Content Strategy for Professionals I: Engaging Audiences for Your Organization
School: Northwestern University
Start Date: March 30, 2015 (6 Weeks)
Workload: 2-4 Hours Per Week
Instructors: John Lavine and Candy Lee
Credentials: Lavine is the founder director of the media management center at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications. He has taught at Medill since 1989 – and served as the school’s dean from 2005-2012. He is also the president and chair of the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism. Prior to entering academia, he spent 25 years as the publisher and editor of four daily and four weekly newspapers in Wisconsin. During that time, his editorials were also syndicated to over 250 daily newspapers.
Lee earned Medill’s Teacher of the Year Award at Medill in 2012, in just her second year at the school. Before entering academia, she served as the vice president of marketing at The Washington Post – after running two publishers and the loyalty programs for United Airlines. She holds a doctorate in organizational leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.
Graded: Students can receive a verified certificate for successfully completing the course (for $49). To do this, students “must watch the MOOC’s videos, answer the Learning Questions that accompany each video, participate in the discussion forums, develop and complete a case study, and evaluate the cases of three other MOOC participants.”
Description: Ever hear the term, “thought leader?” These writers provide content – in channels ranging from the local newspaper to Forbes – to share their expertise. The best thought leaders provide value – memorable and actionable advice that readers can apply immediately. They convey their message through a distinct voice that resonates with their audience and conveys authority. Chances are, they have an underlying strategy to increasingly engage their audience and build their brand.
In this course, learners will research their audience and learn how to better relate to them. In the process, they will “develop strategic words, pictures, graphics, and videos to convey their organization’s most important goals” (along with how to reach a broader audience through social media and mobile technologies). More important, they will learn how to craft narratives, “strategic, honest stories and information that is valued by their most important audiences. In turn that will make their enterprise stand out.”
Review: “Coming from one of the top colleges in the world in this field, I expect much. So far, I’m not disappointed. The lectures take a somewhat nonstandard approach in having many different people, talking not as sole lectures, but instead sitting at a table talking to the main presenter in the course. It is a little bit artificial,but not over the top like in an infomercial. The lectures are not highly inspiration. This may be due to this conversation format. Or the format was made to compensate for individuals who are not inspirational. I detect the midwestern earnestness typical from NU professors. So don’t expect excited, fun-loving presentations. Instead, the course is focused solely on improving the actions you take in business. That being said, the information being delivered is important, high quality and focused.” For additional reviews, click here.
Additional Note: This is the first part of a three Students specialization, where students can earn a credential in content strategy. It requires students to meet all normal requirements for receiving a verified certificate, along with completing a final project.