Four Quick Digital Marketing Tips
April 19, 2017 12:05 pm

Have you ever been interested in learning more about digital marketing? Perhaps you’re interested in building a website or tracking social media analytics for your business.

If you’re just starting out, navigating the world of digital marketing can be confusing.

To help us navigate this field more in-depthATYPICAL SOUNDS caught up with Ashley Panter, an Athens, Georgia-based digital marketing specialist with substantial professional experience in areas including website design, graphic design, and social media marketing.

Panter currently works as the marketing manager of UGA Small Business Development Center, and as the creative director of her company, Blu Mountain Expressions.  She is also currently a master’s candidate in the Emerging Media program at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Here are several tips Panter swears have been instrumental in her own development as a marketing specialist and an entrepreneur.

1. For someone new to digital marketing, what are essential tips about your field?

“For someone new to digital marketing, knowing which social networks your audience is on is key,” Panter says. “Taking it one step further, knowing which days and times your audience is online are also critical.  You don’t want to be pushing out content at times when your audience isn’t present.”

According to Panter, maintaining a balance between content consistency and diversity is essential to engaging your target audience.  Pushing content through multiple channels, i.e. graphic design, website design, UX, email marketing, etc., is a good strategy for maintaining a wider audience.

“My last tip for someone new to digital marketing is to not discount the value of your website,” she says.

She referenced her recent article “How Poor Website Design Will Affect Your Business“.


2. Talk about building your freelance network. How long did it take? How did you gain new clients?

Panter started by creating free flyers for professors’ courses around Augusta State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a minor in art.

“The first client I picked up was a professor’s church friend who owned a medical billing business,” she says. “I created a website for her for a menial fee of $300. At the time, that was a lot of money for me though. She was so happy with her website, she referred two of her friends to me. And the chain then continued.”

After two years of freelancing, she had built a network of roughly 20 steady clients, doing work ranging from “websites to business cards, logos, brochures, ads, promotional products, etc.”

According to Panter, being willing to be flexible on pricing, or even do jobs for free, is essential to building your client list when starting out.


“[Technology] also helps you pinpoint your exact target audience which ensures you are pushing out the right content and messaging to be the most engaging to your target group”—Ashley Panter, Blu Mountain Expressions


3. What is the role of tech in your job?  How has technology made it easier to work as an entrepreneur?

“Technology plays a huge role in my day-to-day job, but an even bigger role in my freelance gigs,” Panter says. “The ability to reach people via social media by a targeted digital ad based on a user’s age, location, interests is huge.

She explains that things like the ability to take notes on an iPad and capture quality video and audio with her smartphone make her job as a marketer and business owner much easier.

“Can you imagine being a marketer and being asked to create a flyer and market an event before technology? No InDesign, no Photoshop, no Illustrator, no social media, no email marketing. Wow, that would be a tough job.”


4. Talk about work-life balance.  How do you manage your daily life while being a successful business woman?

“Usually, I take on 3-4 freelance projects monthly, which require 30 to 90 minutes of time each,” Panter explains. “So, as you can see, I live by a pretty packed schedule, but find it easy to manage as long as I can keep everything organized and the line of communication open.”

She says that maintaining a work-life balance while completing a master’s degree is sometimes tough to manage, but she manages her commitments by being extremely organized and communicative.

Check out more articles on ATYPICAL SOUNDS.

Interested in checking out more of Ashley Panter’s work? Check out her blog here.

June 30, 2016 1:26 pm

Who’s World is This? (The World is Yours The World is Yours) It’s Mine It’s Mine It’s Mine, Who’s World is This?

This year, the world clearly belongs to Nas. Everyone else is just living in it.

Nasir Jones–better known by his stage name Nas–is consistently ranked among the top rappers of all time. He’s been spitting bricks about social justice for minorities and growing up in the Queensbridge housing projects since he dropped his 1994 Illmatic, an essential hip-hop classic. Since then seven of his records have been certified platinum–he is an undisputed master, an urban poet laureate.

Even Harvard University can’t deny his profound impact on culture.

In 2013, Nas forged a partnership with the Ivy League School, thus establishing the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship with the broad intention of funding scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with Hip Hop. Now I know what your thinking–Harvard?! But hip-hop is less than 50 years old, has introduced sampling to the general collective conscious, and has been a key factor in not only enabling people of all backgrounds to think critically about society, but also acting as a tool for minorities to offer a strong sense of community and an expression of life through the eyes of the silenced. The Hip Hop Archive & Research Institute and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute will utilize the fellowship to bring in hip hop talent, fund projects, and allow the next generation of underprivileged poets to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement. It doesn’t stop there. In addition to helping pave the way for the next generation of hip-hop talent, Nas also wants to shake up the white and male-dominated tech sphere.

Nas isn’t alone in his assertion that Silicon Vally doesn’t have a diverse enough workplace–especially when you factor in that California is also one of the most diverse states in the country. Even Google admitted they needed to work on diversity when they released this report a few years ago. Then in 2014, the Internet services giant, along with Nas and software mainstay Microsoft, began collaboratively funding an initiative by The General Assembly (GA). The New York-based vocational program specializes in providing scholarships to underrepresented African Americans, Latinos and women that want to persuit a career in software engineering and web design. Pretty cool stuff Nas.

If you’re still unimpressed, Nas isn’t done giving back quite yet either. Nas will be hosting a free music festival for you New Yorkers this summer! In collaboration with his own Mass Appeal Magazine, Live At The BBQ will feature Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Shadow, Danny Brown, and Machine Gun Kelly.

June 2, 2016 12:42 pm

Today I’m jumping into the rabbit hole by posing a simple yet vexing question: Why is Young Rising Sons considered an ‘indie pop‘ band?

I’m not going to debate their talent, or bash their fan-base, or repulse you by assessing the ‘authenticity’ of their music. I don’t think they’re sell outs, and I’m not interested in diminishing the merits of their hard-earned success. But I’m convinced the word ‘indie’–contrary to common usage–is no longer an effective term to describe a band or it’s music.  Rather, it’s been diluted into an overused marketing buzz word. My criticism isn’t aimed at Young Rising Sons, per say; it’s commentary on a confused record industry in decline, desperately attempting to push units.

The genesis of Young Rising Sons is about as typical as you can get: future band-mates Julian Dimagiba (bass), Steve Patrick (drums), and Dylan Scott (guitar), were childhood friends growing up in Red Bank, New Jersey. The chums were spurred to approach lead singer Andry Tongren about forming a band after attending an acoustic set at a local bar. Their debut single “High” was a breakout internet sensation that was paired with a viral black and white youtube video. This early success allowed the band to secure a record deal with Universal-via-Geffen affiliate Interscope, which incidentally represents a host of other ‘pop’ bands of a similar aesthetic: The 1975, Imagine Dragons, One Republic.


Young Rising Sons’ melancholy and reflective tunes tend to erupt in climactic choruses reminiscent of Disney film ballads with fittingly trite lyrics like “We’ll rule the world forever / together / with hearts of gold / who needs treasure.” Another trope bands tend to exhibit is sonic cohesion–the sound of the creative process coming together. Not here. Young Rising Sons’ individual musical contributions are as distinguishable track to track as the members of Bruno Mars’ studio band. Their overly balanced instrumental blend is clearly arranged to embellish Tongren’s vocal performance, which would be well positioned to tally up votes on an American Idol contest but point out like a sore thumb at a dingy rock club.

To reiterate though- The dilemma isn’t execution. These gents have and are going to continue to churn out superb pop music. This is more like Maroon 5 (also fellow Interscope label-mates) claiming to be an “indie” band. My gripe has to do with the packaging: Young Rising Sons music is processed, radio-friendly filler for minivans packed with kids en route to soccer practice. It’s just not ‘indie.’ But maybe ‘indie’ in itself is nothing more than a catch phrase now. Maybe it’s like calling factory-packed chicken breast “all natural,” or claiming Pabst Blue Ribben is a “premium lager.”

Perhaps it’s the circumstance of a dwindling old guard industry run by mega-corporations trying to cope with a failing music economy and trying to capitalize on the current craze–whatever you can do to make a buck is fine by me. If ‘indie’ is in, dress your bands in Levi skinny-fit jeans, doc martins, and fitted leather jackets and call it whatever you want big man. You’re in charge.

Young Rising Sons do have a full-length in the works, but I wouldn’t expect a heavy departure from previous output. Sometime during their hectic touring schedule, lead guitarist Dylan Scott announced his departure from the band.