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Those of us in higher education and in the nonprofit sector know the importance of effective storytelling, yet we often fall prey to telling stories that we want to tell instead of what our audiences desire to read or hear.

Marc C. Whitt is director of philanthropy communications at the University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy. He may be followed on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/marcwhitt) or Twitter (@marcwhitt).

In a 2017 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 7 in 10 Americans reported using social media “to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves.”

Tom Durso is associate vice president for college relations and marketing at Albright College.

Director of media relations used to be a title with a fairly straightforward and obvious list of responsibilities. Then the internet happened.

John Meagle is the chief marketing officer at Centenary University in New Jersey.

When Centenary College was granted university status in May, the news was celebrated by students, faculty, alumni and staff. For the marketing and student recruitment team, it was an opportunity to build awareness of the experience the institution offers career-oriented students.

John L. Gann, Jr., consults, trains, and writes on marketing. He is author of "The Third Lifetime Place: A New Economic Opportunity for College Towns."

Although their leaders might claim otherwise, ratings by U.S. News, Princeton Review and others are of outsized importance to universities today. But what about the many colleges that didn’t rank high with these reviewers? How can they compete with the list-toppers?

Alumni. That’s what alumni association magazines should, to a much greater extent, be about. At least they should if we want them to do better at marketing the university.

Names like Harvard, Princeton and Stanford are the academic equivalent of Rolex, Tiffany and Mercedes. Other schools have to market themselves. So more of them are advertising these days—but some, paradoxically, seem to do it without much use of what is presumably their stock in trade: expert knowledge.

Marc C. Whitt is director of philanthropy communications at the University of Kentucky, and a former tourism commissioner.

College towns across the country may be sitting on an economic and tourism marketing gold mine in the form of their local institution’s “tourist attractions.”

Consider the thousands of people who go to a school’s concerts, theatrical performances, athletic events, museums, planetarium shows, camps and conferences—not to mention those visiting for homecoming, family weekends and daily admissions visits.

Marc C. Whitt is director of development communications at the University of Kentucky

Congratulations, you’ve landed your first job as a college’s chief public relations and marketing officer. It’s a grand role loaded with ocean-size opportunities and responsibilities.

I got my first director’s position in 1988 when I joined the staff at Georgetown College in Kentucky. Up until then I had been a one-person shop.

Without a doubt, social media has become one of the, if not the most, effective and efficient way for colleges and universities to communicate. Connected institutions can conduct “digital conversations” while sharing and collecting thoughts, ideas, information, opinions, images and video.

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