COM0014 – Blog #7: Personal Reflection

One of the biggest lessons that emerged for me during this course was to approach content from personal experience. Looking deep inside myself to discover connections between my thoughts and the course content pushed me to think differently. I have always been a little afraid to post online. Now, I feel more confident that social media is an appropriate place to share my “real” stories to engage with others. I know it takes courage to open up to the world and share the positive and negative aspects of our lives.

Exploring how to write content with the needs of a specific audience in mind was also a key learning. After researching and analyzing different audiences, I was able to envision the people I was “talking” to with a goal of creating an authentic, two-way dialogue. While writing, I questioned “what’s in it for them?” I wanted to speak to them directly about the things they cared about, in a way that appealed to them to create a trusting and worthwhile relationship.

It was interesting to find ways to involve the audience in our posts. I am familiar with the “call to action” of traditional marketing, but social media is so much more interactive and engaging. We can ask questions and gain further insight, enriching our words and creating more of an experience with the content than just shouting it out to the masses.

With a solid plan, you can tie stories to your business goals. Creating a strategy can give structure to your thoughts while creating a strong platform for evaluating your success.

The more I wrote during the course, the more I could start to hear my “voice”. This process has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I am now at the point where I am starting to enjoy the struggle. I would like to continue to explore my personal experience and share my knowledge with others through social media. I know I can offer an honest view with stories that connect with others on an emotional level. I still need to create a plan to move forward, but I now have the tools I need to effectively reach an online audience. I’ll start by listening.

COM0014 – Blog #6: Do people know your story?

What about your childhood shaped you for this moment?

My childhood was one of exploration and imagination. A curious mind led me to constantly question the world around me, not out loud of course, I was too shy for that. I only felt safe to explore ideas in the magical space inside my head.

Throughout my school years I excelled academically, yet a feeling that something was missing often gnawed away at me. A yearning for greater purpose propelled me to seek opportunities that would lead a more fulfilling life.

I have always been guided by my intuition. For better or worse, the lessons i’ve learned through experience have led me to where I am today. I have learned to trust my gut instincts. I understood from a young age that asking the right questions was foundational in creating a meaningful life and becoming a better person.

There have been several significant people who have influenced the course my life has taken. With each turning point in life my “teachers” have given me the gift of further insight into who I really am. In the fall of 2016, my greatest teacher was born. My son’s role in my life has redefined my purpose and identity. Having the opportunity to watch him grow and thrive each day is a gift I am forever grateful for. I hope to help guide him on his quest for self-discovery and to honour who he is. With life’s twists and turns, I will be there to support and nurture his hopes and dreams.

My growth journey has not always been easy, life’s lessons have pushed me into some pretty uncomfortable places. I know it takes courage to move forward for the greater good.

Whenever I start to I feel like my life is out of alignment with my core values, I listen to my gut and prepare for change. My son inspires me to be true to myself by asking difficult questions and being the best role model possible.

Can you describe a time when you felt like your personal values were being compromised? What did you do about it?

COM0014 – Blog #5: The magic behind the curtain


What sets me apart?

I care deeply about the work that I do. I am personally invested in every project I touch. My passion for deeper understanding produces work that is relevant and meaningful to clients and their audiences. I engage clients’ in a thought-provoking journey searching for answers along the way. Every decision I make has purpose. I use focused conversations and deep listening to get to know clients and determine how to help them achieve their goals. I openly offer insight into who I am and how I process information so we can learn how to work together effectively.

What is it like working with me?

I often ask trusted colleagues about their experience working with me to gain perspective. Most people find my ability to connect seemingly unrelated ideas valuable. I can envision projects from start to finish, helping to manage time and resources effectively. I think in structured ways to help give the intangible a framework that makes sense. I can articulate and visualize my thinking in a persuasive way to sell my ideas. I like to communicate and will ensure I take the time to understand your communication preferences and adapt my style accordingly. My willingness to help others does not go unnoticed.

How can I help you?

My passion for “connecting the dots” will bring great depth and meaning to any problem we solve together. My insatiable need for knowledge will drive me to understand your project goals, analyze the details and create a plan that is both thoughtful and engaging. I will give your project the the time and dedication it needs to succeed. While playing a backstage role, I will help develop and support your content to take centre stage and receive the standing ovation it deserves.

I truly believe building relationships and connecting with clients is a crucial element in the success of a project. How do you feel?  

COM0014 – Blog #4: Naturally engaged


Since 2003, Cocoon Apothecary has been crafting and selling an ever-expanding, plant-based skin care line from their location in Kitchener, Ontario. Jessica and Lane, a husband a wife team, are passionate about what they do. It shows in the quality of their eco beauty products and efforts to engage their audience.

This couple is savvy on social media. This week’s lesson emphasized the importance of claiming your brand across various online tools. Cocoon Apothecary have an active online presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, their blog and website.

I find their approach honest and refreshing. Each interaction is informative and inspiring. You can see from their following and content that they care about customers and listen to various channels to share and engage in dialogue with others.

A large portion of Cocoon’s content is audio/visual. The photos and videos they use across their social media channels are well composed and consistent in style. Cocoon’s brand identity is strong and recognizable across all platforms. Specials discounts are posted periodically as an incentive for potential and existing customers. They appreciate local love here in Kitchener and actively engage in shows, markets and discussions to motivate others to embrace natural skin care.

Cocoon shares customer success stories to influence others to try their products. Jessica speaks on camera about the many benefits of natural skin care, demystifies ingredients, provides demonstrations and shares many insights for viewers to get to know her better. She speaks authentically in the spirit of teaching others before selling products – building relationships with her followers. Customers can also ask questions and view thoughtful video responses on Formulator Fridays.  

Cocoon’s communication style is gentle yet confident as they take the time to explain how their products can bring value to your life. They openly share their passion for their craft and high-quality standards.

There are so many reasons Cocoon Apothecary is successful, thoughtful use of social media is just one of them. Their approach is simple and elegant. Their products are truly incredible. I hope they continue to enjoy success for many years to come – I am a customer for life!

Tell me about one of your favourite local businesses that clearly understands the importance of a social media strategy? I’d love to hear from you.

Cocoon Apothecary. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2019, from

COM0014 – Blog #3: Who’s into zero waste?


One day, after questioning the life cycle of our household waste, I came across the life-changing book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. Bea’s ideas inspired me and my family to adopt the zero waste lifestyle. Her blog is a perfect example of a successful online campaign that has created a movement.

I have always been interested in preserving our planet, but living zero waste goes so much deeper. I have shifted my mindset and behaviour to focus more on the things that bring joy to life, and less on buying stuff.

“The simple concept of zero waste is to prevent rather than divert trash, but at its core it’s about valuing and taking responsibility for goods we bring into our lives — replacing a linear system whereby goods are designed for discard with a circular system whereby goods are built for longevity and recirculated for as long as possible.” – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

I find many in-person opportunities to share what I have learned on my journey. In preparing to move conversations online, I have found there is a growing community embracing the lifestyle and supporting others to experience the benefits. Authors share their unique realities through telling stories and creating online support communities using a variety of tools.

Following a scan of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and personal blogs about waste-free living, I believe my audience would be predominantly female. I would estimate an age range between 25 and 45 years. Although there are a variety of family types engaging in the topic, I would target busy moms as I fit into this category and can relate to them. Although anyone can adopt the lifestyle, educated, professional and business women juggling career and family life stand out as engaged in the topic.

Common lifestyle preferences are evident. Interest in environmental issues and sustainability is common, as well as a yearning for simplicity in a busy world. “Zero-wasters” are future-thinking and welcome change for the greater good of their families and society. My target audience would value family, knowledge, practicality, sustainability, a healthy lifestyle and believe that an idea can change the world.   

Google trends indicates people interested in the topic care about many aspects of reducing waste in their lives, but there many searches on disposable products and where to find sustainable alternatives. This is a common theme online and a great first step for those interested or new to the lifestyle.

Analyzing the online activity of a zero waste audience gave me powerful insight into who they are, what they care about and how best to reach them.

What one change could you make to reduce waste in your life? Check out the blog Trash is for Tossers for some great ideas.   


Zero Waste Home. (n.d.). Zero Waste Home [Blog post]. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. (n.d.). From Consumer to Owner: A Zero Waste Mindset [Blog post]. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

Trash is for Tossers. (n.d.). Easy Changes [Blog post]. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

COM0014 – Blog #2: How to tap into the power of storytelling


Storytelling is a universal language. Humans use stories to connect, regardless of the medium. The “language” we use is critical to our understanding of the world around us. We all have the power to mold and shape our ideas to drive action and deepen understanding.

As I develop my own storytelling voice, the following five approaches from this week’s lesson resonated with me.

Define your purpose. Answer questions such as: Why am I telling this story?, Who am I writing for?, What response do I want? What action do I want them to take? Why should they care?, What value can I offer? or How can I inspire or motivate them to take action? Thoughtful answers to these questions can help you tap into your audience’s emotions and make is easier to write.

Use the appropriate structure. There’s a lot of competition online. You only have only a few short seconds to get your audience’s attention. Put your main ideas front and centre, followed by more details. Your audience will decide whether they want to engage deeper into your content.

Elicit action. Use active language to engage your audience. Sentences written in active voice are easier to understand, clearer and more concise.

Check your work. Have you ever been immersed in a good book or article then visually tripped over a misspelled word or grammatical error? Your experience can quickly become soured and colour the author in a bad light. Take the time to double check your work for spelling, punctuation, grammar and style errors to avoid damaging your credibility. This GrammarGirl podcast offers some great tips for proofreading.

Practice. Learn and grow from your writing experience. Review your work over time to see what’s working and what’s not. Ask more questions. Is your audience finding value in your content? How can you approach things differently? Keep creating content.

I am comforted by the learnings in this week’s lesson. In my experience working as a graphic designer, I tell stories on behalf of my clients. I use many of the approaches we’ve discussed, only using different elements.

Writing online is relatively new to me. I am a private person and need to learn the best way to share my stories with others. This is my challenge.

“You know you have a world of knowledge to pass on – but you have no idea how to wrap it into an exciting package your readers will love.” says Alex Limberg of SmartBlogger. His post also beautifully illustrates the power of storytelling.

Do you have any stories about your first experience publishing content online? I’d love to hear from you.


Quick and Dirty Tips . (October 20, 2006). Proofreading Tips [Podcast]. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from

SmartBlogger. (March 1, 2019). The Blogger’s Guide to Telling Stories That Win Hearts and Minds [Blog post]. Retrieved March 16, 2019, from

COM0014 – Blog #1: Are we there yet?

Day one
We were on the road by one, hoping Little C would nap most of the way… well that didn’t happen. It’s a toddler’s idea of torture, being trapped in a car seat for three hours when all you want to do is run and play. “We’re almost there buddy!” exclaimed my husband as we drove down the steep hills of Georgian Bluffs. When we pulled up to the cottage we were greeted by our hosts and invited to join them for a quick swim – although Little C was more interested in throwing rocks. Typically the waters of Georgian Bay are frigid in August. We got lucky, the temperature was just right. After our swim, we fired up the barbecue and enjoyed a melt-in-your-mouth steak dinner as the sun set over the water. Our night ended catching up with friends over the flickering glow of the campfire.

A toddler throwing rocks into the water.
Little C throwing rocks in the water – one of his favourite activities at the cottage

Day two
“Wake Mommy!” At six a.m., our little guy was rested and ready to go. That’s more than I could say for myself after “sleeping” with a toddler. To avoid waking everyone, we quietly put on our shoes and set off on an early morning stroll to explore nature’s little treasures.

Back at the cottage the smell of bacon and eggs was calling our names. After filling our bellies, we drove down the road to Big Bay for some swimming and snorkelling fun. Known as the “skipping stone capital of Canada”, the crystal clear waters are lined with rounded stones ideal for skipping on calm water – which we did!

Snorkelling at Big Bay.
Snorkelling at Big Bay

We returned to the cottage mid-afternoon for Little C to have his nap. The group went out in the “party boat” while I caught up on my reading. When the crew arrived back at the cottage we all pitched in with dinner prep. We feasted on barbecued chicken, sausages, marinated veggies and fresh salad. The night continued by the campfire where we played trivia games and ate “spider dogs”.

Day three
We began the day inhaling a delicious cinnamon raisin french toast breakfast, you should try it… yum-my! As we relaxed on the couch, Little C happily played with some of my favourite vintage Fisher Price toys. We cleaned up our room and packed up the car with one more stop before we headed home, Sauble Beach. After an hour drive we made our way to the beach. We got on our gear, put on our sunscreen – and filled up our water guns. We swam, built sand castles and buried Little C! After a few fun-filled hours, we had to hit the road.

Water guns at the beach.
Watching and waiting for innocent bystanders

Three days away may not seem like much, but it was a nice break from reality. We shared new experiences, enjoyed beautiful views, soaked up some vitamin D, consumed too many calories and created lasting memories. This mini-vacation was short but sweet!

Do you have any location suggestions for our next Ontario vacation?


Give it love. (n.d.). Hilarious Co-Sleeping Fails That Sleep-Deprived Parents Can Relate To [Blog post]. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from

Official Tourism Website of Wiarton, Ontario. (n.d) Big Bay – Stone Skipping Capital of Canada. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from

Camping with Gus. (n.d.) Campfire Hot Dog Spiders. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from

For the love of cooking. (n.d.) Cinnamon Raisin Bread French Toast. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from

Welcome to Sauble Beach. (n.d.) Sauble Beach Main Beach. Retrieved March 4, 2019, from