Is any publicity good publicity

March 7, 2010

This was the week of Jon Stewart at Gettysburg College.

On Thursday Feb 25 I walked into work and had an email that said check out the Daily Show lots of mentions of Gettysburg last night. And so it began. Here was the clip:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-february-24-2010-tracy-morgan

Not necessarily a college’s dream of how to be portrayed but he was reacting to Gettysburg College students in his audience and mentioned us  in both his introduction and interview with actor Tracy Morgan.(at 16 minutes)

We decided it was fun and posted it on our Facebook Fan Page and in our In the Media section of the website.

Early this past week a group of our students who coordinate the student TV channel made a video response.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-UmyKGSWBI

The response was great and generated quite a number of hits including 99 likes on our Facebook page along and now has close to 20,000 views on YouTube.

What more could we ask for at a BLEEP place like Gettysburg?


News school year = new opportunities

August 27, 2009

Like many institutions we are gearing up this week to welcome the Class of 2013. The new school year brings with it lots of new opportunities. Many schools are trying to figure out how to use social media and new technology to enhance their communications efforts. I encourage you to use the new school year as a way to try something new in your coverage of opening activities. Dive-in and give it a shot.

Are you wondering what to do with that institutional twitter account that just has your RSS feed? Tweet move in day. Use a hashtag and pull the search results to your site. Maybe some of your followers will be engaged and contribute to the hashtag with their own memories and recollections.

Are you wondering how in the world you can provide videos on your site? Go out and buy a flip video camera (they start at about $150). Go out and ask the incoming student and their parents why they chose your school? With Microsoft movie maker (which comes on our machines at my institution) you can quickly edit the video and load it right to YouTube.

Move-in day and convocation along with other opening day traditions schools have is a great opportunity to engage visitors to your website. You have a captive audience who will love to see photos, videos, and anything else you have to offer. This year make sure that you are not having a conversation with your boss after the fact about how “we’ll have to try those things next year.”


Using video to highlight campus construction

August 17, 2009

For those of you lucky enough to still have campus construction projects going on this year how do you plan on highlighting the new building. Video gives you a great opportunity to both show off and get people excited about the new project.

We have done 2 of these types of videos with the new Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness at Gettysburg. Our Athletic Director takes viewers on a tour of the construction site. We did the first one in Feb, 2009 with an update in June. We will film another one in September as we prepare to open the building. Each video has over 1,000 views on YouTube.

The other day I was on the Calvin College website and noticed they had done something similar with The Fine Arts Center construction which has been underway since June 2009. They are promoting a video that goes inside the construction fences on a tour narrated by the director of Calvin’s physical plant.


Connecting social media to strategic communications

March 5, 2009

Charlie Melichar who is the VP for Communications at Colgate wrote a blog post the other day that got me thinking. He titled it Social media sustainability and starts to ask some good questions about how you sustain a really good social media program. How do you incorporate that program into an overall strategic communication plan?

For many people just getting up a Facebook page or loading some videos to YouTube might be enough. Your Vice President may not interested in social media and that’s ok because you don’t have the time or the staff for it. I would make an argument to that group that you are really missing opportunities.

But for those of us that have truly invested time, staff, resources into social media Charlie asks some really great questions. How do sustain the program past a student intern or staff members with an interest? I think there is another blog post on that topic but I am interested if people have opionions on the topic? Thoughts, comments, suggestions…


Rolling out a new president

February 8, 2009

Over the course of the last week I have been “heads down” as I like to say in a project. I ignored twitter, articles piled up in my Google reader, and some of my on campus constituents heard “we’ll get to that next week”.

Last week I had an opportunity that doesn’t come around every year for a marketing professional in higher education. On Friday Gettysburg College trustees unanimously named Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 our 14th president. It was one of the most interesting and quite frankly fun professional experiences of my career.

Since Dr. Riggs had been presented to campus the week before as a sole finalist we had a about a week to prepare for the announcement roll out but we wanted to think outside the box and incorporate our Web 2.0 and Social Media strategy. We had a detailed plan for the week with assignments so everything was all set to go come Friday morning and all we had to do was push the buttons. (It never quite works out as you plan but Friday was pretty close)

Shortly after the board voted the announcement was made in the following ways:

  • News release posted on website (also pushed to RSS feed and twitter account) Included within the news release was a short video (also posted to YouTube) of  Dr. Riggs which outlined her vision for Gettysburg’s future as well as a flicker photo gallery. Since she graduated from Gettysburg we were able to find historical shots from her yearbooks.
  • Large flash banner on the college homepage changed to reflect the announcement
  • On-campus email
  • Alumni and parent email
  • Text message to those who had signed up
  • Facebook update to fans as well as the fan page photo was updated to reflect the announcement
  • Gettysburg College Linkedin group had the news release posted

We attempted to keep things current throughout the day as well.

  • By around 3:00 pm we had posted a video interview with the chair of the search committee that was done that morning around 7:30 am.
  • We also posted to our flicker photo gallery photos from the different campus events and receptions throughout the day
  • The President’s website was completely updated by the end of the day.

Since we had enabled comments on our news releases in November and sent an update to fans on Facebook we have had quite a response to the announcement. We have received over 30 comments from alumni, parents, and friends on the news story and an additional 5 or 6 posts on the fan page.

As I said at the top of this post this experience the most interesting of my career. How did we do? Could we have taken advantage of Web 2.0 and Social Media tools in different ways? Could we have engaged our audiences better?

Let me know.


Super Bowl Commercial

February 2, 2009

As did most of America we watched the super bowl last night and since my Giants were not a part of this years game we concentrated on the commercials. Here was by far my favorite from last night…


Original Thought

January 7, 2009

The other night I was relaxing and watching the movie Good Will Hunting. I hope you have seen it and if not go rent it today. The bar scence (dipicted below on a you tube clip) has  line wher Will is talking to a Harvard Student and makes the point of asking “do you have any original thoughts of your own?”

For some reason this resonated with me that night. I feel like some many times in higher ed marketing we look to others, research competitors, and don’t want to stretch ourselves too far out of the box. Just look at any number of .edu websites and you can find similar navigation items and layouts.

I challenge higher ed web marketers in 2009 to have an original thought. Think outside the box. Do something different. Take a risk.


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