Thought Feeder. A higher ed marketing podcast

Episode 31: Higher Ed Resolutions

Thought Feeder - A Higher Ed Digital Marketing Podcast
Thought Feeder
Episode 31: Higher Ed Resolutions

Joel and J.S. talk through some of the things they hope higher ed marketing pros will work on for the new year. After a challenging 2020, the industry could use a re-calibration. This episode is sponsored by Squiz.

Transcript for Higher Ed Resolutions

This episode is sponsored by Squiz

Specializing in higher education, Squiz creates extraordinary, personalized experiences for a digital world through our site search platform (Funnelback), CMS, student portal, integrations hub, and more. It’s time to move beyond antiquated systems to an open, flexible platform. Trusted by hundreds of top institutions across the globe, Squiz is your partner to move forward, faster toward a connected campus.

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Jon-Stephen Stansel: What’s that Winston?

You’re dressed up like a six-year-old? How, how does a six-year-old dress up?

Winston Stansel (J.S.’s son): I have on blue jeans, blue shirt. 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Excellent color.

Joel Goodman: Sounds like a six-year-old.

Winston Stansel: I’m going to say bye-bye. Bye-Bye!

Joel Goodman: Happy new year and welcome to the Thought Feeder podcast. It’s 2021 as we’re recording this, which is fantastic. And we’re going to kick off this new year with episodes sponsored by our friends at Squiz. They’re the makers of Funnelback, which is a, ridiculously awesome site search tool for higher education in particular.  And we’re just so thankful to have them on board helping us sponsor these next three episodes in a UX series. 

We’re taking the new year to go into some new year’s resolutions for higher education, digital, for social media, for websites. And we’re gonna, we’re going to do that.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: See, I love new year’s resolutions Joel.

Joel Goodman: Okay. Good.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I think it’s great to start, one time is arbitrary. Like. 

Everybody’s saying, you know, Oh, it’s not 2020 anymore. You know, COVID doesn’t know that. Trouble doesn’t know that. It’s just, it’s refreshing. It’s time. Like one thing I like about working in higher ed, and this is why I like New Years is you get an annual reset.


You know, the school year starts, it feels fresh and new, even though nothing has really changed.

Joel Goomdan: You had two weeks off.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Or I mean, in, in August or September too, like, okay, it’s a new school year. So, you know, even though you’re, you’re still going at it. And then as staff has been working all summer, it’s nice to have like these points where you can like, stop, catch your breath and like reevaluate where you want to go to. Even though some completely as arbitrary as it’s new year’s day or whatever. Right?

Joel Goodman: Yeah, well, yeah, 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Take with what you will, but don’t like set your whole, like judge your whole year by that.

Joel Goodman:  JS, let’s start out getting into some of these things that we hope higher education will work on in 2021. and you’ve got a good list, for social media. And so let’s start there. Cause my UX stuff is going to get buried otherwise.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Well, I think, a lot of it applies to both. It’s just looking at… one thing I like a lot with my new year’s resolutions that aren’t about my job is every year I pick out one very small, very achievable resolution. Like low-hanging fruit. Like, one year it was, learn how to shave with a safety razor.

Now I have a beard. I don’t do that. 

Joel Goodman: You’ll go right back to nicking yourself.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Well, yeah. Learn how to parallel park, learn how to make a better grilled cheese sandwich. This year, mine is to make really good fried rice, right? It’s small, it’s achievable. If I don’t complete it at the end of the year…

Joel Goodman: I can give you some Indonesian tips.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I am down for that. 

But I think in higher ed too, especially in digital marketing, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit and things that we can do to change very quickly and start to see results. And the first one on our list is accessibility. Right?

It’s incredibly important, but it’s not really a huge effort. Learn how to write really good alt text, do it, caption your videos, go in on your website, and be sure every single thing has alt text on it. It’s an ongoing effort, but it’s something that once you make the change, It just starts to come naturally to you and enters into your workflow. 

And one it’s the absolute right thing to do. You should be doing it. 

You need to be doing it. But also there are other advantages to doing it, like with SEO and it, it just really helps your website.

Joel Goodman: I think there’s a level of care that it represents. So I think like we can take the very known reasons of, and we’ve talked about this before, but the known reasons of, well, you could get sued if you don’t do this stuff. And you can. It’s detrimental. 

But I think even just from the side of communicating, hopefully, your brand value, your institutional messaging, your, everyone works in an industry that has something to do with people, right? And so our brands need to represent that we care about those customers, those prospective students, those, employees or future employees, you know, that are looking to come in and accessibility is one of those ways that we can show that we actually value other people. And even if you don’t value other people, this is a way to fake it. And also it’s just a good thing to do.

[J.S. laughs]

Jon-Stephen Stansel: I hate to make that like the reason. But like get it done. But also here, here’s one thing I think with accessibility it is when you start thinking about accessibility in both your website and social media, so many other ideas. Start to come out and it starts to guide your thinking and other areas, you know? I bring up accessibility in meetings and then people start to think, well, what about inclusive language?

What about our web forms? And are those inclusive as well? And all of these other areas that are so vital and so important that may not be talked about very often start to come up to the top. And accessibility is a great way to bring that to the conversation.

Joel Goodman: And I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone in higher education that doesn’t as an individual care about the students care about the prospective students, you know? Like there may be them in this industry, but I’ve never worked with anyone that has been just, that has suffered through working in higher education and absolutely loathes other people.

And, I think to your point, like that comes out as he started talking about this. We’ll maybe. J.S. had a couple of names come to mind, I think. 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Oh, I will be the first to say I’m not the most people of people. 

I, I, but I do care about people.

Joel Goodman: Yes. Well, you know, that they’re important to what, to what higher ed is. If you know, you’re educating people, you’re not just existing, like higher education doesn’t exist. If it isn’t to educate and improve other people’s lives. 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Right

Joel Goodman: And, you know, along those lines, I think even related to, I think definitely related to accessibility, and this is one of the things that I’m going to probably be talking about a lot more on a daily or weekly basis in just my own profession and own life it’s that,  our websites and how fast they are is actually an accessibility concern.

If you follow me on Twitter @joelgoodman, if you don’t, follow me if you want. Lately, all through 2020, I’ve been pointing out these new higher ed redesigns that go out and they’re, pretty, I guess. I mean, that’s subjective.  And then you load it up in a page speed meter, like Google Lighthouse or something else, and they’re just atrociously slow. I mean, just so, so slow, especially when you try looking at it on, or looking at it through the speeds of a mobile device. And that’s an accessibility issue. And you, you might say, how is that an accessibility?

Well, see accessibility isn’t just for people with physical disabilities or, you know, comprehension challenges or things like that. It’s for people that live in rural areas and have to interact with your site on a dial-up modem it’s for people in lower socioeconomic brackets that may have to go to McDonald’s to do their homework, especially during you know, the pandemic and having to do a lot of things online.

When your website is slow and you’re not paying attention to the optimization side of it, that’s an accessibility concern. You’re making it inaccessible for a whole range of people. And not only is that yeah, like it may not be legislated, or, outlined in WCAG, but honestly, like, It’s still a concern that you should be paying attention to. And so I’m hoping that in 2021 more universities and more colleges, as they are hiring agencies to redesign websites for them, now that everyone’s, you know, spending marketing money again, or even as they’re trying to figure out how can they better improve their own websites that they have redesigned last year in the last couple of years, I hope that they will start looking at speed and at optimizations. 

And honestly, when you’re hiring a new agency if you aren’t asking them to give you the speed stats for the last five websites that they redesigned in higher ed you’re doing it wrong. They, you need to hold them accountable. If you’re hiring an agency, get your money’s worth.

Like you’re paying them a lot. And if they’re just hurting your chances at getting your message out to people in these, you know, rural areas in, lower socioeconomic brackets in places where they don’t have a good internet connection, they’re ripping you off and you’re leaving money on the table.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And while we’re at it, let’s remember that there’s so much, and I’m going to say this as a social media manager whose bread and butter, whose paycheck is written based upon what I do with social media because social media is not the be-all, end-all of your marketing. It’s not going to solve all your problems. If your website isn’t running properly, if you don’t have a solid website, all the social media, you can have the best university social media or brand social media, in the world.

It’s not going to do you any good if they get to your website and your website’s a mess. Right? I think a lot of times social media is raised as the solution, to a lot of problems or, Hey, you know, Oh, let’s get on social media, to, reach more students and, and, and drive up enrollment. 

And then maybe you get some clicks to the website and it takes them to a login page where they have to create a password and account with your university and they immediately bounce. Right. then social media is not helping you. It’s, you’re spending a lot of effort on something that, you know, really should be more of a supplement to your website than your entire focus. Like website should come first, then social media should support. The efforts that you’re trying to do in that, that area

 Joel Goodman: With that J.S., social media can’t solve all of our problems?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: No, no, it can’t like. I, I, and I, I firmly believe it can solve a lot of problems. and done well, it can really help you reach a lot of your goals, and grow your brand and, and, and help your university in so many ways. But if you don’t have clear goals set, or you just think, Oh, I’m going to use social media to reach the kids.

It’s not going to help. we have to be strategic about it. We have to be goal-oriented and, um, we can’t just throw a bunch of memes up there every day and expect it to help anything.

Joel Goodman: I think this is the same for website content as well. Like any content that you are doing for your digital marketing needs to have a purpose, right. J.S., you tweeted, earlier about this episode, asking other folks that, that follow you online and on Twitter, what resolutions we should talk about.

And, one that I really like that I think relates to this is not letting FOMO drive content creation decisions and cutting loose the strategies that aren’t effective, but are still being done anyway because people feel that they have to. And I think that goes into it right?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Amen, amen. And there’s so much FOMO within social media. I mean, I mean, that’s half of what social media is about, but I think a lot of times we see other schools doing something on social media and think, Oh, well, that’s really cool. We need to do that too. Or, you know…

Joel Goodman: or for websites 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. Or jump on some trend that’s happening on social media.

Oh, we’ve got to have our, Ice bucket challenge, moment sort of thing. Like, no, you don’t have to do that. In fact, you probably need to think about it a lot before you do, because you might be stepping into something you don’t want to. There there’s the tweet, just the other day, where it’s can’t talk, doing, doing hot hotel girl shit.

and yeah, they got justifiably dragged for cultural appropriation when it… One, It didn’t fit the brand voice. It was culturally appropriative. It just, there was so many things wrong with it. Did it didn’t work? It was just, just clear kind of how do you do fellow kids? 

Granted, the dad joke part of me kind of saw it and it was like, well, yeah, I could see, like, there would be a part of me that would have been like, Ooh, I really want to tweak that.

But part of being a good social media manager is that our strength and knowing just because it’s, you know, a funny joke in your head doesn’t mean it works for your brand.

Joel Goodman: And our friend Jayde Powell, who was on the show in 2020. Yeah, Jayde’s the best. She, she tweeted about how problematic it is. I’ll link the tweets in the show notes if you want to go check it out, but also you should just go follow Jayde anyway, because why aren’t you following Jayde Powell on Twitter?

You’re doing something wrong if you’re not following Jayde Powell on Twitter folks. Um, but you know, along the lines of having a strategy, like what about, what about paid social?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Don’t just throw money at it again. Right. Paid social is important, but I think what happens and I see it a lot of universities do is they don’t know how to do paid social, so they trust an agency to do it for them. And also w you know, An agency can be very helpful with paid social for higher ed, because so many of us who work at public institutions have a spending cap on their P-Card that using an agency kind of allows you to be the middleman on it, because we can’t directly get a purchase order from Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook ads, right.

We have to use a credit card. So by using they can filter through the purchase order. We can make that purchase. Great. But so many times that agency doesn’t really understand the goals or specific targeting that you need to do as a university. And sometimes they hit the wrong target.

Or the wording of their, just like any sort of ad that you’re going to get from an agency that doesn’t specialize in higher ed, may not understand the intricacies and needs and goals of a higher ed institution. They’re doing their best. They won’t want to help, but they need that guidance. And I think we, as higher ed marketers need to give that guidance and pay attention to what they’re doing in social, rather than just saying here’s our money, run the ads. And of course, the results that the agencies kind of give you are going to look good. Like their reports are, their job is to please you and keep you as a client. 


Joel Goodman: To show you all the big numbers, but you need to be able to learn, I like how we, we have all these resolutions that have like a bunch of sub resolutions to them. So we’re skipping your simple, your simplicity in resolutions J.S. But I think, you know, with this, it’s, it’s knowing what’s that valuable metric to you?

So if you don’t know what your valuable metric is from your paid social and paid advertising, learn what it is. Like, find out what that is.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And that’s very important to share with, you know, and have that conversation with your agency, because they’re, I, I’m trying to think of a good analogy for this, but they’re kind of like programming a robot, right. It’s going to do exactly what you tell it, right? So if you say, you know, we want brand awareness, that’s the KPI they are going to grab, and they are going to run with, even though that may not be the best goal.

At the time, but then that’s what they’re going to report on. They’re going to try and get that reach number as high as they can and give you a really big number and say, we did bear and awareness when you’re getting zero website clicks over to your admissions page or anything like that. So be clear about what goals you set for them.

Cause that that’s what they’re going to report on. That’s what they’re going to drive. And, and, of course, that’s what they should do. Like you’re the client you’re telling them what to do.

Joel Goodman: And this goes over to again, the previous resolution of, not trusting or expecting social media to solve all your problems. But if you’re doing paid social and paid advertising you know, paid search to drive traffic to your website, your web content needs to fit with that your, your, your advertising needs to fit with your web content and you need to make sure that you’re actually converting.

So like, conversion, isn’t just clicking to the website. Like if, if they don’t do something when they’re on your website, then you’ve kind of failed. Or if you don’t have a means through your social channels to. Provide the same outcome of maybe like a request for information or whatever. You know, you’re, you’re looking at a, a faulty metric.

That’s not, that’s not doing, it’s just wasting money. It’s, it’s not doing any good for you and what you’re doing, what you’re trying to accomplish, expanded social networks.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Oh, yeah. Another thing for me this year is really extending my social listening efforts to more tangential networks that don’t get a whole lot of focus. Like Reddit, you know, we had Steve App come here and talk about that and really extending our social listening and efforts to that network. There’s a lot. I’m repeating just everybody’s buzzword right now, but everybody’s talking about TikTok and what people are doing on TikTok. And, and for me, it’s not about creating content on TikTok as a university. It’s about listening to TikTok as a university and spending the time on the app to hear what students are saying about the university what’s going on at the university.

And man, that takes one that’s difficult for a few reasons. It takes a lot of time because the search tools and there aren’t any social listening tools that are specific for TikTok. So you have to do it manually too. The TikTok algorithm is absolutely incredible and is a distraction engine.

Like, so as a social media manager, like, we’re social media managers, but we’re human. Right? So logging into TikTok to go do the social, listening for your university is doubly hard. Cause that TikTok algorithm knows what you want to see. And it’s going to show you more of that. So you can go in with the best of intentions of you know, looking up conversations about your university and then slowly fall down the wormhole of, you know, cute cat videos or something like that.

So I need to find a better way to do that.

Joel Goodman: I think within that resolution, JS, there’s an opportunity for social media managers, for the people that are the managers of social media managers, but probably don’t touch social media to learn where it’s important to participate and where it’s less important.

And the importance really is on listening and paying attention and being, being aware of what’s going on, but not necessarily jumping in. It’s it’s like picking your battles, right?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Pick your battles and it varies from brand to brand, from university to university, like RIT has an incredible TikTok presence.

Joel Goodman: But it took work to get there. 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: It took work work to get there and it works for them. And maybe they have the time and resources to devote to that.

Joel Goodman: And students and prospective students that are interested in that content.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Or, or you have, you know, programs that are visually appealing in a way that really lends itself to TikTok. But not every university has that. Not every university has the time, and the time to do it well. Like I would much rather be on one network and do it really well and really master it then beyond the latest and greatest thing and just be kind of lame at it, you know, like 

Joel Goodman: I saw on Twitter in the last couple of days Josie Ahlquist had tweeted about how one of her resolutions is to, is to fiercely protect her time in 2021.  I think there’s a level of like, as a, as an independent small business owner, you know, she’s a business owner, I’m a business owner, that means something different for us. But I think it’s an important lesson for anyone in any job, right? it’s protecting the time that you have and making sure that you’re using it on things that are valuable to your outcomes to your organization’s outcomes, your departmental outcomes, whatever it is.

And a lot of that is just being able to figure out is your time well spent creating content for a platform where you’re not getting much engagement or that doesn’t make sense for your brand messaging and your, your position in the market? Or is your time better spent listening and paying attention and finding ways to move that into creating content in places where you do have engagement? where you are listened to and you have kind of a footprint.  that’s protecting your time. That’s protecting your energy. That’s making sure that you actually have the will I think, to do good work in the areas where that work matters.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yes. And I think that that segues well into my biggest and most difficult resolution for 2021. And we’re going to have to put the expletive warning on this episode that it’s, Let shit go. And this is the one I have the hardest time with because I think, you know, if you’re listening to the show, You care a lot about your job and getting better at it and improving and, and like in your free time, or maybe while you’re working, you’re listening to something that helps you professionally develop.

So you’re invested in this work and you want to see it be good and you want it to do the best. And you can’t control every single thing in every single aspect. And these channels don’t belong to us. 

At the end of the day, the social networks I run for the university do not belong to me. They belong to the University of Central Arkansas. So if the president of the university or the provost says, Hey, I need you to post this. At the end of the day, that’s their call. And sometimes I want to fight it and kick my heels and you know, say, no, no, no, this is not really, what’s helping our goals.

And. I hold my breath and hold my nose a little bit as I pushed the send button, but not everything is on you and you can’t solve everything overnight either. So there’s a lot of talk and I agree with it, about mental health issues facing, social media managers. And I think that’s a big one taking a step back and learning to go, all right.

We, we, we can fight the good fight, Do our due diligence to make it the best we can, but at the end of the day, celebrate your wins. And 

 Joel Goodman: I think there’s a level of needing to recognize, and these resolutions are turning into just like all of the, all of the things that we’ve noticed over the last 10 months or whatever of

Jon-Stephen Stansel: It’s more of a year-end retrospective than a new year’s resolution episode.

Joel Goodman: I mean, honestly, that’s resolutions are kind of year-end retrospectives anyway, for a lot of people. You know, not for you only, unless you really noticed that your fried rice was terrible last year and you’re trying to correct that.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Uncle Roger’s so mad at me.

Joel Goodman: Oh lord. I think between all of this it’s, there’s a level of I think self-confidence, that needs to be rebuilt for a lot of folks. It was a hard year. It’s not over yet. You know, we still had the pandemic, we’re still dealing with, the year’s over, but the, challenges aren’t necessarily entirely over, but there’s, there’s a level of needing to build up that confidence that you are an expert in your position. And then finding a way to voice that and to stand strong in that. Right?

Cause I think, there are a lot of professionals that don’t feel empowered enough to be that person, that professional, that, that expert on the topic in, in their institution. And so they don’t stand up for the things they know are right. Because they don’t feel like they can, or they’re afraid.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Well, it’s hard to do that when you’re not even in the room.

Joel Goodman: That’s a good point. Yeah.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And that comes down to the fact that yeah, I said my, my, my resolution is let shit go, but there’s also like, When I get that email that says, post this PDF to, you know, this, this terrible flyer from someone super high up, I may not have the opportunity to state my case on why that’s a bad idea and why we can’t do that. And sometimes we just have to hold our breath and say, okay, I’m, I’m just not equipped to fight that battle today. 

The problem is for social media managers. And I think, you know, for, for, for web designers and anyone in marketing, we take a very personal possession of that, where I, if I post something like that, especially, you know, for, for, us, like who are out there presenting and talking about how to do social media, like if I post something on the UCA channels that’s subpar, I see that as a reflection on myself, even if it’s not really my choice. 

So, I think that is a struggle a lot of people have, and they aren’t in that room to, to help make that call. And that’s something that, that needs to change of, you know, I want to bust into meetings like Kool-Aid man going “Twitter” instead of Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Twitter. But we can’t always do that.

Joel Goodman: Yeah. No, and I, that makes sense. And, but I, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I to in my mind, and it’s probably because I’m, when I, when I worked in universities, I was never really afraid of getting fired. Like I figured I’d probably get fired at some point. Never did. But for me there, wasn’t, I wasn’t going to take it personally if someone fired me. I was, I was like, we’re going to be better at all costs. That was my mindset. 

And so it was a lot of standing up for what I was and getting in those rooms, getting in those meetings, finding a way to do it. And I think, I think it’s being more vocal and there are probably people that are going to subtweet me on this, but like it’s being more vocal about what you know, and reinforcing that message within your university and getting into those meetings because you were viewed as the expert.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And I’ll add this to another resolution. What, what, which one are we up onto now? 

Joel Goodman: We’re off the list at this point. 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: No, no, this is, this is on our list. Like, go share your thoughts and go present at a conference. And yes, if you’re listening to this, I’m talking to you, you have ideas that are valuable, that are important to higher ed and, and overall marketing communities. You are doing things at your schools that are interesting, whether you know it or not get out there and go present at a conference because you have ideas worth sharing and you need to get out there and sharing, share them. 

And for those of us in higher ed this is really vital because that’s one way you establish yourself as an expert. the people that are supervising those people in the C-suite generally are former professors and former academics who live in a world of publish or perish like those conferences That’s like their bread and butter. And when they see that you do that and that you are concerned about that, and you are, a recognized expert it helps you get into some of those meetings. 

And if it doesn’t, if for some reason, if you do it, it doesn’t, if your supervisors don’t recognize that, supervisors at other schools are recognized that, and it will help your career, it’ll help you grow and it’ll help you have better opportunities in the future.

So whether you think you have something worth sharing or not, Get out there, share it, share it. One thing I say is like, especially with conferences, it’s stuff at all levels, you don’t have to be, someone at a giant university with millions of followers to, get out there and do it like we need presentations that are, are very basic, you know, of how to run an account. 

I mean, when I first started, I was working with our international office. So I gave presentations on what international students need and social media. And that’s something that, you know, most social media managers or marketers at the top level of the university running the main accounts have no clue about.

So those things that you do in your everyday job, Are brilliant insights to somebody else. So get out there, present when, when we can go to conferences, you can go to conferences again, but there are so many opportunities now. Like it’s my week off, I’m presenting at the American Association of Law Schools on Thursday as part of a panel. Like online, there are so many more opportunities now to go and do it.

So go out, make this your year to go present.

Joel Goodman: And I’ll reinforce that I have struggled with not with speaking at conferences, but I think with coming up with topics in the past, and a lot of it is this voice in my head. That’s like, that’s too simple. Why would, why would I talk about that? Everyone knows that. And JS, and I have said this before on the show, not everyone knows the thing that you think everyone knows. There is someone out there that has not heard it before or someone out there that just needs it reinforced.

And so even if you think the idea is simplistic bounce it off a friend. Message one of us on Twitter. We’re happy to help you suss out whether there’s something there or help refine it because it’s important to hear more voices at conferences.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: As someone who’s been on conference committees and then on the selection committee for conference presentations, it’s like, they look for a mix. They want something about the higher level, you know, advanced-level stuff and some kind of beginner level stuff as well. So, and everything in between. So, I mean, the worst thing you can do is write up your presentation and they say no, and then you ship it to another conference proposal and you get accepted.

They’re like, just go out in, do it. 

 Joel Goodman: One important one too. And I think, again, this just ties into everything we’ve been talking about. It’s, stop creating new projects, just to appear productive and. I think this is hard for a lot of people to get past because they think they just need to look busy all the time. And what would be better is just to focus on the things that you already have going and optimizing them and making them perform the best that they possibly can, whether that’s your website, whether that’s the content that you’re creating for social media or web pages or videos. Whether that’s coming up with new ideas to enhance the stuff you’re already doing. 

I think higher ed, we get scattered. You know, we, we feel like we have to do something new all the time. And that just leads to fragmented messaging.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Well we want, we want to justify our paycheck, right?

Joel Goodman: And your paycheck’s too low to have to justify it. You know? You work in higher ed, you know, you don’t make enough money for the work you already do.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: True. But I think we, we want to just, you know, we’ve got those annual reviews and we want to just finally say, I’ve got this flashy new program or this I’ve launched this initiative and it sounds sexy, but actually doing the fundamentals and going, Hey. I consolidated our social networks and ran them efficiently throughout the COVID crisis. No new project needed. Right. That’s that’s great. That’s you know, Pat on the back, if, if they gave bonuses and higher ed, you should get a bonus, right?

Joel Goodman: I see folks on Twitter. I can’t remember who it was. they said that they have one day and I think this was actually a reply to Josie Ahlquist again, but they have one day where they just get all their work done and they block out all their meetings and stuff and they just do the work. And the rest of the time is just meetings. And while sitting in meetings for, you know, four entire days a week does not sound great, it sounds better than like sitting at your desk feeling like you’re not doing enough you know, and starting new initiatives that you can’t get done. Like if you could get all of the actual work-work done in one day, that’s amazing.

I can’t like I would, I would love to be able to get all of the work that I have going on in one day. And my problem is exactly this. I start too many new things. Like last year I started this podcast with you, JS, and it’s one more thing on top of all the other things that I do.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Right. Well, hopefully, it’s moving the needle for you. Right. But like, you know, like, but there are projects that are just projects for the sake of projects of like, Oh, we need to do this thing. Or, Hey, let’s reevaluate some, the projects that we’re doing every year, because it’s an annual thing and ask ourselves, Hey, is this really worth continuing?

Joel Goodman: Does it make sense in the current climate? You know, does it make sense with fewer people on campus and all

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Do we do, we need to, to do our annual gala fundraising ballroom dance thing. Like maybe this is not the year to continue doing it for everybody. Right. Maybe there’s something, maybe we need to do something else. 

Joel Goodman: As we’ve talked through all this, I like, I’m getting the sense that what, like, a lot of this is, is a recalibration for a lot of folks, right? and I’m, I’m hoping that most of the folks that are listening to this got some rest over the holidays and are able to, you know, have made space in their brains to think about this. 

But it’s a recalibration. Cause a lot of these things are things that have been talked about in higher ed for years and years and years, you know, it’s working smarter and not harder. It’s you know, doing less better as Michael Fienen says when all the time. And it really is I think just a, it’s a recalibration it’s, it’s pausing, it’s looking at everything that’s been going on and figuring out how can we be more efficient with our time and with the work that we’re doing and cut out the stuff that isn’t performing? Cut out the stuff that doesn’t do anything for us and is literally just taking up space. 

Because if it’s not working for you, it’s probably working against you. It’s probably just muddying up your messaging.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: All right. So, so many resolutions. I want to leave with a final one from Twitter, from, Anastasia Golovashkina who replied, “give ’em hell”.

Make that, make that your 21 take. Take Anastasia’s words to heart and uh, yeah. Give them hell in 2021.

 Joel Goodman: We want to say an extra special thanks to Squiz. Specializing in higher education, Squiz creates extraordinary personalized experiences for a digital world through their site search platform, Funnelback. They have a CMS, a student portal integrations hub, a whole bunch of different things in their digital experience platform.

 They say it’s time to move beyond antiquated systems. I agree. And they provide an open, flexible platform trusted by hundreds of top institutions across the globe. Squiz is your partner to move forward faster toward a connected campus. And they’ve sponsored this episode and the two episodes that will follow after this. Huge thanks to Squiz . 

On the next episode, we’re going to have Will Noble from Funnelback on to talk about site search and its importance in our industry and higher ed, but also the importance across all industries. It’s a really good conversation. We’re looking forward to releasing that.  

Thank you so much for listening. If you like our show, we would really appreciate a review, a rating. You can do that on Apple Podcasts. If you could subscribe to us either there or Spotify or really anywhere you like to get your podcasts, we’re on that platform. If you want to visit our website, listen to previous episodes, we are at and follow us on Twitter, @ThoughtFeedPod

JS. It’s been good to have a conversation with you after a little bit of a break. Glad to see ya. 

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Glad to be back. Back in the saddle.

Joel Goodman: in the saddle. Thank you again so much for listening and we will catch you on the next episode.


Episode 31 is sponsored by