Summer school

Photo of BPL Courtyard

In my review of my bucket list earlier this week, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of my items (taking a class) isn’t realistic for me this summer. It’s been seven months since I completed my last college class, and I’m desperate for some sort of academic stimulation. So I’ve decided to jump on the DIY bandwagon and create my own summertime curriculum. I’m going to do my own research on topics that catch my attention: current events, changes in my industry, things I’ve never heard of before… Really, anything that piques my interest.

Part of (most of) my job involves marketing and publicity through traditional methods and digital platforms. My sources for information come primarily from business publications like Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review.

InboundvOutbound

Photo via Photo Pin

The New Age of Marketing (originally posted on exploreB2B)

Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about companies catching on to new marketing methods. Businesses are asking: How do we connect with our audience? What is the best way to enhance engagement, build loyalty, and increase retention? Which tools are the best to use to achieve all of these goals and more? I decided to learn a little bit more about new, innovative marketing strategies: What works, what used to work, and how marketing and PR professionals can effectively implement these changes.

Inbound vs. Outbound

The new and old marketing strategies are distinguished by “inbound” and “outbound” marketing. Inbound marketing involves attracting customers to you with all the colors of a blooming peacock –rather than bombarding them with junk mail. Advances in technology (spam filters alone) make the rude interruption that is outbound marketing obsolete and ineffective in terms of cost and conversion rates. If you want to turn leads into loyal customers, focus inbound marketing efforts on the following three areas:

  • Blogging: Create and share useful, relevant, and interactive content that aligns with your customers’ needs and interests.
  • SEO: Optimize your pages with relevant keywords to make your content readily but organically available for buyers when they search.
  • Social media: Engage with customers and encourage feedback using these real-time customer service tools.

In all, don’t market at a person, but incite a conversation. Draw customers to you with creative and quality content. Supplement with stories, jokes, and interactive media. Ask and respond to questions, and address your customers’ needs to keep them coming back for more.

Additional resources:

  • HubspotInbound Marketing Methodology
  • IncThe New Rules for Marketing, Geoffrey James
  • MashableInbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing 
  • OptifyInbound vs. Outbound Marketing, Scott Fasser
  • Social Media TodayInbound or Outbound Marketing? Monica Jade Romeri

My gradual graduation

Photo of graduation caps

Courtesy of Betterment.com

This Sunday, I am going to GRADUATE. Actually, I graduated months ago, in December. But my college doesn’t hold a ceremony for fall graduates, so I’m walking with the rest of the 2013 class this weekend.

I feel like I’ve been in a kind of limbo ever since I “officially” finished school. Last semester, I attended my final class periods and handed in my final projects. Soon after, my status in the college database updated to “Former Student.” A month later, I received my diploma in the mail.

Throwback:

Packed and ready for Freshman year

Photo of packed car

Now, I’m finally walking, and I can’t say I’m all that excited. People keep telling me this is “a big deal.” Administrators have bombarded my cobweb of a school email, regarding my “huge achievement,” for weeks. Even in my final semester, during which I went part-time, I felt like I already had one foot out the door. And the other, tapping timidly at the future ahead.

What do I have to complain about? Absolutely nothing. Graduating early meant scoring a job in my industry, as well as saving a couple thousands of dollars in student loans and tuition costs. And honestly, I never knew I could have so much free time until I graduated (hence, this blog). I guess the distance between graduating and formally commencing makes me feel somewhat removed from the ordeal.

But I’m going to turn this post around. I am closing a chapter to my life that has been filled with discovery, laughter, and unmatchable friendships. So here are a few highlights from my college years, pulled from a colorful and limitless list:

I lived in a castle in Europe for three months.

Photo of the castle

I was published in a student literary journal.

Photo of The Black Swan

I spent spring break of my sophomore year in Athens, Greece.

Photo of Athens

In my first month of college, I made the cover of the school newspaper.

For being quarantined with Swine Flu.

Photo of swine flu

Courtesy of The Berkeley Beacon

Freshman year, I went to the Common for a picnic and homework.

And found myself in a haze of smoke.

Photo of the Common

Hemp Fest 2009

The BPD were kind enough to make an appearance at my 21st birthday party.

Photo of captain & fancy glass

I not-so-secretly stalked the more attractive members of my school’s alumnus.

Photo of Denis Leary

Last summer, I shared a 5-bedroom apartment with 7 roommates and a cat.

Photo of apartment

The cat escaped unscathed. (More later on my relationship with animals).

Photo of cat

I learned how to cook, and how to love to cook.

Photo of soup

I cyber-stalked and finally met Patriot’s tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Photo of Rob Gronkowski

I worked at a bookstore or a library (or both) the entire time I was in college.

Photo of bookshelves

I made the best friends, better than any I could have ever asked for.

Photo of the esplanade

Just like every portion of life, or every week, or every day for that matter, college was a series of struggles and successes. But what stands out to me the most is not a single challenge I faced or a trial I overcame, but the people who were there to shape those experiences. For me, college is not a dusty yearbook on the shelf or a piece of paper on the wall, but a living, breathing phenomenon that I will continue to take from, learn from, and carry with me for the rest of my life.

So thank you to all who were there for the journey. College is over, but we’ve got a lifetime to go.