Confessions of the Newbie

So in my last post I talked about how I was about to start a new job, in a totally opposite industry from what I was working in before. I’ve been with my new gig for about a week now and WOW has it been quite the experience. From college professors and career fair speakers, I’ve been told time and time again that the advertising industry was a fast one, but now that I’m actually working in it I KNOW it’s fast…like really really fast. I’ve loaded my brain with so much information this past week that I feel like it might pop at any minute. Luckily I’m a great note taker.

I’m all about lending a helping hand to new or soon to be college grads, especially my fellow MSU Spartans, about what it’s like working in the real world after graduation. I know I could have used more advice, especially about how the advertising world works. Although I’ve only been here for a little over a week, I think I already have a pretty good feel for how the whole agency business works and I’d like to share a few tips for those of you out there looking to pursue a brand new job in advertising.

Career Sign

1.  Ask to meet people in the agency. You will meet so many people and you’ll want to remember who is who. Write it all down! From the account and creative teams to print production, you will need to establish a good relationship with them because first of all, they are much higher up on the ladder then you and you are there to work for them as they work to please the client and secondly, like I said you will most likely start out on the bottom of the food chain, so you want to establish relationships with everyone you work with. Learning who does what in your agency and being able to talk with them and learn from them is a great way to gain insight and open the door to an array of opportunities down the road. The ad world is all about who you know.

2. Bring a note pad. Whether you are writing down the names of the people you meet or helpful tid bits about the client or agency you’ve picked up during your first few days, taking notes is absolutely crucial. I have half a note pad already filled with notes. It’s probably a good idea to then type up and organize your notes when you have some free time. This goes with any job.

3. Ask Questions. Be willing to learn! I’ll admit that sometimes I like to think I’m always right so I’ll avoid asking questions to clarify things. When you are starting a new job, any job, but especially in advertising where if you do something wrong it could cause a MAJOR problem, you need to ask questions. Don’t assume you know the answer. I’ve learned in the week I’ve been here that there is a very specific way to carry out each project. If one step is missed it can really mess up the process.

4. If you can’t be organized, advertising is NOT for you! This week I already have 2 huge projects going on at once. I had to catch on fast and be able to keep track of everything at once. This requires some pretty good organizational skills and the ability to multitask. Trust me, when there’s a Friday 6 pm deadline and you are trying to get a project through it’s final stages, the last thing you want to have happen is misplace something or mix up your projects. You need to develop a system that works for you…and fast!

5. Don’t let the stress get to you. I’ve been having a tough time with this one. My life isn’t 9-5 anymore. When you work at an agency with highly active accounts you will be working till 11, 12, 1 am sometimes even. This has been a huge adjustment for me, and I’ve been having some trouble at times getting used to it considering I’m used to a 10 pm bedtime. There are times when everyone around you will be in a state of panic. Just breathe, keep your cool, and do your best to work with the panic. Offer to help and find out everything you can do in order to aid in moving things along smoothly and efficiently.

6.  Learn to love coffee. That’s pretty self explanatory. There’s no time to be tired on the job

7.  Help and ask for help. People in any work environment want you to succeed because in the long run it’s all about the client. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help if you are in over your head. Some projects will be slower than others so ask if you can help out someone else if you find yourself having some down time.

8.  Have fun. It’s pretty cool to see the ads you see on tv or on billboards take shape. There are a lot of fun things happening around the agencies as well, from theme parties to bar nights after work with your co-workers. When everyone isn’t running around trying to get a project out to print, it’s a cool environment.

Well that’s all for now. Hope this helps all you soon to be grads looking to take on the advertising world.


Building a Home for Hip Hop

So I’m not a huge hip hop fan, but I came across this online video ad. Thanks to the creative efforts of Global Hue, this short video features a classical music conductor, lost in the urban streets of the Big Apple, only to find his way and break out into a crazy hip hop musical masterpiece. Made in honor of of the talented world of hip hop, this ad for the National Museum of Hip Hop definitely does a great job at impacting the viewer with it’s straight forward tag line “Help build a home for the classics of hip hop.” I thought it was a creative approach to online video advertising. What do you think?

Social Media in 10

So you are, let’s say, a small business owner and with all the new social media buzz circling around, you decide it’s about time you implement a social media plan. It can be hard, as a small business without the budget to bring in the social media experts, to figure out the do’s and don’ts of setting a plan in place.  What social networks should you tap into? What tactics should you explore? What should you avoid? All these questions need answers before you can plan and execute a successful social media campaign.  If it were as easy as making a Facebook page and Tweeting, then anyone could do it.

Social Media

I’m going to break it down into 10 tid bits of advice to take into consideration when tackling your first social media plan.

1.     STRATEGY: Define your objectives & establish your goals: Every good plan starts off with a strategy.  Write out a clear purpose for your social media plan and clearly articulate your purpose and vision.

2.     TEAM: Even if you’re a small, local business, you cant possible manage an entire social media plan by yourself. Delegate a few other people to help manage your plan. Identify who does what, clearly, so nothing in the upkeep of your social media presence goes over looked. Social media isn’t something you can learn over night so invest in the proper resources for additional training on the subject. Attend workshops and conferences, listen to podcasts (so helpful) read blogs by the pros.

3.     LISTEN! If you are going to have a social media plan you NEED to know how to listen to your audience. Where are your customers?  How are they engaging with each other and brands online?  How do they want to be involved with brands? Your first instinct may lead you to an answer like “Well, they are obviously all on Facebook.” WRONG. Take the time to do your research.

4.     FOCUS: If your social media plan stretches across 10 different social media platforms, chances are you are going to have a very touch time keeping track of everything. Once you figure out where your audience is, concentrate on creating a strong presence there. Prioritize what areas of social media are most important to your brand and focus on those. A strong social media plan isn’t necessarily one that integrates every single platform from Facebook to Flickr…its one that picks a few platforms and excels at utilizing them.

5.     THEME: If your social media plan is going to tap into, for example, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, then make sure the 3 relate to each other in some way.  The worst social plans are the ones that are so jumbled and busy that they forget to carry a common theme centered around the brand’s message. WWE did an excellent job of this with their “Stand Up For W” campaign. Everything their audience could, from uploading videos on Youtube voicing your support, to making “I’m Standing Up for WWE” their Facebook status, tied in together in supporting their “Support for WWE” theme.  Create a story and create a voice for your brand.

6.     COMMUNICATION: I’ve talked about this before in a previous post, but communication is key! Once you have your social media plan up and running, you MUST establish a relationship with your followers. This is like the follow up step to Listening. Once you know where your audience is and what they want, start to involve them in your brand. Let them know you are listening to them by tweeting back or following up to their comments or suggestions on facebook.

7.     LINK: Make sure to link everything together. A person browsing your Facebook page should also be able to get to your Twitter, YouTube channel, Linkedln, Website etc…Consider creating a landing page. Here’s a great article on Copyblogger article outlining the basics of a landing page.

8.     SEO OPTIMIZATION: Make sure your website is optimized for online and mobile browsing. Make sure each page has a share button (Facebook Like, Twitter tweet this, Digg etc) and make sure each page is optimized with the right tags and met tags. Optimize your site with keywords (Google Keywords is a great tool to help with this). Make sure the links to your social media profiles are clearly displayed. YOU need to be in control of your own online presence. Get informed! Check out the Google Webmaster Blog for some great SEO tips.

9.     METRICS: Define the metrics you will use to measure your social media success. You need to have a way to measure your plan’s success and failures so you can adjust accordingly.  You can use Google Alerts to monitor search terms. Use site analytics to measure where your traffic is coming from and Klout is great for monitoring your Twitter influence.

10. GO FOR IT!!! Social media takes work, attention, patience, and the willingness to put the time and resources into your plan to achieve success. Once you have your plan defined and your platforms up and running, a social media plan can prove to be extremely beneficial.




Advice From a Post-Grad (9 months & Counting)…

Yesterday I received an email from a former MSU professor for one of the advertising design courses I took as part of my Design Specialization. She basically started off this email bold and to the point, asking me “What advice do you have for 2011 grads and what do you wish you knew prior to graduating that would have changed your job search?” Wow, what a question to ask a 22 year old recent college grad whose still trying to adjust to the post college life of not being able to sleep in past noon and eat pizza 3 meals a day. That question really got me thinking about everything that’s has taken since I left the land of green and white last May. She then asked if I could come up some evening a speak to her evening class  and give her students some advice and insight into life after MSU.  I’m not quite sure where to start since so much has happened since May 6, 2010, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

Since Graduation:

Around this time last year, I was frantically revising my resume, preparing a portfolio, attending job fairs and networking events at every chance I could get. I was literally applying to every job at every company in my field that I could think of…big or small, local, or thousands of miles away. Well, boy was I in for a reality check. Not only was unfortunate to graduate at one of the worst times in our economy, when jobs were scarce and the ones available had thousands of applicants competing for one spot, but a lot of companies weren’t even hiring full time. It was just a bad time all around for finding a job.

What I Didn’t Know, But Wish I Did

  • The chance of landing your dream job with your first application, first resume submission, and first interview is probably NOT GOING TO HAPPEN (and if it does I need to know your secret)! It’s tough out there and yes, my parents, industry professionals, and professors told me and my peers this, but of course I didn’t really believe them. Well, they were right.
  • You need to start standing out now—Brand Yourself. Being an advertising student I knew I needed a portfolio if I wanted to go into design, and writing samples if I wanted to copywriting and a social media presence if I wanted to go into media planning, but I started building up all of that too late. From the moment you lock in your major you NEED to start branding yourself and networking…no matter what major you’re in. Learn the industry. Know the big players and the big news. Go to every career fair, networking event and speaker conference you can. Join clubs and organizations, get on E-boards, volunteer, produce writing and design samples, and keep all your projects, papers, research etc to use as a demonstration of your abilities. You need to make sure you stand out. Take any and every opportunity you can to network and get your foot in the door.
  • Learn how to write a great resume and cover letter. This is so important. As graduation nears, like myself, you’ll want to just apply for every job in your field you can find. Before sending out handfuls of resumes and cover letters, make sure you know how to construct one. I took my resume to critiques several times before I finally got any sort of positive feedback. No one likes their work to comes back all marked up in red pen, but trust me it’s worth it for the sake of your resume and future job. A great resume = JOB! Now a cover letter is another story. Make sure you know all the do’s and don’ts. My first few cover letters were a disaster now that I look back on them.


My Advice to Soon-to-Be Grads

  • The job market is slowly, but surely starting to look more promising, but jobs are still scarce or highly competitive. Look at every opportunity that comes your way and don’t rule anything out, even if the opportunity is for a job that is totally unrelated to your degree. You never know where an opportunity now can take you in the future. It’s all about keeping an open mind, a positive outlook and being grateful for any opportunity you can get.
  • Whatever job you land, make sure you do your best to be good at it. Being bitter or constantly complaining about how you aren’t doing what you want to be doing won’t get you anywhere. Learn your job and do it well! I don’t know if I can say this or not, but I graduated with an Advertising and design degree, but currently I’m a corporate buyer. Of course I’m not doing what I thought I’d be doing, but I am doing my best to learn the industry I am currently in and putting 110% into doing my job successfully.
  • Don’t give up on doing what you love. If you’re stuck in some entry level office assistant job for the time being, but you love to write and design then keep doing it! Keep writing and contributing to your portfolio in your free time, attend weekend classes to build up your skills, check out local industry events/conferences (they are usually open to anyone whose interested). When an opportunity you want does come your way you’re ready and have current work to show.  Employers love to see that you still made the time and put in the extra effort to build up your knowledge and skills in what you’re really passionate about. It shows character and motivation and pins you as a go-getter. Just because you aren’t doing what you think you should be doing now doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future.

This is all just my personal opinion from the experiences I had leading up to graduation, during my crazy job hunt, and my life since leaving MSU. I’ve faced a lot of challenges and had some tough decisions to make, but I think my experiences have really taught me a lot about the kind of person I am and have showed me that with some extra work and motivation I am capable of accomplishing anything. Wonderful opportunities will continue to come my way, and your way…It’s all a matter of time, patience, and determination.

Brands Go Social for the Super Bowl

As the mother of all TV programming approaches, yep that’s right the 2011 Super Bowl, marketers are utilizing more than the $3 million 30 second TV spot. With social media campaigns backing most major brands, this year social and digital media will be a game changer for Super Bowl ad campaigns. The brands that think they can only rely on “let’s do a Facebook contest” won’t stand a chance against the innovative social media approaches some brands are carrying out.

Two of the leading brands in this Super Bowl social media craze are Mercedes and Audi. Both have unveiled high-profile social media contests with prizes to die for. So what do you have to do to win an exhilarating R8 drive at the Audi sports car experience in Sonoma, California or a brand new Mercedes-Benz ? You have to be the best at using social media to socially and digitally tout the foreign brands before and during the big game.

Let’s take a closer look at these’s brand’s tactics:

Mercedes-Benz: They launched “The World’s First Twitter-Fueled Race” (catchy copy). The contest will award 2 new cars to a pair of social media geniuses. The team that garners the most Mercedes tweets, Facebook “likes” and other social media and digitally related instances by game day WINS! Sounds like a pretty good deal to me…tweet away people!

Audi: Audi’s approach is aimed at saying goodbye to old luxury and hello to Progressive luxury. Their contest, “The Audi Prgressive Luxury Trade Up” Twitter contest invites people to compete for the most creative definition of Progressive Luxury by including the hashtag #Progressls and the URL in their tweets. The top 10 tweets are awarded old luxury prizes with a chance to trade up to new luxury prizes. The grand prize is R8 drive at the Audi sportscar experience in Sonoma, California where winners will enjoy the ultimate in progressive luxury and a $25,000 donation by Audi in their name. The hashtag will also make an appearance in Audi’s 60 second game day commercial, making social media history.

Both these social media campaigns are innovative, exciting and successful at getting consumers involved in the action. I’m excited to see the winning results.

A New Place For Q & A…Exploring Quora

I’m sure you’ve heard about the website, Quora, which has recently made it’s way into the news and online media. Being THE hot, new buzzed about online tool, I’ve decided to check it out! It’s recently exploded among the social media junkies, reporters, industry pros and the tech savy crowd  as, according to their website, a “continually improving collection of questions and answers.” It was founded in April 2009 by Adam D’Angelo, who was previously CTO and VP of engineering at Facebook, and Charlie Cheever, who led Facebook Connect and Facebook Platform.

blog picture for quora

  • Quora is a website where you can ask questions and receive an answer back from community members, kind of like Yahoo Answers. But, here’s what makes it better. Quora is much more than someone asking “Q) I have ate two whole tangerines in about two hours what will happen to me?” and some one coming back with a sarcastic response like A) “That all depends on whether you swallowed any seeds. If you did, be very careful not to eat any dirt or drink any water for the next two weeks.” And yes that was a real question and answer…don’t ask how I came across that one.  Anyways, like I was saying, Quora does more then just asking a question and getting a slew of ridiculous responses back. It’s a database of knowledge created by people, for people with an additional opportunity for anyone to collaborate and start a discussion and gives users a chance to offer their expertise and opinion while striving for consensus.
  • It provides a platform for social and interest-driven real time content: Quora allows you to follow other community members with similar interests as you and ask them questions directly. Also, your homepage provides a feed that shows you new topics you or those you are following may be interested in.  As soon as I created my account it gave me the option to connect through Facebook and Twitter so I instantly had several people, and topics to follow right away, making it’s interface more like that of a social network.
  • Quora posts your name to your answer: This is another reason why there is so much press around the site right now. High profile people who have extensive knowledge about a topic are contributing their knowledge and opinions to questions. It makes the content more trustworthy then Yahoo Answers or Wikipedia for example.

I’m still in the test run phase of Quora, but I’ve managed to set up an account, follow a few interesting people ad topics and even voted on some good answers. I have yet to ask a question, but when I do, I’m anxious to see the responses I get. It’s definitely a website worth checking out. I think you’ll be surprised at what you can find on there. For now you can follow me here on Quora.

A Resolution Worth Keeping…

Ok so here’s my sob story…I work 5 days a week, 9 hours a day and then by the time I get home I’m too lazy to blog and my evening usually consists of eating, watching some lame reality tv show and passing out with my dog …NO MORE.

This year, 2011, things are going to change. Basically I need to get a life. One of my resolutions for the new year, and beyond, is to blog more. Yea, I keep up on industry news and stuff, but I need to start writing about it and learning and networking with other bloggers. If I want to someday build a career in my dream job (something social media or advertising) I need to start making moves here so I’m one step ahead of that other new college grad out there trying to get that same job as me that I was so so so bad!

My motivation for this came from the WordPress challenge to “Post Something Every Day.” So maybe it won’t be everyday for me, but how about a few times a week or even once a week? I think I can do that…I can still blog while I’m watching Jersey Shore…right?

WordPress even has this blog called the Daily Post which gives me daily tidbits of inspiration and blogging advice to get me going.

Here I go…this is me participating in the Post a Week 2011 WordPress challenge.

New year, new opportunities. Cheers to a great 2011. I wonder what’s in store for me this year?!