Assignment Guidelines: Capstone Project So if you’ve read the assignment guidelines, which

Assignment Guidelines: Capstone Project
So if you’ve read the assignment guidelines, which I hope by now you have, then you know that this is ultimately your opportunity to build a comprehensive content strategy on behalf of your organization that is designed to either address a particular problem with the existing content strategy, or take advantage of an opportunity, or initiate some kind of other strategy to sort of take things to the next level. So throughout the semester, you’ve made assessments about your organization’s content strategy, in your strategy memos, right, you’ve identified weaknesses and individuals sort of tactics, right on this platform, they have room to improve on that, you know, when it comes to their website, you know, there are some challenges here and they’re here, you’re kind of superseding all of that, and really thinking at a higher level about what are the things that your organization could do to really stand out within its, you know, field or within its, you know, sector. So that way, it can ultimately work toward long term business objective, that helps advance the mission of the organization.
This project is going to ask you for essentially four different deliverables. And then those four deliverables will be, you know, ultimately submitted via Blackboard either as one unified document or if you need to, you can submit each deliverable as an individual document, but don’t get super hung up on the format just yet. Let me walk you through what each of those deliverables are. And then I’ll give you a couple of examples of projects that students in previous semesters have done that have been successful.
So the first deliverable is going to be what I refer to as your strategy playbook. But this is your overview, it’s where you sort of say, you know, here is the strategy that I would encourage this organization to adopt, then you have a website action plan, a social media action plan, and an email marketing action plan. So for the strategy playbook, this is essentially a short essay of no more than three double spaced pages, that identifies what your objective is that you’re working towards, and sort of the situational background, necessitating that effort to sort of achieve that objective, right? That’ll make more sense to you, once I give you examples of the types of projects that you could do. Then, on top of the the short essay, you want to include in that, I think, you know, I mean, it’s all part of the essay, but you know, I think you’re kind of ultimately gonna put this at the end of the strategy playbook is going to be your sort of visualized version of the strategy by using the theory of change framework that we discussed at the very beginning of the semester. So I provided that template for you, and you are welcome to use it, you can adapt it if you need to. But that’s where I essentially want you to spell out in a visual way, what your short, medium long term objectives are, what the strategies are, what the tactics are, what resources or inputs, you’ll need to be able to engage in those tactics, and how you will provide a sort of overall evaluation of whether or not the effort is successful. So if you have questions about the theory of change, and how to use it, you might want to go back to that video from the earlier part of this semester. And let me know if you have any questions based on that.
Then for each of your action plans, you are going to provide basically the structure of each of these action plans is going to be the same. But obviously the content is going to be different, right. So the structure is basically that you start with a brief overview of the thing that you are proposing the organization develop, right, whether it’s a web page, a social media, a set of social media posts, or instead of email marketing, appeals, and then you identify within that overviews sort of what action you are trying to encourage through the content that you’re developing, what audiences would be targeted by that content, which key messages would be advanced By the content that’s being developed, and which key metrics would be used to measure the success of that plan, right? So if we use social media, for example, all right, you’re basically saying in an overview form of no more than a page, what posts or I’m sorry, what platforms you would want the organization to be actively developing content for? What you think that content should look like what audiences you’re hoping to reach with that content, the frequency with which you would post content? And you know, how you would measure whether or not that content was being effective? Right? What metrics would you be looking at, then you’re actually going to develop the content that exemplifies the strategy that you are hoping the organization would adopt based on your recommendations.
Just like you did with your strategy memos, you are going to develop actual content and that content should be comprehensive. What I’m looking for for the website action plan is a mock up of the of a landing page doesn’t have to be a homepage, but a landing page being page that is specifically dedicated to getting audience members to take a particular action. That could be to sign up for emails, it could be to make a donation, it could be to register to vote, right. There’s all kinds of actions you could envision, but you are basically going to develop a mock up for a landing page that would be housed on the organization’s website, and designed to drive action toward the objective that you’ve identified. For example, well, let me say, in terms of format of the actual mock up for that, you could actually mock something up in a, you know, free account version of web platform, right, Squarespace, WordPress. There are all kinds of different, you know, free unbounce is another one, all kinds of free platforms that can enable you to make a landing page. Or if you don’t feel comfortable with that, you could also design it as just like a static image to show me what it would look like, let’s say an InDesign or whatever. So it really depends on what you are comfortable with. If you don’t have the ability to do like InDesign, or any kind of, you know, graphic design, I promise, it’ll be easier to just do the, you know, actual version of it. And then you can either, you know, embed the image into the, you know, website action plan, or you can embed a link to your, you know, sample page, right, you can create that landing page using you know, Squarespace, for example, and not actually publish it, and just, you know, enable me to click on the link, and maybe I have to enter a password or whatever, right, I offer both of those options, one to give you the chance to explore with a software program like that, if that would be beneficial to you. Or to make it easier for you if you do have graphic design abilities to just sort of lay out what you would want that website to look like without actually having to develop it whatever is easiest, but do think about what’s going to help with your own professional development.
The social media action plan is, you know, very similar in terms of the overview. But whereas the website action plan asks for a mock up of a landing page, your social media action plan ultimately asks you to develop eight posts for each for two different platforms. So these should be social media platforms that either the organization is currently acting active on, or platforms that you think the organization should be active on. But you pick two platforms, and then develop four posts for each of those platforms. So if I choose Instagram, and Twitter, I’m going to put together four tweets, and four Instagram posts. And just like with the social media strategy, memo assignment, I encourage you to take advantage of the variety of different formats of posts that are available to you, as you develop those, right, if you’re on Instagram, maybe not everything needs to be a single image post, maybe you can also have an album post or an IGtv post or an Instagram story and you show me the actual panels that would comprise that story.
And then third, and finally is your email marketing action plan. And here similar overview, you know, give no more than a page describing kind of the overall, you know, approach. And then you should develop to complete email marketing appeals, just like with the email marketing strategy memo where you developed a one sample appeal. Here, I want a comprehensive email appeal. I want a subject line that encourages the recipient of the email to open the email. I want body copy that is compelling and makes the user want to take action to you know, do whatever the email calls on the person to do To sign up to forward to a friend to take advantage of a coupon code, whatever the case may be. Ultimately, it should be driven by the objectives that you’ve identified in your strategy playbook.
Once you have developed all four of those deliverables, you are going to submit them via Blackboard, I prefer if you can combine all of those into a single document. But if you prefer to keep each individual deliverable separate, you will have the opportunity to upload multiple attachments to that assignment in Blackboard, when you get ready to submit it. You’re going to put all of that together and ultimately be evaluated based on your clear identification of an objective that is worth working towards. And you know, there’s a clear opportunity for the organization to pursue, you’ll be evaluated based on how well you have mapped out the narrative and the visual form of the theory of change that specifies how you will achieve the objective. You’ll be evaluated based on how effective your action plans are, as well as your strategy playbook. So how coherently do you describe what the vision is? And how clearly do the action plans work in service of that vision. And you’ll also be evaluated based on the quality of the content that you develop. So whether it’s the landing page, the two email marketing appeals, or the eight social media posts, I’m going to be looking at is it well written in an effective tone? Does it effectively target the appropriate audience? And does it ultimately seem like it would serve the objective that has been stated in the strategy playbook. If you do all of that, and if you submitted no later than 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the day of the deadline, you will earn up to 60 points for this assignment.
I know it’s a big undertaking, but I want to give you a couple of examples of how you might approach it. So that way, you have a clearer sense of what I’m trying to describe. Because, of course, it’s a lot to envision if you don’t have concrete details, right. So one example I’ll give is from a student who, several semesters ago, developed a plan on behalf of Wells Fargo. You may recall that several years ago, Wells Fargo was got in some trouble with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because it illegal open illegally opened about 15 million bank accounts on behalf of its customers. You know, there were peak customers who would you know, log in and find that they just had like six checking accounts suddenly, and they didn’t have any money in them. But it was happening because Wells Fargo was basically incentivizing its employees to open these bank accounts. And so these employees were opening bank accounts without the permission of the customers. So what my student did is identified an objective on behalf of Wells Fargo, that would ultimately engage in image repair and win back the trust of customers who felt like the organization had acted poorly. And so she did some really interesting ads that were actually displayed on the Wells Fargo mobile app, and on the ATMs at Wells Fargo. But you know, those ads were kind of all about sort of, you know, being transparent and saying, you know, we’re listening to you, we understand that we messed up, and we want to make it right. And ironically, she actually developed that campaign before Wells Fargo really actually had its own campaign. And the campaign that Wells Fargo ultimately developed was very similar to the one that that student recommended.
Another example of the type of assignment you could do, I used in one of the videos for the assignment guidelines for your social media strategy memo, the example of my sister’s restaurant, my sister’s restaurant is located a very popular tourist town. There are lots of folks in the summer, who, you know, flock there between Memorial Day and Labor Day for a week at the beach with their family. I think my sister does a really great job of, you know, reaching those tourists and you know, getting them to come back, you know, a couple of times while they’re on vacation, maybe they order a pizza, you know, to be delivered to their condo while they’re on vacation. But she has a harder time in the winter where there are no tourists in town. And it’s not a big town, so there aren’t really that many locals and her business struggles. So I could develop a capstone project that would ultimately target locals and incentivize their loyalty to the business in the winter time when business is otherwise slow. And so maybe there’s some kind of a promotion that we would run, but ultimately that capstone project would be designed to market and promote that promotion. Promote the promotion is a weird way to say that but bring visibility and awareness of the promotion as a way of rewarding the loyalty of local customers and ensuring that they have a steady stream of business during this low winter months.
Still another example could be the type of work that a nonprofit organization would do. If it were trying to widen its donor base, I used to work for an organization that was very reliant on grant funding from, you know, philanthropic foundations, but didn’t do as great of a job of targeting individual donors. So I could have an objective on behalf of that organization that really is designed to engage potential individual donors to make small dollar recurring donations, right. So instead of relying exclusively on, you know, $5,000,000/year grant from this corporate philanthropy, instead, they’re really targeting people who have a little bit of extra money and are concerned about the cause. And maybe you want to set up a $25 a month recurring donation or something like that, right. So then in that case, all of my content is devised to target that audience, and to really sort of give them the motivation, and help them see the role that they can play in improving the long term financial sustainability of the nonprofit. And ultimately, by doing so would be supporting their mission.
Those are just three examples of the types of projects that you could devise. But I encourage you to think about an objective for your overall strategy that is very concrete, it might feel very narrow and specific, but I think that that’s going to make for a more effective capstone project. Because if you go for something too broad, that’s just like, expand the number of customers, well, then, you know, it’s really hard to imagine what that content would look like how it would, you know, target particular audiences. But if you, say, expand base of customers from the local area, and incentivize them to patronize the business in the winter months, well, that’s a much more specific thing. It’s much easier for you to envision the types of content that you develop, and I think overall would make for a much more effective content strategy for this project than the one that is just broadly about increasing revenue and number of customers.
So with that, I will leave it there. I hope that if you have any questions you don’t hesitate to reach out, of course, read the detailed assignment guidelines on Blackboard. And as you work towards your ultimate capstone project, I wish you the best of luck, take care and be well!
4