Missouri State University
Web and New Media Blog

Writing for the Web workshop offered tips for websites, blogs and social media

University marketing and communications presented a session of Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World on July 15, 2014. This The session of Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World held in July 2014interactive training focused on the distinct content needs of websites, blogs and social media and how leveraging users’ expectations for each platform can enhance online communications.

Your website: Where users go to get information

This section of the workshop focused on identifying a website’s audiences, setting goals for interaction and formatting content so that it can be easily consumed.

Key takeaways

  • Test your website’s organization by asking someone to find a piece of information on it. How easily does that person locate the information you requested? What path does he/she take to find it?
  • Consult with other people who are involved in your website’s maintenance and messaging. Together, identify your audiences and goals. Write them down so that everyone stays on the same page.
  • Follow consistent formatting strategies (which were covered extensively during the presentation) to ensure that information on your website is easy to consume.

Your blog: The perfect place to tell a story An exercise on writing a six-word story, employed during the blogging portion of Short & Snappy

Users approach blogs with a broader goal. Rather than searching for the answer to a specific question, they’re using blogs to learn more about the organization’s message and environment. Telling engaging stories on your blog is an important way to support your website’s goals.

Key takeaways

  • Remember that users will notice how recently you’ve updated your blog. Updating at least once per week tells readers that you’re enthusiastic about your subject and have a lot of good news to share.
  • Engage readers with classic storytelling techniques (which were explored through an exercise on writing the six-word story).
  • Keep the online communication formatting strategies in mind; they work for your blog posts, too.

Your social media: A way to create new impressions

Social media offers an ideal channel for encountering new people, revealing new qualities and creating new kinds of interactions with people who are loyal to your brand. It should also be part of your strategy for sharing news about events, achievements and opportunities.

Key takeaways

  •  Best practices for social media include adopting a long-term strategy, focusing on good content and posting consistently.
  • One of the biggest challenges of managing social media — the feeling that you’re talking to everyone while talking to no one — can be addressed by defining your ideal audience. The presentation included an exercise on this process.

Next steps

Web and new media will continue offering training opportunities on communicating in the digital world.

Access the presentation

Short and Snappy – Writing for the Digital World


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Social Media 101: Exploring your options in social media

Why should your department or organization join social media? The office of web and new media discussed the strategy behind joining social media and best practices for managing your accounts during Social Media 101.

Going where the people are

From marketing to public relations, social media:

  • Empowers you to be your own journalist and get your story out.
  • Allows you to connect with people where they are.
  • Allows you to build relationships with people who are interested in your organization and activities.
  • Can empower people to be ambassadors for your brand.

Each social media platform has a unique user base, meaning that different platforms may allow you to reach different key audiences for your brand. Demographics for popular platforms are below:

Key practices for all platforms

  • Integrate social media into your communications plan. Set goals for your accounts.
  • Adopt a long-term philosophy. If you decide to commit to a page, stick with it. Post frequently and consistently.
  • Content is king. Write like a journalist: Master the headline and lead
  • Be authentic and infuse personality into your posts.
  • Regularly use photos on Facebook and LinkedIn, occasionally on Twitter
  • Use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • Tag relevant people, places and locations when possible
  • Whenever possible, provide a link for more information
  • Connect with your followers offline by promoting your accounts at events, hosting contests, etc.

Review our basic tips for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram by downloading the presentation slides.

Register for more social media trainings

Want to learn more about social media? Consider registering for these upcoming trainings:

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Social Media Kit: Summer 2014 Commencement

Missouri State University’s summer 2014 commencement ceremony will take place Friday, August 1, 2014, at JQH Arena. A total of 560 students will receive their degrees during the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Key details

Share your story

Help us celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates by sharing about it on social media. If you are graduating or attending graduation to celebrate with someone, we want to hear about your experience!

We encourage you to join the online conversation before and during commencement by posting about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tagging your posts with the official hashtag: #BearGrads.

Make your post social media savvy

  • Tag the post with the official commencement hashtag: #BearGrads
  • Whenever possible, tag Missouri State University or @missouristate
  • If applicable, tag the post with the Springfield, Missouri, hashtag: #SGF
  • If you would like to provide a link for more information on the event, please link to: http://www.missouristate.edu/commencement/Summer-2014.htm
  • When you post to Facebook, boost your status update by sharing it with a photo or video.
  • Nothing beats a first-hand perspective! If you attend commencement, consider sharing a photo from or quote about your experience.

Visual assets


MSU0243     Commencement_2014_17668_1897     Commencement_2014_17704 4985    Commencement_2014_17668_1786    Commencement_2014_17668_1983     Commencement_2014_17668_1516



Facebook cover photos

Brand your Facebook profile or page with a custom Bear grads photo. Click the image you like below to save the pre-cropped, full-size image.

commencement-2014-spring-social_01-facebook       commencement-2014-spring-social_04-facebook       commencement-2014-spring-social_05-facebook

Twitter images

Brand your Twitter profile with a custom Bear grads photo. Click the image you like below to save the pre-cropped, full-size image.

Photos for the new Twitter look

commencement-2014-spring-social_04-twitter_new       commencement-2014-spring-social_05-twitter_new       commencement-2014-spring-social_01-twitter_new

Photos for the old Twitter look

commencement-2014-spring-social_01-twitter_old       commencement-2014-spring-social_04-twitter_old       commencement-2014-spring-social_05-twitter_old

Office decorations

Recognize the students in your area who are graduating by downloading a “Congratulations, graduates!” poster for your office. One poster option provides customizable space for featuring your graduates.

graduation poster        Customizable graduation poster

Sample social media posts

Sample tweets

  • Congratulations to our 560 #BearGrads! We’re proud of you!
  • Advice to #BearGrads: Don’t just #FollowYourPassion at Missouri State. Hone it in your career.
  • Can’t make it to commencement? Watch the ceremonies live online at http://new.livestream.com/mostate/ #BearGrads
  • Hey graduate – What’s your favorite college memory? Share using #BearGrads.
  • Graduating on Friday? Share your photos from the day using #BearGrads. Congrats!
  • See what our #BearGrads have to say about commencement day: https://tagboard.com/BearGrads. Join the conversation with #BearGrads

Review our steps for turning a link into a tweet.

Sample Facebook posts

Sharing about commencement on Facebook allows for some additional customization. The sample posts provide content recommendations based on our best practice tips for optimizing link sharing on Facebook.

Photo sharing


Congrats to the more than 560 new Missouri State alums! Join the celebration by attending a commencement ceremony on Aug. 1 or watching live online via Livestream http://new.livestream.com/mostate. #BearGrads


See what our graduates have to say about graduation day:https://tagboard.com/BearGrads/20442. Share your photos, warm wishes and congratulations with them using #BearGrads.

Link sharing

  • URL: https://tagboard.com/BearGrads/20442
  • Headline: #BearGrads on Tagboard
  • Long text content: More than 560 Missouri State Bears will receive their degrees Friday, Aug. 1. Will you be donning your cap and gown? Share your experiences using #BearGrads
  • Short text content: Get an inside look at commencement through the eyes of Missouri State University graduates.
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Free workshop on writing for websites, blogs and social media

Answers to common questions about writing for the Web

Attend a free workshop on writing for the digital world, Tuesday, July 15. This interactive session, hosted by University marketing and communications, will address common questions such as:

  • What are visitors to my website looking for? What about my blog and social media?  Students at computers
  • How do I communicate effectively when visitors have such short attention spans?
  • How do I manage new information that needs to go on my website?
  • How do I tell stories that will hook readers?
  • How do I dive into the world of social media? Or how do I improve what I’m already doing there?
  • What should my expectations for these platforms be? And how do I make it all work together?

Key details

  • What: Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World 
  • Who: Open to all University faculty and staff; particularly beneficial for anyone who is managing or plans to manage University websites, blogs or social media (All ranges of experience are welcome.)
  • When: Tuesday, July 15: 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • Where: Karls Hall, Room 101
  • Why: To gain tangible strategies for maximizing the potential of your online content

This workshop is free, but registration through My Learning Connection (on the Profile tab of My Missouri State) is requested.


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Summer blogging inspiration: Share the blog

Student, faculty collaborate at computerIt’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.

Topics for summerFireworks at Hammons Field

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 prideBoomer and Growl at Hammons Fountains

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

July 15: Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World

August 14: Social media boot camp

August 18: First day of fall semester

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