Could you use free help from students?

By Fred Whiting, APR

I am an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, where I will teach a course called Language, Communication & Action in the fall 2012 and spring 2013.

The purpose of this course is to provide senior communications majors with practical experience in marketing communications campaigns for organizations in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors.  As the professor for this course, I am inviting requests from such organizations in the D.C. area for projects that would give students this kind of experience.

I created this course in the fall 2012 semester for the University of Maryland’s Shady Grove campus. Twenty-two students enrolled.  The class spent the semester working with a local company, MailerMailer (a small IT company in Rockville that provides newsletter content to clients in the IT field). The client’s project was the launch of a new product, Presstacular, which provides newsletter content. The client requested several specific deliverables:

  • An audience analysis that will determine how the company’s target market(s) would get information about the company and its new product.
  • Lists of organizations to call, associations to join, blogs seeking guest posts and trade shows to attend in order to promote the product.
  • Communications collateral such as news releases, e-mail messages, blogs and landing pages for Web sites and social media channels.
  • Informational resources that should be on the company’s Web site to create interactive relationships with target companies and individuals.
  • Social media opportunities and strategies as part of a comprehensive communication campaign.

The results were impressive.  The 22 students, working in teams, identified hundreds of prospective customers, media outlets and social media Web sites; created news releases, blogs, e-mail messages and newsletter articles; and presented a comprehensive communications plan that included a goal, objectives, strategies and tactics, as well as recommendations for research, planning, implementation and evaluation. The client, the University and the students were well pleased with the results.

I am currently working on the syllabus for this course, which has been expanded to two semesters. In the fall, we will cover basic communication theory. The spring 2013 semester will be devoted to working for several clients on specific communications campaigns.  The course will take place from January – May (15 weeks) and will cover the following topics:

  • Fundamental communication principles
  • Public relations vs. marketing
  • Basic business writing
  • Visual communication
  • Social media
  • Communication research
  • Marketing research
  • Project planning
  • Campaign implementation
  • Campaign evaluation
  • Writing a news release
  • Writing a feature story
  • Broadcast writing
  • Writing for the Internet

I would like to work with you to have a team of 3-5 students apply the RPIE (research, planning, implementation and evaluation) process to a communication campaign for you, beginning in January 2013. If your client or organization has such a need, I invite you to contact me.  Thanks.

-Fred Whiting, APR
Phone: 301-810-5385

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