36: Current Student Communications at Temple University w/ Samantha Krotzer

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Samantha Krotzer, Content Manager at Temple University discusses how their Nutshell Newsletter serves to fill the gap between enrollment and alumni communications and better engage current students.

Our goal with nutshell and its content is to maintain students interest in campus life and then we want them to be engaged in the university. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, a proud member of the connect e Tou podcast network. I Americ Olson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Samantha Crotzer, content manager at Temple University. Samantha, welcome to the show. Thanks so much. Super excited to talk with you today about how to better communicate and engage with current students. But before we dig too deep into that, Samantha, can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Temple...

University and your role there? Of course. So Temple University is a large urban university. We are in North Philadelphia, just a few minutes a subway stop away from center city, and when I say large, we have about fortyzero students, which is a pretty big population, and our students are diverse. We have a vibrant campus, so it really is an exciting place to be in higher education as an employee, and I also studied at temples, so I kind of had of a strong affinity anyways for the school. So to explain a little bit more about what I do at Temple, I work at the University Central Marketing and Communications Department and what we do is we manage internal communications with the university community as well as external things such as, you know, marketing, collateral for perspective students, add copy, executive communications, all of that. So in a way we kind of think of ourselves as almost a creative agency that supports the university. Awesome, awesome, Samantha.

You noticed a gap in communications between where your enrollment team left off then alumni services picked up your current student communications. Talk about one solution. Your team came up with with the nutshell newsletter. Sure, so, in two thousand and fifteen is when the nutshell newsletter came to be. So just to baxt up a little bit to understand how we got to that decision prior to two thousand and fifteen we had a newsletter that was sent to all Temple Faculty, staff and students, including undergraduate students and graduate so you can see how, if you're thinking about your audience, faculty, Staff and students, they don't want to hear the same things. But we want everyone to be engaged with the university. So thinking of how to achieve that in two thousand and five team we made a separate newsletter, which is nutshow, to speak directly to students. So the newsletter is geared more towards undergraduate students, but the information...

...is still applicable for Grad students. Well, it's so so geared toward undergrads. What types of content are you creating for the newsletter and what are your primary goals behind it? Yeah, sure, so I'll start with the goal, since you know, we in marketing, you always think about the goals first. So our goal with nutshell and its content is to maintain students interest in campus life and then we want them to be engaged in the university all throughout their academic year, not just from their first year. We want them to be connected throughout their four years that they're here, because if you have engaged students then you're more likely to have engaged alumni. So we can't think or forget about that critical step of of the current student experience. Awesome. Yeah, and I can speak more about the content that we're creating to kind of support those goals. So what I do with my team is we kind of map out the year and you know in higher education there are certain things that we know we're happening, for example homecoming or when students can register for...

...classes, and we try to think of more creative ways to support those messages. For example, last semester, when it was nearing time for students to reading for classes, we pulled together a list of the coolest classes that are going on at Temple and it was one of the most engaged with stories all year because it gave students the information that they need at the time that they needed it. So we're always trying to think ahead and plan how we can support these messages in a way that is easier for a student to digest and interesting. They want to click on it, love it. Let's dig into results. How are you and where are you promoting the newsletter today and what sort of engagement are you seeing with its content? Yeah, sure, so since two thousand and fifteen two now we've had a pretty steady average open rate of forty percent. Were super happy about that because that is well above industry...

...standard right and the click through rate, we're seeing kind of a steady increase there. I would say this year it's averaging around maybe five to six percent, but in the first year of nutshell two thousand and fifteen, it was more around three to four percent. So just just to give a little bit more information there, the goal of nut show isn't necessarily the CLICKTHROUGH rate because we're trying to give all the information that they need in that email. If they want to click out to get more that's fantastic, but ideally it's kind of you get the information you need within the email. So click through rate, it's great that it's improving. It shows us that the content is meeting our audiences needs, but that open rate is a really proud point. What I considered to be a huge win is that not only our campus admins coming up to you and your team and asking for their content to be included in nutshell, but you have students doing that as well, because they really believe the newsletter is one of the best ways to reach their peers. How do you control content governance, what you choose to include and not, and how...

...do you communicate those decisions back? So when we're thinking about what content we can include and can't include, it all rolls back to those goals. So we need to make sure that the information we're putting in nutshell will enhance the student experience. Though, have information that they need to be successful at temple to do things that they might otherwise not know about. So as long as content that is either a pitch to us or we're thinking about internally, as long as it's meeting the goal of news you can use for students, then we're usually okay promoting it. And something that we're thinking about, of course, is our audience. So, for example, if a student wants to promote something that could only really apply to an extremely small population of student, then it might not work in nutshell and we just communicate. We communicate just that. You know we're we try to be as transpire of as possible about what we can and can include, and everyone has been respectful of that.

I think it's clear nutshells purpose and people understand what would work and what wouldn't work. And I think we've done a good job communicating that. And a solution can be if there isn't room and nutshell or that isn't the most appropriate channel, sometime we can shift that over to our social media team and say hey, you know, this event doesn't necessarily work for this channel, but we're happy to support you in this way and that that's usually satisfies our campus partners and students as well. Love that approach, is Samantha. Any final next steps? Advice for institutions who are looking to up level their currents communicate student communication strategy? Yeah, well, I would hope everyone wants to up their level. I have so much fun with it and I encourage you to get your hands on nutshell and read it because we have a peer to peer voice and I think it's a fun read. So if you want to up your communication or just start something that doesn't even exist yet, I would always encourage everyone to start with research. You know, that doesn't mean that you...

...have to go hire a consultant agency, just but dig around to see what other schools are doing. Like nutshell, I think a lot of schools are adopting a news letter specifically for students see what voice they use, check out the content that they create. Try to connect with those people. You know, I think higher at is a great communicate or community to share information. So just try to have a conversation and see what other people are doing and, of course, if you're talking to students, your most valuable resource will be your students. Try to do a small focus group, talk to student workers, if your university uses them, just to see how do they want to be communicated with? What content do they feel like they're not getting? What content do they like? And I think that's the most critical starting point, is just talking to people and gathering information. Some Athas suge good stuff. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if they have any followup questions? Yeah, I can share my email, so it would be sak at temple dot Edu. Awesome. Thanks against so much for doing us...

...today, Samantha. Yeah, thank you so much. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix educationcoms playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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