PR class to blog for Indiana Insider

A Butler University journalism class is teaming up with a local web site, the Indiana Insider Blog, to gain professional experience.

The class, tourism promotion and destination marketing, is taught by Bob Schultz, who was contacted by the managers of the blog.

“Several months ago we were brainstorming internally about how to do more with less,” Jeremy Williams, production manager for the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and blog manager said. “Like a lot of other businesses, our budget [has been] continually dropping. We needed to figure out how to do more with less money.

“We had a relationship with Bob Schultz because he used to work with the Indianapolis Visitor’s Center, so we got in touch with [Schultz] to see if there was some way we could work with him and his class in a way that we would be able to get some content and the students would be able to gain more professional experience as well.

“A blog seemed like a really perfect fit for them.”

These student bloggers are receiving an immense opportunity working with the Indiana Insider Blog.

“By the end of the semester, the students are going to have a portfolio of about 10 posts on a blog that reaches many people,” Williams said. “Then we [at Indiana Insider Blog] will have posts from these 15 students that will fill content on our site for this semester and beyond.”

The Indiana Insider Blog (www.in.gov/visitindiana/blog), is a site aimed at informing Indiana residents and visitors of different tourist activities in the area.

According to senior Liesel Kasdorf, the bloggers’ job is to find out about restaurants, events, fairs, shops and festivals continued from page 3

in order to relate them to the public.

“For the most part, the bloggers have the latitude to write about what they like to write about as long as it relates to tourism in Indiana somehow,” Williams said. “They have the freedom to write about what they choose.

“But there are occasions when our office has something we are trying to promote. So every once and a while, we will ask our bloggers to write about specific things or other times I will forward them suggestions and ideas.

Senior Lynzy Stover said she was excited about the opportunity to gain experience in the blogging community.

She said she found the process of writing for Indiana Insider to be relatively simple.

“We either have to visit the attraction that we are blogging about or do research about the attraction,” Stover said. “After we decide and research our topic we use WordPress to compose our blog.”

Once the students write their blogs, they submit them to be reviewed by Indiana Insider.

When all edits are complete, the blog is posted to the Indiana Insider site.

“I think this will be extremely beneficial towards my major and career,” Stover said. “All of the posts that we compose are put into a compilation of everything we have ever written.

“Once we are finished we can use those blog posts to show potential employers that we have something that has already been published and used on a legitimate blog.”

Williams said he agrees that the blogging process is an important concept for students like Stover to have a grasp of before graduating.

“I think that in the business world, blogging is something that has become increasingly important over the last few years,” he said. “I am actually a little bit surprised by how little the students had blogged before.

“Blogging in general is just a great way to build up important and relevant content on Web sites for different companies.

“In our case it is a great way that we can quickly post a paragraph about an event that is coming up.”

He said the benefit of the blogs is that they will still be there next year when people search for things to do in the area on Google.

“I think that the real benefit for blogging is that content lives on forever as opposed to copy on a Web site where it is up for two weeks and then deleted so you they run something else,” Williams said.

“The blog content constantly gets recycled, so even though it may not be on the front page, it’s all available through search.

“[Blog content] can also help your Web site and business to grow.”

The students will work on their blog entries throughout the semester-long course.

BIRDS EYE VIEW: The Indiana Insider Blog reviews local hot spots like downtown Indianapolis. (Photo courtesy of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development)

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