Episode 23: Higher Ed Marketing Mailbag

Episode 23: Higher Ed Marketing Mailbag
Season 1

 
 
00:00 / 35:33
 
1X

Sponsored by Podium Education. Thought Feeder’s first mailbag episode where Jon-Stephen Stansel and Joel Goodman answer listener questions. This episode covers governance, accessibility, and workplace politics.

Episode 23: Higher Ed Marketing Mailbag
Season 1

 
 
00:00 / 35:33
 
1X

Sponsored by Podium Education. Thought Feeder’s first mailbag episode where Jon-Stephen Stansel and Joel Goodman answer listener questions. This episode covers governance, accessibility, and workplace politics.

HigherEd Marketing Mailbag Transcript

This episode is sponsored by Podium Education

Podium Education partners with colleges and universities to offer turnkey, tech skills programs delivered 100% online. Their coursework covers emerging technology areas like data analytics and web development – giving students from all majors the skills needed for a great career in the modern workforce.
If you’re interested in increasing enrollment and attracting top students – bring Silicon Valley to your campus with Podium Education. Learn more today at www.podiumeducation.com

Joel Goodman: Welcome to the Thought Feeder podcast. My name is Joel Goodman with me as always is the inquisitive Jon-Stephen Stansel. Today is a mailbag day. It’s actually our first mailbag day. We sent out a tweet a few days ago before recording this, asking for your questions or topics or comments. And we got a few.

And so it’s, it’s just a mailbag, grab bag, Stick Stickly-style, sorta episode. So…

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I was thinking more Brak from a Space Ghost Coast to Coast, but we’re, we’re dating ourselves as older millennials.

Joel Goodman: Space Ghost Coast to Coast. I used to watch that on TBS when I would stay home sick from school.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Oh yeah.

Joel Goodman: It was fantastic. (laughs)

Jon-Stephen Stansel: So our first question comes from @WillDuder. Uh, he tweets at us, “Long time follower, first time tweeter. My question: what’s the nicest way to tell someone their idea is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard? Follow up question, how do you have the “stop using Comic Sans in your professional email” conversation without sounding pretentious?

Will, you have come to the wrong place.

(laughter)

I don’t know. I have no id- I’m probably the absolute worst person to ask this question to. So I have a few takes and a few ideas, but, but Joel, Joel, you might be a little bit more diplomatic than I am. So do you have any thoughts on this?

Joel Goodman: Well, and diplomacy is the key. So as someone that owns an agency that works with different universities and personalities and clients, I’m not going to say my clients ever have really terrible ideas because that’s not nice. and they don’t really, but if like, generally, if you hear a dumb idea, it’s in my opinion, it’s because someone is trying to be, an active participant in the process. Like they’re trying to give you some good thoughts.

And the way that I always approach this. So, you know, I’ll take a step back. When I work with different university clients, we’ll oftentimes come in and we’ll have discussions about how we want to do things, and a lot of times ideas come up and they’re ideas that are generally fine or that they would work, but they don’t necessarily fit into the plans or strategies that we’re thinking of as a strategy team at Bravery. And so what I try to do is have a conversation around those and expand upon it.

So I like to say that we are in the business of taking ideas and making them better. And if you can make that a collaborative process, one, you get buy-in from that person, like they start to think that it was their idea. And so, I mean, sometimes if you can lead them along in a conversation, they’re going to have ideas that spur on better ideas or better concepts.

So it’s, to me, it’s about bringing people into the conversation, the idea generation or expansion process, and trying to maximize whatever little kernel of a thought was there, because I unless it’s something completely off the wall, you know, that has nothing to do with what your strategy is doing like there’s probably going to be a little kernel of an idea that can grow into something bigger. And it’s just a matter of, of talking through it and generating your own ideas and trying to bring someone into that process and understand where you’re coming from and, and think more deeply about what they want to do.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. Yeah. And, I will add, there are times when it’s okay. Not to be diplomatic. If the idea is actively dangerous to your institution in some way. you know, for, for some, you know, I was just looking at an ad campaign yesterday that some grape candy made, uh, where they put up billboards that said like, Make America Grape Again. And “we have never groped a licorice”…

Like, trying to make a joke out of. sexual assault. Someone in that room — they obviously it didn’t have any women in the room, which is a problem, number one, but problem number two, somebody in that meeting should have said, no, that’s a dumb and dangerous idea. And they would have been justified in doing so.

But on top of that, in the diplomatic sense, I think a lot of ideas that aren’t that great, may have some nugget of goodness to them, but they’re not goal-based. So sometimes asking people what their goal and what they expect the outcome of this idea to be, to work.

Joel Goodman: Like, what’s the purpose of, this idea? What are you trying to get done with it?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Allow me to, to, to throw shade on myself, uh, of, I can’t decide if this is my best, worst idea or my worst best idea. but when I got started out at UCA, I had this idea I really wanted to, to try and really want to at the beginning of the school year and give away the president’s parking space for a week. I thought, man, this would be a great contest prize.

So I’m not even starting with the goal or the contest. I’m starting with, I’m like, I’m like eight layers down the process. I’m starting like at the very end, rather than coming up with a goal and working towards that. And I built this whole idea around, okay, we’re going to do a contest and then we’re going to give away the president’s parking space and… Well, what’s the contest going to be? Well, it’s gonna be a photo contest and well, how’s the photo contest is going to work and what’s the goal for the photo contest.

So I put the goal at the last, and if somebody’s in a meeting right, said to me, Hey, what is the goal here? I, I think one, we would have done things a whole lot differently and the whole idea would have been a lot more effective. But you know, done so in a way that was goal focused rather than, Hey, no, that’s not a good solid idea. there.

Joel Goodman: Yeah, I think it’s similar to what we talked about with Amanda Goetz a couple of episodes back about setting OKRs on different things. Like you gotta know, like the tactical side of, it’s not a part of it, but you gotta know what the end result is supposed to be. Like, what are you trying to accomplish with whatever you’re doing? And then you can match the idea to that goal.

And so a lot of times it really is just, in my experience, it’s just massaging it. Right. It’s, it’s taking that idea. And, and I think, I think there’s a level of, there’s some introspective work that has to be done. So like, if you’re in that position of being like, “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” you gotta like, take a step back, look at it objectively and say, okay, in this format, why do I think it’s dumb? is it dumb because I don’t like this person and so I’m railing against their personality? And if that’s the case and you probably just need to do some personal work on, on, you know, like, being nice to people.

But I think if it’s a sort of thing where it doesn’t match up with the strategy and goals that you have, then the idea is someone, I think, trying to participate in a process and really just needs you to take your leadership as a digital strategist, a marketer, you know, a social media person, whatever it is And help them help kind of guide them through it’s a call for leadership. I think really it’s a, it’s a call for, it’s a call for you to take up an opinion and work through it with them on all those different steps.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah.

Sometimes it’s kind of, you know, suppressing that gut instinct where sometimes you just want to say, “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” and just kind of stifling that down a bit.

Joel Goodman: That can take training depending on who you are. Take a little practice.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: So let’s get to the follow-up question here. “How do you have the stop using Comic Sans in your professional email conversation without sounding pretentious?”

And you know, this surprises me all the time. I do see Comic Sans in people’s emails. And I just think to myself, like this is the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever seen. But how do you have that conversation? How do you tell somebody like, Hey, don’t use that font? I think some of it kind of comes into just institutional guidelines of, Hey, don’t change the font in your email. Like that needs to just be a top-level thing.

Joel Goodman: It’s governance.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah.

Joel Goodman: That’s what I was thinking. It just comes down to governance. Someone has to be in charge of saying this is policy.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Right.

Joel Goodman: If it’s an individual, though. Like if it’s like a professional, that’s like running their own business and they do it in their, their own email signature. Like, I don’t know.

I don’t know that you should have that conversation. I feel like you shouldn’t bother with it. And you should either lead by example and not use Comic Sans in your signature or, uh, you know, like you have to develop a good relationship with someone and say, Hey, you know, this would look a lot more professional if you used a brand font instead of Comic Sans. Versus, you know, it’s just, it’s none of your business if it’s just someone you know, as an acquaintance or something, you don’t have a relationship with, like you, why does it bug you? Also Comic Sans has its place, not in signatures, but you know.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Okay. I want to talk about this. Cause whenever I do love to rail against Comic Sans, um, and whenever I do. Somebody brings up the point and is a valid point that comic Sans is more easily readable for the dyslexic. And…

Joel Goodman: But there, there are other fonts that are more purposefully tailored to that.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: exactly.

Joel Goodman: Do you know where Comic Sans is good? In comic strips. When you have a comic strip, that is a place where you can use Comic Sans. It’s tiny. It looks better when it’s small. It’s readable at small type sizes. Like, put it in a comic strip. That’s where it belongs. If it’s going to be used.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. And I would say, you know, the dyslexic don’t have to live with terrible fonts. The British Dyslexia Association does recommend, uh, various fonts. Comic Sans is one of them, but they also recommend Arial, which is very professional, a little boring, but professional. Verdana, Tahoma, Century, Gothic, Trebuchet, all of those fonts can, can be used as well.

So, if we’re thinking about accessibility, there, there are many other alternatives to Comic Sans.

Joel Goodman: And I think there’s, there’s actually a type face, I’d have to look it up, but there’s a typeface that’s that was specifically developed to be more readable for folks with dyslexia.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. It comes standard on, on Kindle e-readers.

Joel Goodman: Does it?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s not something you would want to use all over because it is a very blocky font that I think for those who aren’t dyslexic might be a little off-putting.

Joel Goodman: And I don’t, I mean, I’ll also say, I don’t think the majority of people that use Comic Sans in inappropriate ways are doing so because of accessibility reasons. I think they’re doing so because they think it looks good. Um, or they think it’s playful or fun or, you know, whatever other adjective people ascribe to that particular typeface.

But honestly, like, if it has nothing to do with you. Unless they’re a friend, let them, let them figure it out on their own. Let someone else do it, like, someone else call them out for it.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I’m not, I’m not going to defend Comic Sans because I’m just not. Like I can’t bring myself do that. But I will say, say this, you know, coming from an old, old school, like if you talk to my college self, I was very, um, Very opinionated about types of music. And like, if you like this band, you don’t know what you’re talking about and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I would rail on and on. And I would love to go back in time and slap myself for doing that because it’s just some stuff is not for you. It’s not for you, right?

If somebody, like you said, wants to do it personally, use Comic Sans, whatever. They, they, it, it looks clownish to me, but if it makes you happy, great, just don’t use it on my brand.

Joel Goodman: Right.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: All right. So let’s move on to our next question, which comes from @jenncrim. “It’s been quite a year to work in social media. Are there any trends that have popped up this year that you predict shaping up the future of social media management and teams?”

Joel Goodman: I’m gonna let you take this one, J.S.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: That’s. Okay. To say this is quite a year is, is like just an incredible understatement. Um, I feel sorry for anyone who’s starting their career in 2020 in social media, because it, hopefully things start to change again for the better, but,?

Joel Goodman: We’re also only nine months into the year. Not even, not even quite, but just about.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I think this is the start or at least I’m hopeful that 2020 is the start of the end of the team of one for social media. it’s just not possible, to happen anymore. We’re working around the clock. Overworked, stressed. I would say burnout is another trend that’s happening right now. There’s a lot of talk and that’s bringing attention to the, uh, amount of, mental health issues and fatigue that goes along with social media. The demands are being seen more.

I think social media managers are starting to speak out more. I was thinking about this the other day and it’s like, Hey, my Twitter, social media marketing Twitter is just on fire right now. And social media managers are really speaking now. And why has this happened? Is it just this year happening??

But then I realized like social media has just now been a career for a little while. Like, people have more than five years of experience working in social media now. And I think we’re starting to see voices that are not so afraid to speak out anymore. We’re confident that we’ve been doing our jobs a little while, so we’re starting to see people who are a little bit more old hat in social media, speak out too. So, that may be a trend that’s coming up, but.

Back to the end of the team of one. You know, we were mentioning before, the Alexander the Grape campaign I was upset about yesterday. you can’t have a diverse team of one, right? So I think that’s really going to be important moving forward of social media, that we hire more, well, we have better representation in the social media workforce and the social media teams are, are more diverse so we can have better ideas, we can avoid, potential slip-ups.

Joel Goodman: Yeah.

See, I, I think, now’s the time to, instead of maybe trying to predict what trends are going to happen is to say like, how can we set trends for the future? Like, this is a time where we should be able to really like pay attention to the work that we’re doing online.

I think this applies to social media, I think this applies to digital strategy in higher ed and in every, in every industry. But this is a time where we should be paying attention to what’s going on, trying to listen as much as we can with all the noise that’s happening, and then make decisions for what we’re going to do going forward.

And I think one of that is we need to be way more, way more diverse and inclusive in our teams. Diversity, not just from a racial standpoint. I think people from all walks of life need to be doing this, but I think also we can make decisions, we can make little decisions to be more accessible in the content that we post to social media. We’ve done a pretty good job on the web side of things and there’s still work to be done, but on the social media side of things, there’s still a lot of gaps that we need to start filling. and so just kind of building, building this mentality of inclusivity, acceptance, is something that should be core to what we’re doing already. And so we can make the choice to make that a trend in the next year and to start pushing on it.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Oh, definitely. And I think with accessibility, it’s going to take more people speaking out against it. To me, accessibility is just, it shouldn’t be an afterthought. It shouldn’t be something that’s just nice to have. It should be the standard. It should be the norm. Every post should have all texts from every brand. Like it should be expected. It needs to be written into social media manager job descriptions from this point forward.

But we do need people at the highest level, starting to speak out about it because you know what? I tweet about accessibility as much as I can. There are some great proponents, @HashtagHeyAlexa. you know, talks about it. Erica Boltz does a great job of talking about it as well. But I’ll be honest, when I tweet about, cause I’m a total social media dork, and I look at my own stats for reach and engagement. When I tweet about accessibility, that gets some of the lowest engagement of anything I put out there.

And it’s important, but it’s not sexy. Um, yeah, we need more people talking about it and be proponents of attempt to make people aware of just how important it is.

Joel Goodman: I want to make this point because in the middle of all of the crisis and especially with, universities sending out tons of messages, J.S. has complained about the images with little tiny text on it. We talked about this with Erica Boltz. This is something that keeps happening and I think it’s so important to realize that in higher ed when you are putting out an image that does not have ALT text on it, you are harming someone, potentially. Like there are people that are not going to be able to read that content are not going to get the message that you are putting across unless you’re doing some other means, but even then, like you should still have ALT text on those images.

So, that’s the appeal to the human side of it. If we want to get down to brass tacks, you can get sued. What are you doing? Why do you think that so many universities have gotten sued over their websites? It extends to social media. You can take the extra minute. And copy and paste that paragraph of text into the ALT text, or you can take the extra 30 seconds and write a proper ALT description for it, or take the extra five seconds and link it to a webpage that has that copy.

One, it’s going to be better for your SEO. Two, more people are going to be able to access it. And three, you’re just treating your audiences with the respect they deserve. And I, I don’t understand why it is okay to talk about wanting to be accessible and then to completely ignore actually doing it for your brand, for your institution.

I’m sure that you have an accessibility policy on your university website. Why as a social media manager, do you think that that does not apply to stuff that you put on social platforms? Especially if they offer the tools. If there is a tool for ALT text, which by the way, Instagram has ALT text, you don’t have to put the alt text in your Instagram, description. You can actually use ALT text field. It’s better for screen readers.

But if you’re not going to put it in there, like you’re, you’re breaking your own policy, you’re breaking your institution’s policy. You can be liable for being for all of that. It’s just, you take the extra minute.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Bottom line, it’s just the right thing to do. And, and here, here’s the thing. We do talk about accessibility a lot, and I know personally, I need to do a better job of doing this of when we talk about accessibility, we, we don’t need to call out, we need to invite in. And it’s never too late to learn about accessibility and start doing it. Just cause you’re not doing it now, doesn’t mean you can’t change.

You know, we talk about the word I keep seeing in my Twitter feed these days is “grace.” We can give a little bit of, grace. If you haven’t been doing it up until now, that’s fine. Well, it’s not totally fine, but like, but it’s not too late to, to shift and start doing it now. Like it’s, it’s that important. You need to. if you’re listening to this and you’re not adding ALT text to your social media images, learn it now.

Joel Goodman: Go back and listen to the episode with Erica Boltz. It’ll be linked in the show notes. You can find it in your, you know, whatever your podcast app is. Listen to that episode. she gives us so many ways to enact this and talks about how she built those processes in her past roles. It’s, it’s not that hard to do it just, it just takes building it into your processes for posting content. And that’s all.

Like mistakes are fine. everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has typos. The thing is you got to start learning from your mistakes and changing them. It’s not a free pass. Just because you make a mistake once, if you do it again, it’s not really a mistake. Or if it’s, if it’s a habitual mistake, it doesn’t become a mistake anymore.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And I think also one thing to think about with social media, we are to some extent at the mercy of the platforms, you know? You know, it was a long time before Twitter added, the ability to add ALT text. They just added the ability to add ALT text to GIFs. Instagram stories, there are some ways to have accessibility, but it’s far from perfect. the main thing was social media right now is you just have to just try. And people will give you grace. Right? If you mess up.

I’ll admit, there are some times where something’s got to go out in a rush, you know? Especially with just @replies, like I know the person’s not using a screen reader, but I need to be thinking about, Oh, well, what is somebody else’s listening to this conversation? I need to be sure and add that ALT text into whatever image or GIF I put on there. Uh, I mean, just like typos, we all slip up here and there, but the main thing is you’re, you’re making an effort to do the right thing day in and day out and, and ALT texts and accessibility is just that important.

Joel Goodman: So we’re going to go on to another question, from @EjoleeM. Thats, well, well, we’ll put a link to link to their Twitter in the, in the show notes. Cause I hate spelling out people’s Twitter handles.

The, the question is, “I’ve been wondering how do people set ad budgets for your organization? How do you know what’s a good amount of money to have for ads? Because I never know if I’m putting an adequate amount of money into them.”

Jon-Stephen Stansel: How much ya got??

I wish I’ve ever been able to ask this question because generally when we’re talking about ad budgets, that’s just what I have to ask. What, what is the budget? I’ll take whatever I can get. but there are a few things to kind of factor in and think about, about here at the University of Central Arkansas, you know, we work with a vendor who does most of our, our paid social ads. And we do that, for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a workaround for, using P-cards and procurement. And, you know, we, we can’t get a purchase order from Mark Zuckerberg. Uh, so we have to go through an ad agency to do it for us.

And so we look at our overall ad budget and where does social fit into that? And how much a percentage does that get compared to where other areas might, you know, we absolutely have to do. I mean, we’ve got to do TV spots, we’ve got to do billboards, whether we like it or not, because, you know, higher up, that’s really it, I’m not going to talk down billboards, but, um, you know, I’m a digital person, they’re not my preference to spend money on.

Generally social media is kind of like, well, whatever’s leftover. maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but then when we do have our social media budget, we do have to decide like, okay, where am I going to spend it and what I’m going to spend it on?

And it kind of comes down to just like everything else. What are our, our goals? do we want, you know, brand awareness? Do we want to get clicks over to the website? We’re really big on transfer students this year and for the foreseeable future. So, you know, we’ve got a large amount of our budget dedicated towards, ads targeted at transfer students. so it’s kind of divvying it up from there and then divvying up what networks We’re gonna focus on, uh, quality over quantity. you know, for, for budget, you can make your money go a long way on Snapchat, but I just don’t think you’re getting a quality view over that.

Or I’d rather spend the, to me it’s like, it’s like going to Target versus going to Kmart, Instagram versus Snapchat. Like I’d rather spend a little bit more money and go, go to Target and get something that’s going to look nice in my house or last a little bit longer. So I think that’s uh, important to, to consider as well.

And you know, to know if you’re putting adequate money into it? Personally, it depends on the size of your organization and what your, what you’re going for, you know, a small local, you know, I did some freelance work for a buddy’s guitar shop and he’s really kind of just focused on guitar players locally, so he doesn’t have to spend a huge amount of money. But for, for us at our university, I don’t want to, I don’t want to spend time on a, on social ads if we’re going to spend anything less than a thousand dollars. I just don’t. I just don’t have the time for it. I just don’t see the impact of anything less now. That’s me personally, but I think that’s something every marketer has to kind of sit down and decide for themselves.

Joel Goodman: Yeah, no, and I think that’s, I think that’s totally valid. I think, it’s hard to say, it’s hard to say what a minimum is going to be for anyone. So I think starting with a thousand dollars as, as something that’s useful is good. I think there’s also just the side of the spend is only worthwhile if you know what results you’re looking for. And if you’re able to tailor your ads to get those results.

So I think along with the spend that you have, you need to constantly be paying attention, to click-through rates, to conversion. You need to be tying those to actual conversions on your website to make sure that you know exactly what each one of those ads is worth or what each one of your converted website visitors is worth.

Because a lot of, you know, like, Like CPM rates are like, okay, cool. Like, I mean, if it’s just engagement, whatever. If someone’s clicking through, cool. I think there’s also a side of, you gotta make sure that wherever they’re landing is optimized to get them to take an action. Because I think it’s kind of a waste in a lot of ways to spend money on digital ads if it’s just for awareness. There are better ways to use that money. Hire people to write content. Hire, hire people to make content, make videos and start, you know, getting an, getting your actual brand out there in front of people in more natural ways, and then use advertising to, to kind of bolster that and then make sure that you’re sending people to the right places.

And so in that case, whatever you can spend should be worth it. But you really can’t pinpoint how much you should be spending until you know what each click is going to be worth to your institution or what each conversion is going to be worth to your institution.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Exactly. Start with the goal, ask for as much as you can. I mean, I really, I mean, personally, I think in higher ed, we, we need to have some sort of social paid ad presence up constantly. Like there should never be a time when we’re not running some sort of paid social ad.

Now it always should have a goal in mind, but I just think with the way the enrollment cycle goes, we need to be doing things just, it just needs to be a perennial thing. Just constant.

Joel Goodman: Yeah. Totally.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: All right. So we’ve got one more question for today. And that comes from, @ThatChristinaG.

“How do you educate your client slash management as to why you should or should not publish a piece of content? Do you go over content buckets or pillars with them or do something else?”

Okay. So yeah, this is a big thing that happens all the time. You know, we get voluntold to post something on social. Or on the website, you know, what, what goes on the homepage? and sometimes it’s something that, that needs to happen. And other times it’s, it’s, you know, research about paper lanterns in Western Kentucky in 1862.

Nobody cares. I’m sorry if you’re a paper lantern enthusiast.

Joel Goodman: Actually sounds really interesting.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. I’m sure it’s a fascinating topic if I, if I delved into it, but it’s not interesting to me the general public, and it’s not something that belongs on the homepage. It’s not something that belongs on the main university social channels.

So how do we tell people that, because especially when you tell somebody that, you’re telling them that their baby is ugly, right? If somebody comes to you with a piece of content, they’re coming to you, especially for us in higher ed, it’s their passion. There is somebody who is passionate about paper lanterns in Western Kentucky in 1862. That is their life’s work.

So how do we tell them that that isn’t homepage worthy? It’s hard to do. But it’s important that we do it. And Christina brings up the question of pillars and buckets. And that’s something that I think needs to be done and, and stated as what the overall goals for your website, for your social media are.

So kinda, these content pillars and buckets, because she’s talking about our main ideas that you publish about. So, for us at the University of Central Arkansas, what I did is I took our strategic planning document. You know, everybody’s got one, right. You know, it talks about all the things that you want to do in the next 10 years, what, what your university values, all of these things. I just cut and paste that thing into a word cloud formulator, and saw all the words that came up that were the most used. And for us, it was, you know, innovation, diversity, um, enrollment.

Joel Goodman: Not paper lanterns?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And not paper lanterns. And those things became my, I was like, okay, well, this is obviously what we value cause it, these words are repeated over and over and over again in our strategic planning documents. So these are what I’m going to set as are our content pillars. And if it doesn’t fall into one of these, it doesn’t get published. So a paper that got published about paper lanterns, I’m sorry, that’s not “innovation”, to me.

it may be really interesting, but it doesn’t fall under. Uh, enrollment, it doesn’t fall under diversity. It doesn’t fall into a few otherother buckets. So maybe that the homepage or social media is not the best place for it.

Another thing I do, however, when I say no is try to offer an alternative, Hey, can’t put it on the main page, but the history department has a page not be a great spot for it. you know, it may not go on the homepage, but maybe, maybe we can find another outlet for it somewhere. Maybe it’s good for, you know, the school magazine or some other place to put that content.

Joel Goodman: So two thoughts from me. One, I don’t think news belongs on the homepage of any university website. I don’t think content carousels belong on the homepage of a university website. I think a university website should be focused on the goal of recruiting new students. Of converting visitors into students, or their parents into parents of students. So that’s just number one.

Number two, I think there’s a side of it where, when you’re the gatekeeper, there has to be a mentality of questioning everything that comes in, not just for its validity, but for, is this something that could potentially be useful if in another format?

So in the case of your paper lanterns, J.S., like if you’ve got that word cloud of these are the pillars, the buckets of content and things, the things that we set as a governing body, the criteria that content has to, has to hit or relate to in some way, you may get a paper like that and I mean, in general, like, are you ever going to post a research paper unless you’re a major research university and you know, that it’s like critical to your funding? Probably not. Like your general audience, isn’t going to care. Like it’s very specific people that are interested in the actual written dry academic research papers that come out of, out of universities.

But is there another angle to take that content and turn it into something that is valuable and does support the goals that you have? Is it worth sending over to, you know, whoever writes your features content to create a story that you know, that expands on that research and amplifies that particular program and is used to support the program or that faculty person or the department that, that came out of in attracting new students?

There totally could be. It’s just, it’s a matter of being able to put yourself in a position of not saying yes or no, but no, not right now, not in this format, can we find another way? Or is it you know, is this valuable content or does this have the potential to be valuable content if we, if we tweak it a little bit??

I think it goes back to what we were talking about with @WillDuder‘s question at the beginning of the show: how do you tell someone their idea’s the dumbest idea ever? It’s like, how do you tell someone that the content that they have is not wanted by anyone?

It’s not telling them that, like, you don’t want to tell them that, you know, you never, you know, you never tell them that we don’t want to publish your content. You tell them in this current form, it doesn’t fit what we’re trying to do and here are the goals that we have. How can we, how can we highlight this in another way?

Or like you were saying, J.S., is there a better place for this on, on the website? Um, but I think it’s important as well as people that do publish content, whether on social or on your website, that you’re also thinking in terms of is this source material that could turn into something interesting that engages our audience in other ways? Because, how often do you have source content come to you? How often do you have to sit there and be like, okay, now I got to come up with a tweet or a Facebook post or an Instagram post to do this thing? When you get something new and interesting or potentially interesting, hopefully, that gets your creative synapses firing and lets you, you know, create something really cool and good.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Right.

Joel Goodman: Thank you so much for listening to the Thought Feeder podcast. We hope you enjoyed this mailbag episode. You can always tweet your questions, comments, and topics to us @ThoughtFeedPod on Twitter. We would love to answer them either on a future show or just have a conversation with you on Twitter.

We’re always happy to do that. You can also visit our website at thoughtfeederpod.com. We’ve got transcripts of all of our episodes. And if you enjoy listening to this podcast, we would really appreciate a rating and review. You can do that on Apple Podcasts. There are also other sites that allow you to leave reviews. Anything you can do to help us and express your satisfaction with our show is helpful in getting more people, listen to it.

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