The advancement of digital and social media campaign development and analysis

You might not expect something with a title that dry to be thrilling for me to write, but it is.

[Note: This post may read as a bit of a “stream of consciousness” on the state of higher ed communications, so please forgive the tangents. Speaking of tangents, here’s a running list of things I’ve worked on since I began working in higher ed communications four years ago.]

Four years ago I was completing a project I had been working on all summer – brainstorming ideas, scripting questions, location scouting, casting, and interviewing compelling characters for a video series at Mount Allison University. I had just completed my first social media audit (sorry, it’s cover only because the full report has some proprietary information), and wanted to put my recommendations into actions. With some general oversight (and videography done by a co-worker), I went about helping to create a video series for incoming students in hopes of reducing summer melt by quelling their fears and answering some of their questions without them having to ask. We made a total of 20 videos and shared them over the month of August.

While it’s not easy to connect watching a video to a certain action (as Google’s various attribution models would attest even for simple transactions), we did set up a systematic approach to sharing the videos (via the website, social channels, and yes, even old-fashioned emails) and reporting on the effectiveness of the campaign with some basic metrics. Before long we attracted the attention of Academica Group, an equivalent Canada has to mStoner with their Top 10 emails going to thousands of leaders in higher ed research and marketing. [Here’s the reaction from #PSEweb leaders. It was pretty cool to see a project I worked so much on get a positive response.]

[Side note: It was four years ago at Mount Allison that I began working professionally in higher ed marketing and when I could first verbalize why knew I wanted to do it as a career.]

Expectations of digital marketing efforts of college-bound students, (as described in the industry-standard E-Expectations report) he internet has changed dramatically since 2011, video becoming a more and more useful source of information for prospective students. Colleges and universities, then, have (and have to) become more thoughtful in the way they measure the effectiveness of campaigns beyond number of views. I wrote about how one can infer quality, relevance and other important insights from a video’s metrics (with YouTube’s video analytics).

In addition to improved video metric reporting over time, social media campaign effectiveness has come into the spotlight. As prospective students turn to social media (with 60% of seniors seeing it as a reliable source of information), thoughtful engagement (and, of increasing importance, conversion) strategies and analysis have become more sophisticated.

To really stay ahead of the competition online, schools need to reach beyond their immediate circles and learn from the experts in the field, which often means going beyond your industry. I for one, have been doing my best to learn from that advice. I’ve read analytics, content marketing, and analytics books and blogs from beyond the silos independent school and higher ed marketers can find themselves in. It’s not a matter of becoming a coder or taking on another category of job duties, but taking the best advice from people who do digital analytics for a living. Beyond day-to-day reading to inform how I keep organized and efficient, I’ve also made a commitment to never stop learning.

Since starting at FCS and helping to launch our new website, I’ve taking advanced Google Analytics training from LunaMetrics, learned what the top CASE colleges and universities in the region are doing through a CASE D2 Scholarship, reviewed and became re-certified in AdWords ahead of the Fall admission ‘season’, and am currently reviewing HTML and re-learning CSS to make sure our landing pages are the best they can be.

Competition for students among private schools is not forecasted to lessen any time soon. As higher ed has had to adapt to changing realities, the responsibility of having a effective web presence has moved from being an IT webmaster’s problem to more of a communication issue. Do any search of what used to be one job in communications, say, “writer”, and you’ll see the role has become a “Web Writer and Content Strategist” who, in addition to “developing and implementing institutional social media strategy”, now is required to have an understanding of different content management systems, HTML, and Google Analytics.

Indeed, at some institutions, the responsibility for the website has been entirely subsumed by admissions and is placed into the hands of a Manager of Online Recruitment and Web Communication. This is no doubt a writing role, however, the requirement of having “strong copywriting and editing skills” coming 9th to others, including working with a CMS, experience in online marketing, PPC advertising, and HTML.

All of the above and more is why I’m proud to work at an institution that is aware of the changing nature of web development/communications/enrollment marketing and invests in a position like mine to ensure that the school’s mission is heard above the digital noise. While the ‘disruption’ seen in higher education is not going to be experienced the same way in independent schools, I’m glad to be learning how to stay ahead of whichever curve we’re on by learning from higher ed marketing experts at EduWeb Digital Summit in Chicago in a couple weeks (thanks to the school and a conference registration fee waiver provided by the conference organizers).

I’m excited to learn more about how best to keep telling our institutions’ stories in ways that reach and engage our target audiences where they are. I think sessions like “”How to Use YouTube and Hangouts on Air for Creating Differentiated Video Content” will help us get the most out of and improve upon what we’ve already done with Hangouts on Air (like our live-streamed Hour of Code Assembly).

What are you doing this summer to do things better this fall?

Geoff Campbell Prezi

Geoff Campbell Skills and Experience
Geoff Campbell Skills and Experience

Geoff Campbell Skills and Experience

I recently created a Prezi about my skills and experience related to higher education communication and public relations. Take a look here.

Quick Update

Hi everybody,

So I’ve been very busy finishing up work to complete my M.S. in Public Relations here at Newhouse, taking a Visual and Multimedia Journalism class, interning in the marketing and communication office here at Syracuse University, and seeking a full-time job starting in June. Given that, posting here has unfortunately gone by the wayside at times.

Today though, I had time to tone and upload some photos from a trip to San Francisco. I also uploaded a Syracuse University “Sense of Place” video to YouTube, and had my post on WCG rock star Chuck Hemann’s talk about social analytics published on Syracuse University’s social media blog which (for which I’m seeking submissions from all SU students).

I should have a few more posts up before too long.

I’ll be writing about my best practices paper on higher ed use of social media (which will be written after I attend Michael Stoner’s talk on exactly that at PRSA’s Counselors to Higher Education Senior Summit next week), the forthcoming Tobacco-Free campus initiative campaign book my PR campaigns class group is working on with our client the Lerner Center, and hopefully at least a couple digital literacy/job hunt videos I’m working on at SU. (I know AP style but I’m going to use it whenever I’m not forced to abandon it).

For now here’s my Syracuse University sense of place video

and my apology for not posting often by way of a picture of an adorable dog I found in Berkeley, CA who was nice enough to pose for me:

San Francisco Tourist Photo

Higher Ed / College Campus Photos

College Campus Photos

Over the past couple months, as part of my Multimedia and Visual Journalism course at Newhouse I’ve taken hundreds of photos. Here are a few from around campus.

Syracuse University in WinterSyracuse University in WinterSyracuse University in WinterSyracuse University in WinterSyracuse University S.I. Newhouse School Public RelationsSyracuse University S.I. Newhouse School Public Relations
Syracuse University PhotographySyracuse University PhotographySyracuse University PhotographySyracuse University PhotographyMike Swartz presenting at the Newhouse Tablet Magazine CompetitionTablet Magazine Design Competition
Tablet Magazine Design CompetitionTablet Magazine Design CompetitionTablet Magazine Design CompetitionTablet Magazine Design CompetitionSyracuse University PhotographyTablet Magazine Design Competition

 

PRSA CHE (Higher Ed PR) Senior Summit

PRSA CHE

Every year, the Counselors to Higher Education (CHE) section of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) holds a Senior Summit where practitioners can learn hear from experienced executives on best practices and learn from one another what they can do to improve the communication activities at their higher education institutions.

Thanks in large part to subsidies from the Newhouse School (specifically Associate Dean for Professional Graduate Studies Joel Kaplan), The William P. Ehling Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and Syracuse University’s Graduate Student Organization, I will be attending the 2013 Summit in April.

The Summit bills itself as the “premier annual event on higher education communications” and this year they clearly set out to live up to that expectation.

This year’s Summit features the following:

  • A keynote luncheon by Michael Stoner entitled “Social Works: How #HigherEd Uses #SocialMedia to Raise Money, Build Awareness, Recruit Students and Get Results“.
  • A session discussing the first ever research on CHE members of duties and how practitioners “can  gain a seat at the table in order to practice truly strategic public relations” led by Rosalynne D. Whitaker-Heck from Hampton University and Jeanette DeDiemar from Florida State University
  • a panel discussion about hosting the 2012 Presidential Debates at University of Denver Daniels College of Business and Lynn University
  • A panel discussion led by John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations at Quinnipiac University entitled “The Next Time: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy”
  • A National Media Panel on Higher Education, featuring
    Mary Beth Marklein, higher education correspondent, USA Today
    Liz McMillen, editor, The Chronicle of Higher Education
    Tim Goral, editor in chief, University Business
    Scott Jaschik, editor, Inside Higher Ed
  • A keynote luncheon by Jason Simon, director of marketing communications at the University of California entitled: “Marketing Blunder? Hardly. How Being “Boldly Californian” Brought Down a Logo and Left A Stronger University of California”

and many more discussions and opportunities for networking.

While I’m the only attendee currently registered who is not already working full-time I plan to get everything I can out of this investment of time and money. I’ll be taking extensive notes on what I assume will be insightful lectures and discussions in addition to the opportunity to hear from dozens of industry professionals. I’m very excited for this opportunity to learn firsthand insights from masters in the field I hope to enter in June.

There is a private list of attendees only for those attending but there is also a page on Lanyrd for the event.

M.S. in PR Spring Semester at Newhouse

Geoff Campbell Newhouse SU

Hey everyone. I’m just finishing up my first week of the spring semester of classes at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I’ve had every class at least once and well, I’m very excited. I had been planning on sharing with you some of what will be keeping me busy this semester but my friend and fellow PR grad student Megan Christopher beat me to the punch. Take a look at her newly redesigned blog here.

Below is some information about the classes everybody in our cohort are taking. I’m also auditing a class in Visual and Multimedia Journalism that will help me tremendously in creating content at my internship this semester as a Digital and Social Media Intern in the marketing and communication office here at SU. I’ll update this blog with some of my work in that class once I have something worth sharing.

I’m enjoying all of my classes so far. It’ll be quite a bit of work but I’m ready and eager to do it. Here’s the information about the semester I’m borrowing from Megan who borrowed it from the course syllabi. There are also bi-weekly classes (PR Practicum) that focus on professional development and complement our internship.

Understanding Financial Statements

Objectives:

  • To be able to understand and prepare basic financial statements.
  • Become comfortable with accounting terminology.
  • Develop the ability to communicate the implications of various financial reporting issues.
  • Develop the ability to make reasonable estimates of firms’ financial health.

Major Assignment:

Research project: In a group, complete an analysis of a publicly held company. Groups will analyze the profitability, asset and liability utilization, liquidity, solvency, and debt coverage of the company by making comparisons of (1) the company’s performance over time and (2) the company in comparison to a single other competitor as well as the industry average.

Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution

Objectives:

  • To understand the four stages of campaign planning.
  • To become familiar with the message development process.
  • To become familiar with public relations tactics and social media platforms.
  • To learn how to evaluate a strategic campaign.

Major Assignments:

Campaign project: Groups will be assigned to design, execute and evaluate an appropriate integrated campaign for the client (The Lerner Center) and will present the campaign book to the client.

Case study assignment: An individually written paper describing, analyzing and evaluating a public relations case relative to the group campaign project.

Public Relations Management

Objectives:

  • To appreciate the value of both the art and science of management.
  • To become familiar with the functions of management.
  • To understand the evolution of public relations as a function of management.
  • To identify the “best practices” in public relations/communications management.

Major Assignments:

Best practices paper: This paper will capture the assessment and insights provided by an in-depth analysis and research based on 3 – 5 key “best practices”. The paper will also address key findings on areas where public relations professionals can make a significant difference in organizations by employing the best practices.

.eduGuru: Broadcast AND Engagement

Broadcast and Engagement

I just wanted to share with you that I had my first guest post published on doteduguru.com. It’s a bit about my case study on Syracuse University’s Social Media use (Broadcast AND Engagement) that I wrote for my graduate PR Theory class at Newhouse. Here’s a snippet below.

As many of you know, Syracuse University is a school that is “smart” at social media. Kate Brodock, executive director of digital and social media at Syracuse University directs a student team that manages SU’s social media presence and they do an admirable job at spreading SU’s message effectively and engaging with a variety of stakeholders online.

The full article is available at doteduguru.com.

Syracuse University Social Media Strategy

As many of you know, Syracuse University is a school that is “smart” at social media. Kate Brodock, executive director of digital and social media at Syracuse University directs a student team that manages SU’s social media presence and they do an admirable job at spreading SU’s message effectively and engaging with a variety of stakeholders online.

For my case study in Public Relations Theory with Brenda Wrigley I took a deeper look at the strategic thinking behind the school’s actions on social media. I began by looking at things like “An analysis of the increasing impact of social and other new media on public relations practice” in the Public Relations staple, the Institute for PR and the “Summary of Findings from the Third Comprehensive Study of Social Media Use by Schools, Colleges and Universities” by the higher ed communication masters at mStoner. I was able to convince the SU library to buy primary research on PR practice in higher ed which provided good quantitative data on what a variety of schools are doing.

I combined that background research with in-depth interviews, news reports, and archival information to have concrete evidence to support the notion that engagement with many stakeholders via social media is crucial to effective public relations practice in higher education. However, that’s not the long and short of it. It’s not enough to simply say “We need to be on Facebook and tweet at people and have videos of campus with corny music.” It’s about having an understanding of where your audiences are, what kind of content interests them, and in what form they want that content.

Being open to communicating with stakeholders makes this much easier and having an understanding of website and social media analytics doubly so. My paper is nowhere near the final word, but it’s a start.

Note: This semester, as a a graduate intern for Kate Brodock I’ll be working on content strategy for the school’s various accounts, organizing all the multitude of accounts of the school, and after I learn how to do so effectively in “NEW 600: Visual Journalism”, creating video content for the school.

Learning beyond the classroom

how to get a job

Screen shot 2012-12-30 at 11.18.50 PM

I just received my final grades for this past semester. I’m halfway done my master’s degree and I have an excellent GPA. That’s all fine and dandy but that’s not going to get me an interview, much less a job.

As Newhouse’s graduate student employment statistics document makes clear,

“A master’s degree doesn’t guarantee a better job right away or higher salary without professional experience before beginning a master’s program. Instead, a master’s degree pays off in the form of earlier promotions and raises a few years after graduation.”

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to be doing immediately after Newhouse in June (creating web content and managing social media for higher ed). The issue now is to make the most of the time and energy I have in the next 5 months to ensure I’m the most qualified I am for the kind of positions to which I’ll be applying. So, in addition to taking the required

Understanding Financial Statements,
Financial Markets and Institutions,
Public Relations Practicum,
Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution

and Public Relations Management, I’ll be working on skills I’ll need to land my first job.

I’ve looked at dozens of job listings similar to those I’ll be applying for in April. I’ve found that there things that employers either require or prefer for those positions that aren’t covered to the extent I need in my curriculum but which I can improve upon in the meantime. Below are those skills and what I’m doing/have done to improve them.

Basic Photography/Videography  – taking a Newhouse course that covers

  • Multi-Platform Photojournalism using Multiple Mediums
  • HDSLR Camera Handling Basics for Video and Stills
  • Lighting for still and video
  • Still, sound and motion collection
  • The visual and auditory narrative
  • The interview, working with your subject
  • Video shooting and editing sequences
  • Nonlinear editing
  • Working with changing technology

Basic Knowledge of HTML/CSS – Taking HTML Essential Training (including a CSS primer) on Lynda.com

Web Analytics – Taking Google Analytics Essential Training on Lynda.com

InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop CS6 – Individual courses on Lynda.com (in addition to GRA 617)

Managing Social Media Platforms (my PR Practicum with Kate Brodock, Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at Syracuse University in addition to my prior experience)

That’s about it for now.

P.S.: If you’re a recruiter at a college or university and want to know more about me, here’s my resume and a little more.

Seeking Work in Higher Ed

Geoff Campbell

I’d like to announce a bit earlier than I need to that I’m looking for a full-time job starting Monday, June 3rd, 2013.

I could simply post my resume and explain why in 100 words or less why you, a manager in a higher education communication office, should hire me but I can do better.

Here’s a little Storify presentation about me and why I’d be a great web writer/public relations specialist at your college or university this summer.

  1. To start off, my name is Geoff Campbell. Here’s what I look like:
  2. I’ve lived all over North America.
  3. I earned my bachelor’s degree at Mount Allison University, the best undergraduate university in Canada.
  4. While I was there I studied International Relations, eventually being published in an Undergraduate Academic Journal.
  5. As part of the program I had to learn a language so I chose French and took advantage of an immersion program.
  6. On the advice of a professor I started writing outside of class. I started writing about what was familiar to me.
  7. then I branched out a bit into the unfamiliar.
  8. I started writing for the admissions office and continued writing until I graduated in 2012.
  9. While I worked there I wrote about my life there through words,
  10. photos,
  11. and video.
  12. Student Voices: Why did you come to Mount Allison University?

    Fri, Apr 15 2011 17:13:52
  13. My blog writing caught the eye of the Communications and Marketing Office who hired me as a paid intern.
  14. There I wrote news articles
  15. and created other written and photo content on behalf of the school.
  16. More importantly, however, I conducted a social media audit and drafted the school’s first social media strategy and guidelines.
  17. I also did much of the planning, interviewing, and promotion of the school’s 20-video series designed to reduce summer melt.
  18. I then moved onto doing videography myself and with a student volunteer, created a video of graduating students discussing their future to give prospective students an idea of the worth of the Mount Allison University experience.
  19. Mount Allison Class of 2012 Graduating Students

    Mon, Nov 26 2012 18:24:58
  20. When I wasn’t studying, writing my blog or working for the communications office I kept busy.
  21. I represented Amnesty International Mount Allison at the national conference and Human Rights College where I received training in public speaking, public relations, and effective event planning.
  22. I then organized a visit by Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Canada’s Aboriginal Rights Campaigner.
  23. Over one summer, I interned in Student Affairs at Berklee College of Music
  24. During my final year I worked as the first Online Editor for the student newspaper, The Argosy, where I helped migrate the website from WordPress to Drupal and helped improve their online and social media presences.
  25. I did all of the technical support for a regional conference
  26. including live-streaming/live-tweeting a Skype conversation with Canada’s most respected news anchor, Peter Mansbridge.
  27. Peter Mansbridge on Social Media for Journalism

    Wed, Nov 09 2011 16:09:46
  28. I represented the paper at the Canadian University Press National Conference in Victoria, BC.
  29. I brought back insights from more experienced web editors which helped tremendously in improving our Facebook engagement
  30. and website statistics.
  31. I also covered digital technology use by the University
  32. the student government
  33. and students.
  34. After graduating from Mount Allison University with an Honours B.A. in International Relations I decided to pursue a career in communication and accepted an admissions offer from the Newhouse School.
  35. Here, so far I’ve improved my resume
  36. by creating a full media kit in a PR writing class accompanied by work in graphics, including a poster for the fictitious event
  37.  and other work culminating in the creation of a fully functional and interactive iPad magazine section.
  38. when I haven’t been doing schoolwork I’ve worked as a graduate assistant where I’m helping a multimedia professor do research for his book.
  39. staying abreast of social media trends and best practice
  40. and writing for Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies
    (iSchool) Blog.
  41. I’m currently finishing courses in PR Writing for Digital Platforms, PR Theory, PR Research, and Media Law. In the Spring semester I’ll be working at two internships and auditing a videography class on top of PR Campaigns, PR Management and two finance classes.
  42. I’m seeking full-time work in communications beginning June 3, 2012. I can be reached at any time via @GeoffBCampbell and geoff@geoffbcampbell.com.