Mississippi education board delays letter grade rankings

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Will Gutenberg Impact SEO for Education Marketers?

Will Gutenberg Impact SEO for Education Marketers?

Last week we talked about the big news around WordPress’s 5.0 and the new Gutenberg editor. So how is this going to help or hurt your SEO efforts?

One of the first concerns education marketers will have over the changes coming in WordPress 5.0 and the new Gutenberg editors is whether it will help or hinder their SEO efforts.

One of the many reasons for using a content marketing strategy is that Google, the most popular search engine by far, prefers to send search users to sites that use this kind of marketing strategy.

Since you put so much time into crafting your content, it’s natural that you’d put the time and resources into SEO so that Google can easily find you and recommend your website to users.

Gutenberg’s going to make content creation simpler for education marketers — great!

But if it makes it difficult for search engines to find you, none of that matters, which is why we’re going to dive into this issue right here.

My team and I have been using the Gutenberg beta plugin for several weeks now. The SEO capabilities we’re going to talk about here are still in development, but they should be ready for you when WordPress 5.0 comes out later.

Here’s what we’re finding out when it comes to optimizing your content for search engines.

What will SEO look like in Gutenberg?

In the classic WordPress editor, you would optimize pages for search engines by filling out the metadata of the page with the correct information.

This is an overly simplistic summation of SEO, but the main idea is that you would think of SEO in terms of helping Google find and recommend your page or post to search users.

But in Gutenberg, you should be able to optimize the metadata of each content block you place in your content, according to Yoast.

“Blocks are single components that you can use in the Gutenberg editor. You can see them as separate content items. With these items you can structure your content and build a page. A bit like you’re building a page with pieces of LEGO. Every content block can have its own styling and metadata. Because of this, a block becomes more valuable and this opens up lots of opportunities, also in terms of SEO.”

Yoast [Emphasis Added]

To get an idea of what blocks look like, here’s what a new post with some content blocks looks like in Gutenberg.

Gutenberg

You can see in the right sidebar all of the normal metadata you would optimize for search engines. This metadata pertains to the entire page that we’re looking at.

Yoast is saying not only will we have the ability to optimize content for search engines by the page, but we should also be able to change the metadata of each content block.

The Big Opportunity to Enhance Your Site’s SEO

That means not only can you offer Google your page or post as an answer to the question asked by the search user, you can also offer Google individual content blocks as possible answers.

For an example of how this would work, think of my last post where we did a little walkthrough of the new Gutenberg editor.

If someone were to enter a question into a search engine like “What is Gutenberg,” then one of the content blocks in my “What is Gutenberg?” section could be found by Google as a quick answer to their question.

This would work like Google’s “Featured Snippet” and answer summaries currently work.

snippet

In the Featured Snippet and answer summary, Google gives the user a quick answer and the link to the full article. At the moment, no one knows how Google finds and summarizes answer summaries, so there’s no way to optimize your site for this.

But what if you could make your content blocks prime candidates for an answer summary?

Then, if someone searches for “what’s FAFSA” or “How do I apply for college,” you could improve your odds of being in the Feature Snippet or answer summary.

And if that’s not such a big deal to you now, imagine what block metadata will mean as voice searches become more common?

1. 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020

2. About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020

3. 13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017… That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.

wordstream.com

Voice recognition software is getting amazingly accurate and more helpful everyday.

People are trusting and using voice search software like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Windows’ Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa more now on their mobile and home devices.

But the day is coming when people will search for answers to questions using everyday things like refrigerators, speakers, and cars that are connected to these voice search providers.

Getting Your Content to Your Audience Wherever They Are

Imagine a mother and daughter driving to the mall as they talk about the daughter’s school work. The conversation slips into what she wants to do for college.

But she doesn’t know what kind of academic programs she needs to become an equine veterinarian. Mom doesn’t know either.

So they ask their vehicle, which is equipped with Google’s Assistant: “Google, what college courses do I need to take to become an equine veterinarian?”

Google then pulls a content block written in an article by a private college from its equestrian program and reads it out loud to the mother and daughter while they’re still driving in the car.

Google isn’t going to read an entire article.

This means that content blocks — short snippets of information —  could become an invaluable tool for education marketers.

Gutenberg’s SEO Possibilities Look Bright

From what we can see from here, Gutenberg’s metadata blocks will enhance education marketer’s ability to get their content in front of the right audience at the right time — no matter where their audience happens to be.

There is still a lot to learn about Gutenberg, but early indications suggest this is a huge advantage and step forward for private independent schools, colleges, and universities.

So, even if the change looks scary at first, Gutenberg should bring a lot of key benefits that you won’t want to miss out on.

Have a friend who needs to know about this?

If you know of someone in education marketing or leadership that needs to know about the latest tips, strategies, and technologies in education marketing, send this article to them and ask them to subscribe.

We’re not marketing generalists. At Caylor Solutions, we strengthen enrollment pipelines through education marketing solutions every day. This has been our passion for over 30 years — and we’re happy to share what we’re still learning with you in every blog post. And if you need us, you know where to find us.

Featured image by bf87 via Adobe Stock

This post was originally published at: https://www.caylor-solutions.com/will-gutenberg-hurt-seo-for-education-marketers/

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If Democrats Take House, What Next?

If Democrats Take House, What Next? If Democrats take control of the U.S. House of Representatives next year, expect them to focus heavily on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ civil rights record.<img src=”https://ift.tt/2MNoYPz&#8221; height=”1″ width=”1″ alt=””/> https://ift.tt/2OJzEjO

Tech and Teaching Recap from Across the Web, w/e 09-15-18

Tech and Teaching Recap from Across the Web, w/e 09-15-18 Informative, inspiring, or just plain interesting education and digital technology content posted on Twitter over this past week … collected here to share with our blog readers. This week in the wrap…

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Gutenberg: The New Editor for WordPress

Gutenberg: The New Editor for WordPress

There’s a big change coming to WordPress — Gutenberg. Let’s dive into what you need to know right now about this innovative approach to the CMS we’ve come to depend on and love.

WordPress is by far the most popular website platform in the commercial market. According to whoishostingthis.com, 58.5% of all content management systems (CMS) in use are WordPress.

That’s over half of the market share!

According to W3Tech, over 30% of the Internet is powered by WordPress.

At Caylor Solutions, we recommend WordPress as the CMS tool for almost all of our education marketing clients… and not just because it’s popular.

We recommend WordPress as a website platform for almost all of our clients because of its:

  • Intuitive, easy to use interface
  • Robust security features
  • Flexibility in website design
  • Large developer base (making it easier to find a qualified person to do backend work)
  • Massive plugin market (there’s a plugin for everything!)
  • Fast post and page creation process

After we implement a WordPress site for them, our clients love how easily and quickly they can get new content onto their website — without even calling us or an in-house webmaster.

But there’s a big change coming to our beloved WordPress.

It’s not only big in terms of redefining the core functionality of the platform, which it is. It’s also a big change in that it will give education marketers using WordPress even more freedom in how they can interact with their website visitors.

In an attempt to capture the significance of it all, WordPress has christened this new era  “Gutenberg” after the world-changing technology of the printing press.

WordPress has already released the Gutenberg editor as a plugin so that early adopters can begin using it, but it will become standard with every WordPress installation in the next WordPress update.

“Gutenberg is available as a plugin now, and soon by default in version 5.0 of WordPress. The classic editor will be available as a plugin if needed.” – wordpress.org/gutenberg

Is it really world-changing? I’m not sure about that — but it is really cool!

I’ve downloaded the plugin, and my team has been using it for about two weeks. So far, we’re really optimistic about Gutenberg’s possibilities.

And more importantly, it will be easier than ever to do almost exactly what you want for every content piece you create for your website.

What is Gutenberg?

For education marketers, Gutenberg will mean a whole new post and page editing experience.

gutenberg

The New Gutenberg Editor for WordPress

As you can see in the silent screencast video below, the Gutenberg content editor is all about content blocks.

All content — text, headers, images, quotes, videos, and more — exists in individual, movable blocks that allow you to build a page or post like you would a LEGO® set.

Content Blocks

Instead of creating your content in a word processor, you can insert content into blocks that allow you to position them easily across the page in an almost entirely WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) format.

If you’ve been using block-based page builders like Divi, then you’ll be familiar with the idea of content blocks.

But for most education marketers, this will make a huge difference in how easily and quickly they can get multimedia content onto their pages.

gutenberg

One of the things I really like is that WordPress made sure that content blocks can be duplicated to make copying and pasting simple.

But even better, content blocks are reusable!

gutenberg

That means if you have a certain type of content — like a campaign slogan, banner, or call to action — you don’t have to build it new into every post or page you create.

You can simply make one of your content blocks reusable and it will be available to you on every post or page you’re working on. It’s kind of the same idea as saving something to a template library for future use.

Much of the same functions that WordPress has always had remain the same, they’re just in different areas.

For example almost all of the page or post settings you’re used to seeing will now exist in the sidebar.

gutenberg

The sidebar also contains new functionality. If you click on the “Block” tab above the sidebar, you’ll see all kinds of new options that you can use on your content blocks.

gutenberg

Do I have to use Gutenberg?

No, you don’t have to… for now. At the moment, the new Gutenberg editor is only available as a plugin that you have to install in order to use.

Later this year (2018), Gutenberg will come as a core feature in the upcoming WordPress 5.0 release.

Not to worry, though! WordPress says it will offer users the choice to use the Classical editor as a plugin when WordPress 5.0 is released.

As a side note, if your college or university uses Drupal as a CMS, Gutenberg will soon be available to Drupal users as well.

Is this really a good thing?

In its current state of development, Gutenberg still has some issues it needs to resolve — so I do not recommend that you use it on any primary or marketing-critical websites.

Again, DO NOT use the Gutenberg beta editor on any of your marketing-critical websites — it’s still not ready for commercial use.

But there’s a large community of developers working around the clock to have it ready for you by WordPress 5.0’s release.

“Gutenberg is being developed on GitHub under the WordPress organization, and you can try a beta version today… It’s important to keep in mind that Gutenberg is not yet fully functional, feature complete, or production ready. But we’d love your help to make that a reality.” – wordpress.org  [Emphasis added]

Most of us react to change adversely, especially if the status quo is as good as the classic WordPress editor has been. Good and steady, right?

But when Gutenberg is ready for commercial use, I encourage you to at least give it a try.

There are two major advantages that Gutenberg offers education marketers.

Gutenberg’s Two Major Advantages

First, content blocks make it even easier to create multimedia content like videos, embedded videos, shortcodes, etc.

With the classic editor to create posts and pages with rich content, many times you would have to use shortcodes, extra plugins, or HTML in order to get it the way that you wanted it to look.

Sometimes embedded video players wouldn’t work consistently, and you would have to know some HTML language to get the video player to look the way you wanted it to.

But Gutenberg takes all of this complexity and streamlines it so well that even a brand new user can begin building beautiful, multimedia rich pages within seconds.

Secondly, Gutenberg’s content blocks provide you extra SEO power.

With Gutenberg, you can optimize more elements on the page for search engines, allowing Google to more easily grab answers out of your posts for questions that users type into it.

In the classic editor, you can only optimize an entire page’s metadata. But in Gutenberg, you’ll be able to optimize each and every content block for search engines like Google.

The possibilities for search engine optimization with Gutenberg’s content blocks are so promising, I’ll share more with you in my next blog post.

The Bottom Line

Gutenberg’s new editor will become a reality for any education marketer using WordPress, and it will be coming to Drupal as well.

Right now, it’s not ready for use on your primary sites. And it’s not really ready for anyone who doesn’t have a developer on staff to help them with any issues.

But if you have secondary sites, and you have a tolerance for random bugs, feel free to install Gutenberg’s plugin and experiment with it. As with any technology in beta, backup your content often and report bugs to GitHub’s Gutenberg project.

As for us, we’ll keep you posted on the latest news so that you can keep creating awesome content for your audiences.

Stuck with your old website?

If you’re not using a simple, stable CMS like WordPress, making even small changes to your website can be a real pain. If you’re ready to ditch your current website and develop a new website where making updates is a joy, let’s get in touch.

Featured image by gustavofrazao via Adobe Stock

This post was originally published at: https://www.caylor-solutions.com/gutenberg-new-editor-for-wordpress-walkthrough/

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The Essential Capital Campaign Microsite Pages

The Essential Capital Campaign Microsite Pages

Capital campaign microsites are critical to any well-designed capital campaign marketing strategy. Here are five pages you should consider for your microsite.

Let’s start off by getting on the same page about what a microsite is exactly.

A microsite is an auxiliary website that has a different URL address than your primary website.

It has a temporary marketing purpose that requires a completely separate digital space.

Because of its distinct purpose, microsite links and content will be much different from the primary website.

This doesn’t mean that microsites shouldn’t use brand colors, typography, and other design elements.

On the contrary, microsites should adhere to brand guidelines so that visitors know they are on a site created and operated by your education brand.

At the same time, though, a microsite needs to be different enough that your audience understands they’re not on your primary site.

Why Capital Campaigns Need Microsites

Capital campaigns are temporary initiatives with highly-focused outcomes in mind.

They have a strong, unique case, and they focus singularly on just a few of the most strategic needs of your college, university, or independent school.

A capital campaign microsite serves as your capital campaign marketing hub.

These campaigns also require an array of marketing efforts across multiple channels and over several years.

Due to the complexity of capital campaign marketing, you need a central hub from which your content is produced. Likewise, you need a consistent location to which you’ll send traffic.

That’s the fundamental reason why every education marketer needs to develop a microsite for their school capital campaign.

But what goes on a capital campaign microsite exactly?

After designing and developing multiple capital campaign microsites for private colleges, universities, and independent schools, we’ve found the following webpages to be among the essential pages of any capital campaign microsite.

Homepage

It’s a given: There is no microsite without a homepage.

What’s not a given: A homepage that motivates your visitor to take the next step.

So make the most of this essential page to engage your visitor right away. Don’t design your microsite homepage the same way you’d design your primary website homepage.

The typical education website homepage is packed with links.

A bunch of them are on the visible page — but scores more hide in dropdown menus.

But a capital campaign homepage should be much simpler.

Your capital campaign microsite is all about one thing — convincing visitors to participate in the campaign, much like an enhanced landing page.

Your homepage is quite often (but not always) the page where your visitors land first. However, it’s not where you want them to stay or end their visit.

The objective of your capital campaign homepage is to use compelling copy and visual elements to:

  • Grab the visitor’s attention, and
  • Direct them to one of several next steps they can take towards donating, calling, or filling out a contact form.

Visitor Next Steps

Your visitor should have several possible actions they can take when they are on the homepage. Each step is designed to take your visitor further toward the ultimate call to action of your microsite.

Use the various sections of your homepage to tease visitors to explore each of your microsite’s pages. For example…

  • One section should entice visitors to navigate to your About page.
  • Another section should motivate visitors to check out the campaign’s progress and news.
  • Yet another section should introduce the various initiatives you’ve undertaken and invite visitors to discover more.

Your homepage should be an inspiring place where the visitor is invited to explore more of the possibilities they can be a part of.

Be sure to use a variety of content types like videos, parallel effects, headlines, images, and illustrated graphics to keep your homepage engaging for your audience.

About Page

At first, you might object to writing an About Page for your microsite. They’re overrated, overused, and boring, right?

So why do I think an About Page is a must?

Because your capital campaign About Page is where you should give your best arguments for participating in the campaign.

In other words, the About Page is the web version of your campaign’s case statement.

Don’t let this page get boring and confusing with all the facets of your campaign.

Go right to the heart and show your visitor why they should get involved. Include emotive elements like:

  • Student stories or quotes
  • Visual tour of the needs
  • Board member, alumni, or donor interviews (or quotes)
  • A visionary statement depicting what the future will look like after the campaign is successful
  • Emotional copy describing how the visitor will feel if they get involved

All of this should be done in a variety of formats — copy, video, and imagery — to strongly portray your case.

End your About Page with your microsite’s ultimate call for action: 1.) Contact/Call your development team or 2.) Donate.

Campaign Initiatives Page

Every capital campaign microsite should have an Initiatives Page where you get to spell out the various ways the campaign is going to bring change to your school.

Are you strengthening existing endowments? Creating new ones?

Are you building or renovating facilities on your campus?

Are you seeking to build a scholarship fund while you’re at it?

All of these initiatives should find their place here on this page.

In each initiative, write compelling copy that shows the visitor how their participation will move the needle forward. Present imagery or video content that introduces them to the students their donation will directly impact.

The biggest mistake you can make on this page is just giving the barebones facts about the initiative.

Tell the stories of students who are being changed by these initiatives and how much better it will be if the visitor gets involved.

Like the About Page, end the Initiatives Page with your call to action: 1.) Contact/Call your development team or 2.) Donate.

Progress Page

Personally, the Progress Page is one of my favorites because this is where you can really set your school apart!

Other schools may have a progress page where they bullet point their way through the information, like…

  • 2/15/18 – Foundation laid.
  • 3/10/18 – East Wing being framed in.
  • 4/15/18 – Roof is completed, interior begins.

But this is where you can really make the “magic” feeling of physical progress come alive in your web visitor!

The simplest way is to post images and video frequently as buildings are constructed or rooms are remodeled.

If possible here, spice up your copy by sharing how the construction or remodel that was just completed would help students and further the mission.

But as a self-declared tech geek, I’m a big fan of live stream or live action cameras, like the one we set up for Portsmouth Abbey’s Science Building capital campaign.

Webcams can produce live stream updates on your capital campaign’s progress.

News Page

Ah, the good old news page. So many capital campaign news sections are dry and lifeless — so do you really need this?

I think you do, but not like your competitors are doing it!

On your news page, you’ll want to publish news stories like:

  • Gift announcements
  • Donor stories
  • Student Stories
  • Video interviews
  • How the capital campaign is being covered in the media
  • Stories on why the campaign is necessary

Think of your news page more like a blog than a news ticker. Post new content that will excite and motivate your visitor to come back and see what new piece you’ve posted.

Giving Page

The giving page is a little like the homepage — you can’t have a capital campaign microsite without one.

The entire purpose of the microsite is to motivate your visitor to donate to the campaign, and the giving page is how they’ll be able to come through on this call to action.

Giving pages should be treated as you would any landing page.

Clear out all regular navigation, leaving only your brand logo at the top as a link to your microsite homepage.

This way, your visitor can only do two things on the page: Give through the donation form or navigate to your microsite homepage.

Create a clear, compelling headline at the top of the page. The best headlines correspond with whatever link they clicked on to get to the giving page. (The last thing you want here is for the visitor to think they landed on the wrong page!)

Under your headline, write a brief section of copy that summarizes what the purpose of the giving page is and quickly restates why the visitor should go through with giving today.

No more than one image should be used, and I recommend using a photo of a student because they’re the reason why donors give.

So there you have it…

My list of essential pages to any capital campaign microsite.

Of course, you might find the need to include another page, but I’d urge you to keep your microsite page count to a minimum.

If you crowd the site with too many pages, your visitors are more likely to get tired of the site and leave without performing the desired action.

Getting to Work

If you’re launching or reviving a capital campaign for your school, we’d be happy to put our expertise to work for you.

Contact us today for your free consultation to see if we’d be a good fit for your campaign’s needs.

Featured image by Marek via Adobe Stock

This post was originally published at: https://www.caylor-solutions.com/essential-capital-campaign-microsite-pages/

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17 Bright Ideas for Raising Awareness of Your Capital Campaign

17 Bright Ideas for Raising Awareness of Your Capital Campaign

In last week’s post, we learned that your capital campaign has to have its own marketing plan. Here are 17 bright ideas to raise awareness to consider putting into your plan.

1. Record video interviews with board members.

Interviewing board members is the first thing I think of when it comes to raising awareness for your capital campaign.

Interviews are one of the simplest and fastest videos to make. This also makes them one of the cheapest video assets to produce.

But even better is the fact interviews allow you to leverage your board member’s social networks!

After a board member has been interviewed and the video has been uploaded to a social video sharing platform, encourage your board members to share the interview videos on their social media sites.

2. Record video interviews with influencers in your alumni network.

Jumping off the video interview idea for your board members, this idea is a natural way to go.

Just like your board members, you have many alumni in your network who have substantial social media followings. Many of them are highly respected influencers in their field.

Word of advice: never underestimate the exponential growth potential of lesser known alumni who nonetheless have kept up with every alumni in their graduating class.

They may not be community leaders, but if they’ve been highly active on social media, they  can get your capital campaign news out to thousands of people.

3. Record video interviews with leading donors.

Okay. This is the last iteration of the video interview idea, I promise. But it’s a good one.

Donor stories are powerful because they showcase the firm belief of the donor in your school’s mission. Nothing shows commitment like putting your money where your mouth is.

Also, donor stories show your audience how “normal” a donor can be. Millionaires don’t always wear suits, ties, and patent leather shoes. Nor does one need to be a millionaire to make a difference in your capital campaign.

BONUS TIP

Does the idea of interviewing all these people seem like an administrative nightmare?

Well, it can be — unless you use this bonus tip!

I recommend you come up with ways to gather multiple interviewees in one place or event (like homecoming) and schedule interviews with them in a quieter rooms on campus or off-to-the-side.

Make sure, though, that your audio quality is not compromised by loud auditoriums or other destructive ambient noises.

If you have alumni, donors or board members that can’t make it to campus, look into video-conferencing tools such as Zoom, where you can record your interview from different locations.

Also, be sure to check out “Marketing Hacks On a Shoestring Budget” for some great resources to make video less painful, both in effort and cost!

4. Publish Press Releases in your local and regional news outlets.

Good, old fashioned press releases have not gone the way of the dodo.

Local news outlets will be happy to receive press releases from your school about your capital campaign. They need ideas for news stories that will affect their readers, and your capital campaign should have a very positive impact on your local community.

Send releases to multiple outlets when you launch, during the campaign, and at the conclusion of your capital campaign.

5. Create a video case for support.

As we discussed in last week’s blog post, a written case statement can be a powerful print marketing piece to raise awareness for your capital campaign. Creating a video from your case statement can make your case for support all the more compelling.

For your video case statement:

  • Feature some of the interview footage from the video interviews I recommend above. Recycle/reuse those video assets!
  • Go deeper by showing footage of proposed renovation sites, building sites, student spaces, academic buildings, worship spaces, student activities, etc.
  • Have a student narrate the case to your audience as a voiceover. This will create more of a sense of urgency and feeling of authenticity behind your video case for support.

6. Host campaign mini-banquets.

Annual donor banquets that appeal for annual fund gifts require a lot of administration to pull off.

But for your capital campaign, try creating smaller events on campus or off-campus locally: Alumni, parents, and donors come for refreshments, networking, and to hear your capital campaign presentation.

7. Double-down on growing your email list.

During your capital campaign, it’s a brilliant time to double-down and push hard for more subscribers.

Use gated content to grow your list by creating ebooksvideos, or other media that you give to visitors who sign up for your email list. Remember, your gated content has to be something your audience wants to have!

If you’re not using an email service provider like MailChimpEmma, or Constant Contact, you need to. Also, marketing automation tools like Sharpspring are powerful ways to get the most out of your email marketing.

8. Create campaign brand elements.

Distinct brand design elements like a logo, typography, and colors will distinguish your capital campaign theme and case from the hundreds of other capital campaigns happening around the country.

Also, unique capital campaign elements will help distinguish your capital campaign efforts from your other fundraising or marketing efforts.

BONUS TIP

I highly recommend that you create a moodboard for your capital campaign. This marketing tool should preset all the brand design elements in one file so you can get approvals faster and then enforce brand quality control later across all communications.

9. Send direct mail appeals to your donors.

Direct mail appeals are a great way to raise awareness of your capital campaign theme, case, and goals.

Depending on how your school has structured your marketing and advancement departments, you may or may not have any responsibility or authority when it comes to direct mail appeals.

But even if you don’t have anything to do with direct mail fundraising, reach out to your development colleagues to see when they’re sending out mail about the capital campaign so you can track the number of times your audience is hearing about the capital campaign.

10. Hit the streets for personal visits.

You can’t get more into grassroots, guerrilla-style marketing than personal visits.

Everyone knows that during a campaign fundraising staff members will go and visit donors to solicit gifts.

But what I’m talking about here are awareness visits.

For awareness visits, someone — can be a senior marketing, executive, or fundraising staff person — visits alumni, parents, and donors to discuss the capital campaigns case, goals, and general news about the campaign.

You might even consider taking a current student or a recent donor along with you on the personal visits.

11. Post videos to LinkedIn.

As education marketers, our top priority is enrollment marketing. Because of this, you may not be into LinkedIn, but for your capital campaign, you should give it a try.

Your alumni relations department may already have a presence there because that’s where a lot of influential alumni and donors spend most of their professional online networking time.

So for the duration of the campaign, consider taking those videos you’re creating and get them on to LinkedIn.

12. Live stream building and renovation sites.

One of the most engaging marketing tactics we’ve used at Caylor Solutions over the years is a live camera feed at the building or renovation site.

It’s exciting for donors, alumni, and visitors to watch the construction of your building from the ground up or to see a room transformed.

Live camera feeds of your building sites encourage visitors to come back to your site often to check on the progress of your capital campaign.

13. Put on alumni chapter events.

Remember the mini-banquet idea I listed above? You can multiply your efforts across the nation — perhaps the world — by mobilizing your alumni network.

If you have a strong network, recruit alumni to host receptions and events in their local area to promote the capital campaign.

14. Send gift announcements to journalists.

As I’m writing today, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas has the distinction of raising more money in a capital campaign than any other private educational institution in Texas.

They raised $1.15 billion dollars, endowed 54 new faculty positions, and completed 24 major new building or renovation projects.

In their capital campaign report, they cited their special relationship with a local journalist as a major factor in their campaign’s public affairs component (a.k.a., raising awareness).

“One strength provided by Public Affairs was a close relationship with the philanthropy columnist of The Dallas Morning News, Bob Miller. He agreed to announce every gift of $1 million or more in his column, if he could be the first to do so. Gift announcements thus were timed so that every two or three weeks an SMU gift story would appear, providing Mr. Miller with ample copy for his column and giving SMU the repetition needed to communicate ongoing progress. His column was a “must read” for much of the Dallas elite who make up the generous donor community supporting area institutions.” — SMU Final Campaign Report, Spring 2016

Mr. Miller wasn’t the only journalist they sent gift announcements to.

“In a typical year during the Campaign, [our News and Communications team] scored 148,232 traditional print placements in such venues as The New York Times, Forbes and National Geographic.”

Take this play right out of their capital campaign playbook and use it for your school, even if your capital campaign goal is modest compared to Southern Methodist University.

15. Include your capital campaign in community outreach.

Successful private schools are active in their communities already, but during your capital campaign, make sure that you have all the marketing materials you need to raise awareness while you are involved in local:

  • Parades,
  • Festivals, or
  • Volunteerism.

16. Launch ads, articles, and feature stories in your alumni magazine.

Many of the private colleges and universities we work with have a special publication they send out to alumni. It can be a printed alumni magazine or an email newsletter.

However you do your alumni magazine, you can use it to raise awareness about your capital campaign by publishing:

  • Alumni interviews
  • Donor interviews
  • Gift announcements
  • General campaign announcements
  • Building progress updates

17. Create a capital campaign website (microsite).

This one is going to take more time and money than most of the ideas on this list, but it is critical.

Your capital campaign website is the central hub from which all of your marketing efforts will flow and the ultimate destination for your audience.

So you want to invest as much into the messaging, design, copy, and rich media content in your capital campaign microsite as you possibly can.

All of the content you will use in your awareness campaigns (like interview videos, gift announcements, etc.) should originally be published to your website.

From there, the content should then be distributed across all of your marketing channels.

In this way, your distributed content will point your audience back to your capital campaign microsite where they have a chance to become a giver.

Since your capital campaign microsite is so important, we’ll go even deeper into how you should structure your capital campaign microsite in our next blog post. Don’t miss it!

Ready to begin?

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to capital campaign marketing. We’d be happy to help you with our experienced team of marketing consultants, writers, designers, and developers.

Contact us today to talk about how we can help you achieve your capital campaign marketing goals.

Featured image by treenabeena via Adobe Stock
Press release image by Zerbor via Adobe Stock
Networking/Seminar image by Rawpixel.com via Adobe Stock

This post was originally published at: https://www.caylor-solutions.com/17-bright-ideas-to-raise-awareness-of-your-capital-campaign/

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