2011 Conference

Plan to be a champ: Turn your school’s 15 minutes of fame into a year-around web effort #heweb11

View Session Details and Presenter’s Bio.

Photo by atlnav, Flickr.

University of Oregon’s web team is smart, because they’ve become strategic.  Their Celebrating Champions program, turns attention from big-time college athletics into a year-around narrative of university excellence.

Strategic communications means you have a plan, says Zack Barnett.  Plans include goals, objectives, strategies and tactics.  It also helps you fend off the “dumb plans” that pop up which don’t fit into your institution’s goals.

Goal: the ideal

Align your goal with your university’s overall goal. (And if you don’t have an overall goal; be subversive.  Assess what your institution needs and write your own goal.)

Objectives: set the bar

Your goals don’t have to be fancy, but they should be there.  When you tie your webwork to the overall mission of the University, you gain power. Use analytics to plan and track your successes. “Spin analytics in your favor. SPIN, SPIN, SPIN,” says Barnett.  “VPs and AVPs don’t understand analytics — SPIN IT!”

Strategies: specific directions or choices

Are you using print, web, facebook?  More likely a combination of many platforms.

Tactics = actions

Tactics are assignments your team members will leave the room with.  WARNING!  Be sure your tactics follow your goals and objectives!  Don’t shoehorn your goals/objectives into your tactics.


To move from tactical to strategic communications, Web Communications at the University of Oregon:

  • Doubled the size of their staff
  • Built an alliance with IT
  • Rebuilt their home site, allowing the team to move from tactics to strategies.

Are you an army of one?  One person shops have a hard time being strategic because they’re focused on tactics all the time. (If you’re an army of one, you already know this.)   But the less time you have the more strategic you have to be, and if you can show that your strategies pay off, you have more leverage with the higher-ups to get the additional resources you need.








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By Liz Gross

Liz Gross is the Director of Campus Sonar. Her professional super powers include designing and analyzing market research, applying social media strategy to multiple areas of the business, explaining difficult concepts in simple language, and using social listening to develop consumer insights and assist with reputation management. She received her Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education at Cardinal Stritch University.