We are seeing a trend among readMedia users, they’re starting to align their achievements and badges with their institution’s core values. After getting their readMedia account set up, they sit down and brainstorm what stories and achievements they would like to publish first, and then they create a calendar for the year.
For example, Lebanon Valley College places an emphasis on leadership and unique programs. They created an Achievement Calendar and set of branded badges around the activities that posture their students as leaders and role models.
Emporia State University does an amazing job highlighting experiential programs including study abroad, community service, and visual arts. Emporia has found a way to use their campus activities to connect with students and newspapers, and the response has been overwhelming. Emporia has a strategy worth modeling, read their story and download their Achievement Calendar.
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls focuses on outstanding teaching and unmatched opportunities for students. Their badges include overseas student teaching, chancellor’s awards, athletics, and their study abroad program. Creating a calendar around these achievements gives them a timeline for reaching out to departments to obtain this student information.
Need additional inspiration? Check out the ultimate Achievement Calendar in our online guide. If you would like a free Achievement Calendar training/consultation, let us know, we’ll set one up – just for you.
Aligning your communications goals and messaging across all public-facing channels is a strategic win for your entire institution, take the time to invest in creating your calendar, then reach out to other campus departments to solicit updates, stories, and spreadsheets.
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.
It’s that time of year again; time to celebrate Graduation and recognize your students for everything they have achieved.
If you’re a readMedia client and you haven’t sent out your first badge, now it the time! All readMedia clients have the ability to publish and email a personalized achievement for every Graduation candidate. Each student’s tailored achievement comes with a super cool badge that they can easily share on Facebook, Twitter, or any social media network. These achievements and badges can be created, emailed, and posted online with very little effort.
Our Best Practices post gives you tips, benefits, and useful how-to guides for:
- Adding distinctions or “Honors” to your Commencement template
- Dressing up your Commencement story
- Preparing back-to-back Achievements
- Including Mom and Dad
Additionally, we encourage any client looking for a basic overview on how to send an Achievement to register for our 30 minute “readMedia Refresher.” The webinar will cover:
- importing a spreadsheet,
- composing a template,
- sending your Achievement (to every student, parent, and hometown newspaper), and
- viewing your Report, Web Statistics, and tracking traffic and social media shares.
If you need inspiration, take a gander at this impressive selection of past and present Graduation announcements:
- Eastern Connecticut State University >>
- Armstrong Atlantic State University >>
- Ashland University >>
- Herkimer County Community College >>
In closing, we’re of the philosophy, “It’s better to have and not need, than want and not have.” So, we’ve compiled a list of popular links that will ensure you have what you need to succeed.
- Editorial Checklist >>
- Learn from peer institutions >>
- Training and videos >>
- readMedia Guide >>
- readabout.me Guide >>
If we’ve missed anything or you’re just plain overwhelmed, contact us, we live for helping you – and we’re not being facetious. On the flip-side, feel free to reach out and let us know how much you love readMedia.
- The readMedia Team
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 email@example.com 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.
To anyone asking how my first week at readMedia went, I’d have to say, “Awesome.” I have a single purpose at readMedia, ensuring our clients have all of the resources they need to succeed in drawing attention to their school through publicizing the achievements of their students.” What’s more rewarding than that?
My first assignment was to write a blog post introducing myself to the readMedia community. After thinking about the many ways I could tell you how my professional experience qualifies me to be your new Customer Marketing Leader, I decided, that approach was booooring; so, I needed a new idea.
It was my last ride-along of the day; I had already sat in on a Research Brief, a Technology Brief, and finally a Customer Consultation with Danielle. Danielle said to a new client, “Contact me and I’ll help you through any problems or I’m happy to just help you think through problems too.” I was blown away by Danielle’s thoughtful remark. That’s when it hit me, Danielle’s investment in an institution’s success didn’t come with the purchase of a service pack, it’s genuine and it’s free.
In my five days on the job, I’ve learned a lot about the readMedia platform; I liken it to drinking from a fire hose, but I’ve also had the privilege of learning just as much about the company culture. In short, I’m taking this learning journey with you and my job is to help you better understand what readMedia is. That said, I’d like to share three things I’ve learned about readMedia:
No. 1: The average achievement shared on Facebook generates 7 additional page views of the original story. Multiply the number of page views by the number of students, and your department will be responsible for placing your institution’s brand in front of thousands, garnering the attention of parents, current and prospective students, and the media. One school generated 2,188 stories from a single achievement, graduation, that achievement was posted on readabout.me, it generated 15,055 page views, and finally resulted in 1,213 shares on social networks like Facebook. This was all accomplished with an investment of only 25 minutes of time.
No. 2: In one year, over 400 institutions have adopted readMedia and made it an integral part of their social media strategy. One year, 400 institutions, and over 2 million stories shared. That, to me, is amazing.
No. 3: I’m still blown away by the dedication and passion I’ve seen from the team at readMedia. Ensuring each institutions success – at any cost, drives this bright group of people. Every conversation I’ve been privy to has a similar theme – How can we make it easier for marketing, public relations, and communications departments to draw attention to their institutions brand and their students, and what can we do better to make sure this happens?
No. 4: This is a Mac lovin’ office; there’s no PC as far as the eye can see. I’ve had to abandon everything I knew about the inner-workings of a computer and start over. The forward delete maneuver finally feels natural now, but I’m open to any and all tips the readMedia community might have for navigating a Mac.
I feel very fortunate to be joining the readMedia team. As your new Customer Marketing Leader, my job is to make sure you have the resources you need to be successful with readMedia. If you ever feel overwhelmed or like you’re not using readMedia to its full potential, it’s my job to make sure you become a power user fast.
I’d like to see what you think of readMedia; do you have anything to add to my list of four? Leave a “Reply” and share your positive stories or concerns, I want to hear them all!