Taking Chats to a new level

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Analytics, Blogging, Higher Education, Lifecasting, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Thoughts, Video, Web | Posted on 30-10-2008-05-2008


Last night we had our Butler Bloggers Chat, which we do once a semester. It always has more students join than any other chat we do (What is Diversity at Butler University? Chat, Admitted Student Chat, Pharmacy Chat, International Student Chat, to name a few).

Last night the chat was from 8-10pm (I’ve done 7-9, 8-10, and 9-11pm.  8-10pm has been the most popular.) and we had 132 students come through. Last week’s diversity chat from 7-9pm had 22, for comparison, with the same group of students invited.

To learn more about the methods of promotion/emailing about the chat, read this post from last April.  For this post, I’d like to touch on some new methods I experimented with last night.

During last semester’s chat, I learned a few things:

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Interview Week: Dara Crowfoot, DePaulQuad.com

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Blogging, Concepts, Interview, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 15-10-2008-05-2008


This is part 3 of Interview Week at SquaredPeg.  Missed past interviews? Click below.
Interview Week [Part 1]: Jordan Goldman, CEO of Unigo.com
Interview Week [Part 2]: Pauline from “The ‘C’ Word”

Today we’re talking with Dara Crowfoot from DePaul University about DePaulQuad.com, a social network exclusively for parents of current students.  This hit my radar a while back and it was great to talk with Dara and learn more about the initiative, so I wanted to share it with you.

Dara is the Director of Marketing Strategy at DePaul, and comes from an impressive marketing background including time as the Director of Marketing of Verizon Avenue at Verizon and Assistant Brand Manager at Kraft General Foods.

SquaredPeg.com: When was DePaulQuad.com launched?
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Making a Viral Video

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Analytics, Athletics, Blogging, Embedding, Facebook, Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Mascot, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Video, Viral, Web, YouTube | Posted on 10-10-2008-05-2008


It’s been nearly one month since I created and released the Butler Blue II video during our missing mascot fiasco (no, they were never found).

I’ve refrained from posting on this until now because I wanted to allow enough time to look at stats and analytics on the video to say if it was a success or not. Conclusion?  Success.

I’ve never been one to throw the word ‘viral‘ around.  [Example] You can’t make a video ‘viral’, it’s up to the people who watch it if they want to pass it along.   But you CAN help the video become viral by choosing your key influencers and letting it go from there.

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I love when people respond to emails.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Email, Facebook, fun, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 02-10-2008-05-2008


I just had to share these with everyone.  We’re currently sending out a round of our ‘last chance’ email that I mentioned in this post last year. Here’s what it looks like:
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1 Year Anniversary of SquaredPeg.com!!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Thoughts | Posted on 05-09-2008-05-2008


I’m excited to say that it has been 1 year since SquaredPeg started! It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year. We began over on a wordpress.com platform, even though the SquaredPeg.com domain was purchased from Day 1.  In preparation for the BlogHighEd.org launch, I moved us over to SquaredPeg.com and have been here since.

Analytics on the first year?  142 posts, 465 comments, nearly 30,000 visits, almost 300 RSS and email subscribers, and a ton of new friends. To me, the last stat is definitely the most important. I’m grateful for all of the information I’ve learned and all of the people I’ve met in the past year, through comments, Twitter, and conferences. You all are truly a special group of people to me. I’ll keep pouring my time into the site as long as you continue to read and engage with me about the content.

And for the most recent SquaredPeg news….. I’m flying solo now.  After a buyout in early August from the other writers, I am hoping to take the site in a new direction and be able to brand it more personally than the team blog atmosphere offered.

Here’s to another year! Thanks for coming along.

Brad J Ward

5 [More] Higher Ed Web Blogs You Probably Haven’t Heard of Worth Reading

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Blogroll | Posted on 18-08-2008-05-2008


To extend the .eduGuru’s list of 5 Higher Ed Web Blogs You Probably Haven’t Heard of Worth Reading, here are is my addition of 5 blogs you should probably check out.

Higher Education Blogs

  1. Admittedly Dutch – I met Andrew Meyers at the Innovative Educators Conference in June. Andrew works as both a recruiter and “web efforts coordinator” for Hope College, a liberal arts college of about 3200 students. Kudos to Andrew for taking on the extra responsibilities that will help Hope be successful with web-based recruiting.
  2. He Types, She TalksMatthew Levy and Rachel Beanland are the dynamic duo coming from the University of Richmond. I met them at eduWeb in July and their whole team was a blast to hang out with. Rachel and Matthew work in the School of Arts & Sciences together, Matthew in web strategy and implementation and Rachel as the Director of Communications. Together they implemented http://groups.richmond.edu, a quickly growing Ning-based social network for the campus. Check out their unique blog for more info. It’s great
  3. The “C” Word – Ahh yes, the dreaded C word… college. Join the adventure of this team blog from 5 students who are making their way through the college admissions process. Just check out this small sample:

    As a whole, the orientation experience has so far helped make this whole crazy college thing seem more real. And I feel like I’m more emotionally ready to hit campus in the fall, now that I’ve completed at least some of the obligatory sitting-in-a-chair-pretending-to-mess-with-my -cell-phone-because-I’m-too-terrified-to-go-up-and-talk-to-anyone. I don’t entirely know what I’m doing, but I kind of know who to ask. I haven’t found that BFFAEAE just yet, but schedules permitting I think I have people I can eat meals with unawkwardly.

    PS: BFFAEAE = Best Friend Forever And Ever And Ever. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. LOLZ.

  4. More Than RankingsKathyrn Spruill is an account executive with Stein Communications. She got her undergrad and MBA degree from Tulane, and also worked in the Admission Office pre and post Hurricane Katrina. Her blog is full of tidbits and helpful hints, as well as some new startup sites on the radar. Check it out!
  5. Stony Brook BlogChris D’Orso is by no means new to the admissions blogging scene, but you need to subscribe if you haven’t. He posts primarily about his school, but it’s still great content and he usually ties it back to the larger higher ed picture. Plus, he just posted an ‘Ask a Ninja’ video. What’s cooler than that?

And for fun…..

5 Higher Ed Blogs That I Want to Return:

  1. UMarketingGuru – Wha?! There can’t be 2 gurus, can there? I don’t think the blogger listed as Chatohaze is related to the .eduGuru, but you never know. From what I can tell, the blogger switched universities and then dropped off the blogosphere. Come back!
  2. eRelevant: Morgan hasn’t blogged much for awhile on the higher ed side of things. We were both at Stamats 2006, which I found out 2 years later. Whoops. Hope to hear from you soon.
  3. EduDesigners.com - 404′d!!! This blog and site was around for a few weeks, then it vanished. Karine had an interview with John, but the site disappeared shortly after.
  4. Thomas Knoll has a blog on the CSP website, home of the amazingly awesome Freshly Squeezed. He blogged for awhile, but stopped shortly after he moved from the web department to the marketing office. Seems to be a common trend. :(
  5. Animatty.com – Another quality blog that disappeared into thin air. The writer was from Australia and had a great blog going. If you’re out there, please come back!

Think you have some great blogs to share? Keep things going and post them up!

You Should Probably Read This.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Free, Higher Education, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Web | Posted on 31-07-2008-05-2008


My favorite part about higher education is the willingness of individuals to share information between universities. And that’s what this post is all about.

Karen Sines Rudolph, Coordinator of Public Information at McLennan Community College emailed me her 121 page thesis titled “Recruiting Millennials: How Official Admission Blogs Depict Colleges and Universities From a Public Relations Perspective“. It is full of great information and research, so I asked her if I could share it with my readers and she agreed.

Karen looked at 2,471 blog posts from 349 individual bloggers at 92 institutions and researched the posts on a multitude of factors during the 2005-2006 school year. (Was your school involved? Check out page 98-100 of the thesis). The research is extensive, and some quotes even come from Karine Joly.

Some gems and stats that I have pulled out of the research so far:

  • Less than 20% of bloggers (n=463) acknowledged the specific audience they were blogging for – prospective students. This does not mean to tell student bloggers what to write, but rather to remind them of their audience, suggest topics, and encourage quick and helpful responses to comments.
  • This study suggested that blogs lose their effectiveness when bloggers post more than once or twice a week.
  • Only 4.7% of bloggers (n=117) were identified as transfer students, while 30.3% of bloggers are freshmen.
  • 60% of photos on blog posts captured the student’s social life. 41.31% of photos were taken at a campus location.
  • Only 2.6% of blog posts (n=64) were about academics and with a negative frame.
  • Junior year bloggers were most likely to speak on academics.
  • When it came to blog posts about academic reputation of the school (n=13), none were negative.
  • When speaking about costs associated with attending the institution (n=36), 69.4% of blog posts were negative.
  • And so much more. I’ll leave the rest of it for you to read!

I just keep going through all of this and keep thinking of new ways to apply this info for the upcoming year with my new Bloggers.

Kudos to Karen for releasing this wonderful research. I was completely awestruck when she sent it to me out of the blue. Please join me in thanking her by leaving a comment below. I don’t mind all of the subscribers who lurk and don’t comment [who know who you are :) ], but please do take the time to show Karen your appreciation for this download. She really does deserve a big pat on the back from the community. Also, please note the Creative Commons license on her work and give credit where credit is due.

If this is your first time to SquaredPeg, subscribe to our RSS!

Finding My Student Bloggers

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Thoughts | Posted on 28-07-2008-05-2008


Last year I blogged quite a bit about starting the Butler Bloggers program in a 4-part series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

In ’07-’08 it was very easy to find students that were interested in applying to be a Blogger. I just created a targeted Facebook Ad for $50 that ran for 10 days at 2,500 impressions per day (25,000 total) for a cost of $5/day. I targeted both genders, age 18-24, undergrads only, in the Butler network. As a result I ended up with a total of nearly 50 applications to choose from.

So when I went to do the same this year, I was sadly disappointed to see that I could no longer target an ad specifically to the Butler network. My options are now to send it to the 18-24 age group and then targeting by state or city. With nearly 50% of Butler students coming from out of state, it’s not as easy to target a specific geomarket like some schools might be able to do.

So now I’m heading to Plan B.

First, I have 15 students who have emailed me throughout the year about being a Blogger this year because they heard about the position from friends or they are incoming freshmen who found the Bloggers to be very helpful. I also have about 10 more incoming freshman who asked for more information via the Facebook Class of 2012 group, so my freshman base is covered.

With the Butler Network Ad out of the question, I can now turn to other resources available. Since I am the one who started the Butler University Fan Page, I can send a message to those 725 members. My Group Insights show that nearly 80% of the group now falls in the 18-24 age range.  I can use Fan Updates to target this age range (probably 18-22) and send them a message.

Finally, I will ask for recommendations from my current Bloggers. Since they have gone through 1 year of blogging, they might have friends who they think would be good for the position.

From there, I plan to do a similar process to last year. Email the app to those interested, then do a 2nd round of ~15 students and ask them to blog for a week then send it to me. From there, we will pick the 8 best. They have some big shoes to fill, but we’re excited to see how the new group pans out.

The Best Bargain Conference This Year

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Conferences, Higher Education, Social Media, Speaking, Web | Posted on 16-07-2008-05-2008


Hey! Do you live near Indianapolis? Want to hit up a great conference but don’t have much of a budget? Well, I have the conference for you.

http://conference.blogindiana.com, August 16-17 at IUPUI

2 days, many great speakers, and for the LOW price of $49.00. But you know I’m going to treat you better than that. Click this link to register and save 15%. Seats are going fast and space is limited, so register soon.

I am going to be switching gears on this one and speaking from more of a business perspective, although I would absolutely love to see a good showing of higher education folks at the conference.

We’re also going to be peopletagging, which is a unique new way to network. I’m excited to see it play out. Still trying to figure out what my tags are going to be!

Click here to check out the sessions and the 20+ presenters. I am in the same time slot as the amazing blogger Chris Baggott, so I don’t expect a huge crowd at mine; I actually would rather go to his too! Haha :)

Hope to see you there. Let me know if you’re attending.

Conference Wrap-Up

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Conferences, Flip Ultra, Free, Google, Higher Education, Social Media, Speaking, Thoughts | Posted on 19-06-2008-05-2008


The Innovative Educators Conference, which wraps up tomorrow with a presentation by Brian Niles of TargetX fame, has been a great one. Val, Erin and Pam from IE did a great job putting the conference together and keeping everything rolling. The food was the best conference food I’ve had. A night out to the Reds/Dodgers game with all you can eat food and drinks was a nice touch too.

Here are the links I went through for those of you that were in my 2 presentations on Wednesday. Again, if you have any questions, please email me at bradjward(at)gmail(dot)com.

I Can Do THAT With Google?: http://linkbun.ch/gnq

Blogging 201: Taking It To The Next Level: http://linkbun.ch/gnk and http://linkbun.ch/gno

Also, here is the image used during the Social Media Roundtable with Brad and Matt:

(Click Image to Enlarge)

It’s always great to connect with new people. I also got to catch up with Mark, Matt, and Brian and we had several really great conversations about a huge range of topics. I’ve always been big on the value of face time, and this event has not disappointed. I was also able to line up a webinar on this coming Tuesday night with an MBA class at Morehead State University, so it’s time to start on that slide deck.

One month until eduWeb! Who all is going to be there? I’d love to meet more of you.

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