Another assignment for this week in my Social Media Theory & Practice class was to find three other blogs related to my beat (higher ed marketing) and to review them. The three I chose are Bob Johnson Consulting, Higher Ed Marketing Journal and Noel-Levitz. Taking these three blogs, I will answer the following questions: 1) What kind of problem doe these websites/blogs help solve for the audience and/or what needs to the fulfill? 2) What do they do well? 3) What could they improve? 4) Can you identify any gaps in their content or features that a competitor could fill, and how is what you could offer different or better? 5) Look at their social media presence and the comments or interaction they get: Are they cultivating an active community around their site?
Bob Johnson Consulting (http://www.bobjohnsonblog.com/)
- Bob Johnson Consulting is a higher ed marketing consultant that works with universities to improve their online marketing. His blog is an extension of his business. He specializes in expert/competitive website reviews, writing for the web and web analytics.
- This blog is great because it is timely and updated regularly. I have followed this one for 5+ years, and get a weekly email summary of what he has posted. Bob uses examples of other schools to point out success stories, and sometimes examples as warnings on what not to do.
- Bob could improve on the look and feel of his blog. It is text heavy, and needs more engaging content (photos/videos).
- The only gap in this blog is that he is a consultant, so there is always a sales element to the blog (he’s not just an expert sharing advice/info with no ulterior motive). I think my blog does a better job at personal connections — I actually work in a Communications & Marketing office in higher ed, so I know firsthand how it works.
- Bob has 6,530 followers on Twitter and does not have a Facebook presence. Also in looking back at this year’s blog posts so far, he has no comments posted on his blog — low level of reader engagement.
Higher Education Marketing Journal (http://higheredmarketingjournal.com/)
- Higher Education Marketing Journal is an extension of the printed publication of same name and is the official blog of Circa Interactive. This blog provides marketing tips, advice, best practices, case studies and analysis on higher ed marketing issues.
- This blog is a good resource for practical posts on addressing a variety of higher ed marketing issues, such as marketing of online graduate programs, analytics and key-performance-indicators (KPIs) in higher education, search engine optimization and paid search. I enjoy that this blog covers case studies and real life examples of challenges faced by those staff in higher education marketing.
- Once again, this blog like the previous one, lacks any engaging content (photos/videos). It is text heavy, and the layout is not very attractive.
- This blog covers a variety of content. The only gap would be that it is not regularly updated – just sporadically every few months. I believe that my blog is more personal, since I am writing from first-hand experience about my involvement in higher ed marketing.
- Higher Ed Marketing Journal does not have a Twitter or Facebook account. They provide opportunities for readers to leave comments on the posts, but most posts have no comments, so a very low level of reader engagement.
- Noel-Levitz is a well-known higher education enrollment management consulting firm that has been in business for 40 years. They are an industry leader in higher ed marketing. The blog is an extension of their business. This blog focuses on topics, such as enrollment management, financial aid, marketing, student recruitment, student retention and professional development opportunities.
- Noel-Levitz is skilled at working one-on-one with institutions to collaborate on detailed plans of action for branding and student recruitment. They are also a respected leader in research, publishing reports and white papers about trends in the industry.
- As noted previously, they are a leader in industry research, providing market, comparative and benchmark data. In effect, they can become your market research arm for a Communications & Marketing or Admissions Office. The downside is that once again, this is all about sales – and they can be expensive.
- The blog is updated frequently and covers a variety of topics. I don’t see any gaps in their coverage. Most staff that work for Noel-Levitz have at one time worked in higher education, so they can speak with authority and experience on what marketing works for this industry.
- Noel-Levitz does not have a Facebook page, but they do have a Twitter account with 2,280 followers (and they are one of my personal followers!). Once again here, there is not much activity in the comments sections for posts on this blog.