Last week while looking for a possible new Link of the Week selection I did a search for “presidents’ university welcome statements.” And then, in a spasm of ongoing torture, visited all the welcome statements that appeared on the first four pages.
- First, the content is almost always presented as dense text unbroken by subheads, bullet points or links. In other words, it is almost always impossible to scan. And that means that very many visitors will not even make the effort to find out what’s being said.
- Second, the content itself more often than not includes a collection of platitudes that might fit just about any college or university. The idea of creating something that contributes to a distinct brand identify does not seem alive and well in the president’s office or among those who write these things if the president does not.
- “Steeped in history yet in the lead; demanding but caring; remarkably diverse in its people, its interests, its opportunities for personal and intellectual growth; and rooted in a tradition of service…”
- “(University name) is clearly a very special place. In addition to the faculty, who are excellent teachers and scholars, everyone at (University name) is eager to help students learn and live well. This is a beautiful campus in an outstanding academic and physical environment.”
- “We take great pride in our history and in the exceptional opportunities we offer to students. That pride shows in everything we do — indeed, great things happen here every day.”
- Messages will pass the 5-second rule by being easy to scan for major points that are likely to engage visitors.
- If it fits the president’s personality, more use of video to deliver the message.
- Links to more content about major points about the university. Don’t just claim, demonstrate the substance behind the claim.
- Serious editing of the total length and paragraph size.
March 27-28, Denver: “Writing Right for the Web: Focusing on Student Recruitment” sponsored by Academic Impressions. Agenda and registration at bit.ly/19tJcaL