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.”

Pump up the jam or maybe just the incoming class

August 24, 2009

Last week I was spending some time getting through the hundreds of items in my Google reader. One of the posts I came across wason a blog called  The Old College Try: Marketing Higher Ed. The University of Toledo had done a video (in-house) designed to pump up the incoming students and get them excited about starting at the school.

I thought the video was really well done but did more than just pump up students. It did a really nice job of getting a group of salespeople (new students and parents) excited about the institution. What is the top question parents of new students are going to answer in their communities, at dinners, and other events back at home in September.

Where is Johnny headed to school again? How does he like it?

What better way to get a group of your best brand advocates to be excited and engaged about the institution. Well done –

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.

Be Couregous

April 1, 2009

If this video looks like it was done in my basement that is ok because it was.

If this video looks like I have too much time on my hands that is ok to because I am on parent leave and I do. Hopefully you appreciate the message and my try at a video post.

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.