When I launch my business blogging assignment with my first-year advertising students, I Skype into the classroom successful advertising graduate Brook Johnston, a copywriter at a respected Toronto creative agency who testifies how blogging helped jumpstart his career.
I didn’t invite Brook to visit my second-year marketing students as they began their own own blogging assignment this winter because Brook wasn’t in their program and I didn’t think they would identify with him.
Marketing students are also blogging about different subjects. Advertising students blog about what they are learning about their industry in class and in the outside world while marketing students blog about the industry in which they will soon begin their month-long work placements.
Brook’s a great guy to bring into the classroom because he is living proof that students who blog intelligently—read his blog marketingman.ca to see what I mean—about their industry can use their blogs to become better writers, to explore career interests, to become subject experts, and to impress potential employers.
I was worried that I may have failed to convince my marketing students of the value of the blogging assignment.
Until this weekend.
On Friday, I received an excited email from Craig Thrasher, a second-year marketing student who has been blogging about the automotive industry. A mature student who is starting a second career, Craig has been doggedly trying to score not only a placement as a car salesman but a full-time job.
This is what Craig wrote in his email:
Thank you so much for your advice with regards to sending my blog URL to Bob Clute Mitsubishi, ‘The Dealer with the Handshake’ in Belleville. Mr. Clute was very impressed. He is now following my blog and wants me at the dealership for placement. After our meeting, he offered me a permanent full-time sales consultant position with benefits.
I feel that learning to blog has helped me secure this opportunity and I’m grateful for your contribution to my future success.
As you can imagine, that email made my whole weekend.
And then I read Ron Johnston’s (no relation to Brook) last blog and my weekend got even better. Before I tell you what Ron wrote, I’ll preface his comments by telling you that in Wednesday’s class Ron was challenging me on the value of the blogging assignment as a real-world activity. I didn’t mind—of course, I encourage critical thinking—but I worried that I hadn’t convinced Ron of the assignment’s value.
Here’s some of what Ron wrote in his blog last week:
Just as my boss was heading out for a holiday, he asked me if I could set up a Twitter account and start a blog on our new venue opening. Taken about four steps back, I giggled a bit and thought to myself, that’s karma kicking me in the ass again. It was only two days ago I was chirping at my professor that although the blogging assignments we have been doing are fun, they will never prove to come in handy in a real work setting for most of us. As my boss stood there with a puzzled look as to why I was laughing, I quickly responded, “No problem. Have a nice trip,” before he began to think I was losing it.
Immediately following a quick review of the material that he would like to have talked about, I began drafting ideas down on a sheet of paper. I am really looking forward to this aspect of my placement as I feel very comfortable blogging because of all the training we have received in our Comm 57 class with professor Frank Armstrong.
Thanks for being so candid, Ron. I’m grateful, and I can’t wait to share your story with the class on Wednesday.
But before I do, I have to share one more comment right here.
Tyler Labelle is a marketing student, who despite finding writing challenging, has discovered a new passion (and talent) for blogging. In seven short blogs, Tyler went from looking like the technically challenged writer that he says he is to being a high-calibre polished blog-writing superstar.
Indeed, Tyler says he grew substantially since beginning this assignment:
I have received many kind words and inspiration throughout the blogging process. My classmates gave me praise and positive criticism every week. Their words elevated my writing to a whole new level. This may not be a perfect blog; however, the difference from then and now is really unbelievable.
Don’t get a big head Frank, but you played a key role for the amount of success and growth I gained in Comm 57. I went into this assignment with the mindset of burn and turn. But once I began writing, it became a bit of a passion. In this assignment we were told to write about our placement. Believe me, I could write about the beer industry every week; however, now that the assignment is done I am excited to post whatever is on my mind.
Oh, I won’t get a big head, Tyler. But I may ask you, Ron, and Craig to visit my marketing class at the start of the blogging assignment next year.
That’s because you have become my “Brook Johnston” for the marketing program. But instead of one incredible success story to trumpet, I now have three.