Chad Mezera, Online Program Director at West Virginia University, reached out to me in November 2014, when The Integrated Marketing Communications Program of West Virginia University (@wvuimc) decided to offer a “Content Marketing” course. I didn’t say yes right away for two reasons:
- The large time commitment required developing the course
- The large time commitment for grading homework and managing discussions during the course
On one hand, I was concerned about how this would impact my 2015 speaking, consulting and writing schedule. On the other hand, Chad was very persuasive. I admire his passion and dedication to the IMC program and WVU. You go, Chad! Nonetheless, teaching and coaching have always been my passion. This opportunity also allows me to RRR (repurpose, recycle and repackage) the content of my book: develop a university-level course. When Chad called me back in March (I was hoping that he didn’t remember to call me back. J), I said yes! I wrote down “course development” on my to-do list every day from March to May and didn’t do a thing.
I am a master ………………….Procrastinator. A MASTER!
When Rick Bebout, Technology Specialist of the IMC, reached out to me at the end of May to politely remind me that I need to send him the first three chapters of the course in early July. I started to……panic.
I am also a master……………..panicker. Really! A MASTER!
My husband can attest to that. After calming myself down with excessive drinking…………..of tea, I sat down and developed the course in 8 weeks; a full 34,000 words. Here is how I developed my course:
1. Define my teaching objectives and goals
If you worked with me before, you know that I ask ‘why’ and ‘what’ frequently. Why are we doing certain things in certain ways? Why does it matter? What do we want to accomplish?
Course objective: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Create a content marketing plan and identify the relevant elements in a plan.
- Comprehend the full content marketing cycle from planning and strategizing to measurement and optimization.
- Understand when to apply content marketing and how it plays a role in the context of traditional marketing.
Teaching goal: Help students grow as marketers.
Having objectives and goal assisted me in making decisions on what content to include and how to design student assignments. This is no different than creating a marketing plan. I am firm believer that
everything will flow naturally, when you can articulate your objectives and goals with clarity.
2. Use my book as a framework to create the outline
I was very fortunate to have a book as a baseline to develop this course. If I didn’t have the framework of the 4 P’s and a 52,000-word book, I wouldn’t be able to create a solid 9-week long course in 8 weeks. The outline of the course is not entirely the same as that of the book, but it’s similar. Since the course is about content marketing, I focus on content marketing, not the global aspect.
|Book Chapters: Global Content Marketing||Course Outline: Content Marketing|
|Why Globalize Your Content||What is content marketing?|
|What are the 4P’s of Global Content Marketing?||Put a team together|
|Organize a team for Global Content Marketing||Plan: Strategize before execution|
|The First P: Plan||Product: Create content that matters|
|The Second P: Produce||Technology role in content marketing|
|The Third P: Promote||Promote: Distribute content in the digital era|
|The Fourth P: Perfect||Perfect: Measure and optimize to drive maximum impact|
|Skilled Needed for Global Content Marketing||Writing, Design, and Storytelling|
|Future of Global Content Marketing||The Future of Content Marketing|
3. Write each lesson like a blog on steroids
Although the outline is similar, I determined not to rehash my book chapters as my course lessons. In fact, I preferred using very little content from my book.
In addition, the course is about content marketing, not about global content marketing. Use “the second P: Produce” as an example, I talked about the potential processes of creating content in small companies and in mid-and-large enterprises, while I focused more on how to produce content by working between headquarters and local teams in my book. In the course lessons, I also went in-depth on how to RRR (repurpose, reuse and repackage) content and provided specific examples and tips, something I didn’t detail too deeply in my book.
4. Create assignment with my goal in mind
The goal is to help students grow as marketers. Rather than having them write a paper for each lesson, I have them build a presentation for specific scenarios.
In the real world, we communicate using Excel and Powerpoint frequently, why not use that as part of the assignments?
5. Create discussion topics with real-world relevance
Since this is on-line course, I need to pose lesson-related questions to drive discussions among students. I posed questions that marketers face in the real world, such as “Creating compelling content is hard. What are some steps or processes that you can take to create compelling content?” Sometimes, the questions are the extensions of my lessons such as “Can you provide two technologies that will impact the future of content marketing?” It’s fascinating to see some students’ responses. I started the 9-week course on 8/17. I was eager to e-meet my students through the WVU eCampus community. Since this is a graduate school course, the class is small and intimate (in a virtual sense). My students are AWESOME! They are here because they want to be here. They are not afraid to ask questions. Through discussion and assignments, I can see areas that I need to clarify in the next revision of my lessons and assignments.
Although I am teaching the course, I am also learning tremendously from them.