Digital Marketing, SEO and My Life as a 20-Something

Tag: post-secondary

5 Things I Learned In My First Semester Studying Digital Marketing

After returning to school in January to begin a post-graduate program in digital media marketing, I often get asked, what the heck is digital marketing? What do you learn about? It was a whirlwind three months and I learned more than I could list here, but here are 5 key takeaways from my first semester.

Five Things I Learned In My First Semester of Digital Marketing

A whole lot of hard skills

Content marketing, Facebook ads, marketing strategy, Google Analytics, social listening, e-mail marketing, RFM, LTV, marketing research, building personas, paid ads, SEO…you name it, I probably learned it. Digital marketers require a multitude of skills and an extensive toolbox to draw from and I certainly got a good start on building mine.

Everything must come back to your marketing and business objectives

It’s easy to stray from your game plan when you’re focused on creating engaging content and making the most of all the tools digital marketers have at our disposal. But one thing that was really drilled into my head is that everything you do must help achieve your business objectives. The ultimate goal of marketing and business is to be profitable, and if that doesn’t happen then the only thing you’ll be managing is your own LinkedIn while searching for a new job.

Marketers are constantly learning

(I mean, this is true for everybody, but especially important in digital marketing) Our world is changing at an increasing pace, and marketing is no exception to that rule. Many of our courses didn’t even have textbooks, because they would be out of date by the time they were published. Digital marketers need to stay on top of changes and trends to make the most of what’s available and to be where their audiences are. Stay current by reading industry blogs and publications, and always find ways to keep upgrading and adding new skills.

You can’t be an expert at everything

As a professor once said ‘you don’t need to know how to do everything yourself, but you need to understand how it works so you can pay someone to do it for you.’ We laughed, but it’s true! You can’t do everything, but you need to understand enough to know what can be done and to communicate effectively with the person tasked with the job. You don’t need to code your own website, but you should know enough to talk with your web developer, and you should be able to do basic things like a blog post or update copy on a website without expert help! Stay informed, but know your limit and bring others on board when you need them

Data…data…and more data!

There’s so much data out there which presents many opportunities as well as nightmares for marketers. On the downside, there are increasing concerns and legislation about consumer privacy and use of data (Cambridge Analytica and GDPR anyone?), and even many marketers don’t know how to interpret the data and analytics available and how to act it it. On the plus side, data helps us better understand and segment our audiences, do incredibly targeted communications and understand the impact of our communications, from impressions and engagement to the all important ROI. Regardless, in an increasingly data driven world, data and analytics are two things digital marketers must understand and be able to act on.

It’s an exciting time to be in the digital marketing field, and I couldn’t be happier with my career choice. Do you have any questions about studying digital marketing? Do you need help with your own digital marketing? Let’s connect.

Leadership Where We’re Not Looking

There’s a lot of things that baffle me about this crazy world we live in. And I don’t mind not understanding it all. But there’s one thing that’s been really bothering me for a while now, and it’s something we need to have a discussion about.

And that is, how many times I’ve been asked “Are you studying business?”

I laugh every time because I really don’t understand why people who know almost nothing about me jump to that conclusion. Is it because I ventured into the community beyond the campus bubble? Is it because I care about things like politics and volunteering? Because of how I dress? Because I’ve taken the time to network and attend community events? Because I’m a young, white, educated middle-class person?

Whatever it is, it reflects a wider problem in our communities and society of how we envision leadership and who should step up into those roles. We shouldn’t presume that someone doesn’t have the capability or interest to be a leader based on their field of study or career.

We should be encouraging everybody to take some sort of leadership, volunteering or other role creating some sort of a positive impact in a community/other people’s lives, because everybody is capable of doing so, although it may not be in traditionally thought of ways.

Furthermore, why do business programs seem to be the only ones that teach their students about networking, innovation and entrepreneurship? Why do politicians only visit political science classes and student government meetings? If we truly want students to receive a well-rounded education to contribute to society in meaningful and diverse ways, then we need to offer well-rounded and diverse opportunities to all. We should be encouraging our education and psychology students to volunteer on a non-profit board. And we should be encouraging our business and engineering students to go volunteer in a school. And when a politician comes to talk on campus, we need to make sure everybody is invited, because their work impacts every single person on that campus, and voices from all areas should be represented and shared with them.

Diversity of leadership needs to be about more than race, gender and other traditionally thought of indicators of diversity. We need to be mindful of diversity of education, life experience, passions, skills, and whatever other unique perspectives individuals can bring to the table. I think it’s pretty cool that our current prime minister was a teacher, and not just your standard economist/lawyer/political scientist/other old rich white dude career, and I want to see this more often. We need to see this more often.

Now I know not every so-called ‘leader’ is a business person or political science major. I’ve been learning more and more that life tends to take you down unexpected paths, and those who are meant to lead seem to eventually find their way there no matter what their initial path was. But imagine what our communities could be like if we searched for and nurtured these leaders earlier on, instead of leaving them to find their own way there?

So in the meantime, I will continue to chuckle every time I respond with “I study childhood and I work in a school.” I’ll continue to not quite fit the stereotype of what a leader should look like, and I hope that you too can push aside your preconceived notions of who a leader should be, especially young ones, and offer such opportunities to all those who seek and are suited for them, regardless of whatever life or career path they’ve set out upon.


Homecoming is More Than Broughdale

I knew I wanted to write something about homecoming, but as I sit down to write this I’m a little bit stuck on what to say. A lot has already been said, and from the practical perspective (policing measures, university collaboration etc.) I don’t really have anything new to add. So I figured I’d throw out my own homecoming experience (which was absolutely FANTASTIC), to remind everybody there’s more to homecoming than what happens on Broughdale.

My homecoming was a 16 hour day and I’m not afraid to say that there was alcohol involved, just not in ridiculous amounts and never consumed on the street. My morning was spent on campus; what the USC organized was great and I they need to continue to build upon it to get more students on campus for homecoming. The pancake breakfast could turn into a barbecue, bring more musicians up on stage…there’s so much that could be done with that event and I encourage the USC to continue to explore and experiment with the possibilities. It will take time to get the homecoming culture off the (literal) street, but I do believe students will be receptive to this if presented with the right alternatives.

After lunch and a purple beer at the Spoke, I had fun at the football game, where Western just defines ‘go big or go home’. I mean, we have a horse at our football games, a horse! My sister is an alumni of U of T so I took extra joy in watching their defeat. Walking home through the Broughdale area things were quiet and while I was honestly embarrassed to see the mess, I did have a little chuckle at the 6 cross-armed, tough looking cops standing at the start of the infamous, now empty Broughdale Avenue. A quick stop at a house party confirmed that it’s not my idea of fun, and I left as soon as I could.

My evening started at a friend’s place, and soon migrated to downtown. There was a large but not unreasonable police presence, and I personally never saw anybody causing trouble. I think closing Richmond in the Richmond Row area is a smart move for the safety of all, and something else that has potential for positive celebration. Small street festival anybody? Music? Food trucks? (Oh wait, I forgot I was back in London). But you get the point. The street usually gets closed anyways, so why don’t we make the most of it? Yes it was busy but there was a fantastic vibe; nobody was looking to cause trouble, we were just wanted to have a good time and celebrate our fantastic school. I very rarely go to bars but if I had nights like that more often then I sure would!

I guess you can make the argument that the people on the street in Broughdale were also just wanted to have a good time and weren’t necessarily looking to cause trouble. That’s certainly a case where we need to find a better balance, but Broughdale is just one street of one big city that’s home to one big university. Please remember that most were celebrating like me, in respectful and safe ways, if they even celebrated at all.

I love my school, and I can honestly say that coming here was one of the best decisions I ever made. I never seriously considered attending until I visited for an open house, but I left knowing deep down that it was the place for me. My final student homecoming is one that I will always remember, and I can guarantee that I’ll be back as a very proud alumni.

Western is an amazing institution, one that we are incredibly lucky to have in this city. Homecoming is a celebration of this school and what it has done for the thousands over the years who have trudged up UC hill, braved the geese, spent hours in our libraries, survived London’s crazy winters, and who have gone on to make this city, this country, and this world a better place because of what they learned and who they became during their time at Western.

To be honest, I don’t have a perfect solution to the homecoming problem. But I do know that whatever way we do address this problem will need to involve collaboration, understanding, and celebrating each other’s strengths. Let’s celebrate with Western, because Western deserves to be celebrated. It’s possible, I know it is, so let’s keep working towards a real solution instead of a polarizing, band-aid “fix”.


Despite The Bad Press, Don’t Paint All Student Leaders With The Same Brush

Recent events that have happened on post-secondary campuses are entirely unacceptable and need the attention and discussion they have rightfully gained. However, for every student leader who does something attracting negative attention, there are countless others doing incredible things on our post-secondary campuses, incredible things in their own right as well as a lot of hard work to educate people about and discourage the events that we have become all too familiar with.

This is my third year as a resident assistant, and each year I go through approximately 8 full days of training to help me do my job. Some of the topics we cover include mental health, SafeTALK (suicide alertness), gender diversity and LGBTQ issues, and sexual assault disclosure support. This training is not left behind in August. We work hard everyday to educate our students, support those who need it, and to promote a community, a campus, and a world that is safer and more inclusive for all. 

I’ve dealt with some pretty heavy stuff. Stuff that even if I was allowed to talk about it, I’d rather not. Many people question why I do my job, and how I deal with some of the things that come up. I do it because I know I make a difference, and I know I’ve kept people safe, maybe even saved lives. I do it because of the people who have influenced my life in the past and so I can hopefully do the same for those who follow behind me. 

The student leaders you sometimes hear about in the media wear shirts saying “Fuck Safe Space”. The student leaders you don’t often hear about wear their staff/organization shirts with pride (and to be honest they might be a little bit smelly because sometimes laundry takes low priority in our busy schedules!). The student leaders you sometimes hear about in the media write articles about how to “date” (aka sexually harass) your TA. The student leaders you don’t often hear about are busy writing notes of encouragement to their students during midterm season, maybe with some candy attached that they paid for with their own money. The student leaders you sometimes hear about in the media are using cheers promoting rape culture. The student leaders you don’t often hear about are cheering on their student who is a varsity athlete at a game, or providing a supportive listening ear to a student who is homesick. 

These events are unfortunate, and each time they happen I am utterly shocked that people think such actions are still acceptable in this day and age. As a student leader myself I am also embarrassed, particularly when they happen at the school I am extremely proud to be a student of. But remember, the ones who receive the most attention are not the norm. Next time you see a student leader, ask them about they work they do; they will probably be eager to share, because what they do really is incredible. Sit down for a bite to eat with them because they probably forgot to schedule that in, or better yet, buy them a coffee. (yes, definitely buy them a coffee, and none of this decaf crap please) And remember to say thank you, because they make our post-secondary institutions wonderful places and I am confident that our work will trickle beyond the ivory towers to make our world a better place.