I Published a Book!

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My latest project, of which I am just a little bit proud, was publishing a book.

Well, sort of.

Originally I had an assignment for a document design class I took at Grand Valley. I had to edit, design, and publish a book on Lulu.com, an independent, online publishing/printing site. I was pretty excited about the prospect of being a published editor (it counts, okay?) and decided to go above and beyond to create something I would actually put on my bookshelf.

It has been a couple months since that class ended, but I finally got around to making some changes and ordering a hard copy of my book. (It feels super cool to say MY book, as in, something I created. Can you tell I am geeking out about this?)

So, here it is. This is just a picture I snapped on my phone, but you can find the book here. There is a preview option available, where you can see the full cover and a bit of the inside, including the intro.

20170809_190305

This is pretty short at 118 pages, as I was rather particular about which stories should be included. It is available for sale, because I figured family and possibly some friends might want it, but I’m not exactly expecting to profit from it. Publishing this and having it available for people to order just feels more official.

Lastly, I hope this helps someone discover or rediscover what a joy it is to read Oscar Wilde. His stories are often ironic, and his writing style is one of my favorites. As always, if anyone has feedback, it is more than welcome.

A quick note: I used Indesign and Microsoft Word to make the book, and other copyright information is on the copyright page. Also, the preview function on Lulu shows the text slightly cut off. I can verify, having a hard copy, that it doesn’t actually print this way.

 

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Google Analytics Certification

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Phew. It took a while, but I can finally say I’m Google Analytics certified! First, I completed the intro videos. These are very helpful in learning how to navigate Google Analytics and how the code works. Once a video section is completed, Google provides a certification, which looks like this:

Analytics Certification

Cooley, A. (April 24, 2017). Analytics Certification [JPEG]. Retrieved from https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6/certificate

I’ll admit, at first I got excited, thinking I was officially certified, but then I realized there were more videos to watch and a 70 question exam to take before that could happen. So I learned more, took more notes, and finally took the exam.

I found the Google Analytics exam to be pretty challenging, but the previous assessments and videos Google offers were helpful in learning and studying. I was happy to get an 88% on the exam, and even happier to receive my official certification!

Google Analytics Certification

Cooley, A. (April 24, 2017). Google Analytics Certification [JPEG]. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/partners

This education will help me in the future, because even if I don’t end up in the public relations field, I still have my own website to maintain. Knowing how to use Google Analytics could help me a lot later on in my professional career, whether I end up writing a book, selling photography, or even just continuing to keep people updated on my professional life.

I would strongly recommend becoming certified in Google Analytics or Adwords, because it can help foster a better understanding of your audience. Adwords is another useful tool in bringing a wider audience to your website. I already have a blog post about that, talking about the different keywords that could bring more people to my own site. Overall, I have learned a lot recently about all the tools Google offers that are super relevant to advertising and public relations professionals.

Networking: Generation Grand

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One benefit of getting involved in PRSSA was finding out about Generation Grand: PR in GR. This was a regional conference hosted this year by GV PRSSA, which I was fortunate enough to attend.

The conference started on a Friday, with agency tours to Truscott Rossman, Seyferth PR, and Mighty, and ended with a mixer at Lambert, Edwards & Associates. I learned so much that day about the kinds of opportunities available in Grand Rapids, and all within walking distance of each other! I had to take a selfie at Seyferth, partially because it was my favorite agency (they gave us free journals!), and partially because it was the second agency that day to have an office Keurig:

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Taken by Adrienne Cooley (April 7, 2017).

Saturday was filled with various panels related to PR: Design, Crisis Management, Nonprofits, Beer City USA, Green Thinking, and more. These were all very educational, and they held my interest a lot more than I’d anticipated. After the panels and time to explore the city, everyone met up at the Waldron Public House. That was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. The food and desserts were fantastic, and I was able to spend most of the time networking with my fellow PR students.

Before the conference, I had gotten to know a few students in PRSSA, but many did not know my name, and I didn’t know many of their names either. By the end of the weekend, not only did I learn a lot and meet professionals, but many more people in PRSSA at Grand Valley knew my name. It was a busy weekend, and pretty exhausting, but entirely worth the time and money for my ticket. You will definitely be able to find me at next year’s regional conference.

Networking: PRSSA

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I have involved myself in several networking events this semester at Grand Valley, but I am writing about the first one because it was essentially the catalyst for everything else I attended.

You can read elsewhere on my website that I am studying Writing, with a minor in Advertising and Public Relations (APR). At the start of the semester, a previous classmate of mine sent me an email, inviting me to come to a GV PRSSA meeting. Since I was just starting my first two APR classes, and the networking event would give me class credit for one of them, I thought I’d go see what it was like.

I sat down next to Kyra, who told me it was only her second meeting, so we were kind of in the same boat. She agreed to take a selfie with me after I told her about the networking requirement for my class:

PRSSA Pic

Photo by Adrienne Cooley (January 25, 2017)

The speaker for this meeting was from Goodwill, and through her stories, I learned quite a bit about PR in nonprofits and crisis management. I also found out that the professor associated with PRSSA shares my name (spelled the same way, too). After the meeting, I introduced myself to her, and she in turn introduced me to Jaclyn, the CEO of GrandPR, and later GrandPR’s firm editor, Nicole, among others. After this meeting, I went to PRSSA every week. I got to know Nicole and started helping her edit blogs and run social media, started going to GrandPR meetings, and found a plethora of other opportunities offered by PRSSA.

Had I not started going to PRSSA, I would not have met all of these wonderful people, or found the opportunities that I did. Remember Kyra, the first person to whom I introduced myself? We’ve become friends since that first meeting, and a couple of weeks ago, I even edited her blog post for GrandPR.

Long story short, this networking event shaped the rest of my semester, and probably the rest of my student career.

Social Media Management

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While running the Twitter page for GrandPR, Grand Valley’s nationally affiliated, student run PR firm, I got pretty familiar with Hootsuite, a social media management tool. Because I was already comfortable with this, I decided to try out Tweetdeck for my personal Twitter page. I used it to schedule several tweets: a couple about finals week, one about the book I’m currently working on (more on this later), one about this blog, and one showing an example of my photography. My goal with these tweets was to communicate my personal brand and personality in a way that would be relatable to my followers, who are mostly my age.

Cooley, A. (April 20, 2017). Screenshots of Tweetdeck [JPEG]. Retrieved from https://tweetdeck.twitter.com

I’m glad I tried out Tweetdeck. It is super convenient in that there isn’t really a sign-up process. It simply connected directly to my Twitter page. If I decide to schedule tweets in the future for my personal page, I will likely continue to use it. On the other hand, I think I’ll stick with Hootsuite for pages that aren’t mine, as I find it easier to use for that purpose. Of course, that could just be biased since I started with Hootsuite first.

Through this process, I discovered that social media management tools aren’t only useful for professional pages for PR. It can help a lot with personal social media and maintaining a consistent online presence.

Technology in Careers

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In choosing a Writing major and Advertising and Public Relations minor, my goal was to broaden my horizons in regard to a future career. Since I have always been relatively undecided in where I wanted my life to go, I went with two topics I was most interested in, with the idea that they would open more opportunities than something more specific. Thus, I found found a few different kinds of positions for which I can see myself applying in the future. I found these on LinkedIn and Indeed, which are great resources for job searching.

  1. Public Relations Marketing Intern at Haworth
    https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/310128727/
    Experience with media relations programs and owned channel content.
    Microsoft office, Cumulus Software, Sitefinity, Photoshop, and social media.
  2.  Custom Editor at HarperCollins
    http://bit.ly/2oEJwkO
    4+ years of experience as an editor with a publishing company.
    Microsoft office knowledge is needed, likely knowledge of publisher or InDesign will also be used.
  3. Copywriter at Meijer
    http://bit.ly/2peCn8O
    5+ years of experience as a copywriter
    Knowledge of word processors, probably Microsoft Office Suite.
  4.  Associate Editor at Group Tour Media
    http://indeedhi.re/2os8yBC
    2 years writing experience
    Knowledge of Microsoft Office and working knowledge of social media is necessary.
  5. Marketing Manager at Meritage Hospitality Group
    http://indeedhi.re/2osa5ra
    2+ years of experience in marketing role.
    Business software, Adobe InDesign, Quick Service, Microsoft Office a plus.

In case you were wondering just how I managed to get my links so small, I used bitly.com. It is a site where you can copy and paste a link, and it turns it into a bit.ly link. It’s also useful for sharing on Twitter, to maximize your available characters. Here’s what it looks like:

Bitly

Cooley, A. (April 13, 2017). Bitly [JPEG]. Retrieved from https://bitly.com

I was not surprised that each job had a required knowledge of technology to some extent. The minimum knowledge required is word processing software. This made me thankful for the knowledge I have gained through Grand Valley so far. I’ve gotten very comfortable with technology like InDesign, Photoshop, and WordPress (I hope that’s evident). It’s good to know that these will likely be relevant in my future career.

Business Card Via InDesign

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I recently designed a personal business card. I decided to create it from scratch, using Adobe InDesign, which is an incredibly useful tool for all things document design. Lately I have become fairly familiar with the software, as I’ve been using it for school. I have used it to create an event flier, brochure, and take out menu, and at the moment am designing a short story collection, but more on that later.

Even as a student, it’s a good idea to have a business card, because it shows that extra step of professionalism and hard work. I found out that it does take a good amount of effort to create something as seemingly simple as a business card.

Here is what the file looks like on InDesign:

Business Card Screenshot

Cooley, A. (April 6, 2017). Business Card Screenshot [Screenshot]. 

For privacy, I left my actual email and phone number off, but you can still see the overall design, as well as the layout of InDesign. (The social media handle shown is my real one, since my social media is mostly public.)

I used the snipping tool to capture the two colors on my website (that’s the image to the left of the actual card shown above), so that my business card could fit with my overall theme. This was an attempt to maintain my own recognizable brand.

Here is the final result of my two-sided business card:

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Cooley, A. (April 6, 2017). Business Card Public [JPEG].

I am planning on adding to this in the future, once I have a professional job. However, I think it’s a pretty good start, and I hope it flows well with my website.

One last note, InDesign is very useful to know your way around. If you are familiar with Microsoft Publisher, like I was, it isn’t too hard to pick up. When I don’t know how to do something, I can almost always find a helpful YouTube tutorial.

I would greatly appreciate any constructive feedback about the design of my business card.