Assembling your posse: turning small budgets and scarce resources into big picture strategies

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Tori Klassen, BCcampus' director of communications; at the 4th Annual Social Media Camp; Victoria BC May 7, 2013. …

Tori Klassen, BCcampus' director of communications; at the 4th Annual Social Media Camp; Victoria BC May 7, 2013.

The Plan
At the beginning of 2012, as Acting Director, with the help of my newly-hired web designer and other colleagues, I cleaned up the corporate web site. There were no fewer than TWELVE content areas on the front page that needed fresh content in order not to look outdated. It was unwieldy.
In its new iteration, we simplified. We made the blog the focus of fresh content for the corporate site and moved it up "above the fold."
But I wasn't done yet.
I looked at web sites similar to ours. I read Christina Halvorsen's book. I went to a couple of workshops on content management.
I looked at the results of our past stakeholder surveys and read what our target audience was saying.

I also realized talking about yourself all the time just doesn't cut it anymore.

What BCcampus does for the post-secondary system is in the background. We're the plumbing, our stakeholders (25 public institutions in BC) are the shiny fixtures. They're what everyone sees and uses, we just provide support to make it all work better.

The Posse:
Writers: I realized I did have a budget for some writing services and I knew there were a lot of independent pros who know what they're doing around blog and web copy.
I have also hired bWest Interactive to help with strategy. They had been doing our newsletter for a year or so - but I wanted to deply those resources to better pick apart Chris's brain. I brought the newsletter distribution in-house (co-op student) and Chris is now helping with social media and SEO strategies to take full advantage of our communications planning.

The Letting Go
I was afraid that someone from "outside" post-secondary education wouldn't know the issues enough to write intelligently about them. I was wrong.

User testing
Here is the first thing we found: no OER.

BCcampus is seen as a world innovator in the promotion and creation of OER. So, we included a task on our user testing to look for information on OER. Our testers couldn't find it! It seems obvious now; we fixed that issue right away.

The guidelines:
1. Write the way we speak, translate academic terms into plain language: a style guide posted online for all writers.
2. Each blog post between 300 – 800 words max.
3. Each blog post submitted with a Creative Commons image, suggested Tweet and Facebook post.
4. Each post submitted two days before ‘go live’ date.
5. Use lots of subheads, bullet points, hyperlinks.
6. We understand people are in a hurry and strive to delight, entertain and inform.
7. Publish twice a week (need to be flexible)
8. Newsletter published 2x/month
9. Writers need to do their research and narrow down a broad topic. Subject matter experts available within BCcampus as a resource, often involved in earlier drafts for accuracy.
10. Allocate about 4 hours to research, write, edit, submit a post.

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  • 1. BCcampus.caAssembling yourposse: a case studyTori KlassenThursday, 9 May, 13
  • 2. 2The PlanThe PosseThe Letting GoThursday, 9 May, 13
  • 3. Double-click3Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 4. Double-click4Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 5. Double-click5Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 6. 6Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 7. 7Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 8. 8Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 9. 9Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 10. PD-US via Wikimedia Commons10Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 11. http://contentstrategy.com11Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 12. 12The Plan in a nutshellTarget audienceAnalyticsUser testingContent Strategy: Blogging and social mediaThursday, 9 May, 13
  • 13. If you want to be interesting,be interested in others.13Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 14. 14Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 15. 15The Letting GoThursday, 9 May, 13
  • 16. 16Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 17. 17Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 18. 18BCcampus is: Like this: Not like this:Active VoiceConversational and clearPlain(er), jargon-freeSome of our system partners might think“shared services” means “centralization”and “outsourcing.” The shared service approach is oftenconfused with the older methodsof centralization and outsourcing.We don’t work that way. Instead, we respect the expertise ofeach of our system partners. A “one-size-fits all” approach doesn’t work forour clients or for us.Where centralization may be perceived asa one-size-fits-all approach thatdoesn’t fit any one department in theorganization well, and outsourcing maybe perceived as a loss of self-sufficiency and expertise of the wholeorganization, shared services may nothave similar detriments if a self-determining, consortial approach toservice solutions is utilized.At BCcampus, we run shared services incollaboration with our clients who usethem.The BCcampus shared and collaborativeservice model is most closely alignedwith the multi-campus system model.Short style guideThursday, 9 May, 13
  • 19. 19Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 20. • Search Analytics for Your Site: Conversations with Your Customers• Content Strategy for the Web• Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works20Further reading:Thursday, 9 May, 13
  • 21. BCcampus.caPresentation Slides• tbd• tklassen@bccampus.ca• @toriklassen | @bccampus• Skype: toriklassenCoordinatesTori Klassen,Director, CommunicationsThursday, 9 May, 13