Mary Free Bed marketing internship reflection – Shannon Hicks

It wasn’t until the middle of my internship that I truly understood what the marketing team at Mary Free Bed does. Of course, their job, on paper, is to develop relationships with community members and advertise the successes of the company. But, they do so much more than that. The marketing team helps past and present patients to examine and appreciate their own unique story. Through videos by Eric, pictures by Tony, and writing by Betsy, the team shares inspiration to people who need their hope and freedom restored. Thanks to social media posts and our website content, people allow themselves to embrace the possibility of miracles, or marycles. And, the marketing team assumes those responsibilities with a heavy, grateful mindset focused on the people whom Mary Free Bed serves.

With a background in non-profit work, I understand the ease at which it is possible to forget the larger cause that one is working towards. But, at Mary Free Bed, I didn’t see that as an obstacle. Everyone at Mary Free Bed is focused on the mission of restoring hope and freedom to people. And, it’s easy to stay motivated when you walk alongside these patients everyday and see the progress that the Mary free Bed staff has helped them achieve.

I feel grateful to have worked alongside those patients, as well as the staff, at Mary Free Bed, all while growing as a marketing professional. As an intern, I was able to reach over 16,900 people with my Facebook posts. On twitter, I wrote to an audience of 2,577. And, on Instagram, I had the opportunity to inspire and educate over 1,798 people. I went into the Grand Rapids community and promoted Mary Free Bed, while improving my communication skills that I’ve been refining in school for the past few years. The Thrive Gala was a particular highlight of my time at Mary Free Bed, as I was part of a team that helped raise thousands of dollars for children with cerebral palsy.

In addition to those major accomplishments during my time at Mary Free Bed, I also learned some basics of videography and editing from an award-winning videographer professional. I wrote articles celebrating Mary Free Bed staff and programs, which were published online. I even wrote my first ever news pitch to national news outlets, asking them to share the success of a Mary Free Bed patient who overcame a life-threatening injury. I began to see the many different aspects of marketing, and the staff mentored me in each area.

While I’m sad to see my internship at Mary Free Bed come to a close, I feel confident that I will be successful as I begin working full-time after graduation in May. Thanks to those at Mary Free Bed, I have gained a deeper understanding of business, marketing, and compassion.


Farewell to #j560

More nice thoughts on social media, PR and communications from a graduate student.

Keep Calm and Travel On

This semester has been a busy one. When I first opened the syllabus for the Managing Online Public Relations class, I became worried about the amount of social media posts we would be required to do each week. It almost seemed unmanageable. Prior to this course, I was a social media user but not an active one. In fact, my personal social media usage was almost non-existent. J560 really pushed me to get back into the social media game. Even more than that, it taught me to be mindful of the content I post and how I can engage with friends and followers. I found that when I posted a really relevant article about social media or PR I would get a lot of interactions through retweets, comments and favorites. This opened me up to the idea that social media can do a lot for you if you know how…

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A farewell to #J560

Nice final blog from a graduate student in my Spring #J560 Managing Online Public Relations course in the IU School of Journalism and PR at IUPUI.


As I look back on the past 15 weeks, it is hard to believe that my time at IUPUI is coming to an end. About a week from now, I will be putting on the cap and gown to complete my obligations as a graduate student and finally receive my MA in Public Relations.

In December of 2014, I was freaking out about the course load I had placed upon myself along with a full-time job. I had a marketing course out of the Kelley School of Business that overlapped the fall and spring semester, contributing to 12 credit hours worth of classes during the first five weeks of spring. Fortunately, my wife, classmates, instructors, friends, family and co-workers were all very supportive of my efforts and encouraged me along the way – especially my wife.

One of the courses that I most looked forward to every week was J560…

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Happy Anniversary, Baby…

Thank you to the love of my life for another amazing blog. She knows how to touch a techy dudes heart. Love you Slick. #Wedbk


…got you on my..miiiiiiiind.

(Thank you Little River Band.)


Anniversary.  A silly word the more you say it over and over.   I’ve never celebrated an anniversary before (unless you want to count birthdays as ANNIVERSARIES of our birth days and be all technical).  My longest relationship is one year, and consequently, that’s the relationship I am in now…with the love of my life, best friend, man I am going to MARRY (53 days!).

It’s not that I want to celebrate this anniversary every year for the rest of our lives.  Just this once though, before we remember 9.29.13 forever, I want to celebrate 8.6.12.  I met Benjamen Wesley Risinger on Twitter through a mutual Twitter buddy.  We became fast friends after meeting for an east side pub crawl (meeting the man you will marry in a poodle skirt? Priceless.), and have been nearly inseparable since.


He’s my best friend…

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Revenue North Conference Speaker

Learn about many different techniques for business from the Revenue North conference.

Learn about many different tricks and techniques for business from the Indianapolis Revenue North Business Growth Conference.

I was recently asked to speak at the new Revenue North Business Growth Conference happening Thursday, March 21st. My topic will be using social media for small and medium sized business. Just because we can all post to Facebook and Twitter, that doesn’t mean you are doing it right. Social media is a tactic that if utilized correctly, can build your audience better than you ever thought. Read more on my breakout session HERE.

Topics covered will include finance, video, public relations, writing, SEO, branding, work and life balance and more! Don’t miss out on this fantastic one day conference to help take your business to a new level.
CLICK HERE for Conference Details

Don’t miss out. Lots of amazing Indianapolis area professionals to network with and learn from. Yes, we can all post to our social media pages…but do it right, engage and analyze!

A Drink with Ben & Steve: Google + Hangout

Social Media and Google + Hangout

Ben and Steve will chat social media, the drink of the week and life on the 30 minute weekly webcast.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, Steve Neville, of Intelligent Designs Media said we should chat social media more. We geek out. I completely agreed as I’m a social media junkie and can talk platforms and strategies all the time. Yes, this conversation was had while drinking a beer.

SO…a Google + Hangout was thought up. There are a lot of different podcasts about social media, but none focus on being a gentleman, having a gentleman’s beverage and social media. This week we chat #Vine – the new web six second video platform to use with Twitter.

I hope that you will join us to chat social media and just have some fun. The link to the Google + Hangout will be posted around 7:10-7:15 on Thursday evening via our Twitter handles. We will also take live questions and chat from Twitter – please use the hashtag #DrinkWBS to chime in and say hi!

Ben Risinger on Twitter: @Ben Risinger  |  Steve Neville on Twitter: @IntelMediaGroup

Indiana Artisan Marketplace

I’m very proud to be a Hoosier. I’ve lived in Indiana, Ohio and Florida but have spent most of my life in our grand state. Hoosiers are cool, Hoosiers are talented and Hoosiers make some really cool stuff.

Indiana Artisan is just that – the best that Indiana has to offer. From their website (www.indianaartisan.org), “This collaborative organization brings together Indiana’s talented Artisans’ one-of-a-kind art and food creations – in stores and on trails crisscrossing the state. Their select work enriches the lives of Hoosiers and visitors.

Indiana Artisan - true and original Indiana art and products

I think that says it all. For sure.

This weekend at the Expo Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds you will be able to buy art, food and drink from the best of the best. The 2nd Indiana Artisan Marketplace made the DoItIndy Top 5 urban events of the week – check out our video here (www.youtube.com/doitindy). Support local, especially in today’s day and age. Have fun and get your dose of the best of Indiana.

For more information and Artisan who will be on hand for the event click here http://indianaartisan.org/news_releases.php?nID=3

My first March blog

Life happens. I was doing really good at blogging and then March came and off I went…

DoItIndy lost some of our best event videos which really hit us hard as a group. We are trying to get them back and hope that a good resolution comes from that soon. We will continue to keep it urban and give you the best that Indianapolis has to offer. THEN…

I took my first real vacation in a few years a couple of weeks ago which I had been planning for over six months. I went to see the band 311 play at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and it was AWESOME! Fantastic music and a great time with my buddy Jason as we met new and cool 311 fans from across the country.

Great time with @jjpeoples311 at the show

We have a Facebook page and Twitter handle @excitableones for all you social media fans in cyberspace. Las Vegas was fun, how can you not have fun in Vegas right?. I made a few bucks playing blackjack and then gave them back which was ok with me. I had my small limit to gamble with and I stayed right within that limit.

The MGM Grand was rocking with 311 in the house

What a great seven days out West and then it was back to reality…and reality hit. My sister-in-law Tami (Steve’s wife) was diagnosed with colon cancer and she has now been through surgery to remove the tumor. The tumor is removed, she is home resting and will have to go through some chemo therapy. I’m very grateful she is better now.

My other sister-in-law Meghan had a baby with my little brother Nick which is WONDERFUL! But, when little Ivan came out he had to be rushed to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital from Anderson because he needed some extra help. The boy is much better now which is good – I’m a very proud uncle for sure. Finally we had another big event happen which I can’t say much about…but that is getting better too.  Life happens.

Funny how much I love this little man already

My first real personal blog on http://www.benrisinger.com and I guess it is cool. I have been a little more out there with my personal life lately on social media than what I normally share. Sometimes life hands you those times when you need to share a little bit more. I have something else that is in the works – something really cool and big. Coming soon.

The first time I got to hold my new nephew after a couple of days.

Go March!

p.s. I FINALLY purchased my first iPhone. I’m learning. It’s awesome.