Killing Three Birds with One Stone


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PowerPoint from my presentation at the eduWeb Conference 2012 in Boston

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  • -new communication resulting in new content strategy -learn how this fits with our mission at W&L and hopefully applicable to your institution -how we set-up the content strategy, and perhaps what you can expect if you take this approach -very well received across constituencies -results after five months live, and things I learned during six months of preparation
  • -alumni affairs is the long approach to fund raising – not directly asking but keep up school spirit -at W&L the core service are to generate networking opportunities -chapters, reunions, searchable database -hidden in the mission of alumni affairs is the need for institutions to continue to work for and earn donations -content strategy offers notion of “continued education” and directly builds on platform of “expertise in networking” the core of our communications strategy -
  • -informational interview is a specific type of networking meant to put elder professionals in an advice scenario with a younger professional. - content replticates the informational interview and mimics the act of networking but for everyone to see
  • -most important component is to generate usable advice about the “real world” that can be used by alums and current students -content strategy meant to validate alumni affairs mission of providing events
  • -provide answers but hopefully gets all alums a reason to come back regularly, beyond events
  • -content that our office cannot write…hugely important -shows the value of the alumni network
  • -gets back to what alumni get by participating -”name in lights” small self promotion opportunity -regional and industry specific thought leaders
  • -easy administration after initial period of set-up -1/3 of editorials are volunteered, so far a handful of offers to write monthly posts -concept makes sense to alumni and they are willing
  • -set-up was challenging, but made easier with a mock-up and phone calls, and asking people with writing jobs -acquired two rounds of content before launch – not all alums will come through -perhaps slight amendment to concert metaphor right… but we don’t have to skip a beat
  • - Great content to share via social media - Perfect for linkedin
  • - Month of June analytics - Peaks represent posting of perspectives - strong time on site - 40% returning, 60% new
  • - 4 th bird! Great bonus! Also relevant for admissions
  • - Actual help in business opportunities for contribitors
  • -evidence of actual networking on the site
  • Killing Three Birds with One Stone

    1. 1. Killing Three Birdswith One Stone… Washington and Lee University “Alumni Perspectives” @RyanCatherwood
    2. 2. What’s in this for you?• How W&L developed a new Alumni Affairs communication strategy in tandem with a website redesign• How we created and executed an alumni- supplied content acquisition system for a new website• Results and recommendations based on five months of administration
    3. 3. Because what is Alumni Affairs at W&L?The soft (or long) approach to development meansfacilitating networking events to establish connectionsunder the university’s umbrella.•Regional Alumni Chapters•Searchable Databases•Reunion EventsThe point? Engagement resultingin networking success stories!
    4. 4. Simulate the “Act of Networking”and the“Informational Interview”
    5. 5. Three Birds – One Stone (maybe not ‘killing’ but “hitting”…? Great advice for young alums and current students on the work world, graduate school, and work/life. Excellent digital content for the Alumni Affairs Office that fits with our strategy of “expertise in networking.” Content is both entertaining and informative. Alumni get self-promotion opportunity and positioned as a “thought leader” in their market and amongst peers.
    6. 6. Advice for Students & Young AlumsMimic the “Act of Networking” and the “Informational Interview Connect the undergraduate experience with thoughtful advice about the world after graduationHelp young alumni navigate uncertain post-graduate worldMirror the conversations that occur at Networking Events
    7. 7. Entertaining Content For AllContent that brings alums back to the Alumni Website! Bookmark it! -Interested in career change -Update on classmates -Provide feedback in comments -Great storytelling
    8. 8. Content with “Ethos” Alumni lend credibility to professionaldialogue that W&L Administrators can’t always provide -Showcase alumni network access-Alumni have greater depth of knowledge -School spirit on display
    9. 9. Position Alumni As “Thought Leaders” Alumni get their “Name in Lights” within the Community-Wordpress content sharing to specific chapter -Bio visibility with self-promotion capability -Industry related thought leadership
    10. 10. Self-Sustaining Content Acquisition Program Create attractive medium for participation -Entice regular contributors easily -Minimize administration and solicitation-Generate regular inflow with at least two months of reserve content
    11. 11. The Content Math: Beginning Step 1 was to convince the university that this content could be acquired…and lots of it -Starting: 5 asks, 3 “yes,” for 2 editorials -2 month “incubation” period -Initially asked Journalism/Mass Comm grads-Created possible topic sheet w/ mock-up of site
    12. 12. The Content Math: CurrentlyWhile not completely automatic, creating a backlog has been easy -As of 7/31, 58 editorials posted at 2-3 per week -25 editorials in the queue with 50 more promised -4 solicitation periods per year -Many volunteer or through Linkedin messages-4 regular contributors (more than one submission)
    13. 13. Results: Social Sharing #wlunetwork
    14. 14. Results: Social Media
    15. 15. Results: Development & Admissions New tool for Advancement Purposes and Prospect Development – also Admissions -Useful tool for Development Officers -New means of “touching” a prospect early-Another way to give that keeps alumni involved -Showcase of alumni network to prospectives 4th “Bird”
    16. 16. Results: Improved Traffic for “Guides” One regular contributor reports positive gains from exposure -Regular Contributor reports increased web traffic to her personal website corresponding with post dates. -Also reports slight but increased book sales in the days immediately following her post dates.
    17. 17. Results: Engagement (Comments) Actual “networking” in the comments section!
    18. 18. Questions?
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