Student Practicum: Al Dente by Andrea Lee

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Yesterday, Andrea provided a recent testimony of how The Social Media Magnet helped her land interviews and an internship in the music industry, which is where she has always wanted to work.  Today, she tells us about her practicum experience that gave her the confidence to approach digital marketing agencies and the digital marketing departments of major record labels at a recent career fair.  She admits that without this class, she wouldn’t have landed that opportunity.  Read about her practicum experience below.

“I signed up for this class to gain valuable skills in digital marketing. I wanted to not only practice developing brand and executing a full campaign, but also understand the inner workings/analytics of social media tools. I expected to be guided on building my own campaign and getting down each detail for my brand. I also thought we were going to use our brand to track our social media and site analytics in class. I expected to learn more tips and tricks to gain and retain followers on social media and use google analytics to follow through. Excitedly, I report that I did learn all of this and was satisfied with my personal results.

My strengths involved creating a cohesive and innovative brand that also allowed me to remain consistent with my delivery. I made it a pasta blog with three recipes a week all under one theme a week, which I had already formulated the schedule within the brand concept. Furthermore, I kept this consistent throughout my entire experience. My weakness was that I did not spend enough time expanding outside my main circle and creating either new recipes or a different week in between to liven things up. I was too afraid it would have a major drawback in my numbers, because I knew this blog was only for 8 weeks.  The opportunities I found were with influencers reaching out to me, liking and sharing my posts. However, my threats were that I could not get partnerships or my Facebook numbers up as much as I originally hoped.

The driving force of success for me was sticking to my brand and its message. I made sure that alI my pictures and words related to the positioning statement throughout the campaign. I found that whenever I strayed from it even slightly my numbers went down a large amount. In addition, I believe the brand itself was a success for me because I realized that the brand message I created was extremely simple and relatable. This made it very easy for people to understand what my campaign was all about at first glance. Because the message was understood straight away, my audience could connect to the blog posts and social media posts on a more personal level and engaged further. 

There were a couple exciting moments happened along the way. With KewPie, my family religiously swears by their products so naturally I used it in one of my recipes. I tagged them and they reached out asking if they could share my post! It felt rewarding knowing that they felt I used their product in my own meal in a good way. The other part was that Tia Mowry (from the show Sister, Sister) has a food blog that liked my post. She has a mac and cheese recipe that I swear by, so I made it for one of my most recent blog posts and her food blog liked it. I feel that having that stamp of approval made all the difference.

I believe my top posts involved very intimate family and friend moments around the dinner table. My blog post numbers were often directed mostly by what people liked to click on in the weekly newsletters. Each week, I had a different get-together theme but the most popular one was a holiday party that I threw for my close friends. We made signature comfort food dishes and the pictures around that blog and the social media posts involved my friends getting into the holiday spirit. I believe that a lot of people were just starting to get excited about the holidays when I posted these recipes, which is why it did very well compared to other themes such as “Date night” or “Girls Night”.

Overall, I was worried before the class that I could not make a cohesive and innovative brand on my own. I desperately wanted to create something I was proud of and a blog that I was excited to write. Once I realized it was going to be a pasta blog, everything slowly started falling into place. There was a lot of frustration in the beginning but I realized that is all part of the process in creating a concept, especially one that you care deeply about. By the end of the semester I was actually very proud of myself that I was able to create and execute this campaign and branding message. I thought it was very unique to who I am as an individual and found that it was done well. When I looked at other people’s blogs in the class, I found that mine was well-written, consistent, and formatted very well, and the branding was strong. In the end, I gained a lot of self-confidence in this class and can end this semester knowing that I am headed in the right direction career wise.”

– Andrea Lee, Belmont University, Fall 2018

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