keene.edu: Content Creation Considerations

The purpose of this questionnaire is to help you think about your content goals for keene.edu and how to communicate most effectively with you core audience.

User Tasks

1. Who is your core audience?

  1. Customers: Students and families who apply to KSC and who pay tuition and living expenses.
  2. Supporters: Alumni, families, corporations, and other interested parties who donate time and money.
  3. Professionals: Faculty (internal and external), administration, and staff
  4. Orbiters: The external community (friends, business, etc.)

2. What tasks are they trying to complete? Why?

Some tasks have a clear beginning and end. For example, a student applying for a parking pass begins when the student visits the student parking page. He or she then fills out an application form at The Permit Store. The task is completed when the student receives a parking pass in the mail.

A prospective student researching degrees and programs is a much more complex task that may involve diving deeply into cross-linked information about program outcomes, faculty, campus resources, and “What can I do with this degree?” The individual seeking the information determines where this task begins and ends. Regardless of how complex the task is, the first step in defining your larger content needs begins with breaking down the user’s needs.

3. Gather all the supporting materials that your users need to complete their tasks.

Gathering an inventory of the materials around a task, which may include such things as text, calendars, PDFs, video, photography, web forms, or email copy will help identify what needs to be created and maintained to support each task.

4. What steps will the user take to complete this task?

While it’s not necessary for all tasks, capturing a user flow for complex tasks can help you visualize what content the user might need along the way to completion.

  1. What does the user need to understand before they complete a form, call, sign up, or take the next step?
  2. Are there steps they need to complete first?
  3. Will the user have access to all of the materials they need to complete the task?
  4. What response should they expect (e.g., an email, a phone call, an appointment request, etc.) after they do their part? When should they expect to hear back from you?

5. How do people primarily find the materials needed to complete the task?

Will it be best for a user to get the materials they need in-person or through a web search, an email, a phone call, or a referral from an other department or person? There are many ways someone can find information online. Understanding how the user gets to the information can help us improve the information we give them and make it easier for them to find the content they want.

6. How will we know when it is working?

Finding the right way to measure the user’s success ties directly to your goals. It may feel good to see traffic increase on your web pages, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the users are getting what they need. In some cases, increased traffic may signal a deficiency.

A few examples to consider:

  • The phone rings more often, because callers are confused and seeking clarification.
  • Are the increased submissions you’re getting from forms gathering more effective information, or are there just more forms to fill out?
  • Are users more aware of your services, events, and achievements?

Content Management

Once you understand what content you should provide, and where and why you should provide it, you need to decide who will provide it and how and when it will be created and reviewed.

  • Who creates this content (writing, photography, video, etc.) for the site?
  • Who is responsible to edit and update the content?
  • Who reviews the content before it is published?
  • How long will it take to create?
  • How often does it need to be reviewed? Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly?
  • Will you or your staff be able to update and maintain your content into the future?

Visit to Mindpower

On May 17 three Marketing & Communications staff members paid a visit to Mindpower, our branding partner. We spent the day in a freewheeling discussion of how best to implement the KSC brand. Here are a few salient points regarding the logo, advertising copy, Admissions, and the use of “Wise up.”

The KSC Logo
On letterhead, ads, etc., always lead with the brand – put KSC logo on top. Mindpower recommends not ever using two logos. The KSC logo shouldn’t look like it was put on as an afterthought.

Advertising copy
The copy should be provocative enough to send people to the web.

If an ad is used to convey information, make sure the hierarchy is evident.

If an ad asks a question, it should also answer it.

Some offices confuse their own structure with their audience’s interests.

No audience cares if you offer something for everyone. That ad is just an information dump.

All ads need emotion – optimism, hope, encouragement, surprise.

Information should be delivered with the audience in mind, not the client. Sell benefits, not features.

Consider these attributes: depth, breadth, cost, speed, impact on job. Then show why a program is wise, and how it changes your life (or how it makes a difference).

Conversation about Admissions
The main goal of print pieces and web is to get people to visit. Admissions pieces should present a small amount of factual info and bragging points, and use story-telling (keep it short) to illustrate the key themes.

The print pieces should sell the branding message – the call to action is to visit. The actual recruitment happens on campus.

Titles and questions should be explicit (not “poetic”) – what 17-year-olds want to know is, Will I be happy here? Will I fit? We should be more clear and concrete about each theme in the viewbook pieces.

Plan the communications flow: a few big pieces, then use postcards and email. Segmenting email by major and interests results in a higher rate of open. Keep the themes clear.

Admissions pieces have to make an emotional connection – be succinct, and send readers to the web, to a campus visit.

Conversation on using ‘Wise Up.’
The two-word sentence gets the reader’s attention. It has to be a little provocative to do that, like a tease. It is always followed by a more serious or kind statement, not another smart-aleck remark. Brain research shows that we assume we know patterns, what’s coming next – using “wise up” shakes up expectations.

For KSC: “Wisdom” and “to make a difference” are two themes.

Ideal outcome of this campaign: For any decision on campus, articulate what is the wise choice, and how it will make a difference.

Design

The new text logo should always be used in PMS 186 red. It can be used with or without the tagline. There should always be an area of open space around the logo and tagline.

We are using two now fonts: Caecilia and Akzidenz Grotesk. They have a modern and friendly look. Arial is a good substitute to use in Word documents. Use black for headlines and regular for body copy.

We have a new palette (shown in our style guide). Use the colors wisely. Most of the lighter colors should be used as background colors that work well with the 186 red in our text logo. The darker colors can be used as accent colors for headlines. Try and limit the use of colors, usually one or two will do it.

Be wise with white space. Don’t fill every space with images and text. Keep some open space in the pieces you create. This will help draw the eye into the piece and make it easier for people to read. If you cram too much into your piece it will be too busy and hard to read.

Creating an email signature

One of the questions we are often asked is: “how do I create an email signature using the  Keene State College logo?” Below is our suggested format along with instructions on how to create a signature in both Outlook and Entourage.

Signature Format

Typeface: 12 point Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, or Arial

The sized Keene State College logo for email signatures file can be found here.

First Last
Title (optional)
Office/Department
Keene State College
229 Main Street  (optional)
Keene, NH 03435-xxxx (optional)
(603) 358-xxxx
Fax: (603) 358-xxx (optional)
www.keene.edu/department

 

Microsoft Office.

From Microsoft’s Outlook Help.

  1. From the main Microsoft Outlook window, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
  2. In the Compose in this message format list, click the message format that you want to use the signature with.
  3. Under Signature, click Signatures, and then click New.
  1. In the Enter a name for your new signature box, enter a name.
  2. Under Choose how to create your signature, select the option you want.
  1. Click Next.
  2. In the Signature text box, type the text you want to include in the signature.

Microsoft Entourage.

Create a signature

  1. On the Tools menu, click Signatures.
  2. Click New.
  3. In the Name box, type a title for the signature.
  4. In the lower portion of the signature window, type the text that you want to include in the signature.

Note: At the beginning of a new signature, Entourage adds two hyphens; a space, and a line break. These create a signature separator. Many e-mail applications, such as Entourage, use the separator to remove a signature when the recipient replies to the message or forwards it. An attribution line is then added to the original message. If you do not want to use the separator, delete it from the signature window.

Format a signature

  1. On the Tools menu, click Signatures.
  2. Double-click the signature that you want to change.
  3. Click Use HTML  to turn on HTML formatting.
  4. Select the text that you want to format, and then select the formatting options that you want.

Note: If you insert a formatted signature into a plain text message, the signature appears as plain text.

Add an image to a signature

  1. On the Tools menu, click Signatures.
  2. Double-click the signature that you want to change.
  3. Click Use HTML  to turn on HTML formatting.
  4. Place the cursor where you want to add a picture, sound, or movie.
  5. On the Message menu, point to Insert, and then click the option that you want.
  6. Locate the file that you want to insert, and then click Choose.

Notes: If you insert a signature into a plain text message, Entourage removes any pictures, sounds, or movies from the signature.

Any graphic file type supported by your version of QuickTime is likely to be supported by Entourage.

Branding & Identity

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to take what will hopefully be a brief opportunity to formally introduce myself. My name is Eve Alintuck and I am the Transition Director for the Marketing and Communications team. I started working with Keene State in January with initiatives specific to the mission of the Marketing and Communications office as it evolves. There have been myriad changes and developments within our department, and this note serves to address those changes and also to speak to the work our team does on KSC’s behalf.

First off, the name
Many people have told me how confusing the departmental name change from College Relations to Marketing and Communications has been. Understood. Marketing and Communications more accurately reflects the nature of the work coming out of the Alumni Center. We’re not just about producing one poster, or one ad; we’re thinking about the whole communication strategy, soup-to-nuts. And we’re reaching out to all of the College’s constituency groups, marketing the College’s programs to potential students, donors, and others.

What we do
The M&C team brings together diverse expertise and resources (web, writing/editing, public relations, graphic design) to craft clear communication strategies for a variety of audiences, both internal and external. In many ways we are like a full-service creative agency – handling a wide range of creative, strategic, and day-to-day communications needs from the first project idea to final web presence, print advertisements, brochures, speeches, press releases,
and everything in-between. We partner with every department on campus. In fact, we think of you as our clients.

The elephant in the room – keene.edu
We all understand, and have heard the drumbeat of, the critical importance of a quality web presence. It is no understatement to acknowledge that the current keene.edu site has been a considerable source of frustration on many levels. The M&C team has been advocating for a total reorganization of the web site. I know for many of you this has been a long-standing grrrr… It is a pleasure to tell you we are moving forward with an RFP for the complete restructure and
redesign of keene.edu. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Right now, as you read this, the M&C team is working on a phased schedule. It will take at least 18 months; there’s no sugarcoating that, and I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep. I can, however, assure you that I will keep you in the loop with respect to timing and approach. In the meantime, I think we all need to applaud the restructure of keene.edu as it marks an important step in KSC’s progress.

Branding Keene State College
As many of you know, KSC has been involved in a process to uncover and build a brand for Keene State College that captures our distinct personality, differentiates us from our competitors, reaches myriad audiences, and builds brand recognition.

Working with M&C
If evolution is a constant, then the M&C team is right on track. Yes, there has been a lot of change recently, bringing both challenges and opportunities. While we regret any bumps along the road you may have experienced, rest assured the M&C team is driving forward with you, confident in an improved end result.

Since January we have been implementing some new ideas and methods, specifically the ways in which we take in and process new projects. We need to be more streamlined and efficient so we can meet your needs – campus needs – most effectively.

We have new client teams. These consist of:

Primary client contact
Writer/editor
Graphic designer
Web liaison

If you want to work on a project with your client team there is a simple process to follow. Just go to our web page and fill out the Project Request Form. Within 48 hours of receiving your (properly filled out!) form, a M&C staff member will contact you to discuss next steps and to ensure there is clarity about what needs to be done.

Of course there will be times when events are moving too quickly or where you have a truly urgent need. In such situations you can contact our Production Manager, Antje Hornbeck, at 358-2102. You can also just call me if you have general questions about this stuff.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this. As we continue to move forward, know that I welcome your feedback. My contact information is below and I look forward to hearing from you and, I hope, meeting each of you in person.

Sincerely,

Eve Alintuck
Director, Marketing and Communications
358-2101

Working with M&C

If evolution is a constant, then the M&C team is right on track. Yes, there has been a lot of change recently, bringing both challenges and opportunities. While we regret any bumps along the road you may have experienced, rest assured the M&C team is driving forward with you, confident in an improved end result.

Since January we have been implementing some new ideas and methods, specifically the ways in which we take in and process new projects. We need to be more streamlined and efficient so we can meet your needs – campus needs – most effectively.

We have new client teams. These consist of:

  • Primary client contact
  • Writer/editor
  • Graphic designer
  • Web liaison

If you want to work on a project with your client team there is a simple process to follow. Just go to our web page and fill out the Project Request Form. Within 48 hours of receiving your (properly filled out!) form, a M&C staff member will contact you to discuss next steps and to ensure there is clarity about what needs to be done.

Of course there will be times when events are moving too quickly or where you have a truly urgent need. In such situations you can contact our Production Manager, Antje Hornbeck, at 358-2102.