Just as increased competition exists in the global business environment, so too is it present in the university marketplace. Universities compete for donations, grants, and endowments as well as the best students, professors, and staff. As such, the more positive press coverage an institution gets, the greater the likelihood it will be successful in achieving its overall growth goals.
Why? Because positive press comes from the decision a university makes to address these key areas:
WHILE ONLY 19 PERCENT OF Americans aged 12 to 17 have ever listened to a podcast, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, many institutions have invested in academic or marketing initiatives to offer content and updates via podcasting. At the other end of the line, the possibilities for reaching and engaging the 75 percent of teens glued to their mobile phones are still mainly ignored by the majority of marketing strategists in higher education.
Higher education has become an online service industry. Students submit — and colleges accept or deny — applications online. Parents pay tuition on the web. Schools post curricula and students select courses and manage their college experiences via portals. Professors publish websites listing syllabuses, assignments and office hours. Classes, tests, and research can all be conducted online. Online services are now a necessary and expected part of campus life.
Just a few short years ago, Brad J. Ward was finishing up his BA at the University of Illinois-Springfield and working in Residential Life. He was playing around with the web, and as an internal communications tool, started a website that featured photos, videos, events, and ongoings of the dorm wing he supervised. When admissions marketing saw it, they tested it as a tool to give prospective students an authentic lens into campus life. Prospects ate it up, and Ward landed himself a job in admissions marketing at UIS.
ANY COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY THAT ISN'T WEB 2.0 to its fullest is falling behind. We all know that. Colleges need to be RSSing, Digging, tweeting, blogging, social networking, virtual worlding, podcasting, Flickring, YouTubing, and wikiing. (My apologies for creating new and possibly horrific verbs.)