The Changing Face and Pace of University Communications

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    What is your biggest challenge in communicating to your target audiences (students)? The biggest challenge we face is similar to other universities and for-profit companies – getting our constituents to read what we are sending! Another challenge is keeping up with the way that students wish to receive their information (print vs. digital, and even further – email versus other ways like text, social, Google ads, video, etc.)

    How have the tools you used to reach your target changed over time? Or, do you use different tools to reach different groups/segments/students?  We use different tools for different audiences more and more. We are still in the process of finding the balance between print and digital, and then incorporating social for not only students, but also parents and counselors.

    As a communications professional, where do you see the whole “Content is King” movement headed? Is it quantity over quality or should organizations focus more on context rather than an increase in content? I am always a firm believer in quality over quantity. If your information isn’t useful to the reader don’t bother. Content is, and will remain, king but engagement is queen.

    Does print still play a role in your communication strategy? How has its role changed? Print still plays a role, but it’s moving towards a supporting role rather than starring. I believe this shift will continue. The thing about print now is that it should be used sparingly (especially with a younger student audience), but effectively. Make it count. I also think that print and digital strategies need to coexist in harmony. All printed pieces should include an action item that can be tracked digitally.

    Where do you see communication within the university setting headed? Competition among universities is fierce, and more and more students need to see demonstrated value in coming to college, let alone coming to YOUR college. It’s very important to clearly illustrate your brand, what it stands for and what they will get out of coming to your campus. I think that digital’s role will continue to grow along with social and gamification. Tracking and metrics are also very important in order to demonstrate ROI and also in setting strategy. Being nimble is important, but a particular challenge in the university setting.

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