Group 19

Advice for Communication Studies Graduates at UMKC From Our Founder

Back in April, our very own founder and fearless leader Andrea Kirsch had the opportunity to speak to the Senior Capstone Students of communications studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and gave the students some advice on what to expect post graduation from the perspective of someone who’s in the Kansas City Digital Marketing Agency industry and has made a successful career out of it.

Andrea Kirsch

All of us here at MAKE Digital Group were once there too… excited but nervous, wondering if we were going to make it in our respective fields and curious as to whether or not our new salaries would allow for the same number of Saturday night outings as our student loans did… So, here is some advice some of us wish we had back then, and we hope the students found it just as helpful as we would have 5 years ago.


If you’re more of a relationship based communicator, how can you still show that you can also be logical and hardworking?

Write it all down! Always make a point to recap your meetings, accomplishments and next step plans. People like to be in the know and be prepared for the future. They enjoy working with proactive and responsible peers. Read daily and become educated on statistics, analytical data, growth, ROI, and conversion points. Write and help make each day better through your work. Trust is key in relationships and collaborating towards achieving the end goal.


What is the number one piece of advice you would give to new graduates?

It’s hard to get it down to one singular piece of advice. Make sure that you maintain an updated resume and portfolio at all times. Entertain all opportunities… and above all, negotiate your salary! Tell people what it is that you want to do, over and over. Be early and stay late (early birds & late birds often get the worm). My advice is to always take the initiative to innovate and grow, and like I said before, write everything down. And I cannot stress this enough, but read daily to continuously learn and educate yourself.


How do you get more views on your website?
More Views on a Website

In order to get views and users to look at your website, you have to work on an outbound marketing plan. For instance, you could send out an email newsletter inviting users to view your website or a Facebook group or message with a link that leads them back to your blog or website. In order to track views, make sure you utilize analytics tools like Google Analytics to see what is happening on your website, where people are coming from, and how you can improve your overall marketing strategy to continue to generate a steady stream of visits and views.


Do you recommend any readings, podcasts or authors for those in the communications field?
Stuff We Like

There are a variety of professional associations, specialized groups, podcasts hosts, authors, bloggers, companies, and influential writers to name that can provide additional advice. I have found that through continued reading, watching videos, and learning more within your area of focus helps you become more advanced, knowledgeable, proficient, and effective. Your peers will revel at your ability to hone in on your intrinsic view of your profession, passion, and career.

– If you’re seeking a list of good places to start:
– Gary Vaynerchuk
– Seth Godin
– Simon Sinek
– Amy Porterfield
– Watch TedX talks
– Shark Tank
– Marcus Lemonis
– Tony Robbins
– Tim Ferriss
– Guy Kawasaki
– Dave Ramsey
– Suzie Orman
– Jeff Besos

I could go on and on! I’ve read countless business books, editorial magazines, listened to and subscribed to podcasts, webinars, and email newsletters. Make sure to make time to join associations and professional organizations that pertain to your career interests to meet like-minded professionals to grow your network, and maybe even meet your next coworker or boss! You never know…


What is the most difficult thing about starting your own business?
Owning A Business

Feeling comfortable with taking the leap. Someone asked me, what will you do if it doesn’t work out? My answer: I’d get a job. So, that’s what I’ve been doing–getting a steady job over and over again by servicing clients. The financial aspect has to be covered. Having a solid plan. Obtain an ‘anchor’ client that will help fund your transition for a certain amount of time. Then, remind everyone, over and over, what it is that you do, so they can keep you in mind for the future. Benjamin Franklin said, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. It sounds cheesy, but believe in yourself and push through when you’re told NO–because being told NO happens a lot when you run a business.


What is more important for a new hire: experience or skill?

Both are highly valuable and work hand-in-hand. The most important soft-skill you can enhance is communication (both speaking and listening). From there, experience and skills (training) can be taught or shown. Natural abilities to listen to clients or peers, communicate effectively and listen to others is very important for any career or workplace.


How do you identify who to address a cover letter to, when applying for jobs?

Unless you know exactly who the hiring manager is, you should always address it “Dear Hiring Manager”. This way you avoid offending anyone. You may not know if they’re single, married, recently divorced… you also never know if “Taylor Smith” is male or female… so, take no chances and keep it simple and politically correct.


What is your purpose in life other than business?

Family, friends, faith, wellness, dogs, travel and enjoying good company. My business was started at 21, out of a need to serve clients with marketing challenges. My purpose in life is to help others around me. I do that through my daily work and am very fulfilled with my work and what I’ve done.


How do I find a job that is a good fit for me?

Job Search

My advice is to figure out what it is that you are passionate about. The quote, live to work, not work to live, resonates with me. Experience and exposure to careers and roles will help you identify what is a good fit. You’ll learn what work you like and what you don’t, solely, by doing it. By getting practice and training you can determine what long-term jobs are a good fit for you.


What role does content marketing play in your company?

Content is “king” as they say. To me, that means that it is a vital part of your company’s brand. Many companies are being forced to invest in content and publishing rich marketing materials. It is important to publish your work as well as to create a repository of your content to reference for internal use.


What makes an effective product of content marketing?
Content Marketing Advice

An effective product of content marketing would be based on a variety of metrics.
1) Sales
2) Growth
3) Goals/Milestones Hit
4) Product Launched
5) Customer Satisfaction


What is the first step when branding a company or product?

Figuring out the Product or Market Differentiator–or what makes the product or brand stand out. The first step is to develop a story or narrative. This is the elevator pitch scenario. You should also have a good name, with an available URL/domain, and business cards. Figure out the long-term brand promise, mission, and ideal customer or client. Knowing how and who it is that you’re wanting to serve will help fill in a lot of blanks along the way.


Is going to a news station to shadow a producer for a day a résumé worthy activity to mention?

Yes! Shadow and serve as an apprentice as often as you have a break in your schedule. You’ll meet and greet with professionals and be exposed to the real work environment. As a result, you’ll learn what you enjoy and pin-point duties that maybe aren’t your favorite or forte.


What work should I do if I don’t like people?

Work remote or select a career where you work for yourself or independently.


Do you like working in Digital Marketing in Kansas City?

Kansas City Advice

Absolutely! Kansas City was recently ranked as the second-best city for Women in Technology. Kansas City values diversity, technology, and the cost of living is low, making it more affordable. I love the local arts, music, food, and sports entertainment. We are in the middle of the map and have good midwestern values. It’s a hotbed for flourishing history and culture.

These students took with them knowledge from someone who was in their shoes, pushed her way to success, and continues to push the envelope for Digital Marketing agencies in Kansas City day in and day out.

If you have any questions regarding careers, internships, or are looking for guidance on how to navigate the Kansas City digital marketing space, don’t hesitate to reach out to the MAKE team here.