The Voice: Effectively Impacting the Consumer Through Digital Media

In today’s world almost everything can be done in an online environment and because of that there is often a subconscious expectation for instant gratification in everything we do. Social media has changed the way the world operates and has forced businesses all over the world to adapt to the online way of life or die off.

New online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have pushed the Blockbusters of the world out of the limelight and into oblivion. With new media available everyday even mainstream television has had to learn to adapt and the creators of The Voice have done just that by creating an online experience that focuses on content, collaboration, and connections with their viewers.

Photo by Brett Jordan on

The show actively engages with their viewers throughout their various social media platform by providing behind the scenes storytelling on Facebook, Fan Art on Broadcast through their Tumblr page and allowing viewers to impact the outcome of an on-air show by tweeting their votes during the show. Prior to the implementation of social media marketing viewers would sit at home, watching their shows and hoping that their favorite performers would make it to the next round of competition, often feeling deflated when their choice was eliminated but The Voice has given viewers a chance to change that.

By engaging their fans in this manner, The Voice has been able to provide that sense of instant gratification that viewers have become accustomed to and have made fans feel like they are part of the process, like their voices are being heard and that is not something televisions shows of the past have been able to do before now.

It would be difficult to criticize the show for how their online following has been handled because the ways in which they’ve utilized social media to create an experience for fans was truly groundbreaking for its time. The show continues to create unique fan experiences through its various social media platforms by providing sneak peaks at upcoming seasons through it’s Facebook page, Outtake peeks on its Twitter feed and utilizing hashtag campaigns across its various platforms to engage with it’s viewers during between seasons which keep the fans wanting more and eagerly anticipating the next season.

The Voice has won a multitude of awards since the shows’ conception and you can find an extensive list on the show’s wiki. Notably, In 2015 The Voice was named the Winner in Integration with Live Television category of the 8th Annual Shorty Awards and were finalists in Instagram and Twitter with a Gold Distinction in Television. You can read more about it at

This blog post is a course assignment for my Social Media & Marketing Communications class at Southern New Hampshire University.

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Steps to Success: Creating a Writing Portfolio

by Chantae Eaton, Alyssa Griffin, Miranda Guerra, Kellen Marler, and Joanna Rangarajan

So, you want to be a writer? Grab a pen to mark-up a notebook or type away on your laptop: congratulations, you’re a writer! But if you want to become a professional writer, that’s a different story. If you aren’t sure where to begin, you’re not alone. The wide world of writing can seem daunting, but there are steps you can take to increase your chances of landing that new writing gig. In the writing world, portfolios trump resumes; potential clients prefer to see a sample in action to build trust. How do you build that trust? By assembling a writing portfolio of your very own!

Language of the Beast

If you’re asking yourself, “what is a portfolio?” don’t fret. A writing portfolio is a collection of writing samples that showcase your writing style. There are a few terms that may throw you for a loop on your portfolio-building journey, but familiarizing yourself with them will help you flourish. Some terms that might pop up are:

  • Platform – the chosen media forum used to build your portfolio and connect with an audience. 
  • Freelance – a temporary, per-job assignment for clients rather than a permanent role. 
  • Niche – a concentrated area of the market focused on a specific audience, service or topic. 
  • Voice – unique writing style expressed through tone, point-of-view, phrases and more. 

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a start. And today your goal is to do just that—to start.

Tools of The Trade

We live in a digital age, where the days of carrying around a paper portfolio have long passed, and information is available to us at the click of a button. It stands to reason an editor will want to access your work easily. Although building a website where you can showcase your work is ideal, creation and maintenance often come at a price. For novice writers this can be a deal-breaker, but have no fear! Various websites (such as Upwork) offer writers an online portfolio template where they can showcase a compilation of their work, use mentors and apply for writing jobs on their site. Most sites offer a trial or version of their site at no cost to the user, and additional content is available for a nominal fee.

When asked about any tools she found especially helpful in building her portfolio, Nikky Raney, a Freelance Writer and Interview Media Journalist for states, “…100% you can use Contena Academy and you even have a coach that will work with you to help you get hired… I have submitted multiple portfolios through Contena and my coach has provided incredible feedback.” Another great resource is, which has compiled a comprehensive list of portfolio sites that detail the pros, cons and costs of sites like Contently, Journo and

Constant Evolution

As an aspiring professional writer, one of the fundamental questions you need to ask yourself is “what is my niche?” Do you write fiction? Do you write for scholarly journals? Are you hoping to write for a news publication? Whatever niche you land on, be sure it engages your interests and find compelling topics within that niche to write about. Writings centered around your niche will make up the bulk of your portfolio. Until your prominence as a writer is established, there may be times when you need to step outside your comfort zone and create content that falls outside your niche. Adaptability in these situations is key and devising quality content is imperative in meeting your career goals. 

Developing Your Voice

When writing, it’s important to develop your voice. Ask yourself, “could anyone else have written this?” Of course, they could use the same words in the same sequence so technically yes, someone else could have. But is your piece infused with your spirit, uniquely yours and not just echoes of other people? Those are the pieces that will make your writing stand out.


You’ve found your niche and your voice. Now it’s time to get to work. Write often and when you think you’re done, keep writing! As with anything else, the quality of your work will improve the more you practice. You’ll amass a pile of work that you can choose from when composing your portfolio. Never stop writing, creating and updating your portfolio with your latest work because it’ll aid you in putting your best foot forward.

 Hitting Pay Dirt for Writing

When starting a new career or venture, the desired result is to make ends meet, if not to become wildly successful. To do that in the writing world requires experience, but to get experience a writer must have published work. How can you conquer this without having published pieces?

We interviewed Sara Barton, a Senior Freelance Copywriter based in Columbus, Ohio, who shared her thoughts on how to get started without being published. Barton states, “I would come up with writing assignments to put in my book [portfolio] to show what I could do. When you’re starting, you don’t have actual, legitimate, produced pieces, so you just kind of have to wing it.”

In other words, coming up with pieces like scripts, or posts that showcase a writer’s prowess is vital in building the foundation of a writer’s portfolio. In time, these speculative pieces can be replaced with published works. Barton also expressed that while she has a website, and a viewer can find her entire portfolio there; it’s not categorized. She feels that a client may see potential in work unrelated to the industry in which they’re hiring.

While writing for free may not be ideal, sometimes it’s necessary. Consider various varieties of payment terms you may come across when signing contracts. These could be terms like Net15 or Net30, which usually cover business days, not calendar days in reference to expected payments. “Net” payment with a number following it is a full payment by 15 or 30 business days after project completion. Placing a monetary value on your time and effort can present a challenge. Be sure to read your contract thoroughly so you understand the guidelines and agree that the terms set forth are equitable.

Being a creative individual means constantly evolving to keep up with the times and staying abreast of the latest technology. When assembling your portfolio, the sky’s the limit and creating bold pieces could just land you your next job! Having a diversified portfolio, even if it’s speculative work, could be what leads a client to hire you over someone else. 

What Next?

Creating a writing portfolio is only the first step in your writing journey. You can continue to grow and find work in various ways and have a thriving career. Not that there won’t be rejection; there will, but how you handle it will make the difference.

To get your work published quickly, you can self-publish. Though this route may not be best suited for everyone, it may be the best avenue to take with certain books. This is especially true if the content is “specific to a niche,” according to Moira Allen. Allen states that with self-publishing, “the author becomes the publisher.” It grants authors the freedom to select the cover design and allows them to get their books onto the market in a few weeks versus the years it might take with a commercial publisher. It also gives the writer control over the entire publishing process.

Companies like Amazon offer publishing options that range from e-books, print, and audiobooks; all done through their platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). It allows you to set your price but be aware that you’re signing a contract with terms and conditions. While Kindle has its own audiobook platform, ACX, you won’t be able to publish it on Audible unless you remove it from ACX prior to publishing it elsewhere.

Continuing Your Journey

Now that you’ve added a few extra tools to your writer’s toolbox, it’s time to make some decisions and set forth a plan-of-action. Did you decide that self-publishing is for you? Head over to the self-publishing venue and look at what’s needed to start the process. Ready to build your blog or website? Research the “tools of the trade” like Contena. Think about its content and how you want to appeal to your audience. Will you showcase the many types of work that you do like Barton, or do you prefer offering select pieces that fall within your niche? Find the platform you connect with, so you can broadcast your voice to the world. Let your passion for writing lead you on a journey and you may just find yourself doing the thing you love the most: writing!

Throwback: My Very First Byline

I was given my first byline at the age of 17 after shadowing a local reporter with my hometown’s local newspaper. I was then given the opportunity to write about my experience and that article was published in the Journal News.  See the photo to read my very first published article.

Originally published by via print.

Local Business Spotlight: Sound Body Productions

In a time where COVID 19 is making waves for small business owners, one local entrepreneur credits the pandemic for helping him launch his new business. When asked about the impact the corona virus had on his ability to start Sound Body Productions, sole proprietor, and local disc jockey Michael Randolph, said “I know it’s kind of weird to say it, but Covid helped me more than anything. If the world wouldn’t have stopped, I would not have had the time to dedicate to my passion.” He says it was his love for music that inspired him to pursue his dreams of becoming a professional DJ.

Hamilton Native and proprietor of Sound Body Productions, Michael Randolph

Sound Body Productions is a DJ for hire enterprise that specializes in helping its customers create a lively atmosphere for any event. Randolph is a disc jockey with two and a half years of experience, but he got his start at an early age when he began to emcee for his brother-in-law during DJ performances throughout the Tri-state area. His witty and theatrical personality combined with his lengthy experience make him an ideal candidate when hiring a disc jockey for any occasion.

Randolph, a Hamilton native, attributes his personal brand of “Funk House” (a subgenre of house music combined with funk samples) to the music he grew up listening to as a child. “Growing up my dad always had Motown and funk and country playing in our house,” he said. Although Funk House is his preferred genre, he reports that his music collection is essentially unlimited, and he can easily cater to the musical preferences of his clientele.

If you are the type of person who likes to try before you buy you can catch live performances by Randolph, as well as local DJs Matt Marcum and Scott Hubbard, Thursday evenings from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at The Fringe coffee house. The trio are also slated to perform at the SHIFT Music & Art Festival, May 15th at RiversEdge.

Randolph referred to DJs Marcum and Hubbard when asked how he came to perform at The Fringe. The pair posted about their upcoming performance at the coffee house on Facebook, Randolph commented about his interest in the event. They then invited him to participate, and the rest is history.

The camaraderie and willingness to help other local performers shown by these artists is consistent with the cultivation of fellowship and inclusivity that has become prevalent in Hamilton over the past few years and the city can look forward to seeing much more from these artists in the future.

For more Information on Sound Body Productions or to get a quote for your next event call: (513) 208-8961 or visit Sound Body Productions on Facebook.

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Digital Media: A Day In the Life

SNHU -Social Media & Marketing Communications Class Assignment

Digital media is defined as information that is broadcast to an audience through a screen and in a world where things are digitized more than ever before we find ourselves using various types of digital media throughout the course of our day.

We use digital media when we watch videos on YouTube, we use it when we binge watch a show on Netflix, do some online shopping or read a blog on WordPress and while we may be unaware, the social media sites that we utilize on a daily basis are also considered digital media.

As an older millennial I grew up in a time before cell phones and social media existed. I had the luxury of making my mistakes in private instead of having them broadcasted on a mega social platform where the decisions made in my youth could affect my future even before I was able to understand the ramifications of those choices.

However,  I also benefited from growing up with technology and as it evolved, I evolved. My first cell phone was an old Nokia 5165 with the changeable face and the card you preloaded onto your phone so you could call your friends. You know, the phone you could run over with your car and it would still work just as good as the day you purchased it. But the phone I use today is considerably different.

Photo by Anete Lusina on

While my first cell phone didn’t have a camera or voice recording capabilities, that technology is overwhelmingly accessible to us now. At the click of a button, we can download barrage of applications right on our mobile devices that allow us to capture and edit video and voice recordings and post them directly to our social media pages. These capabilities allow us to market ourselves easily and effectively to the world outside, both personally and professionally.

I use a multitude of media applications daily in addition to using top social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Dolby for instance, is a free application downloadable on your phone or PC that allows you to record songs, voice memos and other sounds at the click of a button. The application utilizes noise reduction software so that your recordings come out clear and crisp and it also has features that allow you to share your audio clips directly to your social media outlets. I use this application when recording interviews with local business owners for my blog. It is an excellent way for me to capture the conversation and refer to it for missed details or quotes I may need when writing a feature.

Although I do prefer my Nikon when taking photos, I also utilize my phone’s built-in camera application  and even Instagram to take photos and videos and also use Samsung notes for jotting down my story ideas that way no matter where I am I can refer back to them later when it is time to begin writing. I also find that being able to access my email at a moment’s notice is especially valuable for conducting business so I have all three of my email addresses set up under Microsoft Outlook so that I can receive notifications instantly and reply to others in a timely fashion.

I find using the various types of media to be a somewhat pleasant experience. The convenience that the different media types provide me make my everyday life easy to navigate, especially when trying to conduct business on my lunch break or from the sidelines of one of my child’s soccer games. But I do also suffer some of the negative affects that can come with utilizing social media, especially around election time or when sorting my emails to eliminate unwanted solicitors and spam.

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on

After starting this blog, I have been met with a deluge of online advertising geared toward helping me promote my business. At first, I’d wonder how Facebook knew to target small business ads on my timeline and then I remembered how interconnected media these days is. Everything we do online is seen and kept track of in some manner and I think this is a huge benefit for digital media marketing. Although having your online movements tracked can seem like an invasion of privacy, I do think there are benefits for the everyday user as well. Those seeking to market their brands and products and have their ads pushed under the nose of their target demographic based on a little algorithm created by the social site they are using to publicize their brand; this is just as helpful for small businesses as it is for big dogs like Apple or Android. For users it can be beneficial in helping them locate the right website developer for launching their new business or even finding the right gift for that special someone.

Six Interesting Facts About Women’s Suffrage That You Probably Didn’t Know

In society today women play an intrinsic role in the cultivation of their communities, but this has not always been the case. Not long-ago women lived their lives beholden to the will of men. They lived by the idea that their primary function in society was to play a submissive and domestic role. They were unequal to men, had very few rights and for the most part, were poorly educated.  It took hundreds of years before women began to fight for the same rights and freedoms that were already guaranteed to their male counterparts.

The Women’s Rights Movement began in the 1820’s but didn’t gain steam until 1848 when women’s rights supporters gathered to discuss the issue of women’s rights in the United States. This gathering is known as the Seneca Falls Convention. From that convention sprang a consensus on the issues to be tackled, as well as a wealth of support for the movement. In the wake of this convention several women’s rights organizations were formed. Once such organization, formed in 1913 and lead by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, two well-known women’s rights activists, was the National Woman’s Party (formerly the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage), which played an integral part in the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 The women of the National Woman’s party employed a myriad of tactics when fighting to win the right to vote. While they used many common methods of protest such as letter writing campaigns and forming protest groups it was their unconventional protest methods, creative thinking and feminine instinct that led to the eventual ratification of the 19th Amendment.

  • Women were the first political activists in the United States to hold protest demonstrations outside the White House.
“Silent sentinel” Alison Turnbull Hopkins at the White House on New Jersey Day . 1917 Courtesy of Women of Protest: Photographs from the records of the National Women’s Party, Manuscript Division, The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Women were meant to be seen and not heard. This was an overwhelmingly held belief throughout society during the early years of the Women’s Rights Movement and women were expected to adhere to it without question. That concept was the inspiration for one of the main methods of protest used during the fight to gain woman suffrage. On January 10, 1917, the women of the National Woman’s Party waged silent protests outside the white house gates for the first time. This form of protest would continue for the next two and a half years. Six days a week protestor from the National Woman’s Party would silently protest at the gates of the White House.

  • Female protestors who were arrested and imprisoned during suffrage protests are the organizers of the first group action ever made that established the status of political prisoners in America.

Lucy Burns was responsible for initiating the activist movement inside the prisons and upon her removal to solitary confinement a piece of paper listing the demands of the prisoners was passed from cell to cell until the document was completed with the demands of signatures of each of the inmates. The document summarized that the group was entitled to their rights of peaceful protests which are guaranteed to them by the Constitution and that by arresting them for exercising their right to protest they violated laws the government had already recognized as legitimate when they pardoned other activists for the same reason. Essentially pointing out the flaws within the justice system.

  • Women imprisoned because of their protests continued their protests from inside their prison cells by waging war on the deplorable living conditions that they were forced to suffer. They broke prison windows to gain access to fresh air and even participated in a hunger strike.

The prisoners banded together to protest their living conditions first by trying to maintain their health by demanding the right to fresh air. They launched an attack on the windows near their cells, utilizing anything they could find (tin cups, books, light bulbs, etc.) and hurling them at the nearby windows. Hunger strikes held by the activists resulted in a campaign of intimidation by the authorities. The women were met with threats, they were bullied and often forced fed through tubes because of their resistance to consume the food served to them while imprisoned.

  • Soiled robes were given to protestors who were imprisoned as a method of humiliation against the suffragettes, but the women responded by using fashion as a form of rebellion and donning the garments during their protests.
Abby Scott Baker in prison dress, 1917. Courtesy of Women of Protest Photographs from the records o f the National Woman’s Party, Manuscript  Division, The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Despite being forced to wear garments that were deliberately soiled and used to humiliate the suffragists, the women’s creative thinking took the garment and transformed it into a badge of honor for those who donned it. They harnessed the suppressive meaning behind the garb and revolutionized it, turning it into a symbol for the women’s suffrage movement.

  • Suffragists used Valentines as a method of protest.

On Valentine’s Day in 1916 Suffragists put an ironic twist on a rather feminine holiday by sending a thousand valentines to politicians urging them to support the suffrage movement. You can view actual valentines sent to the politicians and read more about it at Genealogy Bank.

  • A mother’s handwritten letter to her son urging him to throw his support behind the movement, was the final nail in the coffin for those who opposed the women’s suffrage.
Letter to Harry Burn from Mother, August 1920 [Photograph found in Harry T. Burn Papers, C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library]

Harry T. Burn, the youngest member of the Tennessee State Legislature had voted twice against ratification but upon this third vote he took pause, recalling a letter he had received from his mother Febb Burn, urging him to vote in favor of the amendment. She wrote, “”Dear Son…Hurray and vote for Suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt…. Don’t forget to be a good boy, help…Catt with her ‘Rats.” Her mention of Catt’s Rats was a reference to a political cartoon that had appeared in a local newspaper depicting Carrie Chapman Catt of the National Woman American Suffrage Association, driving the letters “RAT” with a broom, essentially sweeping them up in front of the letters “IFICATION”.  It was this letter from his mother that influenced Burn and compelled him to change his vote from a nay to an aye, officially ratifying the 19th Amendment and sending the Tennessee house into chaos.

The ratification of the 19th Amendment was a victory for women everywhere. The persistence and bravery of the suffragists who fought for equal rights are admirable and one of the main reasons why women today have the freedoms that they do. While the ratification of the 19th Amendment was a huge win for the Women’s Rights Movement and because of its passage women are afforded more rights than ever before, but there is still work to be done!


Every motivational/self help book I have ever read has one thing in common. The Author is always someone or references someone who has decided that they are tired of living an unfulfilling life. They are sick of working a job they hate and they desperately long for change. These people reach a point in their lives where they decide enough is enough and they take that ever so frightening step toward changing the paths of their lives. 

I am one of those people. 

 I am a 37-year-old wife and mother of 2 children. I have a job I like but it is not my passion. I’m overweight. I have a total of 2 close friends. Neither of who I see very often, either due to proximity or conflicting schedules. I live an ordinary life and most of the time I wonder how in the hell I got here.

Once upon at time I had dreams, and not the white picket fence kind. I was going to sing and if that didn’t work out, I was going to become a journalist. But somewhere exceedingly early in life I allowed fear and complacency to suppress those dreams. I lucked into a cozy, part-time office job during my junior year in high school and the rest is history. I spent the next 11 years of my life bouncing from cubicle to cubicle, working for people I wasn’t fond of, in an industry I didn’t choose for myself.

Around 2013, after working for a man who I’m certain was Joseph Stalin in his previous life, I decided It was time to move on even if that meant taking an entry level position with little pay in an industry in which I had zero experience. Within 24 hours of leaving said job I had an interview with a new company and was offered the position three days later.  

It has been seven years since I accepted that position and I am currently still employed with that company. I have had several raises and promotions and have worked my way up the chain a bit. But I am still a lifetime away from being anywhere near the top. I am still just a minion.

On particularly memorable Thursday morning a few years ago started off just like any other day. I woke up to the smiling faces of my kids as they crawled into my bed for another round of “Good morning cuddles”.  We dressed and gathered our things and headed out the door to begin another long day of mediocrity. I dropped the kids at school and headed into the office. I was sucking down my 3rd cup of black coffee when I received an email that sent me into an internal fit of rage. (I’ll admit I can be a bit dramatic). I started to question many of my life choices. Why did I allow myself to fall into this rut? Why didn’t I pursue what I always thought I would? Why am I continuing to waste my life doing things that don’t make me happy? This wasn’t the first time I’d thought about these things, it wasn’t even the 100th time. These thoughts were becoming an everyday occurrence.

I was venting to my husband via text message, like I always do when the actions of others upset me. I told him how I felt like I had screwed up by not attempting to follow a creative job path and how I now felt like I was stuck kissing up to people I didn’t like for the rest of my life just to earn a buck. I shouldn’t have to be the a** kisser; those people should be kissing my a**.  Joking, he replied, “I’m not going to kiss your a**, so don’t ask!” To which I replied, “Bite me.” He said, “I’m not doing that either.  😉” His next text message, although they might seem cliché, had a major impact on me. He said, “Without thinking, answer these 2 questions. If you could do anything, any job, own any business, whatever you want, what would it be?” Without thinking I replied, “Own & run my own bookstore, but we both know, those are becoming obsolete.” He then asked, “If you could go back to school for anything, what would it be?”  I typed the first thing that came to mind, “Writing.” And he said, “Then do it.”  I then began to spew a series of excuses as to why that wasn’t practical. Cost of school, that fact that a degree in writing doesn’t align with my current career path, etc.   To all of which he replied, “You can make as many excuses as you want, or you can look up schools that offer the courses you want. You can research and prepare a business plan and work toward obtaining a business loan. You can get your ideas together and make your dreams come true.”

As much as I hated to admit it, he was right. My excuses didn’t matter. Why did I care if a degree in creative writing didn’t align with my current career path? If I wasn’t satisfied with the path that I was on, that was the time to change it.

Writing has always been in the back of my mind. I can’t tell you the number of times I have sat down in front of my computer with the intention of starting a blog. I reserve the domain and set up the page, but when I sit down to finally put pen to paper, nothing would come out. It wasn’t for a lack of topics. I have a billion ideas swirling around in my head all the time. The issue was that I lacked the tools to take those ideas and turn them into the something great I knew they could be.

After that conversation I spent several hours researching online schools and accreditations and courses and pricing until I finally settled on a school. I submitted a request for information online and within an hour I had received a call from someone at the school who was ready to supply me with all the information I needed to begin my journey.  By the end of the day I had applied to school with the goal of earning a Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing and had submitted my information for financial aid.

I am now in my third year at Southern New Hampshire University online, working toward my BA in English & Creative Writing with a focus in fiction and a minor in communications. On the advice of one of my creative writing professors I submitted one of my short stories to the The Penmen Review, an online journal, and in February of 2021 my story was selected for publication on the site. You can find the link to Times Up under the Portfolio option in the menu bar.  

I also just recently completed collaboration with a group of fellow writers for The Writing Roles Incentive Training Experience (W.R.I.T.E.).  We worked together to create an article aimed at advising novice writers on how they can go about building a writing portfolio. We finished up our final team meeting yesterday and will be submitting the piece today. We are in competition with 14 other groups and the winning article will be published in the Penmen Review and I think we have a good shot!