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Setting up a newsletter for your university is a nice way of helping students stay in touch with their university and feel part of the community. But what if you are lost for newsletter ideas?
It can be hard to know what information is going to appeal to a student. It’s even harder to write something that is going to be read among all the other emails from professors, admin staff and employers.
But don’t despair, in fact, there are loads of innovative ways that can ensure the newsletter is the talk of the campus!
Share Positive Stories
Engaging newsletters are ones with human impact. It is too easy these days for a university to become embroiled in a scandal. Negative stories in the press – like the recent college admissions exposé – can have a negative effect on a student’s perception of his or her peers and of the college itself.
One way to combat this is to include positive stories about how individual students and staff and the university as a whole has affected the community.
For instance, if a student led a charity fundraising concert to raise money for a local elderly charity and this was gratefully appreciated by the locals, then sending someone from the marketing team down to snap photos and encouraging the student to write a blog about it could make for a really good story.
If nothing else, then a university newsletter should inform students about upcoming events they can get involved in. From public lectures from award-winning speakers to employment fairs, to students entering a hack-a-thon, a university’s event page will be a never be short of things for students to do.
You can organize this in a way that makes it easy for students to see what they are interested in: by department or theme, not just by calendar date.
Another good newsletter content idea to consider in the events page is allowing students to automatically export events to their e-mail calendars. This means they don’t have to lift a finger and can be assured that their laptops or smartphones will notify them of the event a few hours or a day before it is due to take place.
The stories would be hands-on and take a lot of time to complete. An agency, therefore, might be a better fit rather than an in-house team for digital marketing needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is very helpful for new students or even students who have been at the university a while. They do not have to be the same questions every month but could vary.
The questions could vary from the generic and easy-to-answer like ‘where do I return my library books when the library is closed? to the slightly more specific that could help a small group of people, such as, what to do in the event your flight is delayed back to university meaning you will miss the first day of the term or worse a crucial exam.
You could also encourage students to send in their own questions to be answered in the newsletter via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook.
Update From the VC
It’s always good for students to hear from the top man (or woman) since it is hard for them to connect with every single student. So a letter from the Vice Chancellor is a great marketing newsletter idea for him to reach out. He could talk about the university’s goals and what the university has achieved over the past year.
The Vice-Chancellor could also choose to single out specific members of the university who have, in their view, gone out of their way to promote and uphold the values of the university.
How Research Impacts the Real World
One of the things that makes a university rank highly in league tables is how much of an impact its research makes on changing the world. This is a difficult thing to quantify.
However, one thing that can make students feel that they are attending a good university is by giving real examples of how research has translated into results. For example, Northwestern University has a specific Centre for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence that regularly makes advances in trying to cure cancer.
Research in the arts can often translate into books and media appearances so a university newsletter could also be a good way of illustrating to students the reach and breadth of the university’s research. It could also encourage them to buy and read a professor’s books and to tweet along at home when one of their professors is on television.
Newsletter Ideas Are Easy to Come by It’s How You Realize Them
Thinking of newsletter format ideas is not hard. But if you simply write a bland list of events in text format than the chances are very few students are going to read the university newsletter.
Instead, you need to think of different ways to make it appeal to the student population. This means designing a visually appealing newsletter with lots of sidebars and links to other sections of the website – for instance, to blog posts by students.
It is also important that you make sure the newsletter is mobile friendly as most students (and most workers) now access and reply to emails by their phone.
Newsletter ideas content that encourages students to engage on social media – such as tweeting about a professor appearing on a television show – is also a must.
If you are interested in other stories about how to engage with students be sure to check out this heartwarming piece on students selected for prestigious scholarships.