COMSTRAT 310 Digital Content Promotion is designed to teach students key principles, and tactics for creating and executing two integrated digital campaigns, emphasizing core concepts in the development, implementation, tracking, and measuring the effectiveness of digital communications.
In 310, students:
- Work in teams on a semester-long project
- Are trained in over 10 web-based tools
- Create digital assets for two promotional campaigns
- Present three group status reports
- Work independently to create supplemental digital assets
- Complete the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) courses as they work toward earning their Google Analytics certification.
310 Learning OUtcomes
In this course there are five key learning outcomes, including
- Develop and manage online content promotion and branded digital campaigns
- Master the skill of resourcefulness – demonstrating the ability to critically think, research, draft, and ultimately craft clear messages and digital materials that are organized, properly cited and apply correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling
- Gain confidence in the ability to execute social media engagement and user-oriented content strategies
- Evaluate campaign success through implementation key performance indicators (KPIs) and online tools for web development, email, metrics, and multimedia management
- Practice, make mistakes, correct, and learn valuable, transferable skills.
Meet the collaborators: Faculty of 310
- Brett Atwood, Scholarly Associate Professor
- Rebecca Cooney, Scholarly Associate Professor
- Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka, Scholarly Assistant Professor
- Chelsea Newman, Scholarly Assistant Professor
How Virtual 310 Works
- Virtual 310 operates in a flipped classroom model where students read > watch > do tasks prior to live sessions.
- Students meet live via Zoom on MWF. Mondays are reserved for all-student meetups. Wednesday and Fridays are dedicated to team meetings.
- All live sessions are highly interactive with discussions, demonstrations, team activities, and peer evaluation.
- Teams meet up outside of class via Zoom to work on each part of the project.
A project built in stages
Teams are formed in the first week of class based on personal interests, strengths, and passions. Answers given in the forming teams survey help the instructor create groups containing individuals with compatible interests and complementary strengths.
Teams begin with a white sheet of paper and through a series of brainstorming and team-building activities, concepts and ideas are narrowed and defined.
Teams move on to create brand messaging, a visual identity, and audience personas while identifying competitors and completing a customer decision process. They then create their website and set up two social channels before creating, implementing and measuring two integrated digital campaigns.
VanVenture is an active team in Spring 2021. They are dedicated to providing resources, ideas, and connections to individuals interested in living a van life. We help users find renovated vans, services for customizing vans, DIY resources and videos, and connections for van rentals. We are based in Washington state but serve van lovers globally.
Team: Mae Beuthel, Austin Dempewolf, Mareenah Galang, Danielle Smith, Visili Varlamos
What does success look like?
- Everyone has equal say
- Everyone does their part
- Everyone is flexible and willing to help each other out
Cooperation and Professionalism
- Be respectful and open to other people’s ideas
- Be on time for team meetings
- Make sure to participate
- Communicate if there are any questions or issues
- Equal distribution of responsibilities
- Working together on things that need more “hands on” approach/attention
- Giving the needed effort and time for constant quality work
- Double check work before turning stuff in
Rewards and Recognition
- Recognizing a partner’s excellent work
- If they put more effort into a particular assignment, give them the easiest part on the next assignment
- We all promise to submit assignments on the day before or the day of
- We all promise to work ahead of time so that we do not have to rush to finish assignments
- We all promise to respect each other and provide constructive feedback
- We all promise to all hear each other's thoughts and ideas out fully before giving their own thoughts/ideas
- We all promise to provide our full attention to the task in order to be efficient and productive
Status Report #1 is all about revealing the semester-long project initiative. This is each team's chance to celebrate and showcase who they are, what they do, who they serve, and their visual identity.
Visual Identity & Messaging
VanVenture is a team of five students who attend Washington State University. Our team is based in Pullman, Washington. We are a travel-based organization dedicated to working together to provide an easy to navigate website for those seeking to find resources and information about traveling on the road/van life.
Van life can be intimidating and daunting at first. We want to make it easier for you to find any resources and information you need to start traveling on the road.
VanVenture is dedicated to providing resources, ideas, and connections to individuals interested in living a van life. We help users find renovated vans, services for customizing vans, DIY resources and videos, and connections for van rentals. We also provide road trip advice, trip ideas, and more. We are based in Washington state but serve van lovers globally.
Primary Objective: To inform people about the benefits of traveling by van and persuade them to branch away from traditional travel. Also, to provide resources and information so that people can try out van life.
Desired Actions by Users: To educate site visitors about other forms of long-distance travel besides air/ground/train travel and to learn more about the benefits of #vanlife.
Design Goals: To create a unique design that has eye-catching colors, logical in format, and intuitive in navigation so we inspire the visitor to stay longer and engage in the site and our social media channels.
Note: Teams also connect their Weebly sites to Google Analytics and complete search engine optimization (title, description, meta keywords) on every page of their sites.
Each team records a 5min max presentation that showcases their website and social channels. The presentation should address the goal/purpose each channel serves, and the success measures used to track progress toward those goals.
“Blog posts inherently boast the ability to share expanded content, text, video, audio, images, tags, links, to more effectively and deeply express, explain, and support the ideas and context related to any given topic.” - Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group
Each team creates original blog posts as part of their two campaign. All blog posts are promoted through social channels.
"There are several individuals on various social media sites that show off their lifestyle of living and traveling in vans. Our brand does the same thing as those individuals, but instead campaigns for more people to do it rather than showing off the lifestyle. We will show off the benefits of van travel by showing videos like these individuals do, but make them more persuasive in order to get people to start traveling by van."
One teams have established the foundation of their organization or initative and set up their website, social channels, and metrics platform – they are ready to prepare for their campaign. In preparation for Campaign #1, they begin with campaign strategy and planning with the creation of a creative brief using models from top brands. The topic for the first campaign centers on building awareness about their initiative.
Using best practices in social media engagement strategy, each team also outlines their editorial calendar for timing and placement of their original and curated blog posts, social posts, ads, and email. Campaigns run for approximately two weeks.
Influencers & Hashtags
Teams research who the key influencers are in their area of interest, as well as identify top performing hashtags.
"Content curation] is simply sharing the content from others similar to you on social media. Sharing others’ content is one of the best ways to show that you’re not all about you, and that you value a variety of perspectives beyond your own.” - CoSchedule Blog
Teams engage in a series of curated content exercises to identify about 20% of content they will re-share as part of their social media strategy.
Throughout the campaigns and upon completion, teams monitor, adjust, and report on campaign metrics for their website and blog, social media channels, and email. In addition to monitoring and tracking metrics, they provide a reflection at the end of the campaign that articulates what they saw, what they learned, and what they would do differently going forward.
The final showcase has come in several forms from in-class presentations, poster showcase events at The Spark, recorded team presentations, and Padlet stories.
Regardless of the format, each team is tasked with summarizing all they have accomplished including an introduction, review of digital channels, summary of vision and goals, campaign highlights, metrics and outcomes, changes made between campaign #1 and #2, and final reflections. Here are a few examples:
“The way the course is designed it is a great course. I had never taken a course that gave me so many applicable skills and hands-on experience. More courses should be designed like this one.”
- Students complete the course with new vocabulary and base knowledge in the conceptualization, delivery, and measurement of digital campaigns.
- They learn valuable skills in group dynamics and gain proficiencies in content creation for blogs, social media channels, and websites.
- They acquire critical skills in measuring campaign effectiveness and presenting ideas and results in front of large groups.
- Most students enter into the course with limited knowledge of digital marketing tools and exit with a suite of portfolio materials and foundations they can easily translate into the workplace.
- Success is evidenced by course evaluations, personal testimonials, marketability of students, and professional positions held by alumni.
Photos taken by Rebecca Cooney. Campaign images created by VanVenture