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October blogging inspiration: Getting inspired to fight blog block!

MayanovicWe know some of you struggle with blog block, but this month should be simple. In September, the latest edition of Mind’s Eye was published, and it can be your inspiration for this month’s blog post.

Mind’s Eye shares the breadth and depth of research of Missouri State’s amazing faculty. With a focus on including diverse interests from a variety of disciplines, we highlight the work these researchers do – without the jargon. This helps to show the reader just how much this research can impact the world. We want to give the reader a feel for who the researcher is, too, so we select quotes that give more personality to the subject – humanizing the researcher, and making them approachable. In addition to that, we try to tell the stories through photography that lets the reader feel like they are in the field, too.

How to write this month’s post

  1. Share – If your department has a faculty member included in the publication, repost their story, share their video or offer congratulations. Not everyone who reads your blog has seen the publication or website.
  2. Write – Find a faculty, staff or student that has a unique area of interest – and write about it in non-technical terms to make it accessible to your readers (or post a brief video about it).
  3. Show – Go on site with the person you want to profile and take pictures, then, let the pictures do the talking.

Talking ‘bout my inspirationTRAIN

Check out the marketing department’s blog! This post focuses on one student in an upbeat video, and it’s a great example of how you can quickly highlight unique stories from your area.

Mark your calendar

  • Homecoming! It’s this weekend – can you believe it? If your office, department, college or unit is doing something special to welcome back alumni, make sure to share it on your blog.
  • Public Affairs Convocation is Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. Encourage your students, faculty and staff to come and be inspired by Eric Greitens, author, humanitarian, veteran and founder of nonprofit The Mission Continues.
  • Stomp Out Hunger is going on right now – encourage everyone to donate shoes. It’s a great way to live the public affairs mission!
  • Veteran’s Day is Nov. 11, and Missouri State takes pride in honoring veterans on our campus through a number of events.

Points of pride

Across campus, there is great pride in the depth and breadth of research of faculty and students, and one way we highlight this incredible expertise is through Mind’s Eye. Take a look and get inspired – there are so many stories to tell!

Need assistance?Dr. Wenping Qiu

Consider joining us for Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World on Oct. 28. Uncover users’ expectations for your website, blog and social media and get tips for communicating throughout the Web. This interactive workshop focuses on strategies for creating and distributing content and will help you take your online communications to the next level.

You might also want to check out these tutorials to improve your blogging.

 

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How-to: Use photos ethically and effectively

People lining up to have their photos takenIt’s important to include visual content (such as photos and videos) in your blog posts, and doing so is the fastest way to amp up your blog’s engagement.

But there are stumbling blocks on the road to visual content bliss; a few of them are addressed below.

Where can I get good photos?

There are many sources where you can obtain photos and videos legally.

Free sources

Paid sources

Not a source

Never use an image you find through a basic Google image search or any other photo, video or song you don’t have written permission to use. (Someone somewhere owns that content.)

Which photos are the appropriate quality for my blog?

Professional photos aren’t necessary for your blog or social media accounts. Feel free to use images you took on your phone or tablet. Blog readers appreciate immediacy and authenticity, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.

One tip: Photos that feature engaged people or unusual details tend to be the most appealing for blog or social media distribution.

What about privacy? Do I need people’s permission to share pictures of them?

In most cases, yes. Obtain written permission to use the following:

  • Any image, voice, video or likeness containing identifiable human subjects (including students, University employees or non-University people)
  • Audio or video recordings of lectures or other presentations require written permission from the speakers
  • Images or video of someone else’s intellectual property such as artwork, writing, music, etc. require permission from the owner (more on intellectual property and copyright guidelines)

You don’t need written permission for someone’s likeness in a situation where that person wouldn’t have an expectation of privacy, such as:

  • When the photo or video is of a large group or crowd at an event or game
  • When the photo or video’s focal point is a building or non-human subject

When in doubt, obtain written permission. For convenience, the office of photographic services supplies a likeness release form.

For more on these guidelines, see the office of Web and new media’s policy.

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September blogging inspiration: Time to Go Maroon!

With the fall semester in full swing, it’s the perfect time to promote Missouri State’s environment and culture on your blog. Going maroon can mean participating in extracurricular events, sharing academic achievements, celebrating Missouri State’s public affairs mission or enjoying our beautiful campus.

5 ways your blog can Go Maroon

  1. Family weekend is Sept. 12 – Sept. 14. Does your program or unit have a unique resource or tradition you’d like students to share with their families? Use your blog to let them know about it.
  2. Public Affairs Week is Sept. 15 – Sept. 19, and it features an exciting schedule of events — all developed by and for students.Avenue of Flags in honor of Public Affairs Week Are any of your students involved? Consider soliciting a guest blog post from one, and take advantage of the Public Affairs Week social media kit to help promote this event.
  3. Showcase is Sept. 27. Prospective students will be on campus, and there’s a good chance that they will follow up by checking out your blog. It’s a great time to highlight students, faculty, alumni or opportunities that make your program stand out.
  4. This year’s Common Reader is The Heart and the Fist. Consider gathering a few reactions from students, faculty and staff who are reading it; share their quotes on your blog.
  5. Exciting updates have been completed on facilities throughout campus — from Plaster Student Union to Glass Hall and many other locations. Has your program or unit benefited from one of these improvements? Post about it on your blog; be sure to share photos!

 4 points of pride

  • The Football Bears get their first kick-off in the renovated Plaster Stadium this Saturday. This video will bring you up to speed on how to support them.

  • The new Center for Community Engagement, which will advance the University’s involvement in local, statewide and regional efforts, kicks off with the Conference on Civic Engagement, Sept. 17.
  • Bear Country at the Dickerson Park Zoo — now sponsored by the Missouri State Foundation, Alumni Association and Student Government Association — will be dedicated on Sept. 27.
  • Green Revolution, a Smithsonian traveling “eco-zibit” currently at the Discovery Center, is co-sponsored by MSU’s College of Natural and Applied Sciences. This hands-on learning experience focuses on waste, gardening and green engineering and runs from Sept. 9 – Jan. 4. Members of the Missouri State community will enjoy a free day on Oct. 1.

3 resources to help you Go Maroon

2 free training opportunities

  • Social Media 101 on Sept. 30 – Learn about the most popular social media platforms. Get demographic information and content considerations along with some best practice tips for all platforms. If you’re considering how to dive in to social media or wondering if you should add another platform to your communication strategy, you’ll enjoy this introductory-level information session.
  • Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World on Oct. 28 – Uncover users’ expectations for your website, blog and social media and get tips for communicating throughout the Web. This interactive workshop focuses on strategies for creating and distributing content and will help you take your online communications to the next level.

1 to watch: Missouri State Family Association

Research indicates that many of today’s students are very close to their parents, and the separation that can accompany college mayMissouri State students enjoying campus with their families prove challenging. The Missouri State Family Association helps families stay connected to their students. Its active blog and social media not only keep families updated, they provide new conversation topics for parents who’ve already exhausted, “How’re classes going?”

Like what the Family Association is doing? Remember that families might be following your blog as well, hoping for an inside look at the student experience. Reward that interest with frequent updates, and use your blog to celebrate student victories of all sizes.

Latest technical tips

Amp up your communication strategy by following blogging how-to tips like the ones below:

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How-to: Build an editorial calendar

At times, finding content to share on your social media accounts can feel like either Calendar feast or famine. An editorial calendar provides a mechanism for both spreading out your posts and coordinating event promotion across multiple accounts and weeks.

Benefits of an editorial calendar

Editorial calendars help you develop a content strategy for your social media platforms, email marketing, blogs and more. Using an editorial calendar will:

  • Save time by lessening how long you spend searching out new content each day
  • Help you discover new opportunities
  • Allow you to maximize content by repurposing it across platforms
  • Allow you to build upon current trends

Building an editorial calendar

There is no right or wrong way to format an editorial calendar. Spreadsheets are a great option when coordinating across multiple platforms potentially managed by different people. A tabular or calendar format is a more visual way to organize your posts and can be easily referenced. At other times, a simple text document with dates and times can be sufficient.

Regardless of how you format your calendar, here are some steps to get you started:

  • Account for how many times per day or week you will post
  • Account for all your platforms
  • Identify key “anchor” events in your area, including any ticket or registration deadlines
  • Work in national holidays, seasonal activities and more
  • Review the master calendar for major University events and activities
  • Note any relevant hashtags

Template editorial calendars

Get started today on building an editorial calendar for your social media platforms by using one of our templates:

Originally posted by Jessica Clements to the Web and new media blog

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August blogging inspiration: Welcome back, Bears!

students with boomerIt’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. Soon, students – new and old alike – will be arriving back on campus. Welcome them back to campus through a blog post featuring your student organizations, back-to-school events and more.

This month’s inspiration: Welcome Weekend

Welcome Weekend 2014 introduces new Bears to campus life and welcomes returning students back to campus. Highlights of the weekend include Friday night’s Playfair, Saturday night’s Bear Bash and Sunday’s afternoon lineup of New Student Convocation, Bear Path and New Student Festival.

In your back-to-school blog post, you can:

  • Highlight your area’s student organizations
  • Recommend a Welcome Weekend event to attend
  • Preview changes in your unit – construction updates, a new class, new faculty and more
  • Promote informational meetings in your area
  • Recommend campus resources to help new majors

Resources and tips: Be social

Thing to know: MSU Mobile

Missouri State’s mobile app includes a special section with a Welcome Weekend schedule of events, move-in map, packing details and more. Download MSU Mobile for iOS and Android to access these resources and more:

  • Campus map
  • Bear Line tracking
  • Class schedule
  • Calendar of events
  • Activity stream

Be inspired: The power of a first-person perspective

Explore how to develop a first-person perspective in your writing with Meet Content’s recent blog post.

Upcoming dates

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Summer blogging inspiration: Share the blog

FireworksIt’s summertime, and your blog can help you catch some of that search-engine sunshine! Right now is a great time to build a strategy for your blog and plan how to keep it updated and fresh all year long.

Invite a guest contributor

You’re going on vacation but you don’t want the blog to rest, do you? Schedule a post for while you’re gone, or ask a guest writer to contribute to your blog.

A new point of view might add an interesting perspective. Reach out to someone with a unique specialty. Send out a request for possible contributors – you may be surprised at the response.

Before handing over those reigns, give the contributor some tips about how you usually do things –

  • Do you use internal headings? How many?
  • What types of photos do you incorporate into your posts?
  • Include suggestions about using bullets and hyperlinks for greater clarity.
  • Point them to the Web and new media blogging site for more tips and tricks.

Having guest contributors can work year round; just consider what level of access each person should have to your blog. You can request changes to author and editor permissions by visiting the blogs site.

Teacher and student collaborating at computersTopics for summer

If you or the contributors are struggling for content in the summer, consider:

  • Introducing new faculty/staff/graduate assistants for the new academic year
  • Explaining some of the research/publication projects that have been keeping faculty busy
  • Asking for feedback on programs, facilities, specific course work and seeing if change is feasible
  • Talking about the impact of a recent alumni
  • Probing into how your subject area touches the community or the world

Blogging tip: Media resources

Adding great photos and videos to your blog posts can make your posts more visually appealing especially when viewing on handheld devices (no one likes reading heavy text on a small screen). Tell your stories through photos (cell phone shots work great on a blog). If you need a picture quick, visit the Marketing Toolkit.

Points of prideWriting on desk

Feel proud of all you do for the campus community! This summer, consider highlighting:

  • The number of students who are participating in an internship this summer
  • The percentage of recent graduates who have gone on to graduate work
  • The types of great jobs your recent graduates received

Upcoming dates

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How-to: Schedule a blog post

Make the most of your blogging time

Make blogging even easier by writing posts whenever you have time and scheduling them to publish at a later date. It’s easy, and here’s how you do it:

In the Publish box of the WordPress interface, click Edit (to the right of Publish immediately).

Schedule 1

An editable field for date and time will appear. Set it to the date and time you’d like to publish your post. Keep in mind that WordPress functions on a 24-hour clock (a.k.a. “military time”).

schedule 2

Once you click OK, the blue Publish button will become a Schedule button. Click the Schedule button to save your choice. This will set your post to publish at the time you selected.

Schedule 3

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May blogging inspiration: #BearGrads and a big world

Student wearing Bears shirt on a study away trip

#BearGrads, #BearGrads everywhere

Congratulations! Over 2,000 graduates will earn degrees this month, and your program or unit undoubtedly has something to do with that. Before your graduates embark on new adventures, consider capturing their thoughts on your blog. A few questions you might ask your grads:

  • When you look back at this period of your life, what’s the biggest thing you’ve accomplished? What makes you proud?
  • What will you miss about Missouri State?
  • What surprised you about your time here?
  • What did you discover about yourself? Any passion or interest that you’d never thought about before?
  • What are you most looking forward to now? When you look ahead at the next five years, what’s your dream?

And when sharing Commencement experiences on your social media platforms, remember to include the hashtag #BearGrads so that your thoughts can become part of a larger conversation.

Commencement resources

Commencement takes place on May 16. The following resources are available to help you keep your readers informed.

  • The Commencement website includes information for graduates, guests, faculty and staff.
  • The social media kit provides easy tips and sample tweets for sharing the Commencement experience online.
  • Live streaming makes it possible for graduates’ faraway friends and relations to view the ceremonies.
  • Missouri State offers plenty of resources for the next chapter of grads’ lives, including the Career Center, the Alumni Association and advanced degree options through the Graduate College.

Study abroad

Missouri State’s Study Away Programs can be transformative. Engagement with other cultures enhances and deepens the education our students receive. Some ideas for talking about this on your blog:

  • Use your blog to let students know about available programsStudy abroad trip in Florence, Italy
  • Encourage students who are studying abroad this summer to send you photos and brief anecdotes of their travels. Share them on your blog. (And remind them to pack some BearWear!)
  • If you’re personally traveling over the summer, keep an eye out for experiences that might make good blog posts. Talking about how your travels influence your work or research is a great way to communicate the value of lifelong learning.

Blogging tip: Scheduling posts

Make blogging even easier by writing posts whenever you have time and scheduling them to publish at a later date. It’s easy, and here’s how you do it:

In the Publish box of the WordPress interface, click Edit to the right of Publish immediately.

Schedule 1

An editable field for date and time will appear. Set it to the date and time you’d like to publish your post. Keep in mind that WordPress functions on a 24-hour clock (a.k.a. “military time”).

schedule 2

Once you click OK, the blue Publish button will become a Schedule button. Click the Schedule button to save your choice. This will set your post to publish at the time you selected.

Schedule 3

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April blogging inspiration: Prepare your graduates for life after Missouri State

Graduation is a highlight of many a student’s college career. How does your program celebrate those achievements and support students in their transition into life after Missouri State? Consider writing a blog post about it.

Emphasize your career services

  • Focus on internship opportunities through your programs - Internships provide valuable job skills to students and often turn into full-time employment.
  • Highlight Career Center resources – The Career Center hosts job fairs, provides resume reviews and more. Share what resources may be of benefit and interest to your majors.
  • Share departmental workshops and resources – Does your department host workshops about the job search process or host networking events? Feature an upcoming session.
  • Emphasize your points of pride – Share the number of students graduating in your department, percentage of seniors already employed and the number of students participating in an internship.

Professor takes photo with graduateCelebrate your graduates

More than 2,300 students will be graduating in spring 2014. Feature your Bear grads by highlighting:

  • Their research projects
  • Unique internships they participated in
  • Where they’re headed after graduation
  • How they live the public affairs mission by being culturally competent, engaged communally and leading ethically

Upcoming dates

Students in computer labSocial media workshops to hone your skills

Is your area interested in starting a social media account? Are you already on social media and looking for ways to optimize your activity? Join the offices of Web and new media and University communications for two upcoming social media trainings:

  • Learn more about social media at Social Media 101 Thursday, April 17. This information session is ideal for programs that are considering adding a social media presence and want more information about getting started and instituting some best practices.
  • Attend the Social Media Boot Camp Tuesday, April 22, for tips about distributing digital content through specific social media platforms. It will feature training sessions on blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Please bring appropriate log-in information with you as these sessions will focus on optimizing your existing social media activities.

All workshops are free, but registration is requested through My Learning Connection

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March blogging inspiration: Academic excellence and opportunity

Your blog is a great venue for showcasing Missouri State’s educational achievements and opportunities. How does your program set your students up for lifetime success? Consider writing a blog post about it.

Looking for a starting point?

A few ideas and ways to turn them into easy blog posts:  Students in class

  • Do you offer any internship or service learning activities that give your students a particular advantage? Great! Why not gather quotes from a few students who’ve participated and round them up in a blog post? (Remember to include photos; iPhone/Instagram quality works nicely on your blog.)
  • Do you offer a program that generates lots of interest regionally or nationally? Why do you think that is? Explore it in a blog post; ask a student or faculty member for perspective. (Remember to include links to further program information.)
  • You know that faculty member who’s always doing something interesting or unique? University press releases may cover his/her grants and awards, but you can capture a personal angle on your blog. Ask a question like: What first sparked your interest in this field? What about it keeps you fascinated?

Points of pride – accelerated master’s programs

Missouri State offers a number of accelerated master’s degrees, which give undergraduates the opportunity to begin earning graduate level credit. Depending on the program, up to 12 credit hours can be applied to an accelerated master’s program, giving students a faster, more efficient path to a graduate degree.

  • Does your department offer an accelerated master’s? You might quickly describe it in a blog post. Include links to program information and contact information for the program coordinator.
  • Make students aware of the upcoming Graduate College Virtual Fair on Tuesday, April 22. During the fair, students will be able to join live chats with program coordinators and also access graduate admissions and financial aid experts. Any student considering an accelerated master’s program will benefit from this event.

Free workshop on writing for the Web  Students viewing an iPad

Wondering how the popularity of smartphones and tablets should affect your writing? University communications and the office of Web and new media are hosting a workshop on creating digital content. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, March 18 from 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. and is recommended for all University bloggers.

At the workshop, you can expect to learn:

  • The optimal way to share your program’s achievements and good news
  • Where to find resources, including photos and videos
  • How to make your content “mobile happy” for smartphones and tablets

The workshop is free, but registration through My Learning Connection is required. Light refreshments will be served.

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