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Journalists Empower Communities

Thank a Journalist Day hopes to spark a discussion about the importance of journalism in local communities

When I was young, I remember crawling around on the newsroom floors, crumpling wads of paper and tossing them over the cubicles of hard-working journalists. I didn’t know then what they were doing or why they were doing it. All I knew was these were good people. They took the time to learn who I was and what made me laugh. Of course, my mom was the editor, so maybe they felt inclined to laugh on behalf of keeping their job… but I like to think otherwise. 

As I grew older, my interest in journalism and storytelling developed. In high school, I helped run my student media publication and created videos about the students I knew. By the time I arrived at college, I realized one of the most important stories to tell was about the journalists themselves. 

I know what you might be thinking. Journalists are imperfect, they make mistakes – but so do we all.  

Journalism is threatened. A recent Gallup poll suggests that countries across all regions are experiencing declining media freedoms. The respect we have for journalists and their contributions to society have drastically fallen and the opinions about news media in the United States are deeply divided across partisan lines. People don’t trust the media.

When we think of journalists we think of the international foreign policy reporters, the national broadcast journalists, or the divisive radical media outlets that spout opinions we don’t agree with. But journalism is so much more. 

Journalists tell the stories of our hometown heroes. They inform us about the routine like local weather alerts, what’s happened at the school board meeting and neighborhood crime outbreaks. They report on events happening across the street that we didn’t know existed and are integral to any functioning society, no matter its size. These invisible societal watchdogs hold our towns together with little to no recognition. 

The best way to spark a discussion about the importance of journalism is to thank journalists themselves. But how do I do that?

In 2019, a group of advertising and public relations students (including myself) worked together to create an action-oriented social media and digital campaign centered around the idea of thanking journalists. We call it: Thank a Journalist Day. 

Before anything, we got to work on drafting a proposal for the governor’s office in Indianapolis to declare “Thank a Journalist Day,” as an official event throughout the state of Indiana. We were ecstatic when “Thank a Journalist Day” was declared and signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb to take place on March 13, 2019. 

We evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign, and developed messaging and creative concepts, finally decided on the advertising and public relations channels we wanted to use. We thought about who we were targeting and the action they would take to participate. 

Now, we invite you to join us in thanking a journalist. Use your own social media channels. Post a video about why you think journalism is important, tag any media outlets you want to thank, and challenge your friends to do the same. Use the hashtag “#thankajournalist” now to show your support.

Big Businesses Mean Big Opportunities for College Students: Why ruling out corporate jobs is a mistake

In today’s world of young startups and quirky agencies, the idea of working in a large corporate office may seem intimidating to some. This past summer, Seth Winslow, a developer with the Digital Corps did just that. His internship at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis proved to be an unforgettable experience and made him rethink the Fortune 500 office stereotype.

Seth was hired as an IT intern along with 32 other applicants.

“It was a little intimidating walking through the doors the first day at corporate, with their waterfall and marble floors. But, it was wonderful. We got to meet a lot of people that are higher up in the company.”

Later in the internship, the IT interns met with Aarthi Shah, one of the Senior Vice Presidents and CIO of Eli Lilly. They later attended a presentation with David Ricks, the CEO of the company. Seth quickly learned that as an organization with over 40,000 employees worldwide, Lilly does tons of philanthropic work.

Corporate Can Still Have Culture

While Seth did have a cubicle at Lilly, the company culture was not what he expected from a stereotypical corporate office.

“With a 40,000 person organization, you come across new people every single day. Whether that be a one-on-one meeting just to learn more about the IT world, or just to learn more about Lilly,” said Seth.

Eli Lilly employees participate in the annual Day of Service, where time is taken from the day to simply lend a helping hand, all across the world. While Seth’s internship ended before the official Day of Service, Seth and many other participated in a special Intern Day of Service.

“The IT interns actually did a Day of Service where we went to a local high school and we helped do some summer cleaning. Cleaning gum off lockers, moving tables, a lot of painting, pulling weeds. We were really just trying to get their building ready for the upcoming school year.”

Seth continued to learn about Lilly’s emphasis on company culture. Every intern was required to participate in 20 one-on-one interviews with other Lilly employees. He learned that there are people who have been working at Eli Lilly for more than 30 years!At Lilly, everything is a two-way street. They want to keep all of their employees happy in every aspect of life.

The Future of IT at Lilly

After his internship, Seth was offered and accepted a full-time position within the information technology department at Lilly. He realized, “Lilly has been there with me since day one, guiding me through the process and seeing if I have any questions.”

He found that the industry in Downtown Indianapolis is growing, his passion for computer science and IT is ever-expanding, and he, just as everybody else in the Indianapolis office, is passionate about Lilly’s mission.

“They’re passionate about the work they do. We’re making lives better, faster.”

Seth wants his peers and other students interested in technology to understand that small startups, or new agencies aren’t the only option if you’re searching for a welcoming environment with a fun-loving culture. Starting at a Fortune 500 company may be intimidating at first, but being open to changes and new ideas is essential to success. But above all else, loving what you do will make or break your career.

4 Ways to Prepare for the Changing World of Design

The world of design is constantly changing and evolving. As a new generation of designers prepare to enter the workforce, there are new concerns and focuses that affect past, present and future design standards.

This year, five students with the Digital Corps took the 10-hour trek from Muncie to Minneapolis to hear from some of the greatest minds in the design industry. They learned new trends, met fantastic people, and returned feeling more prepared for what comes next.

1. Accessibility is essential

Like we talked about in a previous article, accessibility is becoming one of the most important aspects of design.

In WWII, design was created for averages. Fighter planes were designed for the “average man” based on overall statistics regarding body height and composition. It became problematic when the pilots weren’t fitting into their planes, because they weren’t designed for the extremes. The designers of the planes didn’t consider that the “average man” doesn’t mean “every man.” The same concept applies to designing for disabilities with technology products.

Designing a product to meet the needs of every single person in the world is impossible, but understanding the user and designing for extreme situations is essential.

2. Stop focusing on how things look

Designers don’t just make things look pretty. Tons of thought and intense troubleshooting go into creating content for a specific audience. Just like a business, designers use distinct methodologies the produce a well-thought-out product.

“I think the whole point of graphic design is conveying information,” said Nolan Chamberlin, a designer with the Digital Corps.

“Be very cautious about what you do, because you may think something looks cool, but you need to be aware of what it means.”

Using design thinking to solve problems with design, rather than ignore them, is something that Nolan tries to do every day. Looking beyond the “what” and deeper into the “why” and “how” will lead designers to create better products.

3. Take advantage of the resources around you

Utilizing other perspectives to test your designs is key. Awhile back, Facebook redesigned their website. They tested internally among the designers and the team that created it. Everyone loved it, and they were sure it would be a huge hit when the site went public.

Wrong.

The site was designed to only meet the needs of designers, not the user. To mend the problem, Facebook discussed the importance of testing outside of internal situations. They learned about the importance of Facebook Groups and how communities of video game players to a gang of biker-women could be forged. Without the user’s feedback, this small tool was overlooked and the possibility of creating a better life for the user was almost completely eliminated.

Lindsey Geiser, a designer with the Digital Corps is excited to tap into the resources around her when she gets started with a new design. “It’s easy to get stuck in a bubble,” said Lindsey. “Going to conferences shows you the excess of communities out there. There are tons of different personalities.”

Anna Weddle, also a designer with the Digital Corps, realized that taking advantage of the individuals around her was most beneficial. Volunteering at the conference allowed

“Connections don’t have to be bigger name designers — just meeting people and checking in is worth it. Critiques are sooo important and getting them from people who are not in class with you is invaluable.”

4. Be vulnerable

Taking risks is essential to to creation of powerful content. Leah Callahan, a designer with the Digital Corps learned that being vulnerable to critiques and taking risks to expand your knowledge makes or breaks you in the design world.

“As a designer that’s how you are going to succeed and how you are going to make it one step further along and get where you want to be. You have to be vulnerable.”

But, how do you become more vulnerable? Creating for yourself as a designer and pouring emotion into personal projects is the key.

“I think sometimes as designers we get so caught up in client work, client work, client work, that we need to put aside some time to put a little piece of ourselves back into our work, or else we’re going to get burnt out,” said Leah.

Leah wants to be more expressive in her work. Showcasing who is she is a designer and an artist will help her balance out the busy lifestyle she is quickly adopting. Kelli Reutman, another designer with the Digital Corps, also wants to actively pursue creating more personal work for her own benefit. Kelli, an advertising major, hasn’t been an artist her entire life. To get started with design, she recommends designing for yourself.

“Do personal projects and find stuff that you’re interested in and just start designing it,” said Kelli. “Whether its drawing or coding or illustrator to make designs, you can start anywhere. Put in the effort and you’ll get into it.”

Design is changing, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But by trusting yourself and letting your designs flow free with an emphasis on the user, the world really will continue to benefit from the work you do.

Rejoice! Google is Killing Last Click Attribution

This post was ghost-written at Raidious for the Senior Strategist,  Topher Howden.


When was the last time you were convinced to purchase a product or service based on the information you read from a single piece of information on the Internet? That is, you saw a banner ad for a new pair of shoes, clicked on the ad, and immediately bought the shoes. This has probably never happened and we as marketers understand that it’s not supposed to. But last-click attribution tells us that the last ad you see before making the purchase takes all the responsibility for the purchase. Pretty unfair, right?

The idea of last-click attribution suggests that analytics tools and marketers attribute 100% of a conversion to the last piece of the marketing funnel before the purchase is made. Purchases never work this way! Remember, the buyer journey isn’t a one step process (we can dream though, right?). Last-click attribution gives all of the credit to the final interaction a buyer experiences, despite the many interactions they had with the product before the purchase.

Marketers have known for a while that last-click is not a useful concept, but existing solutions are hard to set-up and aren’t integrated with ad tools, making it harder to actually use the information you gather.

Google swooped in to save the day once again and has announced its shiny new product, Google Attribution! Gone are the days of last-click attribution!

Data Driven Attribution

Instead of attributing 100% of a conversion to the last click or final touchpoint of the buyer’s journey, Google Attribution assigns credit to each individual step in the buyer’s journey. Their first interaction, their last, and everything in between! It collects data from AdWords, Google Analytics, and DoubleClick Search before it runs a selected “attribution model” to package the data into an optimized report. From now on, the single ad won’t get all the credit.

If you’re a regular in web analytics products, you’ll already be familiar with more robust models of attribution, and even Google has previously introduced other attribution models in Google Analytics. The specific Attribution product, however, makes their intention clear and opens the door to more transparent relations between offline and online advertising.

The Interact Digital Marketing Conference

This post was ghost-written for the 2017 Interact Digital Marketing Conference in Columbus, OH. You can view the post on Upward Brand Interactions.


Day two of the 2017 Interact Digital Marketing Conference was even more electric than day one. Attendees were welcomed into a large conference room with music playing; large screens displaying information about the day only created more anticipation.

Interact17 upped the ante and made the entire conference interactive through their geo-targeted Snapchat filter, and an augmented reality app that encouraged attendees to network themselves throughout the day by scanning QR codes on session signs and other attendee’s name tags. It’s getting someone’s contact information without any awkward conversations! 

The day was broken up into multiple sessions and keynotes, all revolving around the digital blur. The world is moving and growing fast and keeping up with the latest marketing trends is essential to success. There we some key takeaways from the day that any modern digital marketer can use to their advantage.

Reach for the brass ring

The high-speed merrygoround that we call marketing moves a hundred-miles-a-minute. It’s easy to hold on and enjoy the ride, but if you’re not reaching for the highest point, that’s as far as you can reach as a marketer (the brass ring), it’s a failure. Harsh, right?

But it’s true.

We’re in the age of customer centricity. Our brand, our content, and obviously our product should be made for the customer, which isn’t a metric. It’s easy to get caught up with all the data and analytics involved in digital marketing, but it’s important to take a step back to remember that every customer is a person.

Think beyond the blog

Every customer is a person, and as humans, we consume content in so many different ways. So why is it that the almighty blog is still king of all things marketing? Content has become an assembly line that overwhelms consumers with a massive merciless stream of information. It’s getting rough for the user, and marketers keep pouring gas on the fire.

So how can we make this seem more consumable? Create remarkable content that is environmental, forcing you to create for a specific intent, or create immersive content, that forces us to be a part of the user’s intent.

Voice activation services like Amazon Alexa streamlines the process of search along with a plethora of other functions. Virtual reality inspires users to explore and consume content at their own pace.

Heike Young of Salesforce discussed how you can make remarkable content that drives brand awareness with podcasts. Just like Netflix, podcasts are bingeable and on-demand. Users can consume the exclusive content when they want, where they want. It’s content made for the user’s intent.

Crush the email marketing myths

Justine Jordan of Litmus Email Marketing settled the score for us. Emails are still relevant, and yes, millennials still use email too! There are myths about email marketing, that just aren’t true. These are the truths:

  1. You must follow the spam laws of the countries you are emailing to, not just the country you are emailing from!
  2. Email is not a static medium. We can work to make emails interactive and engaging.
  3. Emails are not “blasts.” Emails are one-to-one direct interactions with your customers.

Above all else, in order to be a successful email marketer we must find the balance between subscriber needs and business needs and balance the trust between user and marketer.

But how?! Build a powerful subscriber experience with the hierarchy of needs

  1. Your email should be respectful and reach the expectations and permissions of the subscriber.
  2. The email should be functional. All of your links and images must be optimized for every browser and more importantly, every device. Mobile email opens have increased 600% in 5 years.
  3. Emails should be valuable. The content in the email should be relevant, targeted, and personalized.
  4. Email should be remarkable. Everything you send should garner exceptional content and even better experiences.

Interact17 was a day full innovative solutions to taking on the most asked marketing questions. Minds were melded, connections were made, and job offers were granted. But most importantly, everyone at Interact broke through the digital blur.

Win the Data Fight by Going Beyond the Data

This post was ghost-written for the 2017 Interact Digital Marketing Conference in Columbus, OH. You can view the post on Upward Brand Interactions.


The 2017 Interact Digital Marketing Conference kicked off its first day with in-depth, discussion-driven workshops that explore primary components of marketing. There was the Lead Generation workshop, which armed attendees to the teeth with actionable content that can convert any prospect. The Customer Experience workshop showed us how a gang of consumer advocates truly gives you an advantage. Finally, the Analytics + ROI workshop proved you should never bring an opinion to a data fight. 

Let’s be honest. Analytics is a scary word – big numbers, lots of math, and endless buzzwords makes it an intimidating topic. Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media proved that analytics is not a scary thing, it’s just a little misunderstood – kind of like teenage angst. The difference? Analytics isn’t just a phase. To master data and win the analytics fight, you must go beyond the numbers.

Define your goals

As a marketer, if you don’t define your goals there is no possible way for you to track if something is working or not. If you can’t track if something is working, why would you analyze any of your data? As Andy puts it, “if you don’t set up goals, you’re not marketing.” 

A goal may be to turn a website visitor into an email subscriber or a product lead. These are all conversion goals. Other types of conversions include:

  • Closing a deal with e-commerce customers
  • When users register for an upcoming event
  • Users commit to donate to your company or organization

The list of marketing and analytics tools on the internet is ever growing. Throughout the day, we learned about a couple of highly recommended programs to help you with your everyday digital marketer needs.

HotJar– See how users navigate through your website with easy to understand heat maps. See visually which parts of your website are most popular.

Ghostery  –Use this web browser extension to see what web tracking programs any website is using. Great for security, and for gaining an edge on your competitors.

Snagit –Display your data visually with this user-friendly app. Take a screenshot of your data and then immediately add arrows, highlights, and text boxes to feature the most important parts.  Make everything easier to understand for the rest of your team or a client.

Data Puke VS Analysis

Rejoice! You don’t need to be good at math to be an effective data analyst. What do you have to be good at, though? Strategic thinking. The biggest theme of the day was that no matter how much data you collect, if you don’t analyze it, the numbers are completely useless.

Data puking is when you simply spit your numbers back out. Trust us, this just makes your client feel sick.

Providing analysis is drawing insights and creating suggestions based on your data. Your LinkedIn profile is converting 5 percent more leads than Facebook to the newsletter subscriptions? Then let’s focus more attention on what we publish through LinkedIn, and continue to drive the upward trend.

Follow this process to draw effective insights from your data.

  1. You have an awesome idea
  2. Ask a question that supports the idea
  3. Find a report in your analytics program that supports (or rejects) the answer. If your idea is rejected, ask another question!
  4. Take action on the idea
  5. Test the action

What valuable, actionable insights can you draw from the data you’ve collected?