 23, 2017

The witching hour has arrived.

You have decided to set forth on that long-awaited job search, or you have been unhappy in your current job and it is time for a change in venue.

If you want to attend that Halloween party you got invited to, a creative eye-opening costume is a necessity.  Likewise, in the world of job hunting, a customized, skillfully-worded résumé is essential.

Most of us have experienced the “treats” of a new job offer and how great it can make you feel, but we all – job seekers and employers alike — want to avoid the “tricks” of a poisoned résumé.

It might help if we review some of the ghostly tricks that haunt many job seekers:

  • A typographical error is rotten;
  • A grammatical error is worse;
  • A misspelled proper name is instant dismissal from bobbing for apples;
  • Listing an inappropriate, non-professional email point of contact is a black cat in a dark alley;
  • Factual errors of GPA, educational institutions, awards or previous jobs can start the engraving of your tombstone;
  • A phone number or email link that does not work is a witch’s spell gone wrong;
  • Listing high school information shows you still need an parental escort after dark;
  • Not customizing résumés for an industry-specific employment opportunity can lead to your house or car being egged;
  • Failing to use key words from the job description and to show off your skills are akin to a witch without her broom;
  • Offering too much information on past internships or jobs may result in howling by the reader;
  • Typefaces that are hard to read, fancy borders or designer paper make the reader question your judgment as well as your choice of costume;
  • Gaps in information or timelines can result in the loss of your best candy; and
  • Either too long or too short a résumé can cause a nasty fall while running through a neighbor’s yard.

Please give adequate time in preparation of your all-important résumé and have trusted friends and family read it over and over for accuracy, descriptive wording, compelling organization and clarity.  Human resource and hiring managers will hail your good work with Halloween candy corn, and perhaps a “treat” of an interview and/or job offer will await you!

————————————————————————————————————————————

Mike Fulton, an instructor in the WVU Reed College of Media’s Integrated Marketing Communications program and director of the Washington, D.C. office of Asher Agency, offers tricks and treats @hillrat1156.

IMC Capstone Q&A with Instructor Archie Sader

October 3, 2017

Q: Tell me a little bit more about the structure of the campaign.

A: An IMC campaign is a complete plan describing the details of your proposal to utilized multiple marketing communications vehicles in an integrated fashion to accomplish specific marketing goals. The key sections of the campaign plan include:

  • Marketing Goals
  • IMC Campaign Objectives
  • Target Audience Definitions
  • Marketing Research Findings
  • Integrated Communications Strategy Statement
  • IMC Campaign Budget and Justification Based on Proposed Goals
  • Media Plan Details
  • Creative Executions
  • Explanation of How Results Will Be Evaluated

Q: How can this class be of value in my future?

A: A well-developed IMC campaign plan will serve you well throughout your career.

You may find that your present employer needs an IMC campaign plan. Very few people have the understanding of our discipline needed to develop a thorough plan. Your employer will welcome, appreciate and value your work. You will have new respect with your current employer.

You may want to work for a specific firm or in a specific industry. Developing a campaign plan for a firm in the industry of your choice will open doors for you in that field.

You may be an entrepreneur or be seeking to start your own firm in the future. Learning the discipline of IMC campaign planning will enable you to develop an effective campaign plan and grow your business successfully.

 Q: How does this class differ from the other classes in the IMC program?

You will be expected to utilize and apply materials from all previously completed IMC courses. Save your notes and textbooks from these courses. And, you will be expected to search for materials in the WVU online library. It is impossible to present all needed materials in our course weekly lesson notes. You will have to take the initiative to find the information needed to develop an effective campaign plan.

Q: How do I choose a client?

If you think marketing communications can be improved at your present organization, your current employer might make for an ideal client. You should keep in mind, however, that a campaign plan with a minimum budget of $250,000 for twelve months must make sense.

If you would like a future position with a specific firm or in a specific industry, choosing a firm in that industry will greatly improve the receptivity of your application for employment in that industry. It is helpful to show potential employers that you have done your homework about that firm and its competitors.

You may have a hobby or interest that is very meaningful to you. It might be art, gardening, sports or one of several others. Choosing a firm in that area may enable you to do your best work.

You may be planning a career in the not-for-profit area. Choosing an organization in this area will be instrumental in your career advancement efforts.

 Q: What level contact, within the company, is needed to complete the campaign?

Having client contact can be instrumental in the development of a successful campaign plan. Your contact can help you establish your marketing goal, present meaningful input on the firm’s background and will agree to review your completed plan. Many executives are extremely busy and have little time to spare. Others have privacy concerns that limit the information to be shared. This is not usually a problem when choosing your present employer as your client. If you choose another firm, however, make several attempts to get a marketing manager or marketing director to agree to spend a few minutes on the phone with you.

Q: What are the requirements around the client proposal?

Your client proposal should include the following information:

  • Organization Name
  • Industry
  • Location
  • Marketing Goal
  • Primary Target Audience
  • IMC Campaign Budget
  • Reason for Choosing this Client

Archie Sader is an adjunct instructor for the West Virginia University Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program and teaches IMC 636 – Campaigns. 

IMC 610 Q&A with Instructor Bonnie Harris

September 21, 2017

Q: Why IMC? 

A: As the number of messaging channels continue to grow, we need a better approach to help reach customers and cut through the “clutter.” In addition, we need a cost effective way to unify the brand message across an increasingly disparate media landscape.  Integrated marketing communications is rapidly becoming the marketing methodology of choice for those reasons. Understanding the components of IMC and knowing how to structure objectives, strategies and tactics for an IMC campaign is critical for marketers today if they wish to succeed.

Q: How is the class structured? 

A: Although it is an online course, the class is structured to promote as much interaction between the professors and other classmates as possible. It involves a discussion forum each week on a specific topic, lessons and required readings, interactive modules, and even one or two live sessions.

Q: What can I expect to learn in this intro course? 

IMC 610 introduces the basic components of integrated marketing communications in terms of paid media, owned media, earned media, audience selection and measurement. The class also helps students prepare for the rigors of graduate school, and learn how to use and implement all the tools provided by the WVU IMC program.

Q: What value does this class bring?

A: Graduate school is vastly different from undergraduate curriculums in that the student is required to develop their own unique point of view, and substantiate that “voice” with credible sources.   IMC 610 is the introduction to the IMC program and really helps students make that transition. In this class, students are introduced to the cornerstones of this graduate program including critical thinking, creativity, combining theory with actual practice, and of course collaborative learning.


Bonnie Harris is an adjunct instructor for the West Virginia University Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program and teaches IMC 610 – Introduction to IMC. Harris is an IMC consultant who has designed and implemented IMC strategies for clients across the United States.

Agency vs. in-house communications: One career, two different worlds

September 5, 2017

People always ask me, “Which do you like best – agency or in-house?” Or, I find myself in talks with a recent graduate who will be on the fence and wants help weighing the pros and cons of each. No one wants to potentially miss anything happening on “the other side.”

As someone who has worked in agency, done a fair amount of independent consulting and has also worked in corporate communications – I can say, you gain rich experience in each and both can be equally rewarding.

In my experience, below are some of the contrasts.

Breadth versus depth of work

In the agency and consulting world, you get a wide range of experience working with different clients who make up different sizes and industries. While you may not become an expert in any one industry, this side of the business allows you to explore a breadth of PR, cultivate media relationships across a variety of beats and discover what you enjoy most. On the other hand, corporate communications offers PR pros a deep understanding of one brand and its assets. The good news? These folks become brand and industry experts. The bad news? You could get pigeon-holed in an industry that you don’t want to work in forever.

“In my view, there is a ton of upside to working in-house. The team is completely focused on common goals, you become more experienced in one industry and you can focus on just doing great work versus billing time,” said Scott Castleman, TransCanada.

Doing what you love.

Unfortunately, not all clients (and industries) are created equal. You may be extremely passionate about telling one brand’s story and fired up about advocating for a specific issue/cause, while you’re not so jazzed about another client’s work.  A pro in corporate communications is, you have the opportunity to seek out an industry or issue that you’re passionate about and put all of your energy into it every day.

The “team” can look very different.

One of the great advantages to working at an agency is being able to bounce ideas off of fellow creatives who understand what you do. Whether you’re testing different messaging, thinking-thru a crisis response or vetting a media pitch – you have a team of communications professionals you can learn from and who can offer valuable feedback. Often times, collaboration with other seasoned PR pros is harder to come by in-house. Your colleagues might be all very smart people at their jobs but when it comes to marketing communications – they just don’t get it (and that can be frustrating at times). The product itself can also be less quality, not having the benefit of collaborating with other, like-minded professionals. As the old saying goes, ‘two heads are better than one!’

“Many strategic communications students or new grads start in agencies where teams of skilled professionals and a solid manager can test their capabilities and determine strengths…That leads to advancement within one’s agency or leaping to an in-house position. This is the career path I see most often,” said Mike Fulton, The Asher Agency. 

Getting the greenlight.

At an agency, waiting to get client approval on every single landing page, ad, story angle, speech, op-ed, etc. can mean deadlines getting pushed back. However, based on my experience working in-house, getting sign off from legal, execs and IT is easier and much quicker.

To sum it up from my point of view – if you like specializing in something and prefer more structure, in-house communications may be the best option. On the other hand – if you dig more variety in your work, then agency is the way to go!


A 2011 graduate of the IMC Program, Bridgette Borst Ombres is a former television news reporter turned PR and marketing professional with a decade of experience working in the communications field across agency, corporate and nonprofit sectors. Bridgette is the director of marketing and communications at a tech company in Pittsburgh and also consults for a variety of businesses.

She is a member of PRSA Pittsburgh, serves on the TEDxPittsburgh committee, the co-founder of Not Your Mama’s Book Club and volunteers as a mentor at WVU Reed College of Media.

Education for the Traveler

August 14, 2017

I never knew how much the world had to offer until I stepped into it and decided to live. For sure, everyone has their own idea of living— some aspire to have the white-picket fence and a home filled with a family, while others, like me, have decided to break away from the ordinary and travel with an uncertainty that is fueled with the idea that everything will workout in the end. In 2011 I did something almost unthinkable for a hometown girl from Kentucky, I became an expatriate. America will always be home, but the world has been calling me, and I can’t shake off the need to answer.

Since moving abroad the amount of history that I have seen with my very own eyes and have touched with my very own hands is countless. I am able to do all of this because I made the decision to become a certified TESOL teacher, which means I teach the English language to those who want to learn it. Teaching English abroad has been the most rewarding job I have ever had, but two years ago I decided I wanted to start making a change and that’s when I discovered the IMC program at WVU.Picture2

Working on my master’s degree while living abroad has been great! Don’t get me wrong, it can be very challenging, but that’s the best part. It makes me get out of my comfort zone and explore my community. I am currently residing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and being able to experience the culture and how IMC comes into play has been such a learning experience. The culture here is very different than what I grew up knowing and being able to understanding that and use it throughout the IMC program has allowed me to bring a new dimension to my class discussions and papers.

Throughout the program I have noticed several differences in advertising, but the one that stands out to me the most is the lack of women in advertisements. Women’s body parts are not allowed to be out on display, so getting creative on how to advertise is a must, especially if you’re selling women’s clothing. Another hot topic is the fact that women can’t drive here, regardless of personal opinions on this matter, as a student who is studying IMC I have found that women in this country have really utilized social media in order to work from home and some have become very successful.

Picture1

I typically get the same questions about living in Saudia Arabia. Is it safe? Do you have to cover your body? Is the food good? I always answer with, Yes, I feel extremely safe here. Yes, I have to cover my body by wearing an abaya. There are times I cover my hair and times I don’t. It is not compulsory for me to cover my hair, but a vast majority of the people living here do wear a hijab (head covering). If you’ve never had Middle Eastern food, you’re missing out! However, Riyadh is home to almost any western restaurant you can think of. This city is full of expats, so the food choices are endless.

I am still not done traveling, as you can see I’ve only dipped my toes in the water, but I do like that I will have a career path that’s different than teaching when I decide to try it out. I may even take my IMC degree with me into the education field. Being an ESL teacher has allowed me to travel and see the world and to meet the most amazing people along the way. It is because of my lifestyle I even discovered the IMC program. For that I am grateful.

I implore you to step out of your comfort zone and travel, the world is beautiful.


Milinda Gray is currently a TESOL teacher in Saudia Arabia, and she is a student in the Integrated Marketing Communications master’s program at WVU. 

Get Down to Business: 10 Qualities of Strong Job Seekers

August 11, 2017

I have had the good fortune of meeting and counseling thousands of job seekers during my life.

Former interns and co-workers, my alumni network, congressional aides, reporters and editors seeking to transition their careers, college professors on behalf of their top students, graduates of my own online course, colleagues in professional associations, and employers who have hired my mentees and want more employees like them all contact me for advice. Networking is the name of the game, and it beats solely searching for job postings.

After years of giving advice, it has become easy for me to spot the job seekers who have the most promise. They often exhibit these 10 attributes in exploring new positions or chances for advancement.

1. They know what they want and don’t want.

If an applicant says they are open to anything in any city, then I know that it’s far too broad for me to be helpful. Job seekers need to conduct research and know the types of positions, particular locations, and specific organizations they’d prefer working for to be able to secure specific recommendations and leads. Networking is more productive if people are realistic about their capabilities, experience and optimum job environments.

2. They are not obsessed with their résumés.

Résumés are essential, and should be complete, factual, concise and have no typographical or grammatical errors. However, it is excessive for someone to hire a résumé editor in the first 10 years of their career. Instead, job seekers should focus on WordPress sites, portfolios, short videos, business cards and other tools that complement their résumé.

3. They exhibit strong listening skills.

Time is precious for all parties. I do not need your life story or history of career failures to learn more about you and to offer some tips on networking targets and job leads. It is helpful if the person I am counseling is prepared to take good notes and to follow up quickly after our session. The first conversation we have — whether it’s on the phone, via email or in person — is not intended to be the only or last networking session.

4. They offer feedback and explanations in a purposeful and concise way.

The way people answer my questions is indicative of how they would do so in a formal job interview — and sometimes I am looking for talent to join our agency. Therefore, I appreciate those who are professional and provide constructive feedback.

5. They maintain a robust LinkedIn profile.

Employers I work with consult LinkedIn in almost every circumstance to learn about a job seeker’s career history. One should always try to maintain a positive online social media presence, especially during a job search.

6. They possess strong references and relationships.

It speaks volumes when someone takes the time and effort to ask for support and recommendations. Likewise, those who serve as references to young people are special individuals. It matters who you select, how well you know them and whether you trust what they say. For those who offer no substantive references: It will be a longer, more arduous job search without the human capital.

7. They connect with me, and other references, on social media.

If a prospective job seeker contacts me on LinkedIn or Twitter after a counseling session, I see it as positive and not presumptuous. Bring on the connections and the networking for life.

8. They’re willing to tap connections in their home state and alumni networks.

It speaks volumes when young people (or older adults seeking new career paths) have not consulted their home state or alumni networks. People in cities come from all over the globe, and we need to use every asset we have at our disposal in seeking jobs.

9. They are open to learning new skills, volunteering and meeting new people.

I look for individuals who are willing to take risks through internships, studying abroad and sometimes even delaying graduation by a semester for experiential opportunities. I also often invite people I have just met to accompany me to professional or networking events so they can meet people in a short time frame. Those who do not hesitate to take me up on the offer go up a rung on the ladder.

10. They follow up.

It doesn’t take much time to send a thank-you email or handwritten note, or offer a gesture that might help you stand out to someone who can guide your career search. The person who included a $10 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card in her handwritten thank-you note, for instance, is someone I still periodically get lunch with.


Mike Fulton directs Asher Agency’s Washington, D.C. office and teaches public affairs at West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications program. He worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for 10 years and has been in communications and advocacy for the past 25 years. Connect with him at mikef@asheragency.com. This blog post originally appeared in PRSA Tactics. 

Integrated Experiences

June 15, 2017

Kelsey-Berg

After a long anticipated wait, the day had finally arrived. I was headed down to the small town of Huntington, WV to attend INTEGRATE West Virginia. As I drove into town, I got butterflies and was so excited to attend my first INTEGRATE conference. You hear from everyone who has ever gone that the conference is outstanding, but you don’t quite believe it until you’ve experienced it. Now, I am one of those people saying just how outstanding the conference was.

From my first step into the door, the team welcomed me and introduced themselves. Finally being able to put names to faces was a relief and comforting in a way. It was special to know I had been working with some of these individuals for over two years and I finally was presented with the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level rather than through our digital exchanges.

From that moment on, I was hooked. Networking opportunities left and right surrounded by captivating breakout sessions just made the whole experience memorable.

With each and every session I was in, I was able to walk away with a minimum of at least three ideas or concepts that could help me in my professional life today. Whether it was a trick with content or an idea with creative, each piece built up a pretty impressive puzzle by the end of the weekend.

The speakers proved to be some of the best in the industry. With the numerous awards to their names and countless nationally recognized campaigns, I was engulfed with every story and piece of information they told. Not only were they great to listen to, they all had wonderful senses of humor making the hour sessions fly by!

To me, however, the most rewarding aspect of the conference – networking. As you walk in, you instantly look around to put some names to some faces. You recognize a few professors and maybe a student or two you have had class with but once things get moving, you become the fastest friends with so many of these classmates and alumni. Getting to know more about conference attendees’ careers and how they are intertwined in the marketing communications web is so interesting and you truly learn so much. In addition to that, you make lifelong friends both personally and professionally.

If you haven’t been to INTEGRATE yet, I would highly suggest it. One of the best conferences I have literally ever been too given the quality of content and the opportunities to build your skill set and relationships with other marketing communications professionals.


Kelsey Berg is a current student in the WVU IMC Program. She is the marketing content coordinator for FootJoy. 

Teaching is a Life Changing Experience

June 1, 2017

mike-fulton-teaching

Teaching is a normal extension of our careers in communications, marketing and advocacy. We do it every day with our co-workers, clients and those seeking to one day join our profession.

In 2010, I wanted to advance beyond periodic guest lectures, panel discussions and penning columns on best practices (I still enjoy those opportunities). That prompted me to seek out a more formal opportunity to teach public affairs in West Virginia University’s growing Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program. Developing a full-fledged, eight-week elective and teaching it in the WVU IMC program has been life-changing on multiple levels.

I am a better person, and I am a more valuable professional since I started teaching online and testing information, ideas and case studies with talented faculty and working adult students.

The students are demanding and responsive. That more than anything encourages me to keep up with current events, technological advances and continue to seek new and better solutions for public affairs, government communications and ethics challenges we all face in our everyday jobs. And the students each term continue to challenge me and conventional marketing methods. The evolution of our profession is fueled by technology and the constant blending of practices (public relations, advertising, marketing, social and digital, government affairs, grassroots and fundraising) that were once carried out in silos.

The diversity of our students – both backgrounds and experiences – adds to the rich learning environment we offer. Students welcome real-world solutions gleaned from faculty and fellow students to bring to their current jobs. It has also been rewarding to watch students apply their IMC course and degrees to secure well-deserved promotions and better jobs.

The continuing education and networking opportunities offered by IMC administrators and faculty is another side benefit of teaching. If you have not considered teaching formally and sharing your years of knowledge, I highly recommend it. The reflections and research experienced while developing your course, as well as its reception by students and faculty will make you a better practitioner and help you meet talented professionals you otherwise might not ever meet.

Be prepared for the positive changes in your life.


Mike Fulton directs the Washington, D.C. office of the Asher Agency and teaches IMC 638 Public Affairs. Connect with him at mikef@asheragency.com.

 

The Keys to Event Marketing – Part 2: Inspire FOMO

May 11, 2017

Jennifer-Maltba-part-2

FOMO—the Fear Of Missing Out—is a key motivator in many aspects of our lives.  We want to experience the museum exhibit that no one can get a ticket for, we’ll stand in line for an hour to try a cupcake, or we’ll book a trip to Iceland because everyone else seems to be doing it… FOMO applies to events too.  As a marketer, you have to figure out what makes your event special; special enough that people will take time away from their “regular life” to spend their time and money in order to learn or do something they would not typically get to experience.

There are two parts to creating this FOMO – one is actually planning an agenda and developing content that will be unique, inspiring, and engaging; two is making sure your target audience knows about how great the event is going to be and feel like they’ll miss out if they do not get to experience it.

With the access to so many free tutorials, videos, classes, networking events, etc. it can be hard to convince someone (or that someone’s boss) that an event is worth spending their time and money.  So, how do you do it?

First, read part 1 of this event marketing blog series and make sure you know your target audience and ways to use that information to your advantage.  Next, finalize your planning, then execute — hit send on your first email, post your first promotion tweet, and launch your Google Ad campaign!

Create Communications Timeline:

Events have hard deadlines, so start from the event date and work your way backwards.  Find out when key information will be available and define your timeline(s) – one timeline for prospective attendees and a second for registrants.  When does registration open and close?  When is the event’s schedule going to be finalized and available to share?  Are there key speakers or keynotes you will want to promote to entice registrations?  Are you providing an event mobile app and when will it be available to download?  Plotting out your key communications will allow you to divide up the outbound communications and decide how many times you’ll need to send prospective attendees and registrants information.

Choose Your Channels & Tactics:

When researching your target audience, identify not only what industry they work for, but see if you can infer other information that can inform your selection of marketing channels and tactics.  Can you identify “watering holes” where this audience goes for information—websites, social media, magazines, etc.?  Are there groups on LinkedIn that a larger percentage of the members fit your target audience?  Are there any trade shows you’re attending prior to your own event where your target audience is also in attendance?  Any information like this can help you to identify and focus in on where you need to be promoting and getting the word out about your event.

Now-a-days there are so many places to promote your event – your company website, outbound emails, your social media channels, paid social media (like LinkedIn InMail drops or Sponsored Content), Google re-marketing PPC ads, buying an eBlast for a partner to send out to their membership, etc.  Know your budget and choose the channels/tactics that will give you the most opportunities to reach your audience and will give you the best ROI.

Nail Your Messaging & Branding:

As an integrated marketing communications professional, one of your main goals is that the messaging and branding are consistent regardless of the channel or tactic, from the first invite to the directional signage onsite.  The color scheme of your event website should be pulled in to the design of your HTML emails; the tone of your tweets should build off the emails messaging; even the key speakers should relate to and/or speak to key themes brining your messaging to life face-to-face.  Every single touchpoint is the opportunity to reinforce and prove to your attendees that they made the right decision in choosing to attend your event.

______

Jennifer Maltba began her journey with the IMC program in August 2012; graduating in December 2014. Her favorite thing about the program was its ‘learn today, use tomorrow’ philosophy, which she felt truly made this a one-of-a-kind program.  A month after graduating, she took the position of Marketing Manager at Cvent, a global meeting and event technology provider headquartered in the DC area.  When not creating integrated marketing campaigns and tracking Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Jen can be found planning her next trip to somewhere new, exploring the neighborhoods of DC in search of the best food, or taking in the latest museum exhibit in our nation’s capital.  

 

 

 

INTEGRATE WV Part II

May 4, 2017

INTEGRATE West Virginia will take place in Huntington, West Virginia, on June 2-3.

From one WVU IMC student to another, I would definitely recommend attending! Why? – The speakers, the location, the professors and the cost. For the inside scoop, read on!

  1. THE SPEAKERS

INTEGRATE West Virginia will feature 13 world-class speakers, from across the country—Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Morgantown. Working for companies like Coca-Cola, Google and Verizon, their specialties range from tourism marketing to internal communications, and include everything in between. A couple highlights…

Andy Azula, senior vice president/executive creative director at The Martin Agency – INTEGRATE West Virginia’s keynote speaker, Andy Azula, has many claims to fame; however, he is best known as UPS’s “whiteboard guy.” This campaign was so famous, Azula got spoofed on Saturday Night Live!

Amanda Todorovich, director of content marketing at Cleveland Clinic – Named the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Content Marketer of the year, Amanda Todorovich is a nationally renowned speaker. She also manages Health Essentials, the number one most-visited hospital blog in the United States. 

Sebastian Webber, founder of CrowdSurge – This music industry executive has worked with a multitude of popular artists, including: Coldplay, Adele, Leona Lewis, M.I.A. and Sia! In 2010, his work landed him on Billboard magazine’s “30 under 30” list.

Listen to this! I heard Chad Mezera, assistant dean of online programs, say this is the best INTEGRATE line up yet!

  1. THE LOCATION

Huntington is a rural, southern West Virginia town filled with local shops, unique restaurants and stunning greenery. Its small-town charm was recognized when it received first place in the America’s Best Communities competition in April 2017. While you’re there, be sure to check out the following.

For food: Fat Patty’s – This hometown restaurant is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Best known for its specialty burgers, Fat Patty’s was named by USA Today as one of the top 51 Burger Joints in America in 2013.

For drinks: Huntington Ale House – Offering customers more than 90 different beers, the Huntington Ale House has something for everyone. Whether you prefer a local, craft brew, or a simple, domestic draft, it’s here!

For fun: Take a tour of Marshall University’s campus – Founded in 1837, Marshall University is home to 13,631 students. As you walk the institution’s historic campus, I guarantee that some areas will look familiar, as they acted as sets for the 2006 blockbuster hit, “We Are Marshall.”

Here’s a tip! Bring your walking shoes. Huntington has some gorgeous scenery that you won’t want to miss!

  1. THE PROFESSORS

INTEGRATE provides IMC students with an opportunity to connect with, not only one another, but also with their professors. Developing one-on-one relationships with the IMC program’s professors allows students to better understand course options, build their professional networks and obtain knowledgeable mentors. Here’s what you can expect!

The Alexia Vanides Teaching Award – Each year, one IMC professor is awarded the Alexia Vanides Teaching Award. This honor is decided upon by the program’s students. Did you pick the winner? Find out at INTEGRATE West Virginia!

Kristi Hansen Onkka – Developer of the IMC program’s newest course, IMC 693 – Augmented/Virtual Reality, Kristi Hansen Onkka will be at the conference. In addition to acting as a speaker, Hansen Onkka is bringing her AR/VR gear for attendees to try. Pick her brain about this new course while seats are still available!

Whitney Drake – A 2016 graduate of the IMC program, Whitney Drake is now working as a professor! Talk to Drake about her experiences, and the option of teaching after graduation.

Head’s up! There will be nine professors at INTEGRATE West Virginia.

  1. THE COST

When attending conferences, expenses add up quickly! In addition to paying for the conference, you must secure a hotel room, purchase food and pay for other miscellaneous expenses. As of now, I have been to nearly a dozen professional conferences. Of them, INTEGRATE is, by far, the cheapest. Check out these deals!

The conference – If you register by May 15, and use the code ‘INTWV,’ you can attend INTEGRATE West Virginia for only $200! That includes access to the event’s keynote dinner!

Your hotel – A limited number of rooms are available at the Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington, at a special conference rate of $94 per night. The hotel is within walking distance of the event, as well as many local shops and restaurants.

Dining – The INTEGRATE West Virginia event staff has worked to secure discounts from local restaurants for all conference attendees. All you have to do is show your name badge! 

Food for thought – to attend Content Marketing World 2017, it costs $2,000, and we are featuring one of the same speakers!

For more information about INTEGRATE West Virginia, or to register, please visit integrate.wvu.edu. Contact Megan Bayles, public relations and marketing graduate assistant, at mebayles@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-3286 with any questions.

I hope to see you in Huntington!