- Large blocks of dense text unbroken by subheads or bullet points, often with paragraphs more than 5 lines long. This is still the killer step seen most often. See this "Curriculum in Biochemistry" or this "About" page or this typical "dean's message."
- Low contrast text that makes it just about impossible for your eyes to separate the text from the background. See this page in an online annual report.
- "Flip tech" software to put a print publication online. Check this magazine from an academic division.
May 2012 Archives
- People were evenly divided on this one, with a one vote edge for "alive." The usual culprits were cited for why QR codes were dead... including excessive choices for reader apps, silly applications of the code symbols, and the simple fact that many people still don't know what they are or don't see a benefit in using them. But given those challenges, a bare majority wasn't ready to say they were "dead."
- Nearly 60% felt that Timeline was more of a help than a hindrance for Facebook. This seems a feature that people either love or hate. Or is that a love or hate for Facebook transferred to the Timeline? I couldn't quite tell from the discussion.
- Only 20% of the audience agreed with this one. Some opinion that this was sometimes a nice feature but that too much of a good thing could easily become a problem.
- The theme of this year's conference was "Sharing is Caring." This discussion focused on how much people can share within an organization without getting into trouble over what they share with others. While 30% agreed you could lose your job over this one, most people were more comfortable with the growing openness spreading throughout the web environment, both inside and outside organizations.
- This question came from the title of a presentation at the conference. Actually, the session title was a bit misleading. The exact proposition was that major website redesign projects costing hundreds of thousands of dollars were going to disappear, replaced by something akin to continuous tinkering with existing sites. That said, nobody agreed that it was OK to stop worrying about usability. Wise folk at a J.Boye conference voted 100% for the continued importance of usabilty.
- Was the answer to this one just possibly influenced by the lack of marketing people attending? In any case, only about 10% agreed that CMS systems were going to give marketers far more control over the web in the future than they have had in the past.
Web content writer and more... Will you do this for $45,000 per year?
This individual will:
- write engaging and dynamic content, with particular emphasis on content for our prioritized target audiences
- ensure that content adheres to our high standards for accuracy, message consistency and usability
This position requires:
- the ability to write and present information in a clear and compelling
manner for the school's target audiences
- strong attention to detail to ensure accurate application of policies and practices
- proficiency in using content management systems
- strong collaborative skills
- Write and edit compelling, accurate and information-rich content in our content management system for our websites and email campaigns.
- Work closely with the school's 26 academic departments to research, develop and write content for their web presences.
- Write compelling, timely stories that resonate with the prioritized audiences identified in our business case and that advance the reputation of the school.
- Coordinate the inclusion of dynamic multimedia content across the school's web presence, with emphasis on the homepage.
- Edit the school's websites to ensure consistency, accuracy, readability and appropriateness of style.
- Work closely with our faculty to write and edit faculty professional summaries.
- Identify opportunities to leverage non-text media (audio, photo, video, interactive media) in school websites.
- Maintain the master editorial content calendar.
- Thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of grammar, syntax, style and punctuation; meticulous copyediting and proofreading skills.
- Demonstrated skills in writing, editing and effective communication with a variety of constituencies.
- Writing for the web.
- User-centered web content development and a strong instinct for usability and effective content organization.
- HTML markup language for formatting and styling web
- Mastery of at least one content management system.
- Basic image editing skills.
- Outstanding web writing, editing and proofreading skills, with meticulous attention to detail.
- Strong interpersonal communication, diplomacy and relationship-building skills to establish and maintain effective working partnerships with internal clients and other staff members.
- Ability be flexible and to work both independently and collaboratively on multiple projects as part of a tightly-knit team that includes a content strategist, information architect, other writers, a photographer and a user experience expert.
- Strong organizational and time-management skills: demonstrated ability to effectively organize, prioritize and manage a high volume of assignments, with frequent interruptions, to complete tasks in a timely manner.
- Ability to organize multiple layers of copy and maintain consistency in voice, brand and site architecture.
- Ability to think creatively and strategically.
- Ability to produce consistently, learn rapidly and keep pace with other team members.
- Ability to make good judgment calls in a complex
Education and Experience
- Bachelor's degree in marketing, communications, creative writing, public relations or similar field.
- Three or more years' experience in writing and editing web content.
- Work experience in a higher education environment a
This position will report to the Director for Strategic Digital Communications.
This individual will work cooperatively and creatively with the rest of the
Office of Communications professionals in order to produce high-quality and
targeted web content. This individual will work frequently with staff in
affiliated hospitals and staff and faculty within the medical
Appointment, Salary and Benefits
This is a full-time (40 hours/week) salaried position. The salary is $45,000
Detailed benefit information is available on the UB Foundation website.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position
is filled. Submit your resume, cover letter and links to three examples of
online content you have produced to the SMBS
Office of Communications.
This is also my week to finish details for my digital marketing strategy tutorial at the J.Boye Web and Intranet Conference (bit.ly/wRxeCi) next week as well as the material for my 2-day "Writing Right for the Web Conference" May 24-24 (bit.ly/AfVgk3). The early registration discount for web writing is open until May 4.
And now here are your marketing news and notes for May.
Do Loans Count as Financial Aid?
This is not a new question, but it is receiving increased attention in today's economic climate where people are more concerned about assuming debt of any sort.
Bloomberg added to what is a growing public relations challenge by calling out four universities in an article titled "Colleges Confuse Students with Letters Offering Aid That's Debt." A subhead in the story refers to the financial aid award letters reviewed as "Manipulative and Deceptive."
How do your award letters compare with those sent by Drexel, Bradley, and Butler universities and the Missouri University of Science and Technology? Start with the April 24 Bloomberg article at bloom.bg/ICBlcs
Mobile Marketing: 10 Tips for Effective Email in the Mobile World
Once again, let us make this point: email is far from dead. Indeed, it is thriving. But effective email today is not what it was 5 or 10 years ago.
The direct marketing experts at Target Marketing offer 10 best practices for email design that will bring higher open rates from people reading them on a mobile device. The very specific advice includes maximum pixel width, recommended fonts, best font size for headlines and text, and where to place the call to action.
But my favorite was included at the end: be sure to bring people to a mobile-friendly web page. If you do not do that, your conversion rate will suffer. Read more on "10 Email Design Best Practices for a Mobile World" at bit.ly/HyHkxa
Mobile Marketing: Cannot believe I read this department
An exec at some sort of mobile marketing place said in a Mobile Marketer article that while having a mobile-friendly web presence in support of a mobile campaign might be nice, it was not necessary as forcing a person to "scroll around the campaign to get the message" might increase engagement.
Perhaps. I have also heard rumors about pigs that fly. To get both sides of the story, see "Why are marketers forgetting to optimize their mobile campaigns" at bit.ly/IJyBY9
How Quickly Do You Call a Potential Student?
At for-profit higher education schools, 69.7 percent call a potential student within one hour of receiving the lead information. Just over 20 percent call in less than 5 minutes. Rapid response times like that indeed give competitive advantage with people interested in more than one school.
How does your response time compare? If you ask for and receive a phone number or email address, many if not most people expect you to use it. And the faster you use it, the better.
You can find more response time data and similar information on recruiting at for-profit institutions on the ForProfitEdu website at bit.ly/KmwR71
Differential Tuition: Interest Grows to Enhance Revenue
How to make more money from tuition is a topic at colleges and universities throughout the land these days. Successes and failures with several models are reviewed in an InsideHigherEd article, "Tuition Model Quietly Spreading" at both universities and community colleges. Visit bit.ly/HseQIn
Interest may increase faster as people study results at Western Michigan University.
WMU is charging undergraduate Fine Arts students and junior and senior year business students higher tuition per course, whatever the individual course. Yes, if you are a Fine Arts student you will pay more to take a course in American History than a history major. What was the result in the first year? For the College of Fine Arts, tuition revenue increased $1.4 million. For the Haworth College of Business, tuition income increased $2 million. Read more from WMU at bit.ly/Kmx9e3
Web Management: Centralize or Decentralize Content Creation?
Higher education began to adopt Content Management Systems not long ago with an expectation that individual units throughout the university would take responsibility for content creation. More often than not, those expectations have not been met.
If this is an issue on your campus, read my interview with Nancy Boudreau, director of web content management at Sacred Heart University, on their experience from the introduction of a new CMS over the past 7 years. While Nancy notes "some success," she also notes why there is now a move back to more centralization: the need to "ensure the quality of content."
Nancy shares more about what worked and what did not over the past 7 years in her interview at bit.ly/HbEtcU
E-book Reading: Rise in Popularity Continues
New research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports a continuing rise in the popularity of reading books and magazines electronic versions. E-book users also read publications in print and have clear preferences for when one format is better than another. For instance, 69 percent prefer print to share a publication with someone else and 83 percent prefer an electronic version when they want to get something quickly.
Both of those states have implications for the communication plans of higher education marketers with potential students of any age. For more on the changing world of electronic reading, see the Pew Internet report on "The rise of e-book reading" at bit.ly/IiRqCd
Social Media Metrics for Marketing Decisions
Where should you spend your social media time and money? An article in 1to1 Media recounts the varied experiences over the past few years by Carnival Cruises, American Airlines, and Cirque du Soleil. While this is not the higher education sector, there are lessons to learn here.
The most significant lesson: despite the apparent popularity of a particular form of social media, that popularity does not mean every organization should invest in it. In the cases here, for instance, Carnival eliminated Twitter. Cirque du Soleil abandoned FourSquare after initial efforts did not meet expectations but has increased investment in YouTube.
For more on media metrics deemed important, check "The Most Actionable Social Media Metrics" at bit.ly/IOYHwb
Google Advertising Change
If you advertise on Google, a new "Near Match" feature now in beta testing may increase your cost-per-click by giving you exposure to people who search for content that is close to, but not quite the same as, what you are offering. What does Google suggest you might expect? A 6.5 percent increase in clicks and a 9.8 percent increase in impressions.
AdAge explains what is happening in "The Next Shift at Google Could Have Big Impact on Advertisers" at bit.ly/HCT5qi
How Students Search for Online Education Content
Students are wiser users of online learning sources than we might recognize. A recent conference presentation reports strong use of free resources from MIT and Stanford University, for instance. Pre-med and health science students favor the Mayo Clinic as a resource.
The caveat for traditional higher education: students often use these resources due to "dissatisfaction with their own professors."
Read more about how the authority of traditional higher education is crumbling in 'Free Range Learners' at bit.ly/IzrzbE
Most Popular Topic in the April Newsletter
The most popular topic was the entry on "10 Useful Findings on How People View Websites." If you missed it, you can read it now at bit.ly/zbrUFa
Conferences in 2012
Attend a conference in 2012 to share questions and answers with people who are building a competitive advantage in higher education marketing.
May 8-10, Philadelphia: J.BoyePhiladelphia12 Web and Intranet Conference. Tutorial presentation: "Digital Marketing Strategy: 2015 and Beyond" and a regular session: "Top Task Website Design: Lessons from University Research." Check the program and register at bit.ly/wRxeCi
May 24-25, Atlanta: Academic Impressions Conference: "Writing Right for the Web: Improving Your Content." Program details and registration at bit.ly/AfVgk3
July 11-13, Chicago: ACT Enrollment Planners Conference. Pre-conferences workshop on "Digital Marketing Strategy: Planning for Present and Future Success" and regular session on "Increasing Online Inquiries: Key Steps to Improve Search Optimization for Academic Programs." Visit the conference website at bit.ly/tnvnhR
July 30-August 1, Boston: eduWeb2012. Pre-conference digital marketing workshop and regular session presentation on top task website design. Conference website is at bit.ly/z391iU
Expand the marketing skills of people on your campus. Host a campus workshop on any of the conference topics listed here.
Contact me at email@example.com or call me at 248.766.6425.
That's All for Now
Be a marketing champion on your campus.
Bob Johnson, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Increase your online marketing success with these 5 services.
• Top Task Website Design Research with Gerry McGovern
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- Writing Right for the Web... 3 ways to kill the ability to scan your web pages
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- Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter... May 2012
- Advertising (16)
- Brand Strength (14)
- Customer Carewords Research (22)
- Digital marketing (5)
- Graduate, Professional, Continuing Education (16)
- Higher Education Tuition and Costs (18)
- Integrated Marketing (6)
- Link of the Week (1)
- Mobile Marketing (24)
- Non-profit marketing (1)
- Online Marketing (49)
- Presidents Who Blog (3)
- Search Engine Marketing (13)
- Social Media Marketing (20)
- Student Recruitment (70)
- Video Marketing (5)
- Web Analytics (14)
- Web Content Editors (23)
- Writing Right for the Web (44)
- Your Higher Education Marketing Newsletter (48)
- July 2012 (4)
- June 2012 (3)
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