David May, Director of Web and Interactive Marketing at Chapman University, is one of the 13 higher ed professionals presenting at the 2014 Higher Ed Content Conference.
David and his team manage all of Chapman University’s public-facing web properties.
In this 3-question interview, David tells us about a content challenge, a secret weapon to create better content and shares some advice.
1) What is the biggest challenge you face in your day-to-day work on higher ed content – and how do you deal with it?
It’s hard to pick just one, so I’ll briefly outline 2.
- Resources – We wish (like everyone wishes) that we had unlimited resources to hire reporters, bloggers, and other professionals to help us produce content for our content marketing machine. When this isn’t a reality, we rely on existing resources and training the people for whom this type of work may sit outside of their comfort zone. As the presentation will discuss, we are also now involving all students, staff, and faculty in content submissions.
- Politics – We have to strike a balance between digital marketing best practices and what is best for our internal schools, colleges, and departments. Sometimes people feel that our goals are contradictory – let’s take writing style for example. Some departments want to write in an academic voice, but we know that web-optimized writing and academic writing are very different. In this example, the challenge becomes “how do we advocate for what we know is right from a marketing perspective, but isn’t popular among some academics?”
2) What is your secret weapon to get better higher ed content created?
Providing context and training for anyone who will listen.
3) What piece of advice would you give to somebody who wants to improve digital content?
Create an imaginary person who fits one of your target audiences – actually create a word document, write a quick profile, bio, and even select a picture for your example audience member. Thinking of how to write for this specific person can be a great exercise. Next, take this Higher Ed Experts course (that is where I learned the ‘imaginary person’ trick)!