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Content Realism - mStoner Webinar

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This webinar addresses the basics of content strategy for .edu websites. I attempt to answer this question: What's your strategy for content strategy? The webinar offers practical advice for content strategy related to marketing and communications in higher education. View the webinar recording here: http://www.mstoner.com/blog/content-and-writing/content-strategy-webinar-recording-ready-viewing/

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Content Realism - mStoner Webinar

  1. 1. Content Realisma practical strategy for content strategymStoner page 1
  2. 2. Hello!Susan T. Evans,Senior Strategist mStoner
  3. 3. Shocked andwith disbelief!
  4. 4. You might as well know right now... ‣ ...it’s not easy ‣ ...it’s not simple ‣ ...it’s not technology ...it is possible (go team!)
  5. 5. I. What is content strategy?II. What are some practical options? III. What resources are out there?
  6. 6. What isContent Strategy?
  7. 7. “...a repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process for a website development project.”“...plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” — Kristina Halvorson Content Strategy for the Web
  8. 8. What is the point I’m trying to make?
  9. 9. What’s an organization if it is not organized?
  10. 10. I’ve got some baggage that gets in the way...
  11. 11. The higher edcontext:• huge sites with thousands of web pages• lots of audiences (and all primary)• teeny, tiny web teams• admin assistants moonlight as copywriters
  12. 12. What problem are we trying to solve? Our content sucks. page 12
  13. 13. Oh, come on...It’s not that bad.
  14. 14. ____.edu/about _____ is dedicated to teaching that meets thehighest standards of excellence; toconducting research that breaks new ground;and to turning knowledge into solutions forlocal, national, and global communities.The heart of our mission is preparingstudents to become productive members ofsociety and good citizens of the world.
  15. 15. Lafayette CollegeWhen the 19-year-old Marquis de Lafayetteasked the King of France to finance hisjourney to assist in America’s fight forfreedom, the king refused. Lafayette secretlypurchased his own ship, adding the wordsCur Non? (“Why Not?”) to his family crest toserve as his motto. The Latin phrase Cur Nonguides Lafayette College today in challengingstudents to move beyond the comfort of theirfamiliar environment and experiences. http://www.lafayette.edu/about/history/ cur-non/
  16. 16. George SchoolAt George School, we believe the world can bebetter and society can be different. We think thatthe rat race isnt the only means and majority rule(with minority suffering) isnt the only method.  Itmeans that when you come here, youll ponder life,truth, and knowledge itself. Youll read WutheringHeights and reflect how a mid-nineteenth-centurynovel can make a contemporary statement. Youllcompete in sports like lacrosse or softball. Youllwrite your own Canterbury tale. Youll usepantomime to learn ceramics, MovieMaker to learnphysics, and The New York Times to learneconomics. (You may also blast music, buildbonfires, and even learn to juggle.)http://www.georgeschool.org/About%20GS.aspx
  17. 17. What steps lead to Better Content?“What’s your strategy for content strategy?”
  18. 18. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step.
  19. 19. You start with audience.Who are they? Why are they important to you?
  20. 20. Next up, message.What do you want the audience to know?
  21. 21. What text, photos, and video best convey themessages you want to deliver to the audiences you want to reach, in the media they prefer?If that content already exists, where does it live? Who owns it? What shape is it in? If it doesn’t exist, what can you live without, and what do you need to create?
  22. 22. Feeding the beast. - Inform - Understand - Connect - Act
  23. 23. Content covers: Facts and figures People and placesInform Alumni offerings Academic programs News and events
  24. 24. Content delivers: Sense of personalityUnderstand Points of distinction Overview of impact Appropriate context
  25. 25. Content triggers: “Wow, what a place!” “I can see myself there...”Connect “I feel all warm and fuzzy...” “I’d like to be part of that...” “Where do I sign-up?”
  26. 26. Real-world actions: Inquire, visit, apply, enroll Reconnect, attend events Mentor a studentAct Hire an alum Give Heck, endow a scholarship
  27. 27. What are the nitty-gritty Tactics?
  28. 28. Define your real-world goals:1 Increase in admission applications Better-qualified applications More engaged alumni Influx of cash-money Stronger public perception
  29. 29. Describe your audiences:2 Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to say? Why should they care? What should they do? How will you know if they do?
  30. 30. Get specific.
  31. 31. 3 Straddle the line between: What do my audiences come to the website looking for? What do they want to find and learn and do? and... What do I want them to know that they might not know to look for? What story do I want to tell them?
  32. 32. Content Strategy + Creative Brief - Goals - Audiences and tasks - Core messages - How you talk about yourself - Adjectives - Proof points - Creative criteria - Web analytics to measure
  33. 33. Map it out.
  34. 34. Information Architecture Trinity at a Glance Admission Requirements How to Apply Regular Admission About Trinity Admission Admissions Tuition & Fees Early Decision Academics Financial Aid Dates & Deadlines Topic Navigation Urban + Global FAQs Transfer Students Student Life Athletics Visit Trinity International Students News + Events Request Information Homeschooled StudentsTrinity College Contact Us Graduate Students Current Students Parents Audience Faculty + Staff Individual Majors, Minors Individual Majors, Minors Gateways Majors & Minors & Program Pages & Program Pages Alumni International Programs Schedule of Classes Local Community Academic Special Curricular Internships Programs Apply Raether Library Adult Learning Programs Visit Academics First Year Program Login Task Navigation A-Z Graduate Studies Contact Academic Resources Search Academic Calendar
  35. 35. Card Sorting
  36. 36. 4 Audit your existing content: Is it clear? Is it web-ready? Is it usable? Is it on message? Is it actionable?
  37. 37. Keep score.
  38. 38. Content Audit Page Web- On Page Title URL Clear (notes) (notes) Usable (notes) Number Ready MessageAcademics http://URL Headlines/links on page are clear, but there’s not much linking in text. 1 5 4 5 3Academics > Schools http://URL It’s certainly not cluttered. Links are clear, but there’s It’s certainly usable if you no copy, and nothing in the already know what you’re way of explanation or looking for. Not so much for 1.1 4 1 expansion, particularly for 3 people who don’t. 1 people who don’t know anything about the schools within the university.Academics > http://URL N/A, really. It’s essentially a way to get from point A to point B, soDepartments yes. Could use some brief explanatory text, though. 1.2 5 5 4 1
  39. 39. Comprehensive Content Audit ‣ page title ‣ URL ‣ owner ‣ content type (HTML, form, PDF) ‣ purpose ‣ character count ‣ last updated ‣ alt tags on images? ‣ broken links? ...and more
  40. 40. Developing contentOnce and again.
  41. 41. 5 Watch what happens: Measure: collect analytics on how the content is used in support of web goals. Analyze: report on and evaluate the collected data against goals. Respond: make ongoing changes to the website based on the analytics.
  42. 42. Watch what happens in Advancement:Web Metrics Internal Metrics:‣ Unique visitors ‣ Number of online donations‣ Pages viewed ‣ Number of online donors‣ Average time on site ‣ Number of first time gifts‣ Pages per visit ‣ Dollars given online‣ Bounce rate ‣ Event registrations‣ Clicks to online giving ‣ Participation rates in social‣ Clicks to updates, class sitesnotes‣ Clicks to social sites‣ Clicks to eventregistrations
  43. 43. 6 Share plans and talk with other communicators: Editorial meetings: planning new features and coordinating efforts. Editorial calendar: planning specific messaging and themes for web, print, social, video...
  44. 44. 7 Use your CONTENT management system: A central CMS can make publishing easy and put the focus on content not design. Sharing content across web pages is possible too. Required fields for page title and meta data help with SEO.
  45. 45. 7 A few final nuggets. Speaking of... Photography Less is more Accountability Curation of content Responsive web design
  46. 46. Resources• EDUniverse• mStoner Blog• Content Strategy for the Web (Halvorson)• The Elements of Content Strategy (Kissane)• Meet Content Blog
  47. 47. Thanks!Questions?Susan T. EvansSenior Strategist757.903.1120susan.evans@mstoner.com@susantevans mStoner

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