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4 ConfabEDU Takeaways We Can’t Implement Alone

 

By Jason Pope

The speakers! The networking! The cake!

There’s so much to love about the Confab Higher Ed content strategy conference we attended. But among my favorite things are the takeaways – those actionable tidbits that we can bring back and implement for the good of Liberty, our web users, and our websites.

But we can’t implement every takeaway alone; not even with the help of our awesome Web Content Team. We need you – the content contributors, the subject matter experts, the Web Manager users – to work with us.

Here are four conference session takeaways we can’t implement alone.

Takeaway #1: Tell stories that align with your institution’s core values.

From “Make it fresh: Steering clear of the same old story” by Ravi Jain.

Ravi said that being in higher ed is like being in Groundhog Day, and he’s right. We post a lot of cyclical content – course information, faculty bios, announcements, and commencement schedules – just in time to go back to the beginning and start all over again. It can feel quite monotonous. But focusing on telling stories that reinforce who we are and what we believe at Liberty can breathe new life into our content.

How you can help: Be on the lookout for faculty, staff, and students in your department with a story to tell. Then, let us know!

Chances are, we’ve never heard of that student who landed an awesome internship or the faculty member who used her break to change the world. Share these stories with us so we can help share that message with the world via news articles, testimonials, or the We The Champions initiative.

Takeaway #2: Write small and write like a human.

From “Content in the age of personalization” by Matt McFadden.

With all the advanced web technology that can deliver personalized content and experiences, Matt went back to this core content principle as one of his closing “Four Big Things.” Keeping written content short, focused, and in a natural voice is foundational to connecting with your audience.

How you can help: Reduce content, eliminate ROT, and write with plain language BEFORE uploading anything onto your webpages.

The Web Content Team can’t review every change before it’s published, so we need you, our Web Manager users, to help implement good content practices. We offer free tips on general web writing, user-focused writing, and improved voice and tone on our website. We’re also happy to meet with you for additional training and brainstorming. Help us catch long-form narrative and academic jargon early in the content process!

Takeaway #3: Create a documented content strategy with goals.

From “Solo content strategy: Lessons for lone rangers and tiny teams” by Malaika Carpenter.

A content strategy is basically a plan for how content can help meet your goals. But before the plan can be written, you have to know what your department’s goals are and document them.

How you can help: Share with us your department’s specific goals so we can create a plan for how to achieve them with content.

Our team creates strategies to help Liberty meet its overall goals, and we can do the same for your department’s individual goals. But first, we need to hear from you on what those are. Requests to “create an FAQ page,” “add more buttons,” or “add a welcome letter from the dean” can never be successful without an established goal and a plan to achieve it. Let’s get strategic!

Takeaway #4: Understand executive priorities at every level and map out how the web will support them.

From “Paving the way for web governance” by Georgy Cohen.

Knowing your department’s goals is one thing; understanding what your layers of leadership are prioritizing is quite another. True understanding takes communication and relationships. And only then will it become clear how the web can support those priorities.

How you can help: Be a bridge builder. Use your knowledge and relationships to help us understand your leadership’s priorities.

No one knows your department better than you do. No one understands your leadership’s priorities quite like you do. In order for us to support them, we need to understand them. Start by inviting the Web Content Team into the conversation, no matter how complicated. Let us work with you to understand, plan, and support. We can do it, but we need you!

 

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