COMM 620: Special Topics: Digital Marketing for Strategic Communication

Today's communication professionals must work strategically across paid, earned, shared, and owned (PESO) channels. Effectively driving digital traffic builds campaign awareness, stimulates engagement, and moves target audiences toward action. This course teaches students how to employ digital marketing strategies and tools to amplify multi-channel PR and strategic communication efforts.

Topics include search engine optimization (SEO) and different forms of digital advertising, including search engine marketing (SEM), native advertising, and social and video display ads. Students also earn Google Ads Certification.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, you will have the skills to:

  • Describe a range of digital marketing and advertising opportunities employed by PR/strategic communication professionals.
  • Analyze the cost-benefit tradeoffs of different digital marketing and advertising opportunities.
  • Apply an initial understanding of industry techniques and tools, such as SEO and Google Ads, to make strategic content development and media buying decisions.
  • Create a fully integrated PESO campaign plan that effectively leverages digital marketing and advertising strategies and tactics in conjunction with strategic communication techniques.

Sample Topics

  • Digital and social campaign strategy
  • PESO Model
  • Campaign objectives, key performance indicators (KPIs), and metrics
  • Audience selection and targeting methods
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM) 
  • Digital Advertising 
  • Social media marketing 
  • Advertising formats and creative implications
  • Integration of public relations and advertising tactics
  • Role of influencers and partnerships
  • Digital advertising platforms (e.g., Google Ads and Facebook Blueprint)

Sample Assignments

  • A fully integrated digital marketing plan that leverages all PESO channels
  • Google Ads certification exams
  • SEO-optimized blog post and Google search ad to improve search engine results page positioning (SERP)
  • Display advertising strategy, including copy, creative idea, targeting method, and KPI for a campaign objective

Read the official course description at the American University Catalog.

Note: The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as courses and student needs change over time.

Learn more today about the Digital Communication Strategies and Analytics concentration. Call us at 855-725-7614 to speak to an admissions advisor or request more information.