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
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.
Public Affairs Week is Sept. 15 – Sept. 19, and it features an exciting schedule of events — all developed by and for students. 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.
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.
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.
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 Bearsget 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.
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
The hashtag for Missouri State spirit is #GoMaroon. Use it to join spirit-related conversations on social media.
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 may 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.
At times, finding content to share on your social media accounts can feel like either 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:
It’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.
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:
Bear Line tracking
Calendar of events
Be inspired: The power of a first-person perspective
It’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.
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.
Topics 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 pride
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
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 takes place on May 16. The following resources are available to help you keep your readers informed.
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.
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”).
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.
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.
Celebrate 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
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
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:
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
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.
As the grandfather of social media, your blog is an excellent content source for your social media accounts. Blogs provide needed content and context for your posts, while social media expands your blog post’s reach.
But, how do you best share that content? To get the most bang for your blog post, follow the steps below to optimize your blog’s content for social media sharing.
Tweeting your post
Sharing your blog post on Twitter involves five simple steps:
Log in to your Twitter account.
Write a catchy description of your post. Your post’s title is a great place to start.
Copy the URL of your post. Watch your character count!
Sharing your post on Facebook allows for a little more customization.
Navigate to the page you want to share the post from.
Copy and paste the blog post’s URL into the Status box. Facebook will automatically provide a thumbnail your post.
Edit the thumbnail description, removing extra text in the headline and cleaning up the excerpt.
Remove the blog’s URL from where you originally pasted it. Don’t worry – the post is still linked via the thumbnail headline.
Type a teaser description in the status box.
Posting a photo on Facebook
Sharing a relevant photo is a powerful way for your content to stand out on Facebook. Pairing a photo with a link to an upcoming event, program or webpage can increase your Facebook page’s engagement stats. Get your photo ready for Facebook by reviewing its photo size recommendations.
Follow these steps to post a photo/link combination:
Navigate to the page you want to share the post from.
Click the Photo/Video option above the status bar.
Select Upload Photos/Video.
Choose desired photo from the File Upload box and click Open. the photo will appear as a thumbnail on your page.
Type a caption into the status box.
Copy and paste the appropriate URL after your caption. Links should provide your follower with additional information, registration details, etc.
Tip: Facebook allows you to edit the caption associated with a photo after you publish.
Students, prospective students and alumni are often fascinated to know what life is like for a faculty member, dean or department head. Use your blog to share a Q&A session with someone from your area. Here are some questions to start you thinking:
What is your typical day like?
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When or how did you select your current academic field/specialty?
If you could go back and give advice to your college self, what would you say?
Give one great book recommendation.
To someone in a non-academic field, how do you describe your research/job?
What are you currently interested in that’s not related to your field?
What person, place or idea inspires you when you’re feeling “stuck” or frustrated?
Do a Q&A style format for greatest ease, or embed a short video of the interview!
It may be very tempting to use multiple fonts and sizes within your entry, but the cleaner and simpler the better. When a screen is too busy, it distracts the eye and causes the reader to move on rather than continue. Also, approximately 30 percent of web page views now come from mobile devices, meaning the screen size is already challenging enough to read on.
Instead, use different heading levels to segment your post. Informative headings will help your readers scan your post, finding the information they need quickly.
Points of pride
You blog is a fantastic way to showcase the points of pride for your department – the things that make you great! For February, consider highlighting:
Faculty members that have been in the news, sharing their expertise
Students or faculty who have presented at conferences or submitted work for publication
Some important upcoming dates to share with your readers include: