COMSTRAT 310 Digital Content Promotion (Washington State University, The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication) is designed to help students apply writing, critical thinking, and persuasion skills to the practice and promotion of PR and advertising, in both digital and social media outlets. Students will explore various digital promotion technologies, as well as the use of emerging social media to study their ethical application in both advertising and PR.
COURSE LEARNING GOALS
- 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
- Ability to develop and execute social media engagement and user-oriented content strategies
- Evaluate campaign success in execution using key performance indicators and online tools for web development, email, metrics, and multimedia management
- Practice, make mistakes, correct, and learn valuable, transferable skills
Students work independently on creative activities and readings and in teams aligned with a fictional organization for the duration of the semester. Students are expected to conceptualize and create specified elements of a promotional campaign, which includes brand platform, website, social media channels, HTML email, and digital assets. Students are expected to be accountable, show up to class, engage with their team and class activities, and embrace the excitement of learning new vocabulary, tools, and technology.
310 is rooted in professional preparedness – giving students the insight, tools, and confidence needed to be successful in an internship experience or junior-level position. In the spirit of teaching and training, professional conduct is required at all times. This means that students arrive to class on time and do not leave early unless otherwise arranged, demonstrate respect, candor and maturity when responding to peer student posts and interactive discussions, participate in group discussions and demonstrate their ability to be fully present throughout each class session. The classroom climate is designed to be relaxed yet organized, fun yet professional.
310-01: Cara Hawkins-Jedlicka
310-02: Rebecca Cooney
310-03: Chelsea Newman
Office hours vary for each professor. Please see the Instructors page for specifics.
Cooney, R. L. (2018). “Integrated Digital Marketing Campaigns*,” Dubuque, IA: Great River Learning. ISBN # 9781680757965. The e-Textbook can be purchased at The Bookie via access card or directly from the publisher.*
To be successful in 310, students need access to a computer with Internet access and a Google account for various purposes. All required software and tools used in the course are free and web-based. 310 is held in Goertzen 1 – a computer lab setting equipped with 40 work stations. Students are encouraged to bring materials to take notes and capture images of collaborative work completed in class. All lecture and resource material is posted on the course blog. Students use Blackboard solely for submitting assignments.
*Please note that in compliance with the WSU Faculty Handbook (IV 1. Use of Faculty Authored, Edited or Prepared Scholarly Material (page 88), the author designates The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication as the royalty designee to receive royalties for all e-textbooks sold for COMSTRAT 310 and thereby waives any rights to receive royalties from the publisher for this course or any other WSU-sponsored course.
Assignments & Grading
GROUP PROJECT & GRADES
(345pts / 55%)
In COMSTRAT 310 students work in teams to generate original social media, PR, and advertising campaign elements for a single fictional company, organization, event or initiative. Students conceptualize a fictional brand or mock company.
Throughout the semester, students create digital assets as part of an integrated campaign. In preparation, they will establish a project founded for brand, audience, and message. They will engage in visual storytelling and digital content creation for a website, social media channels, email marketing, online advertising, and blog. Categories for semester-long projects include retail, hospitality, travel, sports and fitness, events, nonprofit, technology, or innovation.
- Part 0: Team Orientation, Setup & Establishing Your Team Charter
- Part 1: Creative Brief & Brand (+ Status Report #1)
- Part 2: Initial Setup of Website & Social Channels (+ Status Report #2)
- Part 3: Campaign #1 Strategy & Planning
- Part 4: Campaign #1 implementation, monitoring, and metrics (+ Status Report #3)
- Part 5: Campaign #2 implementation, monitoring, and metrics
- Part 6: Final Poster Showcase
Group Evaluation: Members in your team may not get the same grade on the semester-long project. Rather, your grades will be weighted by your own performance. IF your individual performance grade is less than 90% (as determined by team member final evaluations). For example, if your group scores a 92% on the semester-long project, but your individual performance grade is 80%, then the grade you receive for the group project will be 74% (80% x 92%). If your individual score in this example is 91% though, you will get the group project grade of 92%. The purpose of this complicated procedure is to reduce the likelihood that someone in the group will slack off and still receive the full benefit of the others’ work. Additionally, please be aware that a group may lobby with the instructor to FIRE a group member after repeated warnings to improve the quality of his or her work are unheeded.
(281pts / 45%)
Students work independently for reading and retention, creative activities, micro-certifications, and other select tasks. Students are graded individually for the following:
Reading and retention: The e-Textbook was designed specifically for COMSTRAT 310 and all topics coincide with active lessons throughout the semester. Lecture slides, in-class activities, and assignments all stem from the readings and provide more in-depth explanations, examples, and end-of-chapter quizzes to help students retain critical information and vocabulary. There are 8 chapters with self-paced true/false and multiple-choice end-of-chapter quizzes each worth 12 points. Students are given two chances to answer each question.
Creative Activities: Each lesson students are introduced to more than 13 web-based tools throughout the semester. Individual creative activities are designed so students can demonstrate their progress toward mastery in the creation of digital assets used in campaigns.
Micro-Certifications: New to 310 in spring 2020 – students are guided through three opportunities to earn professional certification in Google Analytics, Google Ads (Search) and Google Ads (Display). All micro-certifications introduced in 310 are free.
Other Stuff: Students are graded individually for completing an initial forming teams survey and group evaluation check-in in Lesson 2.
Attendance: Attendance is both mandatory and critical to your success in this class. Students will be allowed two excused absences this semester. Each additional absence may result in a loss of 3 points from your grade.
Note: Students who no-show to Status Report days and/or the final Part 6 Poster Showcase without previous communication or approval are at risk of receiving a ZERO for the assignment regardless of their individual contribution to the finished work.
|Category||Individual vs. Team||Points||% of Grade|
|Status Reports (x3)||Team||60||10%|
Student Learning Outcomes
The main goal of this course is to introduce students to key ideas, principles, and tactics for writing for digital content, creating and executing a digital campaign and understanding core concepts in tracking and measuring the effectiveness of digital communications. Students are introduced to digital campaign planning and project management – challenged on how to establish purposeful and measurable outcomes and training on the setup, design, delivery, and measurement of various online tools used by practitioners for web development, email outreach, social media engagement and online advertising.
COURSE LEARNING GOALS
Course Learning Goal 1: Develop and manage online content promotions and branded digital campaigns.
- Overview of social media marketing
- Ethics in the digital space
- Presentations and reporting
- Overview of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)
- Earned, owned, paid, shared media
- Target audience analysis
- Customer experience
- Brand platform
- Core messaging
- Overview of digital tools, platforms, and channels
- Lead management process and customer relations management
- Web development
- Blogging for business
- Social media engagement
- Other digital tactics: Mobile marketing, Email marketing, and online advertising
Course Learning Goal 2: Ability to develop and execute social media engagement and user-oriented content strategies.
- Overview of digital media metrics
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Web analytics (Google Analytics)
- Social media metrics
- Digital marketing plans and creative briefs
- Overview of integrated digital campaigns
- Campaign planning and messaging
- Content strategy
- Campaign implementation
- Campaign Metrics
Course Learning Goal 3: Evaluate campaign success in execution using key performance indicators and online tools for web development, email, metrics, and multimedia management.
- Campaign implementation: Monitoring and adjusting
- Campaign implementation: Metrics and analysis
EVALUATION OF OUTCOMES
- In-class discussion topics that synthesize information students have been learning, apply information to different settings or populations, describe relevant examples of course information, and/or engage with various resources and respond.
- Semester-long project planning
- Audience persona
- Situation analysis, culture, brand, and core messaging
- Customer decision process
- Digital asset planning
- Setup and content population for digital assets (website, blog, social media channels)
- Metrics setup on digital assets: Web analytics and search engine optimization
- Reporting: Digital marketing campaign strategy (goals, strategy, objectives, deliverables)
- Digital content creation
- Baseline metrics and key performance indicators
- Campaign implementation, monitoring, adjusting
- Periodic reporting on progress and outcomes
- Individual creative activities to demonstrate mastery of select tools and techniques
- Individual Google certifications
Key Policies & Procedures
All of the instructors are on campus at various times throughout the week. The best place to catch them will always be during class time but you can email or leave a voice message. To meet privately it is recommended you use office hours or schedule an appointment. Individual grades or issues should be discussed in private.
Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center at [address on your campus] to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. For more information, contact a Disability Specialist on your home campus.
Washington State University, a community dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, expects all students to behave in a manner consistent with its high standards of scholarship and conduct. Students are expected to uphold these standards both on and off-campus and acknowledge the university’s authority to take disciplinary action. Cheating is defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010(3). It is strongly recommended that you read and understand these definitions.
University instructors have the authority to intervene in all situations where students are suspected of academic dishonesty. In such instances, responsible instructors retain the authority to assign grades to students considering, from an academic standpoint, the nature of the student action. Violation of academic integrity on any assignment will involve (i) an academic penalty ranging from a minimum of both a zero on that assignment and the reduction of a full letter grade on your final grade to failure of the entire course, (ii) filing of case with the Office of Student Conduct, and per university regulations, (iii) inability to withdraw from the course.
If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, you should ask course instructors before proceeding.
This course requires students to maintain strong organizational skills. It is the responsibility of the individual student and teams to complete all assignments by the due date. Students/teams who miss a deadline for a graded task are subject to a 10% penalty for every day the task is late. If a graded task is not received within 72 hours of the deadline, students/teams are at risk of receiving a “0” zero for the graded task for failure to complete. Some consideration, however, might be given (at the discretion of the instructor) if there are extenuating circumstances such as prolonged hospitalization, family death, or extended individual sickness previously discussed. Unless otherwise previously arranged, please note that the instructor will not retroactively accept any graded task due after midterm grades are submitted.
As stated by WSU Academic Regulations 73, “Absences impede a student’s academic progress and should be avoided.” The following categories constitute “excused absences”: university-sponsored, military service, and other issues such as illness, personal crises, mandated court appearances, parental responsibilities, and the like. As long as such absences are not excessive, the instructor will likely accommodate and excuse the absence. The instructor reserves the right to require the student to submit a written explanation of the absence.
STUDENT CONDUCT STANDARDS
In 310 we are committed to respectful engagement practices. Personal attacks, use of harsh language or expletives, discriminatory or inflammatory statements will not be tolerated – in-person or via direct messaging (text, chats, email, etc.). Students who abuse or misuse this policy are subject to removal from the team, dismissal from the course, course failure, and referral to the Office of Student Conduct per Standards of Conduct for Students WAC 504-26-218, 504-26-220, and 504-26-222.
If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information.