COMM0015 – Blog Post #4 – Out of the Box

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Wow, it is hard to believe that this is my last blog post. I’m at the end of this final course and now it’s time to reflect back on what I have learned. What surprised me the most?

I guess when I think about it, my understanding of social media was narrow and small. I mean, I used social media. I read about it every day. I pride myself on having multiple social media accounts and can keep up with my teenage kids. Of course that is also why I had all those social media accounts…lol. To keep up with my kids. I wanted to know what they were doing on line. I needed to know if they were being safe and responsible. They could definitely teach me a thing or two! What I didn’t know, or fully realize is how much social media influences our lives. The sheer volume of stuff out there is tantalizing.

My 13 year old daughter is always on YouTube and is always rattling on about this blogger or that blogger. My 16 year old daughter is stuck on the Snapchat craze. Her cell phone bill was a whopping $184.00 this month because she exceeded her 4GB data limit! Who needs more than 4GB of data? I near died! Apparently she can’t live without her Snapchat streaks!

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This brings me back to the point! Social media is everywhere. As a marketer, either you move with the times, or it passes you by and leaves you in the dust. Social media desert, is not where you want to be. Not if you want to stay current in the market and make an impact with your customers.

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It is all about the customer. You need to listen. You need to engage. You need to build your reputation. You need a plan, and you need to Network. No one does this alone. There are so many social media sites available to anyone willing to turn on the computer. There is also a lot of helpful sites to get you started. Social media is huge. It is unlimited. It can be scary. But if you take it one piece at a time and learn to listen to your audience, it can be an interesting place to spend some time. Who knows, you might just enjoy blogging!

What about you? What social media applications do you use?

COM0015 – Blog Post #5 – Kingston Writers Fest

Kingston Writers Fest is an annual festival of authors. They promote, teach, enlighten, and engage other authors and readers.

The mission of the festival is…

To foster the artistic development of individual writers of all ages, promote literary expression and develop and grow an audience for the literary arts.

The festival is 5 days. It includes master classes, workshops, luncheons, and a writers retreat. It is a wonderful event. Different authors from all over the world come together and share their knowledge. I have attended this festival a few times and have had the pleasure of meeting many authors.

The first time I attended, I met Robert Sawyer.

He wrote the TV series Flash Forward. I got a signed copy his book Wonder that is the third book in his trilogy, Wake, Watch, Wonder.



He is an amazing man, and Author, full of helpful advice, which he was willing to share. He made me feel like I could actually be a real author if I just kept at it! This is the reason I attend the festival when I can.

This year, I was fortunate enough to attend again. I attended only oneevent this year. I attended Writing Character and Voice by Author Erika Behrisch Elce. Here is the topic of discussion.

Author Erika Behrish Elce explains techniques to develop richly-imagined and believable characters.

Whether your character is fully fictional, based on an historical figure, or the poetic voice, good groundwork and thoughtful choices give your characters depth. Learn how research can be a great tool that delivers unexpected and surprising details that make characters spring off the page, and in a short written exercise, experiment with bringing a character’s voice to life.

The class was informative and enjoyable. She is an amazing teacher. I was struggling a bit with one of my own characters, which is why I took this seminar. I enjoyed interacting with the other participants. I enjoyed her style of interaction and engagement. We even wrote a quick piece and read it out to the other participants (voluntary of course). One of the things that found a chord with me was when she said,

“Characters need to live or it is nothing. They can’t follow a strict pattern. They live, grow, learn, fail, are good, bad, and indifferent. Let the character live. Don’t stifle them. Let them be genuine and unpredictable.”

This was a great learning experience for me. As a writer, I am always learning. I read, I write, I learn. That is what I do. I am like a sponge. I desperately soak up all the knowledge I can in my quest to someday be a best selling author. I met some like-minded people who are on the same path as I am. It is a great festival to network. I didn’t have much time this year to network. Next year, I plan to attend some of the interactive events. I can talk to other authors, (famous and not so famous) and increase my networking arena.

The Kingston Writers fest is amazing every year with the endless talent that they bring to the area. I fully recommend it to any author in the making.

What about you? Have you been to any interesting events lately? Any tidbits to share about networking?

COM0015 – Blog Post #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

What is networking anyway? Well it is a skill set. It is a way to make personal connections with people. These people can support you in your professional endeavours. It is also a two way connection. It is mutually beneficial. It is about building relationships.

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My strategy going forward

I want to focus more on my writing and the connections I need to make that happen. In the past, I never understood how much it takes to be a successful writer. I definitely didn’t understand networking and how important it is. I put my writing in a corner. It kept calling to me, screaming at me . So finally, I decided to either put it away for good, or give it my best effort and see if I have what it takes to make this work. So now I am back at the writing, and back to figuring out how this all works. I have made connections with other writers and writing people. I have started to figure out that it takes a village for anything like this to have any kind of chance. I’ve found writing groups. I’m working on finding Beta readers that exchange ideas and stories. I recently connected with an editor who tore my manuscript apart. But he was honest and actually liked the story. I am loving every minute of it. This is what I was missing before. The nitty gritty of the writing world. I’m reaching out to bloggers who read and writer reviews for the pure joy of reading. I;m planning marketing strategies for when my book is polished. I’m researching agents and connecting with them through social media. I have a plan. I am focused. I’m moving forward.

Activities and commitments for the next 6-12 months

My main goal for the next year, other than finishing my book, is to attend a couple of writing conferences. I have done a couple in the past, but didn’t do a lot of networking at them. I attended, I listened, I participated. But I didn’t network. I kick myself in the butt for this one connection I made with a popular writer who seemed interested in my work. I didn’t follow up! I know crazy. I didn’t understand this whole world. Now I do. So I’m starting over. Polishing my credentials, learning how to promote myself, gaining confidence. I’m ready. I’m eager. I am going to do this!

How about you? Any future writers/agents/publishers out there that want to connect? What are your future goals?


COM0015: Blog Post #2 – Strong vs Weak Organizations

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Dermalogica is a skin care company. It isn’t a beauty product. It isn’t makeup. It is all about Skin care. I picked this product, because I use it. I was having a face massage at a salon, when I told the girl my main issue, she gave me some free Dermalogica samples to try. I was hooked! The company has their marketing campaign down to a science. They love giving away samples of their product because they know the product works. I love this line on the main page of their website, “We’re not pretty, or beautiful, or pampering, or luxury. We’re far too interested in guiding you to a new level of health fitness!” I ordered one product from their website, and I picked 6 new free samples of other products to try.

Dermalogica also understands social media. If you log onto their facebook page, you can learn all about their products. You see women that work there actually using the product. You can see first hand what their cleansing routine is and what products they use. They practice what they sell. No touch ups, no filters. Just basic skin care.

They are on Twitter. Of course, who isn’t? Again, you get real testimonials from real users. Dermalogica is all about skin care, and less about covering up your face with makeup. I also love their catchy phrases. “A Dermalogica product a day keeps your fear of rollercoasters at bay. #CanadasWonderland. It also gives you excellent skin but that doesn’t rhyme!” It made me laugh.

In 2017 Dermalogica ran a global campaign #MyFaceMyStory. This campaign is all about encouraging women to understand their skin better. I love this company. Read about the campaign here. And see for yourself why I love this product and this company. They are also on Youtube, and Instagram. They have recently launched their newest campaign #skindividual, highlighting new products. They have teamed up with TV and social media personality Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo. Their aim is to reduce the stigma around acne and how to achieve the healthiest skin at any age.

Photo courtesy of Dermalogica website

On the flip side, I had a harder time coming up with a company that doesn’t manage their social media well. I mean when you think about it, I only know about companies that do their advertising and social media well. How else would I know about them? I looked at Tim Hortons, CarStar, and many more companies. Most companies in todays marketing world need to figure out social media. So who did I find? Well…. is a local (Kingston)Hair Studio. I know about this company because my daughter used to work there. They are actually a great studio with awesome hair stylists and modern ideas. Their issue is that they haven’t quite grasped the necessity of social media marketing. Which is unfortunate because they are a very talented crew. Hair salons have a lot of competition and they need marketing to gain an edge. They have no website. They do have a Facebook page, but it isn’t updated very often. They don’t have any other social media site that I can find. No Twitter, no Instagram, nothing.

This company would benefit from a social media strategy. I would design it around highlighting the local talent. Currently they are using word of mouth, (which is great) but they could do so much more. Using an app like Instagram would be an amazing tool for a local hair salon. I would start a campaign highlighting each artist and what they specialize in. They are great with popular trends like balayage. (Hair painted technique to give a blended rooted effect.) They should showcase this talent with Instagram and snapchat. This is where the younger social media users hang. Posting pictures of their clients on their social media sights is free advertising!

Their Facebook Page needs to highlight their talents as well. Using the same type of effect as with Instagram, Facebook could be their go to app for older clients who use it. Who doesn’t like to show off their new doo?

Also, Facebook offers paid advertising. It is cheaper than most other marketing. It also allows you to use targeted ads so you are getting your advertising money well spent!




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So what about you? Any ideas to add to the list? Is Instagram and Snapchat the way into young client’s social media senses? Any other apps you would suggest?


COM0015: Blog Post #1 – Tools and Sources


social media

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Social media can be a wonderful. It opens a world full of opportunities to connect and share with the people around us. For many people it can be daunting. There are so many sights out there now, that it is difficult to choose in which ones to subscribe. This can be extra scary to someone looking to connect his or her small business to the big world. If you are going to connect with the world of social media, it is important to know the impact you are having. A couple tools that I find easy to navigate and give a lot of feedback are Hootsuite and Keyhole.


I like Hootsuite because it tracks activity across the platforms that I use. The ones I am most comfortable with. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Fourquare and WordPress. With Hootsuite, you can schedule posts across many platforms. It also lets you delegate tasks when that is an option. Hootsuite is well known for its social media management functions. Scheduling, content curation, social analytics and monitoring are all available in one single application. For more information on Hootsuite check out their site.


I am a big fan of twitter and Instagram, so Keyhole is great for monitoring these. You can see keywords, hashtags, URL’s and usernames. You can view data in real time as well as historical data. You can even view world maps tracking activity in other parts of the world. According to the Keyhole website, their main points of interest are #hashtag analytics, real time data, fast reports and influencer marketing. Influencer marking is important to me. with any campaign, it is important to know who the influencers are. It is also necessary to know exactly how much influence they have.

News and Updates

I don’t have a lot of time to read the news but I do like to keep up on global events. I rely on social media to give me the high lights and keep informed. My favorite sights for this are Facebook and Twitter. I know. I know. How can FB and Twitter keep me up on the news? Well they are actually both informative news sights. I get a swatch of the news real through my feeds and tweets. I ‘like’ certain news pages that are noteworthy. As I scroll through my newsfeed, I can catch the highlights. Local, national and international news at my fingertips. If I want more information, I click on the links. I can then read until my heart is content, or depressed depending on what I am reading.

What about you? Which sites do you use to keep up with the world?



COM0014 – Blog Post #7 – Reflections

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Communication is all about reaching your audience. It starts with listening and evolves into finding your voice and how you want to tell your story. Storytelling is a method of communication that dates all the way back to primitive times. Storytelling is an art. It keeps evolving over the years to include technology, and better ways to tell a story. With the age of the internet, it takes communication, and storytelling, to a whole new level.

Storytelling is universal. It is a clear method of communication that is easy for anyone to understand. For this reason, storytelling should be the basis of any on line communication. Your blog, your Facebook post, and your personal website should all tell a story. Without a story, your content becomes boring and flat. It is unlikely to strike a connection with your reader.

I am an author. I want to tell great stories that captivate and entertain my readers. What I have learned in this course is that everything I write needs to be in the same way. Every time I write a blog post, Facebook post, or Instagram post, I am telling a story. I am communicating who I am, and what I am all about. Communicating with my own authentic voice in a way that captivates my reader is the ultimate goal for me

COM0014– Blog #6 – Do People Know Your Story?


witchPhoto by me (a fan)

                 This blog assignment made me think about why I want to be a writer.  Writing is hard.  It isn’t lucrative.  I can’t quit my day job.  It takes time from other things. It is sometimes frustrating.  So what makes me want to continue with this craziness?  It goes back to my first published novel.  Don’t get too excited.  It was not as exciting as it sounds. I went with a small publishing company.  Long story short.  The company went under and there went my dreams of being the next JK Rowling.  Yet, the interesting part lies in how I came to write that story.  That is the real story. 

                My daughter was about 9 years old and struggling with reading.  She hated it.  I couldn’t wrap my head around that.  I loved to read.  I read everything I could get my hands on as a child.  I lived in the library.  I tried everything to help my daughter see books the way I did.  Nothing worked.  Finally, I decided to write something myself and get her to edit it.  I told her she could pick out all my mistakes.  A chance for her to criticize me.  She loved the idea.  So I started a story based around my own childhood and my imaginary friend.  The main character was a young witch.  Her imaginary friend was actually her guardian.  A metaphysical, magical being that lived in her amulet and helped her when needed. My daughter became mesmerized by the story.  She begged me to write more.  She even forgot about my mistakes. So The Witch Guardian was born.  That feeling of having my child so mesmerized by my own story, was magic all in itself.  There is no greater feeling for an author than to have someone love what you wrote.  That is why I continue down this path.  If I can help one child love reading as much as I do, it will be worth it. 

                So no matter what happens with my writing, I will continue to create the stories that I love to tell.  Hopefully, with hard work and perseverance, I will again publish another book.  And who knows, that elusive best seller isn’t such a far off dream.  I write because I love it. I have a story to tell.

                  So how about you? What is your story? Why do you do what you do?

COM0014- Blog Post #5 – The Many Faces of Me

I am what some would call…a functional introvert. It sounds kind of funny when you think about it. Most people would describe me as Strong, Dominant, Confident, Personable, Easy Listener, Empathetic and comfortable in my own skin. These are all true. But I am also an introvert. I find being around people exhausting. Most people don’t know this. They see what I want them to see. This is what makes it easy to do my job. I am able to blend into any role. I am a Mother, Writer, Manager, Cat Lover, Gun enthusiast, Tough Mudder Runner, Scrapbooker, Sewer, and a whole bunch of other things. I like people, and parties and other things that require social interaction. I am most comfortable with small groups and enjoy intimate things like dinner and movies. Being an introvert doesn’t mean I hate people. It means I find social situations exhausting and when I need to recharge, I prefer to be alone. Writing is perfect for me. I love immersing myself in a story and letting it take me wherever the magic takes me. I am more comfortable with books than people.

What makes me different?

Writing is my passion. I write because I have a story to tell. I don’t write to make me rich. I also work very hard at whatever task I undertake. That is what makes me stand out in my field. I work in Corrections. It is a tough job. I am good at it. I have a very empathetic nature, but I am also very fair and tough. I am also a Classic Type A Overachiever Personality. I get bored easily. Which means I take on new roles all the time. This makes me versatile in my field. It has enabled me to learn and grow.

What have you done to make yourself stand out?

I am in the middle of completing my Social Media Certificate at Algonquin College. I am looking to make the next step in my career. I want to work in Ottawa. I am also taking French classes at St. Lawrence College. I am also working with an Editor on my latest book.

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

My colleagues say I am Hardworking and Reliable. I can live with that. I have a strong work ethic and expect others to be the same.

What about you? What makes you different from others in your field? Any Personality Traits that stand out or Contrast?

COM0014 – Blog Post #4 – Sephora has it!

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I have to say I love how Sephora does business. They have the Business to Consumer model wrapped up in a nice bow. I am not one to spend oodles of money on cosmetics, but I will spend on something that lives up to the name. Sephora’s current social media slogan, Let’s Beauty Together has had great success. It is an amazing business model. This article by Forbes explains how they are changing their social media strategies. Sephora has adopted a two-way communication with their consumers. This allows the consumer a voice like never before. It is increasing their customer loyalty in a huge way.

When you log onto Sephora’s website, the first thing they do is ask you to fill out a profile on their Beauty Insider. They then tailor their products for you. You are not bombarded with product information you don’t want. Once you do this, they send you email updates with products that may interest you. Sephora is all about pleasing their customers. You can walk in the store at any time and walk out with a bunch of samples without paying for anything. Their products sell themselves because you can try before you buy.

Check out this article, How to get the Most Out of your Sephora Experience: By a Sephora Employee. It has everything you need to get the most out of Sephora. It shows exactly how much Sephora is in this business to please the customer. This company has the Business to Consumer model down to an art. I recently had a great experience with the company. I didn’t pick up my birthday package, however my daughter mentioned it had a good moisturizer in it. I went to the store a month after my birthday and asked about the product. It was an $85 bottle of moisturizer. They gave me the free mini sample to try before making the decision to buy the full product. No questions asked. That is excellent customer service.

Sephora is active on many social media sights: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Sephora uses social media to connect with their customers. It helps to maintain a good relationship with them. Sephora recently started an e-gift card campaign. It allows them to reward loyal customers with e-gift cards through their social media applications. See the details here. Sephora has maximized their social media engagement. They now make it easier for the consumer to share their experiences in real time. They can immediately fix any issues they might have.

What about you? Do you have any experiences with Sephora that you want to share?


COM0014- Blog #3 – Who is my Audience?

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I am a Young Adult fantasy writer. What exactly does that mean? Rachel Scheller, from Readers Digest, wrote this amazing article. It outlines what it means to write for a Young Adult audience. She says, “There is something crucial that I want you to remember about YA, and that’s the all consuming nature of being a teenager. It’s that sense of possibility.”

I write fantasy stories with fantasy elements that also contain a teenage protagonist.  My stories all contain witches, ghosts, demons, and any other magical type elements. It would make sense then, that my target audience are readers between the ages of 12-18. Young people, who enjoy fantasy and paranormal fiction. Publishers Weekly identifies in this article,  that more than half of the readers of YA, are adults. The largest segment is between 30-44 years old. That is important to keep in mind when targeting my audience. I also read YA, and not because I write in that category. I love the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, to name a few of my favorites.

So how do I reach such a diverse group of readers? The most obvious place is social media. Teens and Young Adults are following SnapChat, Instagram, and YouTube. Adults use Facebook and twitter. My biggest networking group would be bloggers who read/review Young Adult Fantasy. The followers of these blogs are also reading the books that they are all discussing. This seems like a great place to start. These bloggers also reach out to their reader’s social media sights. Sounds like a win-win to me.

As sited in the lesson plan, there are other methods for reaching the target audience group. Apps like Google trends, Facebook groups and pages are available with ease. These all help identify what my readers are looking for when searching for a book. I randomly typed into google, “What do young adults want to read now?” Cyndy Etler wrote the first article that came up.  She is an English teacher who writes about what she learns from her own teenage students. They tell her what they want to read. It doesn’t get any clearer than that!

So what about you? What do you like to read? Any interest in Young Adult?