Educating students and stakeholders isn’t a one-shot deal, we encourage you to promote readabout.me throughout the academic year – keep the morale and excitement high. To help you communicate the benefits of readabout.me we developed an quick FAQ’sand messaging.
- What is readabout.me?
readabout.me is a platform we use to publicize your accomplishments, like making the Dean’s list studying abroad, or landing an internship. This platform allows us to organizes all of your achievements online at readabout.me where you can claim and view your personalized stories. You can even share these positive stories with family and friends in social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
- Why are you using readabout.me?
We want you to get the recognition you deserve for your hard work, academic success, and scholarly activities. readabout.me is the best way to showcase these accomplishments and we send a copy of your story to your hometown newspapers.
- Who really cares?
Everyone really – family, friends, and particularly prospective employers. Did you know that 75% of company recruiters are required to do online research on job candidates and 70% have rejected applicants because of information they found online.
- What’s readabout.me do?
It creates a visual, institution verified, resume that showcases everything you’ve achieved from the time you enroll through graduation and all the great accomplishments in between. readabout.me helps you create a powerful professional profile and positive online identity. The best part, it doesn’t require you to do any work, we do it for you.
Most higher ed institutions let students opt-out of releasing directory information about them during the admissions process. You may want to have a quick conversation with your registrar or student records office to find out about your institution’s opt-out process or just verify with them that these students have been omitted from the spreadsheets you use. If a student slips through the privacy net, here’s what you should do:
- Don’t panic! The information contained in your Achievements, like First Name, Last Name, and Hometown, does not conflict with FERPA and is considered “Directory Information.”
- A student can remove their profile and achievements immediately after claiming it on readabout.me. They’ll see an “Opt Out” link while logged into their profile.
- If a student doesn’t want to claim their profile but would like to opt-out, they should use the “Contact Us” link on readabout.me. Additionally, you can email the student’s request to our email@example.com address, and we’ll opt them out for you.
- Use your delivery report to follow up with the media their achievements were sent to. Your delivery report will contain the phone numbers and email addresses of the newspapers their story reached. Drop them a quick line and ask them to omit the student’s name.
Once a student opts out, our platform will never send another achievement notification about them again… Even if they accidentally make their way back onto one of your spreadsheets.
Feedback from readMedia users is critical to client success. Our symbiotic partnership with over 450 higher ed institutions helps us define new best practices and drives our technology roadmap.
readMedia users are strategic, results-driven, and creative; we continue to learn from your success and we want to share your wisdom with the readMedia community.
You can find examples of how schools are promoting readabout.me on campus in our online guide, but we cherry-picked some great readabout.me marketing tactics; giving you an opportunity to learn from and model your peers. These brilliant ideas for educating students will jump-start the student engagement process, increase sharing in social networks, and help you leverage your students’ success into powerful brand communications.
Giving students an incentive
St. Louis College of Pharmacy placed banners around campus encouraging students to share their achievements for a chance to win a $50 iTunes gift card.
Create a video
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette positioned readabout.me as a new student recognition program. UL Lafayette’s custom badges reinforce the university’s brand and they’re awesome looking too!
University of Wisconsin-River Falls created an informative, how it works, video.
Use your PR skills to land a placement in the student paper
Many colleges have had success with getting their student newspaper to run a feature on readabout.me. Students trust students, and student news is a reliable source of information that draws a strong student readership.
Saginaw Valley State University, “University goes online with academic profiles.”
Using social media to inform students
University of Delaware
One more from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a Facebook promo that received 213 likes, 4 additional shares, and 15 thoughtful comments!
Our clients’ readabout.me marketing inspired us and hopefully it inspired you. We are thinking about holding an end of year, best of, contest, where readMedia users submit their best readabout.me marketing strategies, creative badge designs, interesting stories, social media engagement, and more – for great prizes. This is still just an idea, but we’ll keep you posted.
You’re the center of communication for your institution. The University employs you to create connections with the academic community and all of its stakeholders, and you’re successful in doing so. You have a communications strategy in place, you engage the community, and you present a consistent message at all points of contact. You rock!
So, why is it so damn hard to communicate with departments within your institution?
We understand that it can be hard to communicate with other departments. For this reason, we’re revamping our readMedia guide, and the new resource/help center will have a section dedicated to outreach and onboarding departments. In the meantime, I will give you what we have, some best practices to help you create relationships between departments, so you can get the information you need to crank out institution branded content.
- Create an Achievement Calendar. Once you’ve done this, you can identify the departments you need to contact to get the student information for a particular story or achievement. We just published an article that talks about creating an Achievement Calendar.
- Once you have identified the achievements you’ll be sending and the departments you need to reach out to, you can do to things. 1) Create an email to let other offices and departments know what readMedia is, how you plan to use it, and what you need from them and why. 2) Create a mini presentation and get members of a single office or department together to meet and discuss why publishing student achievements is beneficial to their departments and supports the institutions strategic plan and mission.
- Provide each department with a spreadsheet that includes the column headings necessary to create and post their students’ stories. Here is an example of what to ask departments to include in your spreadsheet.
We understand that departments do not always have easy access to student information; here are some suggestions:
- You can always ask for a master list of all students from your institution’s registrar office. A master list will allow you to create smaller spreadsheets for activities and achievements outside of graduation and dean’s list.
- Finally, seek out your “student database guru,” they can create a readMedia query (directory information on), enabling you to pull student information as needed. An example of when this would come in handy, when your study abroad coordinator sends you a spreadsheet half populated, you can refer to the master list to fill in the blanks.
If the suggestions outlined above still don’t produce fruit, call us, we’ll help you create a strategy and assist you in reaching these departments.
There are three very specific reasons for why over 400 colleges and universities chose readMedia:
- To create and distribute hometown media outlets
- Publish stories about each students’ unique achievements online at readabout.me
- Email students a link to their personal online stories that they can easily share with their social network
This article focuses on reason number three. readMedia gives you the extraordinary ability to create personalized stories of achievement that are emailed to every student and a general story that segments your student spreadsheet and sends the news to the appropriate hometown newspapers, in one fell swoop!
In order to get your students to claim their stories and share them with hundreds of friends and family members, you have to make sure their story includes more content about them and less content about your university.
Tip No. 1: Make sure the story itself includes more content about the student, department, and achievement, as opposed to three boilerplate paragraphs about your institution and one line about the student. Our online guide gives you access to over 40 single and multiple templates; feel free to view, download, and copy.
Tip No. 2: When creating your Single Format template, remember to include the student’s first name and last name in the headline. Our online guide walks you through the entire process of creating a headline for your Single Format template.
Research confirms students will share stories with their name in the headline and first paragraph at a much higher rate than stories that make a reader wade through the minutia. If you still need evidence to support these claims, check out this post featuring an article by TechCrunch guest writer Roger Warner.
So you wanna add a power-packed punch to your Commencement Achievement? Well, you’ve come to the right blog. Thanks to the readMedia editorial team, this article showcases at least four ways to amp up your brand presence while creating meaningful connections with your students, parents, and the media. Let’s get right to it.
“Honor” your students! Add an “Honors Placeholder” to your readMedia templates and you will automatically showcase your student’s unique scholastic achievements. Take these steps to add your graduating students’ Latin honors:
- Include a column for “Honors” in your graduation spreadsheet. Some of the cells in this column will be blank – no problem – not everyone graduates cum laude, magna cum, or summa cum laude.
- When you create your template, just add a placeholder for the Latin honors after the word ‘graduated’ in your title and body. Your text could look something like this: “(First Name) (Last Name) of (City) graduated (Honors) from readMedia University.”
- Click “Send Hometowner” and begin mapping your placeholder values, a pop-up will alert you that some of the records in your spreadsheet do not have values in this column. This is normal because, as we mentioned earlier, not everyone will have graduated with honors.
- Depending upon whether or not John Smith earned academic honors, your final Achievements will look like this: “John Smith of Albany graduated from readMedia University” or “John Smith of Albany graduated magna cum laude from readMedia University.”
Tip: If your list of graduates comes without honors, reach out to the source of your list, perhaps the Registrar’s Office or Dean, for a spreadsheet with honors included.
For more information on adding “Honors” to your templates, visit our readMedia Guide. As always, if you ever have template probs, don’t hesitate to reach out to the readMedia team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-552-2194.
Make Your Commencement Achievement Pop
A Commencement announcement can be an online experience, simply add hyperlinks to the body of your template. Adding hyperlinks dresses up your Achievement and presents a strategic opportunity to drive traffic to your institution’s website, YouTube channel, or a collection of images on Flickr.
Armstrong Atlantic State University provides a great example of how institutions are leveraging the readMedia platform for Graduation. They’ve added a link to the official 2011 Winter Commencement release from their readMedia Graduation Achievement, and they added a link to their institution’s website too.
It’s your job to make sure this easy opportunity doesn’t slip through the cracks. Here are some ideas to get you started: add a picture of the Processional, welcome by the Dean, President’s remarks, the Commencement Speaker, or a shot of the celebratory hat toss, which by-the-way, was a tradition that began with the United States Naval Academy’s Class of 1912.
You aren’t limited to linking to individual images, provide a link to your YouTube page, where a reader can view the Commencement Address or add a link to your institution’s official Flickr photostream, and chances are, if they look at one collection, they will take the time to look at more.
By taking advantage of this capability, you can transform the standard Commencement announcement into a dynamic story that people want to read and more importantly, want to share!
Quick Reminder: Don’t forget, the media you attach to your story will be added to every instance of your announcement, i.e., every student on your spreadsheet will get that image attached to their personalized story. So, try to stay away from individual pictures of students and keep the attachments broadly appealing.
Getting the most out of readMedia (before Summer) by distributing back-to-back stories. Utilize the power of proximity to make your job easy. Forecast academic events and announcements, such as Graduation and Dean List, and get your templates ready ahead of time so when your lists come in, you are one step away from distributing your announcement to thousands.
readMedia first timers, set-up your templates for Commencement and the Dean’s List; expert readMedia users, simply choose a saved template, but make sure you change any time-bound information.
For more ways to piggyback announcements and construct a communications strategy for the year, visit our Achievement Calendar. There, you will discover over 35 Achievements and Activities that you and your students can promote throughout the year. Better still, we have made the process of creating content even easier by including a sample Single and Multiple template for each Achievement in the readMedia Guide. Feel free to download, copy and paste, and customize each template along the way.
Don’t Forget Mom and Dad
Here’s a quick and easy tip for making Mom and Dad feel a part of the celebration. When collecting your Graduation list for the Commencement announcement, include another column in your spreadsheet with a list of parent emails.
Including parents benefits your school in three ways:
- Parents get an institution branded announcement with their child’s personalized Achievement that they can easily share with their family and friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, or any number of social media networks.
- Your institution provides evidence to parents that you go the extra mile to personally recognize their child, making the parent feel proud of their child and more importantly, proud of their investment in your institution.
- Finally, think about the brand opportunity. One institution’s Graduation Achievement generated 15,055 page views and 1,213 shares on social networks like Facebook.
Q: How do I obtain the parents email address?
A: Try contacting the Parent Communications Department at your school. If you don’t have a parent communications office, contact the person that oversees parent and family involvement.
For more information on adding multiple emails, visit our readMedia Guide.
As a soon-to-be-grad of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY (Yikes!), I can honestly say that the next few months will be very bittersweet. As I walk around campus for my last 30 days as a Marist student, I look at it through a retrospective lens. I’ve accomplished so much here, and I’m ready to conquer the field of public relations. I have truly learned so much about myself academically, socially, and professionally through achievements at Marist, and I’m happy that I can celebrate them online with readabout.me. As a member of the class of 2012, I know we’re only at the infancy of learning more about the importance of building a positive online reputation, and the ability to display college achievements are the perfect way to begin.
When I first returned to Marist’s campus after a semester abroad in January 2011, I was encouraged by professors, classmates, and advisors to explore new social media networks, a dynamic that I was isolated from while in Europe. During this time, I considered myself “technologically incompetent,” as I was not knowledgeable about digital or online media. However, once I began discovering social media’s potential and its relevance to the positive career opportunities, I became so intrigued that I could not stop exploring.
When I develop a passion for something, I desire to share its benefits with others. This excitement prompted me to host and coordinate Marist’s first TweetUp. As I began to discuss the TweetUp through tweets to Marist social media users, I was stunned by their enthusiasm towards the event that would assist the community in effectively utilizing social media, and introduce them to the benefits of a strong online presence.
The TweetUp was not only a break through for me, but also for the Marist online community. Social media helped me to arrive at my first moment where I felt that I had something important to contribute, and I could make a difference. I was overwhelmed by support I received from classmates and Twitter followers. When Marist’s former chief public affairs officer approached me to become the Marist’s readMedia Student Ambassador, I jumped on the opportunity to help students celebrate their achievements and share accomplishments with future employers.
readMedia’s achievement platform gives me this same good feeling. I’m happy to know that my achievements are still recognized by Marist College, even after I’m gone. The badges are like an “I was here” stamp, and a chance to show perspective students what they can do too. I’m so proud to be a member of the Marist College community, and adding the readabout.me link to my other social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, is a great way to share my pride with family, friends, and perspective employers.
readMedia had the opportunity to sit down and chat with designer and illustrator, Philip Pascuzzo about his inspiration behind the readabout.me badge designs. Philip is the designer of the original Twitter bird logo and has created more than 300 book covers.
What were some of your inspirations for the readabout.me badge design
I wanted the badges to be immediately readable and iconic. My research lead me to Otl Aicher’s smart and elegant pictograms for the 1972 Olympics in Munich. The simplicity of these are very attractive and stand out among other Olympic pictogram designs. I was inspired by the colorful work of Lance Wyman’s pictograms for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. So the problem was making the read about.me badges colorful, fun and still very simple.
What is your favorite readabout.me badge and why?
The visual and performance arts badge has a sort of mid-century charm that I love. It was difficult at first to solve the problem of visually representing both of these activities on one badge. I’m glad I thought of an eye icon because it says a lot without being complicated at all. Adding human elements, emotion, and a sense of humor to these badges is what makes them work.
What was the most challenging badge topic to come up with a design for?
I think that the “Who’s Who” badge was the most challenging for me. I
presented some options that included a question mark at first. That approach
wasn’t working making it even more difficult. The final design is the
cleanest one out of the batch and I feel works great. Often the simplest
solution is the best, you just may need to get complicated before finding
How do you think you would react If you were still a student and your
school published one of your achievements online using a readabout.me badge,
considering your perspective as an artist/designer?
I would love it! I could probably convince my mom to buy me skateboard
equipment for every badge I receive. This almost game-like incentive is very
attractive and fun. Seeing the badges together is like a pretty mosaic of
your achievements. This sure beats the black and white piece of paper stuck
to the fridge with a magnet.
In your opinion, do you think there will be more of a demand for badges
in the graphic design world?
I really do since users love customizing and interacting with the internet
now more and more. People have always collected rewards for their
achievements. So a badge with a strong design should be a great little
readMedia customers who’ve watched our platform evolve over the last 18 months know that publicizing student achievements in social media is an authentic, powerful way to reach audiences online with positive brand messaging. Turning students (and parents!) into advocates by getting them to share stories of their own accomplishments at an institution is an engaging content strategy that gets results. These personalized stories, and the visual badges that accompany them, are a way to create “micro-virality” about the success of your students and expose all of their connections to the great opportunities available at your institution.
We love the standard set of readabout.me badges that accompany student achievement stories. Designed by Pepco Studios’ Phil Pascuzzo, designer of the original Twitter bird logo, these badges are colorful, engaging and look great in the Facebook newsfeed (plus they generate a ton of likes and comments — four times the average!). But, we also know that many institutions have worked hard to develop strict visual identity systems that incorporate elements of their brand — school colors, mascots, taglines. As a result, we’ve rolled out a new product: readMedia clients now have the opportunity to brand the achievement badges, and even design completely custom badges!
Dozens of our current clients — like Clemson University, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Marist College, Clarkson University, Union College in Kentucky, and Hudson Valley Community College — have all upgraded their readMedia subscriptions to include custom branding on readabout.me. By adding their institution’s name and colors to the existing readabout.me badges, or by having their internal graphics team design custom badges, these institutions and many more are ensuring that when students and parents share achievements online, the badges and the achievement are instantly recognizable and affiliated with the college.
In addition to badges that more closely match an institution’s visual identity, branding packages on readabout.me also include a landing page that aggregates and highlights achievements from that institution’s students. Colleges can design this landing page and link to its other social media properties and its web site.
When students don a college sweatshirt or affix a university window sticker to the back of their car, they’re showcasing their pride and affiliation with an institution. Customized branding on readabout.me allows institutions to ensure that type of affiliation is happening online, too. When a Clemson student shares an achievement that proudly bears a purple-and-orange Clemson badge, complete with the tiger paw, all of his or her Facebook friends connect that student and his or her achievement — be it making the president’s list, studying abroad, or earning a scholarship — with the institution where it occurred. And since the average achievement shared to Facebook generates 7 click-throughs back to the original story on readabout.me, colleges have an even stronger opportunity to drive prospects to their other social properties and web site via the readabout.me story.
If you’re interested in learning about how to add branding and custom badges to your institution’s readabout.me presence, you can contact us at email@example.com.
Last summer, readMedia supercharged your subscription with an exciting new product: readabout.me, an application that’s the foundation of a powerful new strategic marketing tool for your institution and your brand. readabout.me unites social media, earned media and reputation management to create meaningful results in brand awareness, engagement and key institutional outcomes.
readabout.me has been a smashing success so far. Hundreds of thousands of people read the stories you’re creating about enrollment, dean’s list and graduation, and literally millions are exposed to them in social media—all as part of your readMedia subscription. Many colleges and universities are incorporating readabout.me into senior-level strategic planning to highlight the key programs and student outcomes that they want to promote.
The numbers have been staggering. Let me share one of the most surprising ones with you: despite the much-heralded “death of e-mail,” and the scuttlebutt we hear about how hard it is to get students to read messages from schools, 98% of students who open the email notification click through to view their achievement. That’s on top of more than 65% open rates, which are even higher for those of you who are actively marketing the readabout.me experience to students.
Not only do the students read the stories, they actively engage with them in their social networks. We’ll be rolling out more and better metrics this year to help you measure that engagement, but you should know that for every 1,000 achievements you create (e.g., a single Dean’s List with 1,000 students on it), more than 87,000 friends and family see that story and mesage on Facebook. These are just like Facebook’s new Sponored Stories, but you’re getting them for free!
We here at readMedia want you to get the most from your subscription and have created resources to help you do that. We have conducted dozens of senior level briefings over the past six months and encourage you to schedule one soon. Include your brand marketing leaders, your social media expert and even those charged with student success. The most productive briefings include participants from all departments charged with connecting your brand with outcomes. You will all find it worthwhile as a way to get the most from your subscription and benchmark your readMedia usage against your peers.
Every story you send out on the readMedia platform automatically creates a personalized achievement online for your students – this achievement is created from the single format template you create in your account. The personalized achievements live on readabout.me [see example]. At readabout.me students can share their achievements on Facebook and Twitter [see example]. Students can even claim their achievement and attach a photo [see example].
The students’ individual achievements are then rolled up into a professional, powerful online profile on readabout.me that shows the great things their involved in on campus. Each time you send out an achievement for a particular student, it will automatically attach to their readabout.me profile [See example].
All achievements on readabout.me are awarded a unique “badge of approval” by readMedia to show that they’ve been verified by your institution. The badges are a visual representation of the achievement.
Students can’t find their achievements online if you don’t notify them!
Student emails: the most important piece of the puzzle
To notify students that you’re acknowledging their achievement, you must include their email addresses in the spreadsheet you upload to the readMedia platform. Your students will automatically receive an email that directs them to their achievement on readabout.me.
The notification comes from your email address and it contains a list of the newspapers the achievement was sent to [see example]. You can even notify mom and dad by simply putting each email address in a separate column.
All you have to do is press send and readMedia takes care of the rest!
Why is readabout.me important for my college or university?
readabout.me is a powerful strategic marketing tool for your institution and your brand. It unites social media, earned media and reputation management to create meaningful results in brand awareness, engagement and key institutional outcomes.
See how colleges and universities are promoting readabout.me on campus.
Why is readabout.me important for students?
readabout.me creates a positive online identity for students. It helps people who make decisions about internships, grad school, and jobs find the “good stuff” about them.
Your readMedia subscription is not just a media relations tool. Contact us to learn how other colleges and universities are positioning readMedia and readabout.me in their overall communication plan and how your subscription supports marketing and branding objectives, enrollment, and student outcomes.