Chicago: eduWeb 2015

Every time I go to a conference, I wish I had a time turner a la Hermione Granger. Having to choose between multiple sessions? It’s too hard!

For the past few years, my job has focused on social media and becoming a LiveWhale CMS guru. This year, to expand my wheelhouse, I attended sessions that primarily focused on analytics, advertising, and teamwork.

I flew away from O’Hare with a ton of ideas to bring to the upcoming school year. I want to expand our use of Google Analytics and use social advertising to support our recruiting messaging. And, per usual, I want our team to function more seamlessly. That will come up again when I go to ConfabEDU in November, I’m sure. The editorial calendar and my Virgo organization tricks will catch on. They will!

Sometimes a picture can say more than any note-taking can.
Sometimes a picture can say more than any note-taking can.

Since I have over 50 (small) pages of notes, I’m going to limit this blog post to talking about the opening keynote from Sree Sreenivasan. I was lucky enough to meet with Mr. Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer for The Metropolitan Museum of Art before the conference began for a quick look at Washington College’s social media. I’ve already implemented some of his tips including a more striking Twitter profile picture and more engaging Twitter description.

According to Mr. Sreenivasan, we need to focus on the mobile experience and making content available in formats our audience want. Our institution is targeting teenagers; this audience often engages with our content through mobile devices. If the content isn’t created with them in mind, will they consume it? As we focus on our stories and our videos, pitting them against Buzzfeed and the never ending supply of cute cats on YouTube, we need to make sure our content cuts through the clutter and stands out. Colleges need to connect to their students, alumni, and professors and show those connections to prospective students. I’m happy to say that Washington College is working on this through video campaigns like #unhurried.

To make our content appealing to our target audience, we have to consider the language and attention span of these students. Throughout eduWeb, I heard a lot of dislike for press releases being copied and pasted into the CMS. I’ve already talked to my boss about this, and we do need a repository of press releases somewhere, so I cannot light them all on virtual fire like I’d hoped. However, I’m going to adjust the workflow so that we have a web story and a press release—not just a press release. Creating a smaller, easier-to-read web stories also means content that is more evergreen for our department sites.

These aspirations and plans are taken from just a few pages of my notes. I hope that by posting them here, I can force myself to work hard on them. I’ll also be updating on my experiments with Google Analytics once I have some time to figure it all out.

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