I found McGovern's "Words that work: search words versus website words" article interesting.
Choosing the words we use to describe our content can be tricky. We need to use common terms in order to be found by search engines users and to be recognized by people browsing listings of our programs or articles. But there's the tension with also wanting to use the most academically correct terminology. And some terms have conotations we might want to employ or avoid. For instance, vo-tech or vocational-technical education are commonly used terms. But that's not the term used in the field. The Journal of Vocational and Technical Education is now being published as The Journal of Career and Technical Education. Which term do we use? It's important to know the purpose of the page and who the intended audience is. And how strongly the faculty feel about the term.
Writing Link and Heading Text is another good article that came across my Outlook recently.
We won a 2003 Gold Award for our newsletter. That newsletter is no longer in print. I'll be candid and confess that our new electronic newsletter for our college is not as popular as we think it should be. I'm curious as to what others have done to increase their readership. Do you run contests? Have you made it more lighthearted or more news-you-need-to-know?
How are you getting out the news your dean's office or department chair wants distributed? Do you use print along with e-newsletters? Does your leader deliver mosts news via e-mail instead of a newsletter?
The bruning question is no longer how to format your newsletter. It's how to capture your readers' attention to keep them reading. I don't mean remaining subscribers, but reading to the next item in your latest issue.
Some of you will recall Leslie O'Flahavan's session at the Forum conference held at the Depot. She has some good tools and advice.
I think the best advice is to know why you're writing a newsletter. Are you acting as a consultant, a news reporter, a news aggregator, a gossip, an industry insider, a storyteller? And it's critical to write a strong subject line that identifies the newsletter and describes this issue's content. It's even better if it includes a verb or strong adjective.
What newsletters do you read in e-mail, Web, or blog formats? I've stopped reading anything that simply interests me. I now read only that which will help me do my job. So I read UMNnews, The Recorder, the forUM communicator, and all our departments' newsletters. In all honesty, I don't read those either. I skim for color and keywords. I don't often choose to follow a link. I don't want many graphics. I love bullet points. I love consistent style. I don't check any blogs except my husband's and I don't always bother to read it. And I don't read many of the RSS feeds I subscribe to. Even more honestly, I only read our college newsletter because my friends contribute to it and it sometimes contains information I need to be effective in my job.
If we manage to improve our readership, I'll post how we did it. And we'll enter it in the next Maroon and Gold awards competition.
Contented, a new blog by some smart folks in New Zealand, just appeared last month. Their most recent entry is titled "Use relevant, authentic photos or none."
Can't decide if people are more likely to look for "social work programs" or "social work degrees" when looking for an M.S.W. degree? Writing a story about memory loss and wonder what to focus on?
Give Overture's keyword selector a try. The tool is designed to help you choose keywords for online ad campaigns, but it can be useful for other purposes, too.
Here's what I found for suggestions for "M.S.W.":
Searches done in June 2006
Count Search Term
274 msw program
186 online msw degree
178 msw degree
166 msw logo
146 msw online
128 online msw program
94 accredited msw program
88 2006 msw
88 msw jobs
Here are recent searches regarding momory loss:
Searches done in June 2006
Count Search Term
11241 loss memory short term
7054 loss memory
1368 lipitor loss memory
534 cause loss memory
441 cause loss memory short term
278 depression loss memory
176 alcohol loss memory
153 loss memory menopause
152 loss memory sudden
150 long loss memory term
136 loss memory statins
I don't doubt that the results from Overture's suggestions can also mislead. But for those of us who operate with a lack of market research resources, this gives us some dat worth concidering.
Plus Overture is fun. I put in my last name expecting to see "rocky" and maybe "natasha" as suggestions. Those are there, put so is "pet supply." I might have a long lost relative selling pet food or there might be a dog toy out there I need to buy. And there's "bullwinkle family fun center." I've got to go there for my next vacation!
Karine Joly has a blog, collegewebeditor.com, that's worth taking a look at. Her categories include blogs, faculty, good tips, higher ed vendors, prospective students, surveys, and more.
I didn't make it to HighEdWebDev 2005, but perhaps the next best thing is reading someone else's notes. Joly has posted several sets at http://tinyurl.com/c2rbl.
Joly has posted Brian Phelps' notes on Steve Krug's presentation, Why it S*cks to Be You.”
Other sessions reviewed were “Improving Accessibility with a Content Management System (CMS)” and "Conversion to Web Standards: Tips, Tricks, and Methods,” “Building Accessibility Into The Workflow.”
Nick Usborne, has just published a free 35-page guide to copywriting for the web, Writing For the Web #1, which he'll allow you to download if you sign up for his Excess Voice newsletter.
Lots of articles on writing for the Web and for e-mail. For example, “Repurposing Print Documents for the Web: Five Questions to Answer Before You Repurpose”
Crawford Kilian was one of the first big names in the now defunct Online Writers List. He now posts mostly about blogs.
Used to be much more focused on writing. Now Amy Gahran is obsessed with podcasting. Lots of older articles of interest, however. Plus she’s just a good writer and interesting.
A site in New Zealand so they speak and spell a little funny, but still have great advice.
John S. Rhodes’ blog that typically focuses on usability but sometimes strays into online content.
A few good articles under “Techniques”
Kairos is a refereed online journal exploring the intersections of rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy. It sometimes has some interesting reading.
Quality Web Content: www.qwc.co.n
Recent issue was “Eyes top left – lessons fro Eyetrack III”
Copywriter’s Roundtable: www.jackforde.com
Recent issue was “What’s Your Margin Mantra?” regarding having a core idea you can return to, repeat, and re-emphasize.
New Thinking: www.gerrymcgovern.com
Gerry wrote Content Critical. He’s very supportive of our profession.