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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
My boss shot me a link to this great article by TechCrunch guest writer Roger Warner, titled “Social Media Gurus Push Conversations Over Kudos, And Fail.”
In his post, Warner writes about the proper and improper use of corporate social media marketing to engage audiences. Warner’s tidings can be applied to any industry, and certainly to higher education.
If I had to delineate and apply Warner’s wisdom to a higher-ed institutional marketing and brand communications plan, it would boil down to these key Do’s and Don’ts:
Social Media Marketing Do’s
- Give students a stage to tell and share their story
- Use social media to create conversations between people (not with your brand)
- Create stories to share by giving students great content and experiences that make them the hero, i.e., smarter, cooler, motivated, and generous
Social Media Marketing Don’ts
- Create social media experiments that simply invite people to participate
- Use everyday college-based information to promote discussion, i.e. brand to fan conversations
- Enhance your institution’s brand over your students personal brand
In the end, we all want the same thing: schools want students to increase performance, graduate, get a job, and give back; students want to have their achievements recognized, publicized, and shared; and, campus communications and public relations offices want to share their students’ achievements, bring big attention to their institution, and create a brand that represents the ultimate academic community. Let’s not forget, parents. Parents want, well…they want it all: school reputation, child’s success, and the proper recognition of their child’s achievements.
At readMedia, we see the big picture and our readMedia application allows you to successfully create social media content, based on the activities and achievements of your students.
Stop wasting time trying to engage your academic community and let it happen naturally by showcasing your stakeholder’s Achievements. Getting them noticed, will get you noticed.