When we work with colleges and universities to redesign their websites, one of the first things we do is a comprehensive discovery to assess the current state.
Our discovery typically involves a variety of activities, such as reviewing existing research and branding, interviewing stakeholders, conducting workshops to better understand key customer journeys, and reviewing website analytics. Altogether, these activities help paint a picture of where the website is and where it needs to be as an effective business tool.
Content strategy is a transformative approach for focusing and elevating your digital communications efforts by aligning all of your content production to your key messages. Sounds simple, but developing and implementing a content strategy can sometimes be tricky to start and hard to explain.
In over a decade of leading workshops to help clients make the most of their content, we’ve developed a content strategy template, breaking down content strategy process into four fundamental questions:
Content strategy succeeds best not as an individual crusade, but as a group effort across your organization. But in higher education, the kind of culture change that content strategy often calls for can be hard to come by.
There are a few ways these challenges may present themselves within a college or university. We’ve broken those challenges down here, paired with clarifying GIFs — plus a few strategies for overcoming them.
When we approach web projects, content strategy is always a part of the conversation. You can’t have a successful website redesign or other major digital initiative unless you are accounting for the content in some meaningful way. Taking a content-first approach ensures that the end product succeeds in both communicating and motivating effectively.
Website calendars pose one of the great challenges of higher education content management — there are a million options, every school needs one, but each school’s needs vary slightly, and nobody wants to own it. Who knows, if your college or university is like many others, a wide array of calendar tools may already be in place across your institution.
If you’ve developed a branding platform, whether it was done internally or with a vendor partner, congratulations. You’re ahead of the game by virtue of having defined the DNA of your institutional identity, distinguishing it from peers and competitors alike.
So…now what? As it concerns digital marketing and web content strategy in particular, a branding platform is a tremendous step toward meaningful differentiation, but it does not enable well-intentioned communicators to get rolling right out of the box.
First-generation college students are a critical demographic in the U.S. higher education landscape, comprising 34% of undergraduates in the 2011-12 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
I’ve worked with higher ed for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of wonderful things. But few things are more wonderful than a thoughtfully conceived strategic plan.
Sound dull? Hear me out.
An institution’s strategic plan is a roadmap to fulfill its ambition. Ideally, a strategic plan defines a vision for the future of the institution, then lays out highly specific, realistic, and measurable goals aligned to that vision — and a timeframe in which to achieve them.
Now if that’s not the definition of beauty, I don’t know what is.
When you think about digital brand storytelling at a college or university, you may initially think about stories of outstanding individual achievement: faculty conducting groundbreaking research, students having enriching learning experiences, or alumni making a meaningful impact on the world.
But beyond the incredible individuals who comprise your incredible institution, there is a different story lurking — in the aggregate.
Planning a website redesign can be daunting. There’s a lot to consider.
The more clear-eyed you can be heading into the redesign effort, the more focused it will be and the more likely you will be to achieve success. One of the best ways to gain this clarity is by prioritizing content strategy ahead of the redesign itself.
While content strategy should be a core thread running through any website redesign project, there’s a lot of content work you can do well before a redesign gets underway to more fully inform what that effort should look like.