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Erika ForsackErika Forsack, Social Media Strategist – Virginia Commonwealth University, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2018 Higher Ed Content Conference.

In this 3-question interview, Erika tells us about the best content advice ever, content performance measurement and a favorite content tool.

1) What is the best advice you’ve ever been given when it comes to content?

Ask yourself how the content you’re creating relates to your audience and to your goals. I think too often folks are focused on the newest viral video and content with whiz-bang effects rather than on the storytelling. It’s really important to think about how trend relates to your institution (Is the trend appropriate for a higher education institution to take it on?) and how what you’re making represents you. This allows you to measure the sentiment rather than using resources to create a mannequin challenge video a month after the first was uploaded. Asking yourself these questions is really useful because it can be a good gauge to help decide what projects to make time for (and which ones to leave in the corners of the Internet). My experience working with prospective students, keeping a pulse on what they’re interested and building relationships so we can best serve them through our content has been very beneficial.

2) How is the performance of your content measured/evaluated at your school?

At our university, we use a (relatively) simple spreadsheet that lives as a Google Document. We update it monthly with our traditional vanity (follows, likes) metrics as well as different engagement touch points. Throughout the month we track things more organically and share successes within our team through email and shout outs during staff meetings. A good chunk of our content that we post is tied to our news center, so we use click through rates and referrals from social. Because we do work somewhat like an agency and with many different PR specialists and areas of the university, what we are measuring can change based on their K.P.I.s (Key Performance Indicators). When I was a team of one at the School of the Arts operating on a shoestring (maybe it was more velcro), and couldn’t afford the fancy tools, I also used a simple version of this Google Document. I think it’s important to realize you can manage all of this on your own without special tools. Looking at the previous month’s metrics can help me make changes for the upcoming month based on how much content is published, when it’s posted and how the audience is interacting with it.

3) What is your favorite content tool?

From an accessibility viewpoint, I have to say VoiceOver. It’s so helpful and critical to check your work once you create it with a screen reader, to see how folks with different disabilities interact with it. No download needed – it comes built in to all Apple and Android products. I think going forward accessibility is a major part of the puzzle when creating content that we will all need to consider. In addition to that, just working toward using more inclusive language (using person first language is a big one) and photos. My most used tool by far is Google Drive. I don’t know if this one really counts since there are so many things to do with it, but I have lots of moving parts in my projects and Google Drive allows me to create folders to house spreadsheets for metrics, editorial calendars, folders with images and so on. For content creation, Photoshop and InDesign are my go-tos but Canva can be nice in a pinch. I also like to use Afterlight 2 and Snapseed for editing photos on the go.

A conference focusing on higher ed content?

The Higher Ed Content Conference is a must-attend event for higher ed content professionals and teams looking for new ideas and best practices.

Read below what a few of your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Content Conference say about the experience.

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