April 27, 2010
2 weeks ago I was in Miami at dotCMS bootcamp and I had a few reflections I thought I would share:
The web is not a project and we shouldn’t talk about maintaining it.
When organizations redesign the website there is a high level of energy and enthusiasm across all levels during the planning and implementation stages. But that drops off significantly after the launch and as we get into “maintenance mode.” As web professionals we need to remove the word maintenance from our vocabulary and start talking about growth. The web is not a project that has a defined start and end point. But rather a critical piece of your organization that needs to be constantly improving and growing.
ROI vs. RAKAWS
Should we worry about the ROI of web projects? We have to be conscious of how we spend our time and resources but web professionals should start to think about the value of Running A Kick Ass Web Site. What is the value of having key information like how to make a gift or how to get more information easy to find on the site for your large revenue generators.
Organization doesn’t matter
No matter how many people you have, or if you report to marketing or IT a really good web team does the following three things well:
- Web Operations – Ensures that the tactics of Web site development align with overall organizational mission.
- Web Execution – Day to day execution by the Web Team; the Web Team carries out plans developed by Web Ops.
- Web Performance Measurement – Web analytics that are connected to business goals
There is nothing revolutionary here but some good thoughts to keep in mind as we wrap up one academic year and get ready for summer projects.
August 3, 2009
Over the years I have made it a habit to use the month of August to have lunch with a handful of people on campus. Usually I target the directors of the Career Development, Off-Campus studies, and the Center for Public Service. Each year these lunches have yielded at least one or two really good projects including student stories, travel blogs, or web enhancements.
Lunch on campus seems to work well because it strikes the right balance between informality and a meeting. I start by asking about what might be happening in the year ahead or what programs the person is most excited about in the coming year. Then I just sit back and take good notes.
August always works well too for a number of reasons. Most people (especially those in student affairs) are back from vacation since they are preparing for the arrival of the first year class. Additionally by august most divisions and departments have completed their goal setting and planning for the year. By August the directors of these key areas have a sense for what programs and people will have an exciting and interesting story to tell.
So since August is here my advice is pick up the phone and have lunch.
August 1, 2009
I found a blog post that I thought was so good it was worth sharing here.
How University Vice President of Communications And Content Strategy Leadership Roles Are Likely To Change
The post by David Dalka who is presently a search engine marketing and content strategy management consultant talks about the role of the VP for Communications and what skills will be needed in the future for the position. I am interested to see what people think of his ideas. He lists a number of attributes the Vice President of the future will have at the end of the post. I thought they were all good but a few in particular popped out to me:
Person Will Understand How to Create Unified Content Strategy
Individual Should Be Passionate About Enabling Student and Alumni Personal Branding
Individual Has Experience Driving Change in Data Models, Technology and Process Standardization
Person Should Have Passion For Effective Spending and Budget Reform
Individual Should Desire to Make Education More Accessible To All
Person Should Embrace New Technology Like Mobile and Digital Signage
To give proper credit I originally found this post via Andrew Careaga’s blog higher ed marketing.
June 4, 2009
This week the new Newsweek has been a hot conversation on the CASE CUE (university editors listserve). A few weeks back Newsweek introduced a new look and new approach to their magazine.
In the May 16th issue editor Jon Meecham (who spoke at Gettysburg last year) described the changes:
And so the magazine you are holding now—the first issue of a reinvented and rethought NEWSWEEK—represents our best effort to bring you original reporting, provocative (but not partisan) arguments and unique voices. We know you know what the news is. We are not pretending to be your guide through the chaos of the Information Age. If you are like us, you do not need, or want, a single such Sherpa. What we can offer you is the benefit of careful work discovering new facts and prompting unexpected thought.
The chief casualty is the straightforward news piece and news written with a few (hard-won, to be sure) new details that does not move us significantly past what we already know. Will we cover breaking news? Yes, we will, but with a rigorous standard in mind: Are we truly adding to the conversation? When violence erupts in the Middle East, are we saying something original about it? Are our photographs and design values exceptional? If the answers are yes, then we are in business.
As a long time Newsweek reader I was impressed at the new approach and one particular line stuck out for me. “Are we truly adding to the conversation?” They truly get it. I don’t want the hardcore news I can get that up to the minute on the web from a weekly magazine. Can they give me value added? Can they make me think? Can they bring a different perspective that I haven’t thought about before? Can they offer me a fresh idea?
Are we seeing the future of alumni magazines? Maybe not this year or next but in 10-15-20 years when this generation is in their mid 40’s and comfortable with technology and news on the web. Could this be the future for higher ed alumni magazines?
May 21, 2009
Yesterday was our divisional retreat. At Gettysburg Web Communications reports alongside Admissions, Financial Aid, Communications and Public Relations, Athletics, and Institutional Analysis within the Enrollment and Educational Services (EES) division. We have been having lots of discussions surrounding social media and wanted to take the opportunity to have a conversation with everyone in the division.
We also tried something a little out of the box for a college retreat. Instead of brining flip charts to report out we used a twitter hashtag. Each group that was brainstorming on how to use social media in a variety of settings had a tweeter who sent the groups reports up on the screen. Todd Bennett (@jtoddb) from decimal 152 who we work with on web projects chimed in a few times as well which gave the audience a chance to see the true collaboration capability of twitter.
I think we saw it work with limited sucess. It was tough to follow the all of the tweets since they were out of order by group so if we did it again we might give each group a hashtag as well. It did give everyone in the audience a chance to see twitter work live and hopefully allow them to continue their brainstorming past the one day retreat.
I got some mixed reaction afterwards but my first rule for using social media is you are going to fail at some things you can’t be afraid.