Content Marketing, Story telling for the next generation


Published on, created by UMC and Web and Interactive Communications, is a central hub powered by WordPress that allows for easier sharing of content across campus units. Illinois State content creators will be able upload their posts and photos into Stories, and then easily feed that content to a variety of destinations – college or department websites, alumni e-newsletters, and, to name a few.

The STATEside blog is a separate project that serves as a daily companion piece to the quarterly Illinois State magazine. Powered by multimedia storytelling, STATEside connects our alumni readers back to life on today’s campus, shining the spotlight on our standout students and accomplished alumni. STATEside editor Ryan Denham will discuss opportunities to highlight your unit during the presentation.

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  • When I came here 10 years ago, I came from an ad agency where the brand and the brand messages controlled every aspect of marketing. At Illinois State, I discovered that was not the case. It was more like the wild west. But there was one thing they were doing far better than any client I have ever worked with, and that’s storytelling. The University had wonderful stories to tell about their students, their faculty and their alumni. Stories that have an impact on the reader. But, these stories existed in isolation. Stories written by Media Relations existed on their website. Stories written by University Marketing existed in the magazine and other publications. And stories written by colleges and departments existed only in their newsletters. From this grew the idea of
  • Stories is a centralized location “or Hub” of all the wonderful stories that exists around the University. It’s a place where conversations can begin with the reader. And it’s a place where stories can be shared with a readers network of friends.
  • The Stories project creates a place where:Post can easily be submitted to one placeFrom there, they can be distributed throughout Illinois State’s digital presenceIt has the ability to schedule post to go live at a future dateIt’s easily searched by the readerAnd it’s optimized for the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.News articles are automatically submitted to Google News, a comprehensive up-to-date news coverage, aggregated from sources all over the world And it has built in social sharing tools.
  • When we look at the Stories site, it can be broken down into three main areas. The top area presents “feature” stories to the reader. These stories are culled from across campus and change on a monthly basis.
  • Below that we have highlighted articles from our Athletic program, giving alumni and community members a taste of the Athletics programFollowing that, we have the main content for the site. It’s broken down into categories to easy skimming. The sidebar includes extra features like easy access to our social sharing, sign up for the monthly newsletter, advertisements for high level, university initiatives.
  • And featured promotions, recent YouTube videos and even images from our 365 project.
  • When we click on any one of the articles, we see the full story. At the top is an identifier for the College, department or unit responsible for the content. That is followed by the headline and image.
  • After those elements, the story is introduced. There is the option built in to add links to additional content that might exist on the web. Content like articles on other websites, surveys, or other web extras.
  • The Stories site also has the ability to bring in multimedia elements right into the articles. Elements like YouTube videos, photo galleries, audio elements, and others.
  • After the content of the stories, we have the social sharing tools. Articles are optimized with pre-selected thumbnails, titles and descriptions to make them easily share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and even Reddit. Next to the social sharing box are ways for readers to update their information and share their own stories with us. Next are similar articles that the reader might enjoy. These articles are selected from other articles that exist within the category of the article being read. For example, if you are reading an article authored by the Chemistry department, you would see similar chemistry articles.
  • And finally, readers have the ability to interact with the other members of the Illinois State community by leaving comments on the articles themselves.
  • And all of that is just on the surface. Stories also has the ability to distribute articles through RSS. If you are not familiar with RSS, it’s just a method of distributing content in a stripped down format that can be consumed by other sources. And to explain this further, I will turn it over to Ryan Christie.
  • With the RSS feeds, articles can be selected to appear in the various newsletters produced by campus. A story about a College of Business alumni who minored in Economics can be selected to appear on the Alumni newsletter, the College of Business newsletter, the College of Arts and Sciences newsletter and even a newsletter for the Department of Economics. In a similar fashion, we can select stories to appear in Your Redbird Life, a student newsletter.
  • That same College of Business Story can be selected to appear on the College of Business website
  • And on their Alumni page, which also includes dynamically pulled alumni events.
  • If there is a faculty connected, it can appear on the Faculty/Staff page.
  • And it can appear on the home page of
  • And on the news and events tab.
  • Articles being entered can also be selected to appear on Kiosks and Digital displays throughout campus.
  • And since it is rss, the feeds can be plugged in various mobile and tablet applications like Flipbook, Feedly, Google Reader even Outlook.
  • Stories is all about sharing all the exciting things that happen at the University to the widest audience. About allowing the reader to decide when and where they want to receive these stories. And to start to begin a conversation with that. In order to make sure we are meeting these goals, we utilize analytics.
  • From the analytics, we can see which articles are being read in order to help determine what we should write about in the future. We can see where readers are coming from and what platforms they are utilizing. We can make sure our keywords are being utilized successfully and our information is being found by the various search engines, and much more.
  • And what have found is that we haveIncreased the traffic to our stories from apx. 5,000 last July to over 29,000 in February. Increased the number of articles read from 6,000 last July to over 42,000 in February. People are not only reading the article, they are reading more of them. The increased traffic is not from the University’s home pages or the colleges and departments but fromOrganic searches from primarily Google, but also BingFrom social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedinAnd even from Reddit, a community driven source of information
  • The increased traffic has also lead to an increased level of engagement.The stories are being shared with various networks in increasingly higher numbers. From 10-20 last July to 500, 800, and even over 1,000 in February.Comments and “Likes” on our Facebook articles are increasing, causing our articles to be seen by individuals who have not yet “Like” our Facebook pageComments are being increasingly left on the articles themselves.And the number of “contact info” updates has gone from 3-5 each month to over 130 a month.
  • The Stories site is built off the WordPress engine and Sara Walzinski from CAS-IT has volunteered to set up a short course in CTLT to assist with the training.
  • In her class, you will learn How to post a story within WordPressHow to utilize the photo template for the featured image. We have a template because when you upload the featured image, the site automatically creates all the thumbnails used throughout the system.How to select the appropriate category so that it appears in the correct locations. How to utilize galleries, YouTube videos, and other multimediaAnd a discussion of ISU’s Editorial Standards
  • In which we will remind you That you are the writer, all we do is edit the story to ensure it conforms to the University Style GuidelinesThat you shouldn’t write for your boss, but write for the audience who will be reading itThat events are more than just a date. Include a description of what the reader might experience if they attend.Go over the Stories “Cheat Sheet”, which is included in your folderAnd why do we encourage Sara’s class, because it will speed up the editing and publishing of your stories. When you submit, the articles go into a review process. Ryan and Kevin, our style guru who could not be here today, will review the submissions twice a day.
  • In order to sign up for the class, just visit My.IllinoisState and select the Employee tab. Drill down until you find News postings with WordPress.
  • After the class is complete, we will set you up as a author. Create your categories and work with WIC to implement the feeds on your site.
  • Content Marketing, Story telling for the next generation

    1. 1. Brian Huonker, assistant director, University Marketing and CommunicationsRyan Christie, Web and Interactive CommunicationsRyan Denham, STATEside editor, University Marketing and CommunicationsILLINOIS STATE STORIESAND STATEside
    3. 3. A centralized source of storiesA place for conversationsA place for sharingSTORIES.ILLINOISSTATE.EDU
    4. 4. STORIES.ILLINOISSTATE.EDU• Simplified submission of posts• Easy distribution of posts across ISU Web• Ability to schedule posts to go live at future date• Search engine optimized• Google News optimized• Built-in social sharing
    5. 5. • Photo of body
    6. 6. • Photo of sidebar
    7. 7. • Multimedia
    8. 8. RSS feeds for dynamically built e-newslettersRSS feeds for unit websitesRSS feeds for mobile appsRSS feeds for content to be “subscribed” to by othersBUILT-IN RSS FEEDS
    17. 17. Tracking your return on investment (ROI)DRIVEN BY ANALYTICS
    19. 19. DRIVEN BY ANALYTICS• Increased readership – Traffic has increased from 5,000/month to over 29,000/month – Page views have increased from 6,000/month to over 42,000/month – Leading traffic sources are now: • Organic search (Google) • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Reddit)
    20. 20. DRIVEN BY ANALYTICS• Increased engagement – Social media “likes,” comments, and shares – Comments left on Stories posts – Alumni “contact info” updates
    21. 21. ILLINOISSTATE.EDU/STATESIDE • The team: UMC and campus collaborators• Publish every weekday • Timing is everything
    22. 22. WHAT’S ON STATESIDE?• 135+ posts since launch on Aug. 13, 2012• Regular features: – Photo galleries – Student profiles – Alumni profiles – Social media recaps (Storify) – Big campus event coverage – Video features – Office Hours (faculty Q&A) – RSO profiles – Historical features: This Week in ISU History
    23. 23. TOP 20 TRENDS: QUICK TURNAROUND• Posted by 10 a.m. that day• No. 2 Stories post• Showed off student talent• Fueled by social media • Retweeted by @DCComics
    24. 24. TOP 20 TRENDS: MULTIMEDIA• Posted by 5 p.m. that afternoon• 35+ photos, 1 recap video• Top 5 most-read Stories post• Took advantage of great visuals• Updated as content landed
    25. 25. TOP 20 TRENDS: NOSTALGIA• Nostalgia + today’s campus• Alumni E-Newsletter traffic• Lots of engagement
    26. 26. TOP 20 TRENDS: SOCIAL MEDIA• Storify embed • Big campus events• Move-In, Homecoming• Monthly “best of” photos• Fixing fragmentation• Auto-notifications• ISU home page
    27. 27. TOP 20 TRENDS: WHY SO SERIOUS?• Top 10 lists: – Top 10 signs it’s Finals Week – Top 10 Redbird products you didn’t know existed – Top 10 holiday gifts for the Redbird in your life• Harlem Shake video roundup – Big hit with alumni• Still reaching the ultimate goal
    28. 28. WHERE DO STORY IDEAS BEGIN?• Magazine editor’s desk• Social media monitoring• Media Relations• The calendar• Untapped corners of campus• Marketers across campusThe goal: Broad appeal,something you’d share
    29. 29. WHERE CAN THE POSTS BE USED?• All uploaded into “hub” • STATEside • Alumni site • Social media • Alumni E-Newsletter • UMC-produced newsletters, magazines • Stories: Your unit’s website
    30. 30. SEND US YOUR IDEAS!• But not these… • Ryan Denham – Faculty/staff news and – Editor, STATEside publications – – Major campus – (309) 438-8725 announcements – External media outreach
    32. 32. NEWS POSTINGS WITH WORDPRESS• How to post a story within WordPress• How to set your “Featured Image” – And the right dimensions• How to select the appropriate category, etc.• How to utilize galleries, YouTube videos, and other multimedia• Discussion of ISU’s Editorial Standards
    33. 33. WRITING YOUR POSTS• You’re the writer. All we do is edit.• Don’t write for your boss. Write for your target audience.• Event posts = more than just the date.• Use Stories “cheat sheet” in folder• Why? Speeds up editing and publishing• UMC’s Kevin Bersett: “ISU Style” guru
    34. 34. NEWS POSTINGS WITH WORDPRESS• Visit – Click on the Employee tab – Click on the CTLT Event Registration – Click on the View Events, then CTLT Short Course – Find “News Postings with WordPress”• Next class is April 9, 2013 (Limited seats)
    35. 35. STORIES.ILLINOISSTATE.EDU SETUP• After completing the CTLT class: – Authorship will be granted – Categories will be set up – Feed will be made available for websites