Blogger Bootcamp

What to improve your blog this fall? Public Affairs and Marketing is hosting a Blogger Bootcamp with Elizabeth Council, digital strategist at Hope. Elizabeth helps manage our blog network, including editing Stories of Hope. She also manages the college’s social media accounts, and wants to help you be better at sharing your department’s stories on your blog.

This one-hour session will energize your interest in blogging and offer tips on:

  • Getting started
  • What to write about
  • How often and how much to write
  • How to cross-promote your blogs on social media
  • How to plan ahead

Join us!

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2:30 p.m.

Plaza Large Conference Room

Register Here

10 Steps to Building a Better Blog

hello cut letters sign

Hope boasts over 40 blogs on the college’s blog network ranging in focus from faculty and administrative work to admissions features for prospective students. Public Affairs and Marketing helps maintain our network and serves as a campus resource to help our bloggers improve their site and their posts. We’re here to help you get better at blogging — and to blog more!

Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. Know your audience. Decide who you’re writing for even before you start typing.
  2. Think like your audience. What do they care about? What do they want and need to know? How do they talk and write? Write for them.
  3. What’s your topic? Start with a general topic but know that it can evolve once you’ve started and that is OK! Subheadings are great for breaking up ideas.
  4. Have a lot to say? Simplify your post with a bulleted list or create a series of shorter blog posts.
  5. At a loss for words? No worries. Sometimes a paragraph or two, or even a short list, is all you need to say. Or, if you’re stumped, start by simply ask yourself questions about your topic and then answer them. Voila! You have a new post.
  6. Include a graphic, photo or short video that supports your writing.
    macbook and coffee
  7. Include links to relevant and/or additional information. If you like this post, you might like 12 Blogging mistakes most beginners make.
  8. Publish your post when your audience will have time to read it — and when they expect it. Timing matters. For example, don’t wait until two days before to tell people about your event; And, publish on weekdays if it’s work related (but avoid Mondays and Fridays).
  9. After your post is published, share it to your social media by telling people what’s in it for them. Give your followers a reason to click through. It’s OK to repurpose content over and over, too. Create a strategy for promoting your blog on social.
  10. Keep at it! Decide how often your blog needs fresh material and work to follow a consistent publishing schedule. Your followers will come to expect and enjoy your new content on a regular basis.

Still have questions about improving your blog? Contact Elizabeth Council in Public Affairs and Marketing to schedule a consultation. 

Beyond campus mail: Promote your event on social media

Does your office or department frequently host events? Public Affairs and Marketing is happy to help you share your good news and get more people in your seats. The first place to start is the Hope Calendar when hosting an even for on-campus attendees.

Gone are the days of simply sending a campus mail and calling it good. Entries on the Hope calendar can serve as your event’s webpage with all the details your on-campus attendees need to know: who, what, when, where, why, and even photos or a video if you have one. Guests can informally “RSVP” to show their friends they’re interested in your event, they can easily share the event to social media, and see on a map where you’re event is located.

Getting Started

  • When reserving your room in EMS, select “Yes” when asked if you would like this event to display on the Hope College public calendar. Include any descriptive text that should appear on the web in the “Event Details” section of the room reservation. This ensures any potential changes in time or location are updated in both EMS and the calendar. Approved events typically appear on the campus calendar in 1–2 business days. See more Calendar tips.
  • Include all the details you would normally put in your Campusmail such as a title, description, time, dates, etc. in the description box. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the details, you can always update your entry later by emailing calendar@hope.edu.
  • Use the same email address to send us a photo or graphic, otherwise we will choose a default image, which are usually not as exciting as one promoting your event.
  • Please be sure your calendar entry is always current. Email changes or new information to calendar@hope.edu.

Tweet or post to Facebook

  • Once your event is listed on the calendar and your image is in place, start tweeting about it and share it with your Facebook fans, even if it’s six months away.
  • Always include a picture or graphic with your social media and link to the calendar entry.
  • Consider creating a Facebook Event if you’re feeling savvy with Facebook. We can even help you link the Facebook event with the Hope calendar entry, or help you advertise the event on Facebook if budget allows.
  • Speaking of advertising, promoting events to specific groups of people can help ensure you have a robust audience. We can help you devise a social media advertising plan if your budget allows.

A few weeks, or months, out

  • Don’t wait until the day or week of the event; Start talking about it early!
  • Use your office or division’s social media channels to promote your event. Be sure to include an eye catching graphic or a photo, and always link to the Hope calendar entry or Facebook event.
  • Use hashtags, when appropriate, but before you choose any old hashtag, talk to Public Affairs and Marketing. We’ll help you find the right one.
  • Tag other users or offices involved in the event.
  • Ask faculty and students in your department to share to their social media.
  • If your event is for students, consider how Instagram and Snapchat can be utilized for your event. Public Affairs and Marketing often offers offices the opportunity to “take over” the Hope account for special events and academic promotion.

Day of event

  • For big events, have someone tweet and post to Facebook during the event.
  • Consider adding photos and video to Instagram if your office has an account. This is the fastest growing social channel for Hope’s followers.
  • Share photos of the event (think “behind the scenes”) or take videos with a phone.
  • Use a hashtag if you have one — or use one that’s globally popular, yet relevant to your event. Example: “#MarchMadness”

After the Event

  • Be sure to post photos, videos or a “thank you” message to your social media followers
  • Most social media accounts allow you to look at data on your social media performance. Check it out to see which posts or tweets were most and least effective.
  • Recycle your posts and tweets throughout the year to continue talking about the event. This will help keep it top of mind for next year.

 

For more information on promoting your event or news online, please connect with Elizabeth Council, digital strategist, in Public Affairs and Marketing. 

Take over our Snapchat account!

snapchat-ghost-hopePublic Affairs and Marketing is excited to bring you Takeover Tuesdays beginning in December! Takeover Tuesdays are an opportunity for student organizations and Hope offices to “take over” the official Hope College Snapchat story in order to give our followers behind-the-scenes access, while promoting your group’s event and mission to Hope’s Snapchat Followers. We estimate more than 1,000 people, mostly students, are following us.

How does it work?

With guidance from PA&M, your organization will be given a temporary password to log in to the Hope College account on the day of your takeover. You will then be allowed to publish photos, videos, stickers and doodles to our Snapchat Story for up to 24 hours. No experience with Snapchat? No problem! Consider approaching a student worker or intern in your office to help.

We are proud of our reputation on Snapchat, so we ask that you give careful consideration to the type of story you plan to share. Below you will find links to our storyboard planning document and takeover guidelines, as well as a link to sign up for your Takeover Tuesday. We recommend that you plan your takeover near or on a Tuesday of an event or activity you’re hosting as a way to promote and build excitement for the event. Take a look at a few examples of recent Snapchat stories.

Snapchat planning resources

Snapchat Takeover Guidelines

Snapchat Storyboard Planner

Request a Takeover Tuesday

Social media workgroup meets monthly

A new staff and faculty workgroup started meeting monthly this spring to talk about social media. This informal group meets every third Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Plaza conference room.

Please feel free to drop in and invite your friends and colleagues who might be interested. Typically there is no set agenda but rather informal conversation about social media trends, challenges and successes across campus. It has been a great opportunity to learn from each other!  Please join us.

Example of some topics discussed are:

  • Best methods for promoting campus events and news
  • Are we seeing results with young people?
  • What makes for an engaging post/tweet?
  • Graphics — How to format and what to include?
  • Tips on finding good content to share
  • Understanding tone
  • Connecting with alumni

Questions? Email social@hope.edu

Scholarship Day of Giving is back!

Scholarship Day of Giving

Thank you for being a social media champion at Hope College! Your influence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram helps support the good work of everyone at Hope.

Scholarship Day of Giving is back on April 19, and the planning team needs your help spreading the word. Most of the excitement and buzz will be shared via social media and email — that’s where you come in! Your assistance in 2015 helped bring in more than 600 gifts and $100,000+ to support Hope Fund scholarships.

Please consider sharing a tweet or two and a Facebook or Instagram post leading up to, and throughout, the big day. Included below are graphics you may wish to share in your posts and tweets. Here are the details:

Scholarship Day of Giving is Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

    • 24 hours of giving to the Hope Fund
    • GOAL: 750 gifts to the Hope Fund
    • Activity will be tracked LIVE at hope.edu/give2hope
    • Official hashtag: #give2hope
    • Giving challenges and incentives will be offered throughout the day

Questions you might have should be forwarded to Sabina Otteman, director of the Hope Fund and Annual Giving.

Scholarship Day of Giving social media badge Scholarship Day of Giving social media graphic

Snapchat: For our students

They say you have to learn to crawl before you can learn to walk. When it comes to adopting a new institutional social media channel like Snapchat, I am pleased to be crawling at a snail’s pace.

Hope College Snapchat GhostSnapchat gets the largest share of attention from 18-24 year olds, and I have to admit: that made the Public Affairs and Marketing team a little nervous. We tossed around the idea of jumping into Snapchat for months, but we weren’t quite sure how, or what we would do with it. Would we allow our students to take it over? How might that work? These are big questions for our new-ish marketing team!

We didn’t want our students to roll their eyes and ignore us. We didn’t want to start something that would’t provide value to our campus. And we had to be intentional. With so many goals, it was time to call in the experts: our students. Would they engage with us? Would our presence encroach on their social media territory? How should we even use it?

Hope College Snapchat launchTo our surprise, the response from students—and maybe a few employees—was something like, “It’s about time!” Hope on Snapchat seemed so obvious. Why did we wait so long? “It’s only Snapchat!”

Finally I decided to go for it. What’s the fun when there’s no risk involved, right? The Hope College Snapchat account hope_college was announced to students via Instagram and Twitter on the Friday before Christmas break as a three-week holiday campaign to keep our students engaged from home.

In our first campaign we collected snaps to share with our Instagram and Twitter followers. It was a chance for any of our students to become “instafamous.” The response was great! Within an hour we had all kinds of snaps sent to us. Emphasis on all kinds (see below). It was fun to see what our students received for Christmas and to have a glimpse into their family’s traditions. Apparently Hope swag was Santa’s gift of choice.

Christmas Snaps

 

Since that first campaign, I have enlisted the help of a few trusted student workers to watch for incoming snaps. They are also adding original content to our Snapchat Story. A Story is a series of snaps (can be photos or short video) pieced together in a narrative that can last up to 24 hours and is only available on Snapchat. This is exclusive content not found on Facebook or Twitter. Pretty cool, huh? Dew Crew Snapchat

My intent with Snapchat has never been to use it as just another marketing tool, but rather a secret weapon for meeting our students wherever they are—about whatever they are interested in—in the moment they care about it. And because much of our content is created by students for students, there’s an added flare of authenticity not found on our other social media. Our faculty are even joining the fun!

Working with students to launch Snapchat has turned out to be an ideal partnership with teachable moments for all involved. I am able to manage the account and give direction while observing how our student workers are using the application. At the same time, they have freedom to be fun and creative while wearing the hat of a marketer. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch what we do with Snapchat in 2016!

Add us! hope_college