Category Archives: Marketing

Recruiting & Promotion: What Colleges & Universities Should Be Doing Online

Today, I responded to a CASE listserv request about recruiting blogs being launched by colleges. I have a lot of ideas about this kind of campaign. I’m sharing here in hopes you’ll offer some feedback, too. Thanks.

Here’s what I shared on the list…

You’ve likely already thought of these, but FWIW – here goes …

Short story? Video. RSS. Re-purpose the content in other sites – off-campus. Build a team of student influentials.

Ideas? Use video … video is the most popular draw and it can serve to tell the story in a way that really “shows your school” to the potential students. Keep ’em short – under 2 minutes. Video is fun. Video is real people (peers) sharing the school’s identity. They own it (the identity) and create it / morph it every day. Not the school. Allow them to put your view of the identity into their words. (Caveat: set guidelines for your students … what can and cannot be shown.)

Students at campus and off-campus events showing it happening and also interviewing students & others. For the off-campus life stories, see the caveat above. Students interviewing students and faculty about classes / campus environment …. staff interviewing each other, various student services people on campus and more.

Again, keep the videos short. It really is important.

Examples of research? Just days old, Generations online:

A year old, but good:

Invest in Flip cams or whatever kind of inexpensive, yet good quality, video camera and “give them” to a select group of students. Seven students? Ask them for one video a week. Stagger them out. Get students that are truly bought into the school and program. Even better? Pay them.

For the videos, don’t just put them in the blogs … use to post them to 15 or more video sharing networks at once. Maximize the possibilities of organic search to help people find your blogs & videos. Upload the videos to Facebook & MySpace, too. Place links back to your blog landing page in every description of every video on every site … along with your key terms & phrases as tags. Be consistent.

Create a landing page with RSS headlines of all the blogs. Editorial can create a top link set of the best blogs.

Setup a Facebook fan page and MySpace page and any use other useful social networks … RSS the posts into those pages. Re-purpose the content so that it is seen elsewhere, too.

Set a key string of keywords/phrases that get posted in each and every article. (WordPress Tags)

Give the site a prominent front page placement on your school’s gateway … a 150x150px icon, for instance. Yes, I know how difficult that can be to gain acceptance for, but without that buy-in, do any of us really expect success? That’s where many of your potentials will first land in most instances.

Bring the key students together periodically with soda & pizza to get them thinking as a team. Create a team of ambassadors. Give them t-shirts. Build a tight community of believers.

Why more schools don’t do this, I just really don’t understand. Colleges have built in influentials … your students. Is it risky? Sure. Can you monitor and guide it along? Yes, but with a light hand.

Honestly, I don’t understand why all colleges/schools/departments within a university don’t do this in coordination with Admissions. Think of the search possibilities all of that combined constantly new content can drive toward your Web site.

I share all the above at the risk of sounding too “online slap happy.” Still, I really do believe that these tactics can help your strategy of attracting viewers. I’m not drunk on social media koolaid. I recognize the risks. But, with a good relationship with the students you choose, and giving them freedom (feeling empowered to help the school), I believe you can be successful.

On top of all that, this really is an inexpensive way to boost your recruiting program. It isn’t a panacea, but it is the way to go, IMO.

OK, that’s what I shared. There is so much more to it, but I’m truly sold on the possibilities of these types of programs. The one thing that is still missing today? Buy-in from the higher ups. One of the greatest frustrations.

One would think, in a time requiring inexpensive yet worthwhile initiatives, this would be adopted with glee. Still waiting.


Mr. Tweet Enables Spam on Twitter

Jeremy Pepper shared the following on Twitter, @jspepper.

@jspepper: I’m beginning to hate @mrtweet.

I felt compelled to respond with the following:

RT @jspepper: I’m beginning to hate @mrtweet. :o) Agreed. Relationships should grow organically, not en masse via flawed search algorithms.

@MrTweet ‘s use of the word “influencers” is a misnomer. They have vetted nothing more than keywords. Sigh.

By definition, algorithms solve problems. Mr. Tweet creates problems via enabling Twitter spam. @MrTweet

To expand upon that, I’m wondering who among us would choose an opt-out of Mr. Tweet search, if Mr. Tweet offered one? @MrTweet are you listening?

I wonder if Twitter is listening? Would they block access by one of their, I’m guessing, prized *46K plus followers* popular 3rd party apps? The number of ridiculous requests to follow has exponentially increased since Mr. Tweet came on the scene. Mr. Tweet, it seems, is more than happy to enable others to ping dozens, even hundreds or thousands, of users – as long as it broadens Mr. Tweet’s base.

I’m doubting Twitter would block @MrTweet as the app enables Twitter’s growth. Is @MrTweet a sign of a shark jump on the horizon?

This raises a question. Are third party applications actually detrimental to applications? We’ve seen 3rd party apps cause great unhappiness on Facebook. Now, as Twitter gains prominence, 3rd party apps are making people very unhappy, too.

Sites like Twitter find themselves in a quandry. They want to encourage 3rd pary applications as they help lead to greater numbers of users. The desire for growth, it seems, outweighs caring about spam and the opinions of current adopters.

I haven’t seen a lot of discussion about these quandries, so I’m wondering what you think?

Gary Goldhammer, SVP Edelman :: Video Interview from Edelman/PRWeek Academic Summit

Gary Goldhammer, Senior Vice President at Edelman in Los Angeles, joined us for an interview at the Edelman / PRWeek New Media Academic Summit in Chicago.

I saved Gary’s interview for last because along with his practitioner experience, Gary teaches a graduate level PR course at the University of California-Irvine. A unique course, at that. Continue reading :: Proof Positive That Online Viral Marketing Doesn’t Always Work

It especially won’t work if you have a bad product.

I can feel Jen O’Meara’s pain. We likely all can. She has a project she loves and it isn’t going anywhere. Frustration. We’ve all felt it, right?

David Meerman Scott shares A viral marketing story suitable for bedtime. It is a story of disappointment and sadness. But, at least the author, YOBI CIO Jen O’Meara, tries to tell it with a tongue-in-cheek spin.

Jen’s no dummy – you’d think. A Ph.D. under her belt, no less, she’s struggling to get her startup site off the ground. claims to be a “unique blend of social networking, reality show contests, and user-generated content (that) will revolutionize the world of online entertainment.” Well, it’s good to have a dream. Continue reading

Neville Hobson, For Immediate Release :: Video Interview from Edelman/PRWeek Academic Summit

Neville Hobson has been following our class digital/social media activities since, well – really the beginning. It was nice to see him again at the Edelman / PRWeek New Media Academic Summit in Chicago.

Neville recently wrote about his Summit experiences in What academics think about social media. Continue reading

Alexandra Wheeler, Starbucks :: Video Interview from Edelman/PRWeek Academic Summit

Alexandra Wheeler, Director of Digital at Starbucks, kindly agreed to an interview at the Edelman/PRWeek New Media Academic Summit in Chicago, a few weeks back.

Starbucks recently launched (March ’08?) their site – my Starbucks Idea. This BusinessWeek article explains moreContinue reading