From CURRENTS magazine: Taking the lifelong view

Fascinating article about how one university combined advancement with student affairs for lifelong engagement.

At any institution, lifetime engagement is no one’s job, yet everyone’s job. When territory is undefined or divided—like the functional silos often found in higher education advancement—programs, activities, and people can fall through the cracks. Our division decided to take on this mission and align our units to shepherd audiences across the crucial transition points.

– See more at:


The Best Time To Never Send Email

The biggest mistake with looking at “when” to send to your list is we think that’s our issue. We think we’re getting low open rates because we sent a newsletter at 11am EST on a Wednesday instead of 5am PST on a Thursday.

The best way to get your email opened is to write content worthy of being opened.

The Best Time To Never Send Email

‘Snow Fall’ and Storytelling in Higher Ed

In the six days following its launch, “Snow Fall” received more than 3.5 million pageviews and 2.9 million visitors—nearly a third of whom were new visitors to, according to a New York Times memo.

What made “Snow Fall” both so successful and so widely lauded? The feature marked a big step forward in the evolution of online storytelling. From the earliest stages of developing “Snow Fall,” writers, researchers, designers, developers and multimedia experts all worked together to craft a compelling narrative wreathed in a natural user experience.

So, another day, another online journalism innovation. What does it mean for us and our higher ed newsrooms? Our resources pale in comparison to the Times’—after all, “Snow Fall” took six months and nearly a dozen staffers to bring to life. What does this latest notch in the Gray Lady’s belt mean for higher ed?

‘Snow Fall’ and Storytelling in Higher Ed

Why thinking like a journalist can bring out the best content

A good story needs to be published as quickly as possible or risks losing its appeal.

The same rule applies for content marketing: it needs to be relevant and current, or the reader will move on to something else.

One of the easiest ways to come up with ideas is to take a look at current events and holidays. Christmas or Valentine’s Day coming up? Using these events and linking them with your business can be a unique way to connect with your customers.

The closer the better

Proximity is another crucial factor: if ten people are killed in a bus accident in the centre of your hometown, your local newspaper will undoubtedly consider it front page news. But if 30 people are killed in a bus accident in Tokmok in Kyrgyzstan, it will probably pass unnoticed. It’s essential to know who your audience is and what matters to them.

Why thinking like a journalist can bring out the best content

Why Every Content Marketer Should Have Newsroom Experience

Great stories don’t just happen. All great stories begin with a great idea.

Re. Typical Day in the Newsroom

An editor hands the reporter a simple assignment. The journalist’s job is to transform the topic into a juicy story with useful information and striking quotes. So, before any words are written, the journalist must brainstorm.

A journalist is trained to see a single idea from every possible angle.

Why Every Content Marketer Should Have Newsroom Experience

More Clues

Here are more notes from Cluetrain Manifesto:

“The Net was a powerful multiplier for intellectual capital.” (Talking about the beginnings of the internet.) -pg.5

There’s a difference between passive viewing (TV) and ROTFL -pg.7

“We are alternately the workers who create products and services, and the customers who purchase them.” -pg.9

Many large companies are still doing broadcast model on the web. Broadcast is the few dictating the behaviors of the many. New landscape does not equal mass– subtle nuances explode -pg.15

“Make mistakes. Debug on the fly. It’s fast, it’s furious. It’s fun!” “rock n roll” philosophy -pg.20 “Be shunned, be hated, be ridiculed, be scared, be in doubt, but don’t be gagged.” John Jay Chapman commencement address -pg. 45

***Positioning is not about a creating a tagline! “Positioning is about discovering who you, as a business, are–discovering your identity, not inventing a new one willy-nilly.” -pg.99

People are already talking about your business on the web, and you can’t control it. Why not join in the conversation. Your absence is of greater risk than your employees’ participation. “The web liberates business from the fear of being exposed as human, even against its will.” -pg.122

“Increasingly, a useful expert is not someone with all the answers but someone who knows where to find answers.” -pg.128

The Cluetrain Manifesto

A while back, Drew brought me a book from his office that he thought I should read. I looked it over, saw that it was written in 1999 and set it aside. A few weeks went by. Then by some strange coincidence, one of my university friends on Twitter decided that since he was buying the 10th anniversary edition of Cluetrain, that he was going to give his old copy away in a Twitter contest. Days later I saw a reference to it again. Suddenly, it was as though I was seeing it everywhere. So, I moved Drew’s copy into the “must read” pile.

Cluetrain is rude and confrontational in a way typical  marketing books are not. Kind of refreshing actually, albeit sometimes smug. It’s about empowering employees to speak for you so your company will sound human again instead of relying on happy talk. Open, natural, uncontrolled– not the usual adjectives for business. Here are a few notes from it I’d like to hold on to:

From the 95 theses, I like #16: “Already, companies that speaking in the language of the pitch, the dog-and-pony show, are no longer speaking to anyone.”

#21: “Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.”

#22: “Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.”