Learning with Lynda: An affordable resource for young professionals

The year twenty-sixteen started out a little hazy. I had a full-time job; however, I didn’t want to make a career out of it. After soul searching, I decided on digital marketing. So, with my metaphorical compass in hand, I started my journey. It wasn’t long before I stumbled and realized that although I had some great skills in my back pocket, I had way more to learn.

When getting started in any career you have to have a foundation. While my background in communication studies and sales helped, I was still missing vital knowledge of digital concepts. Skills that topped the list were SEO, content marketing, web analytics, such as Google Analytics, and digital paid ads. (I was able to identify these highly sought after skills by looking at job postings.) This is when the million-dollar question was posed; how could I learn these skills from an authoritative source at an affordable price?

I proceeded to find the answer by searching for classes or certificates I could earn. I even enquired with a local community college about the courses they offered, but no one from the department returned my call. That is when a good friend of mine recommended Lynda.com.lynda-com-logoLynda.com, or Lynda for short, is an online learning platform featuring video courses taught by industry leaders. You can take the classes at your own pace – watching on a laptop or through their mobile app – and the best part is the most expensive plan is only $34.99 a month.

Lynda.com specifically specializes in teaching business, software, technology, and creative, all relevant skills to the marketing communication discipline. You can watch as little or as much ask you like and there are no test or deadlines. Some courses even have short quizzes after every chapter.

While affordability and convenience made me try the platform. It was the platforms functionality that made me fall in love. One of my favorite components is the way Lynda groups and divides their courses. For example, they have a section called Learning Paths that is great for recent graduates. This feature works like a custom playlist, bringing together courses around one job position. Completion of each path gives you substantial background knowledge of the field and tips, tricks, and strategies to help you do that specific job.

They also divide their individual courses into a section and chapter format. This makes it easy to identify areas of interest without having to watch the whole course. To give an example, I watched a refresher course on WordPress. One section was focused on “Extending WordPress with Plugins” and one of the chapters inside was called “Finding, vetting, and selecting plugins.”

Everyone’s time is valuable, so to help with the continued learning search, I identified three cohorts that I believe would benefit the most from this learning tool.

  1. Recent graduates looking to gain specific skills they did not acquire in college.
  2. Professionals looking to brush up on or widen their skillset.
  3. Business owners who aren’t specialized in the area they need help in. For example, a mechanic looking to market his business.

Starting a career or being excellent in your field requires continuous learning. To do that successfully you have to find a channel that works for you. Finding the right quality and flexible learning opportunities at an affordable price isn’t easy and Lynda is a great digital tool to help marketing communication professionals continue that education.

-Caroline Robinson

Marketing winners of the 2016 presidential election

Congrats Donald, you beat the odds and proved your own party wrong. The road to the White House for the two presidential candidate nominees was close and fierce. Attack ads and finger pointing took center stage. Thank goodness it is over.

This year the candidates spent millions purchasing ad space to feed their message to the people. Their campaigns offer opportunities for marketing communication professionals such as designers, media buyers, strategists, copywriters, videographers, animators, etc., to create new and innovative content. While we could go without some of the negative ads, there were many creative pieces that should be recognized. Here are my picks for the outstanding election marketing pieces from brands, advocacy groups, and even one of the candidates.

BRANDS

The Pedigree Experiment

Pet food company Pedigree created a heartwarming segment showing that love for dogs can cross political divides. The video’s premise is a woman trying to help find the lost owner of a golden retriever during the candidates’ rallies. The twist is that she shows up to each rally wearing the opponents t-shirt. While causing some confusion amongst the supporters, the helpless dog is enough distraction for them to agree on one thing, “We have our differences, but everyone loves dogs.”

Props to Pedigree for connecting dog food with the most important decision of our country. The ad was a great at showing what the Pedigree brand stands for, the love and respect of animals. Something we all can stand behind together.

Weather Channel’s 9-hour ‘Escape the Election’

 I know this year’s presidential race caused a lot of anxiety and stress, so I hope everyone took advantage of the Weather Channel’s election escape programming. They hosted a 9-hour marathon of “the most beautiful, awe-inspiring, and calming weather video and scenery ever caught on tape” to help calm election nerves.

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The Weather Channel’s move to offer a place of tranquility was genius, as most people wanted to run from this election before the party nominees were even announced. The best part of this marathon was the Weather Channel’s press release for it. Check out the press release here.

Hefty trashes political ads

This campaign was perhaps the cleverest out of all election ads. The Hefty trash bag brand spoke for most U.S. citizens by trashing the detested political ads. The brand purchased pre-roll ad space on YouTube and ad placement on media websites like CNN, Fox News, AOL and The Huffington Post. They were simple and stated, “This political ad has been trashed thanks to Hefty.” Bravo, Hefty. Bravo. I only wonder how much they paid for these primetime spots.

Hefty 2016 election ad from Ad Age Communication Minded

ADVOCACY GROUPS

 NextGen Climate with celeb endorser Aziz Ansari

This year NextGen Climate took a page from Rock the Vote’s book and hired celebrities to help endorse their cause. NextGen Climate is a group that targets millennials and “acts politically to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity.” One of their ads featured comedian Aziz Ansari. In the video Ansari is comically outraged at the fact young people need him, of all celebrities, to tell them to vote. He ends his rant with a “go vote” plea before stomping off camera.

This ad is a fun spin on celeb endorsement, as his complaining – or disbelief – about having to spend his lunch break encouraging those undecided youngsters to vote is quite different from any other celeb endorsement.

Rock the Vote exclusive polling music

To avoid the lines I voted early; however, after hearing this news I wish I had waited to get these exclusive tracks. Rock the Vote partnered with musical artists Watsky and Adam Vida, Local Natives, and the Head and the Heart to release new tunes for those who waited in line on Tuesday. The catch was you could only stream the music if you were at a registered polling location.

The Candidates 

“Mirrors” from the Hillary Clinton Campaign

Ad Age created a list of the top shared presidential campaign ads and this ad was number one with 555,918 shares. The “Mirrors” ad highlights Trump’s negative comments about women’s looks while showing young girls, who presumably don’t fit that mold, looking at their reflections in mirrors. It is an ad that tugs on your heart as a woman, a parent, or anyone who has respect for females. It is easily the most memorable ad from her campaign and one that likely influenced a lot of voters to consider casting their ballot for her.

There were tons of marketing campaigns and ads produced during the 2016 election process. Did you have any favorites that didn’t make my list? Share them with me in a comment below.

-Caroline Robinson

Bonus Content: If you follow me on Snapchat, you will know I’m obsessed with their filters. Here is a collection of my favorite election filters.

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The Must Read Book for Every Twentysomething

If you are looking for a way to invest your college graduation money go to Amazon right now and order The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay.

Why should I read this book? Reading this book will help you make sense of the universe! Well … your universe. For most of us the first twenty years of our lives follow a specific framework. Something similar to the one outlined below.

Step 1: Make good grades in school and get into college.

Step 2: Go to college and GRADUATE!

Step 3: Get a job? Start a career? Go for additional schooling? Travel?

Our existence has been so rigidly planned that once we get to step three, or hit a bump in the road, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Not having a clear path or some sort of direction can be paralyzing and lead to stagnancy.

Photo of book The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter - and how to make the most of them nowThe Defining Decade helps one to think about what they want in life and helps outline some of the things that one needs to consider for that life. Jay, a clinical psychologist, shares what she has learned from years of working with twentysomethings. This isn’t a book of tips and tricks but of deep reflection. Through her research she comes to the conclusion that our twenties are meaningful despite the cultural status quo that the thirties are the new twenties.

What this means it that our time is not limitless. Here is an excerpt from the 2013 paperback edition.

“Your twenties matter. Eighty percent of life’s most defining moments take place by age thirty-five. Two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens in the first ten years of a career. More than half of us are married, or dating, or living with our future partner, by age thirty. Personality changes more during our twenties than at any time
before or after. The brain caps off its last growth spurt in the twenties. Female fertility peaks at age twenty-eight.”

These are things most of us don’t consider as we are venturing out to shape ourselves. When reading this book you will find yourself saying, “That is exactly how I feel!” The three sections are shaped around the main aspects of one’s life: work, love, and the brain and body. Therefore, if you feel you have mastered one, you can skip to the section you feel you need insight on.

Have you ordered the book yet? If not, get on it! Tell me what part you most related to or what part you found most surprising?

Still haven’t decided if this book is worth a read. Check out Meg Jay’s TED Talk below.

-Caroline Robinson