Digital marketing and public relations certificate offered in Asheville

To address the need for training in digital communication skills, Western Carolina University’s Division of Educational Outreach is partnering with six experts to offer a digital marketing and public relations certificate this spring.

“We had requests from area professionals to develop this certificate, so we reached out to local marketing and public relations professionals who are recognized both regionally and nationally for their expertise,” said Jill Thompson, associate director of professional development at WCU.  “They responded with comprehensive and cutting-edge sessions that will help workshop participants build their digital communication skills across a range of platforms.”

To earn the certificate, participants will attend six daylong workshops, all on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning March 16 and ending May 11. All sessions will be held at WCU’s instructional site at Biltmore Park in Asheville.

The session schedule includes:

March 16: Marketing and Public Relations in the Digital Age

Betty Farmer, an award-winning professor of communication and public relations at WCU and owner of Farmer Communications, will explore how the shift from traditional to digital approaches has ushered in a new set of rules for contemporary marketing and public relations.

March 23: Visual Content Marketing How To’s (Session I)

Cathy Busick, founder and president of Insight Marketing, a full-service branding company in Western North Carolina, will teach participants how to create visual elements and write compelling copy needed for email marketing. Attendees will leave with branded email templates and a better understanding of how to execute email campaigns.

April 6: Visual Content Marketing How To’s (Session II)

In a second week with Busick, attendees will create templates for social media posts and infographics, and write content for ads, posts and blogs.

April 13: Social Media Strategies for Products, Programs and Events

Sarah Benoit, director of training and lead instructor at JB Media Institute, and Justin Belleme, founder and director of strategy at JB Media in Asheville, will help participants craft their organizational or product stories in more memorable and sharable ways.

April 27:  Best Practices for Including Video in Your Content Strategy

In the morning session, Pat Gallo, accomplished visual storyteller and videographer, will show attendees how to plan, shoot and edit their own footage. In the afternoon session, Benoit and Belleme will review the variety of do-it-yourself video production and editing tools available via social media and apps for mobile devices. They will also share best practices for video marketing as part of an overall content marketing strategy.

May 11: Tracking and Measuring Overall Digital Marketing Results

In the final session, Benoit and Belleme will help participants analyze and evaluate search engine optimization results and social media data and insights so they may continuously monitor and improve their digital communication efforts.

All of the sessions will be interactive, and attendees are encouraged to bring their smartphones and/or laptops.

The cost for the digital marketing and public relations certificate is $640 for those registering before Thursday, Feb. 15; thereafter the cost is $695. The fee covers all six workshops, lunches each day and continuing education credits. Individuals who are unable to attend all six workshops, but would like to enroll in one or more of the sessions, may do so at a cost of $119 per day.

For details about each of the sessions, to read instructors’ biographies and to register, go to and click on “Digital Marketing and Public Relations Certificate,” or contact Thompson at 828-227-3070.

WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach extends access to education and training through innovative courses, programs and services for individuals and communities both locally and globally. For more information, go to