Tag: content strategy
There Are No Break Points in Your Web Strategy: Going Responsive Without Screwing Everything Up (UAD1)
We all know that responsive design is here to stay. We’ve watched that the percentage of mobile visitors climb every month, and it’s a fair bet that nobody at this conference needs to be convinced of the importance of making our sites responsive. But too often, when sites go responsive, they do so in a way that loses or changes their underlying web strategy: recruitment sites become news sites, calls to action go missing, emergency alerts are dropped on mobile devices, or desktop sites become burdensome and difficult to navigate. Making sites that deliver the same results at 320 and 990 pixels wide is exceedingly difficult. What goes where? What goes away on the phone? What expands or collapses? How do decisions made at the earliest stages of site planning influence what your users will eventually be seeing – and more importantly, doing -- on their phones? All of these are decisions that dramatically affect how users experience your site, what they see, and what they’ll ultimately do. This presentation will focus on strategies for creating a responsive experience, for new sites and redesigns, while maintaining your overall web objectives. Topics covered will include strategic approaches to managing common website components, such as homepage features, calls to action, navigation and menus, on small, medium, and large devices. While the range of options and device sizes may seem overwhelming and constantly shifting, best practices and common design patterns are emerging. This presentation will talk through these patterns, as well as the possible strategic benefits and drawbacks of each.
Engaging Prospective College Students and Their Parents Online: New 2014 E-Expectations Findings (MCS2)
In recent years, social media and use of mobile devices by students have changed how prospective college students and parents research and interact with campuses. How can campuses adapt their content and e-recruitment strategies to effectively engage with these very different audiences? Geyer and Merker will discuss research from a 2014 first-quarter survey of 1000 college-bound seniors and 500 parents; examining the feedback from both groups affecting web and mobile content strategies, recruitment through social media, direct communications such as email and text, and many other essential online and e-recruitment topics. Tracking data from previous E-Expectations studies will also be discussed, showing how student and parental preferences and behavior have changed over time. Attendees will leave the session understanding how they can optimize their strategies and content across multiple digital platforms.
You are wearing multiple hats. You have little time. You have a tiny budget. Revise your workflow, and practice the art of remixing: it will save your valuable time, money and allow you to focus on the really important tasks. To cultivate a remix mindset means realizing it is okay not to start from scratch every time. Making use of existing resources and materials, and producing a new product by combining or editing them is a creative way to save resources. We will explore areas of improvement, and boost your daily productivity by identifying duplicated efforts in your organization. Implementing remix strategies and the practice of lean kaizen, will help to transform your organization and implement changes that stick.
Own the Second Paragraph (MCS3)
Faculty are an institution’s most important asset. At a fundamental level, the academic reputation of a college or university is the aggregate expertise of the faculty. Unfortunately, most campuses have done a poor job of showcasing their faculty, especially in the age of the real time newscycle which demands a steady stream of expert content. There is a great opportunity for colleges and universities to own the second paragraph, which is where the “why” of a story gets explained. In this session, Greenfield will explore how to use faculty expertise as the cornerstone of content marketing, how to uncover invisible campus experts, how faculty reputation influences college rankings and impacts both student and faculty recruitment, and ultimately how to improve media outreach by owning the second paragraph.
"Authentic content" is a common term for describing social media. Indeed, this desirable quality is one of the great benefits of social media. It's often perceived as raw and unfiltered. It's “authentic.” However, authentic content is not reserved for social media. In fact, all content should be authentic. Authenticity represents a fundamental quality of clear communication, but many shy away from authenticity because it appears risky or to avoid opening an institution to critique and criticism. However, the risk of creating inauthentic content that can dull or misrepresent a brand can be a much worse consequence. Allen will discuss how institutions can "be themselves," including several examples of authentic content at work for colleges and universities. Attendees will learn how to turn perceived “flaws” into positive qualities that reflect and distinguish brand, culture, and values of colleges and universities.
Engaging students on social media is a difficult task, but guess what? No one knows how to engage students on social media better than the students themselves! But how do you even start leveraging their skills, insight, and perspectives as part of your social team? Hint: it isn’t as simple sitting students in front of a computer. This session will review how to hire and manage your student team, tools to use for team management, advice on recruiting the best candidates, and other helpful things to keep in mind when working with students.
Majors, degrees and programs -- these are the products that colleges and universities offer, and the act of earning a degree is a life-changing experience for most people. Why, then, are so many major, program and degree pages on .edu sites so long, lackluster or lifeless? This session will focus on creating a better user experience in a place that matters to almost every prospective student: major, degree and program pages. We'll look at design, usability and content decisions for these pages and best-in-category examples.
Inspired by the 2011 Best of Track presentation, Elizabethtown College took telling its own story into its own hands. E-town NOW, launched in the fall of 2013, is a dynamic, story-telling venue. Talarico, editor of the online publication, will walk attendees through the process (read: patience) of getting this project off the ground, from inception to conception and from production to introduction. She will also share how NOW built and mobilized a student editorial team (read: mentoring oops!), how they promote NOW and encourage story ideas from the community (hint: it's sweet), and explain how the online newsroom contributes to or streamlines other multiplatform marketing and communications efforts. (For example, the introduction of NOW lead to changes in E-town’s massive weekly internal newsletter.) Additionally, Talarico will touch on the rebranding of the College’s “subject matter expert list” into “Experts @ E-town,” which includes web, email and postcard campaigns. This presentation is right for anyone looking for a new way of presenting and producing news, but for smaller staffs/institutions, E-town NOW is a testament that it can be done with limited resources.
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” ― Charles Darwin. Despite being creatures made of pixels, codes, and thought, websites are living entities that follow principles similar to the evolutionary principles that predict how life changes and adapts. Using concepts from biology and the natural sciences, Stevens will look at the evolution of the University of Florida Health web presence, a three year process that eventually affected over 500 academic sites, six hospitals, hundreds of medical clinics, and eventually an entire university redesign. You're not going to need a lab coat or safety goggles as Stevens investigates how many finches are needed to make a decent digital birdhouse, genetic engineering (how to take learned principles and splice them into new projects), order and understanding through Taxonomy, or punctuated equilibrium (and how to affect what comes next).
The giving experience continues to evolve as the social web plays a larger role in building relationships with our alumni, parents and friends. Budd will explore how rich media storytelling combines with digital content strategy for a winning communication plan that doesn't just engage, but drives users to act. Budd will also discuss the basics of higher education development programs, the importance of investing in web infrastructure for annual giving, and a comprehensive review of Cornell University's 2013 crowdfunding pilot.
By now, we’ve all drank the proverbial Kool-Aid and understand the importance - and requirement - of social media in marketing for institutions. There have been a variety of creative appeals from admission, to student engagement to annual giving. But how can social media be used across an institution at the highest level, and what is an institutional social media strategy? Krywosa will provide a way forward by investigating integrating the best of discrete social media strategies (informative, fun, engagement and transaction focused) to a brand enhancing platform, as well as defining "best practices" specific to an institutional social media strategy. She will also examine the difference between campaign and organic social media strategies, while discussing means of collaboration to build a consistent brand message from content with social media in mind.
The content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website (TIE9)
Students are busy. They are focused on the exam they have to write tomorrow or the paper due at the end of the month. So how do you create a stellar online experience that makes it easy for students to find and use the information they need, delight them while on your site and make them want to come back? The centralized student service offices at UBC (The University of British Columbia) decided to tackle this challenge by using key elements of the student experience, rather than organizational structure, in the redesign of their website, students.ubc.ca. This session will discuss the overhaul of students.ubc.ca, a project initiated by the need to replace the CMS being used to manage the site but really about creating a user-centered student affairs website designed around the needs and preferences of current students, not the business owners. The redesign and redevelopment of students.ubc.ca involved the migration of approximately 12,000 pages of content from 12 distinct microsites into one meaningful, connected and comprehensive site. The content was split into flexible components that can be published in any location on any of the roughly 700 new dynamic site pages. Learn how the redesign project was designed to ensure the new and improved site delivered on the site goals to make it easy for students to find the information they’re looking for when visiting the site, anticipate the information needs of students as they progress through their studies and experience at UBC, delight students with content and functionality that surpasses what they came to the site for and deliver an intuitive and seamless experience designed around the student experience that helps students act on the information and the invitation to participate. The presenters will provide a tour of the redesigned site, including before and after, highlighting the site structure, visual design and structured content strategy.
Is Tumblr Right for Your School? (MCS10)
Tumblr: a land of memes, cat GIFs, self-indulgent ramblings and…high-quality curated content? Yes, indeed! With mainstream media as well as respected institutions such as museums and national non-profits now on board, Tumblr has become home to an increasingly sophisticated mix of content. Because of the way Tumblr works and its audience, often the unique, hard-to-find, original source material – archival documents, historic photos, artwork – rises to the top and becomes the most shared, with the most loyal fan-base. With this in mind, how can universities and colleges leverage their content – especially original, unique, highly visual or historic content – to their advantage on Tumblr? Based on four years experience curating the highly successful Art Deco Architecture blog (decoarchitecture.tumblr.com), Darling will outline the basics of Tumblr, showcase various colleges and universities who are doing Tumblr right, and how to judge whether the micro-blogging site can be a good fit for an institution’s marketing efforts.
Today’s college students can’t pay attention for a whole hour. “Chunking” web content or a presentation breaks extensive information into bite-size pieces. “Flipping” a lecture makes meeting time more interactive and fun. What tools are available to help chunk presentations that don’t require anyone to purchase expensive gadgets? How can you assess understanding and modify your content from one chunk to the next based on audience feedback? Which types of presentations can be flipped? Can you flip control to your audience without losing control? And how can you be sure that your message has not been lost after all this chunking and flipping?
Are you a design team of one? Do you feel like you’re reinventing the wheel for each new promotion, event, or marketing push? Do you spend the bulk of your time recreating page layouts or trying to remember Facebook dimensions? Are you forced to rush your designs or sacrifice your standards?? Me, too. On the heels of a particularly stressful marketing campaign last fall, I realized my current process was no longer working for me. There had to be a better way to repurpose content between marketing channels with a lot less duplication of effort! The soul-crushing tedium of file prep was killing my productivity and to be frank, was a waste of my design talent. Looking to Responsive Web Design for inspiration, I saw an opportunity to rethink my approach. It took significant planning. Standards had to be set and templates created, but in the end, I had a manageable marketing workflow. Now, I carry one robust design across multiple templates tailored to each medium—delivering a consistent visual and rhetorical transition between print, digital, and social channels. I'll share examples and present my approach to developing a "responsive" marketing workflow. Plus, to help you get started, I'll provide a basic planning template and links to a few of my favorite design resources.