Email Content = Website Content

Everyone with a UM-Flint email account knows the academic year is full of free and fascinating events open to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the community. Academic and support services departments do a great job of promoting these opportunities with emails to various campus lists, such as the “Happenings” email list.

While these messages reach a large internal audience, they do not reach everyone on campus—and they do not reach anyone off campus.

Simple tweaks to these existing promotional efforts will:

  • increase likihood of success of your current promotional efforts
  • enable others to easily share and promote your events/opportunities
  • improve the quality, utility, and traffic of your department website
  • transform how your department thinks about and uses its website
  • show the world the amazing learning opportunities available at UM-Flint everyday!

Can We Link To It?

If you’re only sending an email—and not creating a corresponding web page—the answer is “no.” Why is this important? Without a web address (a url), your event:

  • cannot be considered for promotion on the university homepage (we need something to link to!)
  • cannot be promoted via social networks such as Facebook or Twitter (they require something to link to!)
  • cannot be found anywhere on the university website (those interested in your event cannot do a search for more information, check dates and times, confirm locations, get directions, etc.)

Can We Access the Info?

If you’re only sharing graphics (PDFs, JPGs, PNGs) of flyers or posters—as emails or even on web pages—the answer is likely “no.” Why is this important? When all of the relevant information about your event is locked inside a graphic:

  • it cannot even be seen as an email without the user electing to “show images” (and with no visible information to encourage that action, why would they take it?)
  • it is impossible to cut and paste key information to share or repurpose (even on your own website)
  • it perpetuates the false notion that every event needs its own “brand” (The event itself drives the brand of your department, and thereby, the university. This is not to say that graphic design and photography cannot enhance event promotions. However, “dynamic” visuals cannot trump the need for easily accessible and sharable written information.).

Are We Asking You To Do More Work?

No. We’re asking you to make better, smarter, more efficient use of the work you’ve already done! Drafting the email was the hard part. Now repurpose that content for the event’s web page. Better yet, create the event’s web page first and include its web address (url) in the email to campus. That way, other campus communicators can easily share the key information and a link to where interested parties can find out more. Poof! You’re a content strategist!

Are We Asking You To Rethink How You Use Your Department Website?

Yes. But this is more of a shift in mindset than an overhaul of your web/department operations. Everyday, every department on campus plays a key role in creating and maintaining UM-Flint’s exceptional educational environment. Your website should showcase that work, in all of its forms, everyday. Your website should make the shift from being used more like filing cabinet to more like a telephone. Drupal, the new, easier-to-use content management system, makes shifting to this more timely and conversational approach simple.

Everyday, your department should ask itself:

“What is the most important information our most important audience needs to know today?”

Maybe the answer to that question does not change for a few weeks. But you owe it to those your department serves—and to the hard work your department does—to ask that question each and every day and act accordingly each and every time. Now that’s dynamic content!