Part 2: Collaborating with Faculty Experts: A How-To Guide for Marketing Departments & DeansDecember 10, 20196 min read
In my last blog post, I shared some strategies that marketing departments can use to collaborate with their faculty experts (Read Part I). This post will reveal the final five principles that will help you collaborate with your faculty and get better results.
6. Show Quick Wins to Get Momentum
As the old saying goes, “nothing succeeds like success.” We all like to back winners. So while you won’t immediately see massive changes across the board on day one, it’s important to show progress. Expert marketing programs deliver significant results over the long run but you must communicate the early wins you achieve in the first few months to create internal momentum.
Remember it’s not just about the numbers. It’s just as important to provide qualitative information on the market interactions you are generating for your experts. For instance look at these early indicators:
- Contribution – Who’s participating in contributing content to your expert center? Look at key types of files such as publications, videos and presentations.
- Engagement – Also consider sending stats out to your experts showing which profiles get the most amount of web traffic.
- Other Results – Speak to activities where you used your expert content to do outbound story pitches to media. Also mention coverage you are getting, or speaking engagements that resulted from inquires received from your expert profiles. For instance, one of our ExpertFile clients, very soon after launching their expert center received an inquiry from a major engineering publication for one of their professors, a direct result of their participation in the Expert Center. Communicating this to other faculty drives engagement.
- Tip: Send out a quick “Leaderboard” email showing the top five or ten experts who rank highest in completed profiles. This public recognition will get noticed.
7. Opt-In your Experts For Various Research, Writing & Speaking Contributions
The famous “help me, help you” quote from Jerry Maguire sums up the importance of collaborating effectively with your experts. They are very busy people; meeting them halfway will ensure mutual success.
- Get some face time: Emails with requests to send information often will go ignored. Instead invest the time to set up a quick meeting at their office to review and update their expert profile to make sure it’s up to date. Locate new projects that are in progress such as publications or speaking engagements and set a date to check-in with them.
- Identify Opportunities: Identify their key research interests and passions to see where they can help in contributing to the overall content mix.
- Organize Your Content Contributions: Build out a list of key areas for each expert where they can “opt-in” to contribute to your expert marketing programs. Think about various areas they can help as a researcher, writer, or speaker for both internal and external events. Remember, there are many jobs to be done across campus that go way beyond media interviews. Identify who can write blog posts, contribute to content in a research capacity, or even review story pitches. Track these commitments and follow up with your experts and you will see the payoff. Many experts want to help, but it’s important to approach them and organize your interactions with them in an efficient manner for success. Content planning frameworks are a great way to track this information.
8. Put Your Experts in the Spotlight
Want to see better results from your media relations efforts? Organize your experts based on areas of interest. Once you’ve curated that list, you can align your experts with breaking news events and other opportunities on your editorial calendar. Here’s how it looks:
- Set up a “Topic Cloud”: List all the areas of interest that your faculty experts want to speak on. Make sure the terms you use are relevant to what journalists are searching for on Google. Start at a high level and then drill down for a structured taxonomy of terms. For instance if you have a medical expert who speaks about ebola you also should index them under the term “infectious disease” as journalists also use this search term when looking for sources.
- Align Your Experts with an Editorial Calendar: An editorial calendar allows you to plan content well ahead of time so you can promote upcoming research, publications and other announcements. Mapping experts to these events in advance will deliver better quality output and engagement. For example, there are always stories that recur every year, things like tornadoes, taxation, gas prices and the like. Preparing for these stories allows you to have your angle ready, along with creative assets such as images and videos that will engage targeted audiences. With this work already done, you will have time to attend to other pressing matters.
- Get Ready to Pounce on Breaking News: The benefits of real-time marketing and helping journalists write the next paragraph of a breaking story are immense, but this is a game of speed. Matching the right expert to the right media opportunity requires this type of pre-planning to identify who the go-to people are within your organization.
9. Develop a Scorecard: Identify Some The Expert Metrics You want to Measure
Here are the categories you need to pay attention to as you evaluate your progress as an organization:
Contribution – Show stats on how you are seeing growth in published content assets. Track the growth in areas such as the number of published expert profiles, % completion of profiles and growth of published content in categories such as videos, PowerPoint presentations, and whitepapers.
Engagement – Ask your digital team to provide stats on the number of profile views each expert is receiving monthly. Try ranking some of your top experts and send out a note congratulating them. Also try to spot trends such as traffic spikes related to topics that may be of interest to the media. These metrics can help you decide what topics you focus on when producing content or promoting your experts to journalists.
Inquiries – Requests to contact your experts can come from a variety of audiences, and all can be valuable for internal departments ranging from media relations and advancement to recruiting. It’s important to evaluate what types of requests you are receiving. You can sort and route these requests more efficiently with an online form. Some suggested categories you can track include:
- Media Inquiries
- Speaking Inquiries
- Expert Witness Inquiries
- Student or Parent Inquiries (classify by type i.e. Graduate Students, Foreign Students)
- Donor Inquiries
- Partner Inquiries
- Research Collaboration Inquiries
Results – While it can be difficult to close the loop on all requests that you generate from your expert marketing efforts, try linking the source of your inquiries back to results. For instance, if you are doing clip reports, highlight specific media coverage that resulted from your efforts.
You should also look at other important data such as student inquiries and donor connections that are made through your expert marketing programs. This will help you justify the return on investment and perhaps allow you to secure additional budget and resources from various groups in the organization who benefit.
10. Make Your Experts Feel Special: Don’t Forget Rewards and Incentives
Anyone running a successful expert marketing program will tell you that it’s important to embrace some of the “softer” people skills to get results. It is essential to provide feedback and recognition to contributors to keep them motivated to help you. Remember that your experts are in constant demand, so you are competing for their most limited resource – their time. Here are some key things you should consider when working with your experts:
- Be Visible: Walk the campus and take an active interest in the work your experts are doing. Face-to-face meetings are an important part of enlisting support.
- Educate Them on Their Value as Experts: Help your experts understand how their contributions can impact areas related to media coverage, student enrolment, donor and alumni relations, and government and corporate sponsorships.
- Offer Assistance: Help them manage their online presence in your expert center. Make it as simple as possible to update content such as presentations, videos and speaking engagements.
- Recognize Key Contributions: Send personal notes to experts to thank them for their help. You can also do a shout out via email to a list of key contributors.
Deanne Taenzer Vice President
Connecting Experts, Thought Leaders and Great Minds
Peter Evans Co-Founder & CEO
Recognized speaker on expertise marketing, technology and innovation