Update on communications for May 2021
Through marketing and communications strategies, two of MarComm’s primary goals are to protect DU’s reputation and inspire students to enroll and engage. This year, while focusing our efforts on a new DU brand strategy and completing the web migration project, we are making significant progress on communications. The podcast, our media outreach, and social media are experiencing success in many areas. DU’s podcast RadioEd, for example, now in its second season, has seen more than 7,000 downloads since the beginning of 2020. We are close to seeing 500 media placements in the local media featuring faculty, staff, and students, and we have increased our social media postings by more than 86 percent!
RadioEd continues to be an important tool, allowing us to highlight our faculty, students, and research across the University. The episodes also deliver valuable context and proof points for our US News & World Report (USNWR) campaign and have contributed toward an increase in social media engagement across the board. I have been delighted to listen to RadioEd when new episodes are released. Our team has invested hard work and dedication into every episode—from investigating the impact of plastics on our environment to reviewing the last year of COVID-19 struggles, adaptations, and successes. RadioEd has nine new episodes so far, including a timely episode on the Chauvin trial verdict. This season’s most popular episode has been Pandemic Reflections: Struggle, Adapt, Overcome. If you haven’t been tuning in regularly, I encourage you to give season two episodes a listen.
A key priority for our communications team is consistent and persistent media outreach. Our media efforts this year remain strong, especially with local media. We are close to earning 500 media hits featuring DU students, faculty, staff, and alumni! We are nearing the end of our training with the third cohort of Public Impact Fellows (PIF) program. Transitioning to a virtual format to accommodate the pandemic, this year-long fellowship trains faculty on ways to share their research and scholarship with a variety of audiences. The faculty cohorts participated in monthly workshops focused on how to work with the media and elected officials, write better grant proposals and op-eds, elevate their personal brand including their social media presence, and more. This small group of 40 accounts for 15 percent of total media hits in FY21, proving the program to be quite effective.
This year, despite being in a “social media doggy paddle,” as Shira Good senior director of communications and issues management, likes to say, the team has made incredible strides—both strategically and tactically—in just a few short months. Migrating to the Sprout Social platform allows the entire communications team as well as the video and photo teams to contribute content. Comparing the first few months of 2021 to the last few months of last year, we saw a 15.2 percent increase in impressions; 19.2 percent increase in engagements; 7 percent increase in link clicks; and 2.6 percent increase in audience growth. Additionally, we saw an unprecedented 86.3 percent increase in messages sent. While these numbers are impressive, they represent a change in strategy that will allow us to reach a strong and steady plateau of engagement, rather than meteoric growth spurts. For this reason, we do not expect, nor should we, to replicate these numbers in the future. We hope instead to rise quickly to a level that will sustain incremental growth—not monumental leaps. In the meantime, we are heartily celebrating the large gains and our team’s efforts in earning them!
I look forward to sharing additional insights on MarComm initiatives on a regular basis.