Say What You Mean: The Importance of Messaging


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In the world of higher education, summer brings at times a welcomed change. The end of the academic year also signals a time for reflection, and most importantly, planning for the upcoming year.

Summer is also a great time to review and solidify a plan for how you communicate. Have you taken an inventory of what your messaging is lately? Are you saying what you really want to say?

Here are some tips to ensure your voice is heard.

Choose Your Words Carefully

This is not as ominous of a warning as you might think. Just get away from the jargon. One of the most fatal errors in any messaging is using vocabulary and terms that are not specific to the general population. Look at some of your marketing copy —or even better, your website. Can you find sentences that are just hard to read? Change them.

Don’t know where to start? Add some Hemingway to your summer reading. Hemingway was known for crafting prose that was clear and concise. Try it for yourself. Aim to cut your copy by at least 60 percent. While this might be difficult at first, you’ll find that what you really want to say becomes much clearer. Try the Hemingway App, which is a great, free resource.

Are You Speaking to the Right People?

Think about the many channels you might broadcast. Are they the right tool for the job? Take an inventory of who is using each specific platform. You might find that you are using the wrong tool. Using Instagram to broadcast development/fundraising messaging might not be the greatest idea. Discovering the audience’s communication preferences will generate a more desired outcome.

Keep in mind, you might have different strategies for communicating your message. Use each medium for its intended purpose. Keeping things simple, having clear communication goals and stepping back prevents you from falling into the trap of trying to accomplish the impossible task of communicating everything.

Data is Your Friend

Take time to review meaningful data tied to your platforms. Do certain messages perform better on specific social media platforms? A high engagement rate is a clear sign your messaging is working.

Look at your website data. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help make decisions about your website presence. Where are your users interacting with your site? Do you have pages no one is visiting? Some “summer cleaning” can aid in the overall users’ experience when they visit the page. Aim to condense pages, review your website copy, check for broken links and update the navigation. Your users will thank you.

We all want our message to be heard on campus and beyond. But sometimes the best solution is the simplest one. During these lazy summer days, take some time to recharge your batteries and your message. When students arrive back on campus this fall, your voice will be even louder.

Adam Sardinha
Adam Sardinha is the marketing and communication specialist for NC State University Wellness and Recreation. He oversees the department’s communications operation including the creation and implementation of marketing strategies using design, social media and web communication. Before joining the Wolfpack, Adam served the assistant director of marketing for Campus Recreation at Auburn University. He earned a bachelors of fine arts in graphic design from the University of Central Florida and a masters of education in higher education administration from Georgia Southern University.

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