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Janet GillisJanet Gillis, Communications & Marketing Officer at USF College of Engineering, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2019 Higher Ed Content Conference.

In this 4-question interview, Janet shares with us thoughts on content creation process and measurement, interesting higher ed content and a favorite tool.

1) What does your content creation process look like?

At the University of South Florida College of Engineering our content creation process started by building strong relationships with key stakeholders in the College and across the University. The faculty and students know we are the go-to folks for getting their stories out. They are comfortable reaching out with information about research funding, awards, community outreach events, alumni and donor gifts.

I also get information from the research and innovation division and sometimes at the university communications level. While I’ve never been a reporter, I imagine this is like having a beat. Engineering is our beat and we work it and keep in close communication with the principals in the beat.

In my opinion, you can’t be successful unless you make the effort to build these relationships. I’ve been the primary relationship holder for the past 10 years, but I am currently grooming my communications specialists to start building these relationships, as well.

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

All content is pushed out to social media through either direct posts or links to websites or videos. I measure the engagement rate and the effectiveness of the content based on the share, like and engagement numbers.
The engagement rate is the biggest tell of content interest. I’m often surprised at how different content draws interest. Most times it’s very predictable, but often the engagement is unexpectedly low or high. If I had a social media analyst on staff, I could delve a lot deeper into the relationship details of our followers and their followers which ultimately affect these measurements.

I also use Google Analytics to measure website content views, how users are finding us and where our users are located. The amount of overseas visitors helps us to make compatibility decisions.

3) Share 3 pieces of higher ed content that made you envious or proud

USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research – 2019 Black Heritage Month
They’ve done an interesting post about a black engineer or transportation professional each day in February. This took a lot of research and planning. I really admire that commitment to showcase diversity in the engineering field.

Embry Riddle University (Daytona Beach,FL)
The airplane photos on their Twitter account are very eye-catching. I envy the “close knit family” feeling I get from their postings. Students, alumni, family members of students, active and retired military alums – it’s all about celebrating the ERAU family.

Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio).
Hap & Ted’s Excellent Adventures
The AFRL social media team have made stars of Hap and Ted by taking cut outs of the two men on the road tracking their travels and visits to conferences and universities around the country. “Hap” and “Ted” were General Henry H. Arnold (first Air Force Chief of Staff) and Theodore von Kármán (Aerospace Engineer, founder of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for the US Army Air Forces). Since the AFRL comprises so many directorates it’s a clever way of putting faces and personality to the entire program. Even more interesting is the fact that they’ve turned both men into social media stars even though both died long before social media or the internet even existed.

4) What’s your favorite new tool for your work with content?

Canva enables me to be creative when I’m generating boring and tedious lists, agendas, etc. I can make colorful and appealing documents without putting too much effort into them. At meetings, people comment when they see a new design or a new way to display info. The only downside is I sometimes waste too much time on the Canva website looking at design templates.

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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