Top Takeaways From Confab Higher Ed 2016

November 22, 2016

Top Takeaways From Confab Higher Ed 2016

tag creative design | digital marketing | digital media | digital strategy for higher ed | higher education | higher education conference
Top Takeaways From Confab Higher Ed 2016

Collaboration, content strategy, and cake. Those three “C’s” sum up the energetic & engaging days of Confab Higher Ed 2016 in Philadelphia.

We enjoyed connecting with new friends, listening to sessions, and jumping into the fast-paced fray of “lightning talks.” Here’s our top takeaways from the crew who attended.

Matt McFadden, Director of Marketing & Strategy

1. “Keep an eye on context.”
Christy Deines and Kate Wehner from Indiana University had a couple of great takeaways for performing content audits and presenting the information back to the stakeholders. Framing up current content as Redundant, Outdated, or Trivial can provide faculty and staff with the right context to then help you Keep, Edit, or Delete that content.

2. “Don’t mix messages.”
Rick Allen pointed out a few easy-to-overlook call to action pitfalls in his talk on “findability.” Too often we are dropping universal CTAs throughout the site which can often lead the user off path or at the very least confuse them. Be wary of putting “Donate Now” or “Apply” buttons everywhere.

Jeremiah Barba, Digital Marketing Manager

1.“You’re not alone.”
This theme rang through many sessions at Confab. Sometimes we just all need a support group to remind us, “you’re not the only one going through…” fill-in-the-blank. From what I heard at Confab (and other higher ed marketing conferences,) the spirit of “we’re all in this together” runs deep and many find value from commiserating and sharing ideas.

2. “People will buy into what they helped create.”
Dave Holston, Senior Director of Creative Strategy & Brand Management at Georgia Tech, focused on this concept during his talk about how to build buy-in and adoption of brand messaging. If you get your stakeholders involved early in the process, you reduce your risk of backlash later in the process. Early adoption, lasting success.

3. “Show, don’t sell.”
This idea came out of photographer Melissa Kelly’s presentation on using effectively reaching millennials with visual messaging. In writing, we talk about “show, don’t tell.” When sharing your school’s story online, don’t sell it. Let the beauty & vibrancy of your school show through on its own, and it’ll tell its own story.  

Eric Evans, SEO/SEM Specialist

1. “Empowerment is the antidote to their anxiety.”
One awesome point Margot Bloomstein shared was to empower your prospective students. Give them as much help as possible. Applying to college is huge, and often time-consuming, so providing simple guides or worksheets really can help alleviate people’s anxiety. Don’t ask them if they are going to college, tell them they are going to college and give them the tools to make it as easy as possible.

2. “Don’t be afraid of user generated content.”
Melissa Kelly dropped a ton of knowledge during her session on reaching millennials through visual content and one nugget I loved was putting the power of creating content on your students, staff, and faculty. Create a unique hashtag for your school to use when posting events, games, or everyday life. This hashtag can give you tons of content to reuse on your social channels. She also mentioned to not be afraid of social channel takeovers. Give a student the college Instagram account for a week to get some amazing content and great engagement.

Tell Us What You Think

Were you at Confab Higher Ed? What were your top takeaways? Let us know what you learned!