Tag Archives: YouTube

The Successful Message: Sincere & Relevant

Our president, Fran Hendricks, is a retired Air Force brigadier general and a 1979 graduate of our university .
A sincere Veterans Day message from him seemed like it would be appreciated by veterans and non-veterans alike. We wrote a script and he edited it. We shot it with a single camera in his office with the U.S. and Pennsylvania flags behind him. These were not props. They’re part of his office.
He speaks straight into the camera. We cut to B-roll of photos of MU graduates and area veterans from all branches.
It ends with him saying: “Veterans, thank you,” and a salute. We fade to an image of  raising the flag on Iwo Jima.
The music carrying it is “America the Beautiful.”
I had put a lot of thought behind this before we even started. We did not want him in uniform. He is a university president. But after serving the country for 33-years, Fran Hendricks is very much a soldier, and always will be. It’s a source of pride to him, faculty, students, staff, alumni and area residents.
Hendricks is a humble man and I knew that a “message from the president” would not pass muster. He’s a service-oriented person and the university is the greater body that he now serves. The message would be from Mansfield University.
Most importantly, there was no sales pitch. I repeat for all of you PR folks who need reinforcement for your superiors: no sales pitch. No website at the end telling veterans or potential students to check us out. It is a message, pure and simple, of appreciation to veterans and current service people.
The results were heartwarming, inspiring and revealing. We posted it on YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Our ultra-savvy web person, John Maslar, targeted veterans and bases in a five-state circumference, as well as alumni and students
His stats show show that in a five day period, the video:
-was seen by 125,000 Facebook/Twitter users;
-was shared on Facebook 75 times;
-earned more than 700 likes;
-was retweeted 8 times
-Between likes/views/shares/retweets/clicks, we had about 2,500 interactions.
As John points out: “that’s 18 cents per person who took the time to read and interact with the message.”
The video worked for several reasons:
-It is succinct (1:12);
-Hendricks is straightforward and sincere;
-the message is simple and direct;
-There is no “extra message.”
It gained us appreciation from students, alumni, staff, faculty, constituents and introduced us to new audiences.
Yes, you can count on one hand the number of colleges who have a retired general as a president, but every college has a special person who can convey a relevant message on an appropriate occasion.
Just be clear, concise and don’t pollute it. A clean message has its own halo effect that lasts for years.

In other words, make the salute sincere.


Pinterest & College Marketing

Pinterest is the new social media explosion.
Is it the Wild West all over again?
Do we marketing types really know how to use it?
Not really.
Do we need to jump on the wagon?
Pinterest is the world’s fastest growing social media site. It started as a way to share — gardening tips, fashion, recipes, and wedding planning.  The primary demo was, and continues to be for now, women.
But it’s changing and expanding at an exponential speed that would have excited Einstein. Do a search for anything — antique swords, silent movies, Eros– and you’ll find people who share your interest.

It’s a virtual bulletin board in Alice’s Wonderland. Hours melt  before you as you follow this link, and search for this subject and find worlds within worlds, still pointing to more.

Will Pinterest last? I think so.

The news that we’re an increasingly visual society is old.  Words are work. People read less and less as time passes.  I don’t like it but I’m working to accept it.
Who imagined that YouTube, from its first amateurish, silly, and often sophomoric postings would become the most popular search engine in the world?
In my mind, Pinterest is a college marketer’s dream.
Mansfield University jumped onto Pinterest in early 2012.  A no-brainer .  We’ve created boards on Stars Who Have Performed at Mansfield,  Scenes on Campus, Regional Activities, and Student Organizations, Campus Buildings, and others.  We’ll be adding more.

We organize — visually — our topics of interest, fill in with short written content and post.

Does it work?  Don’t ask.  In the marketing world Pinterest is in its infancy.

Is it worth the time involved?  Yes.  Experiment.  Test.  Play.

In the next post:

-It costs nothing;

-Use the resources and materials you already have;

-Copyright doesn’t have to be a dilemma.

I Did These Things. Now What?

Ron Bronson’s post about spreading yourself too thin in his Edustir blog on Bloghighed August 17, was a wakeup blast of synchronicity for me.
I was just about to do a post about what more I can do in social media land.

And I’m still going to do it.
We’ve been producing podcasts since 2005. They’ve slowed a bit and evolved but we’re still doing them and still getting visits.

We also have every podcast transcribed, both to enhance search engine accessibility and to meet ADA requirements.
This year I created a biweekly TV talk show, “Conversations,” that airs on local cable. We edit the shows into 2-3 segments and upload them on YouTube.
We’ve begun doing student testimonials for YouTube.
We’ve been getting our feet wet with Twitter.
We’re nearing the 1,000 fans mark on our Facebook, which I think is good for a small, rural university.

A couple weeks ago, after months of thought, I, with the help of our IT department, launched the MU Blog, a mix of news and observation.

My news director is about to debut a twice weekly news video –stripped down, straightforward, using a web cam and keeping it under two minutes.
We’re making plans to gradually move our alumni quarterly online.

So, even after the great points made in Ron’s blog, I still wonder what more can we do?
My internal question with everything that we produce: is the content good? I don’t want fluff. None of us has time for that.
Are we speaking meaningfully to our intended audiences?

Is there more we can do in a meaningful, productive way?

Or should we be doing less?

I’m really asking.

* * *

I was  vacation this week.  I decided, in my personal blog, to make a list of all I want to get done, and then document each day to see how many of the projects I actually accomplished, since (thanks John Lennon), life gets in the way of our plans.

Check out my progress or lack thereof.

My No Budget TV Talk Show Pt 2

“Conversations” has been airing for three months.  Our first guest was VP for finance Mike Reid about a new community relations committee and some of its goals.

I did this to show that  the university is very involved in the community and the region.   We interspersed information about Mike’s farm, his family who created a business selling maple syrup and apiary products.

Admissions Director  Brian Barden was another guest.  I wanted people to see how complex his operation is, how the admissions process works year- around, and some of the challenges he faces to bring in not only a diverse mix of students, but the challenges of filling certain programs.

I followed up on one request and interviewed Mansfield University President Maravene Loeschke and local optometrist and trustee Bob Strohecker about a new  college/community committee whose first project is to raise money for a movie theatre.

We took the equipment into the field and interviewed officials on a new business park and what it would mean to the community.

I have a roster of potential guests that could fill the next year.   I  do a show every two weeks so neither I nor my producer will be inundated.  The show airs four times morning and evening each weekend.

In the show itself, I take two breaks which we use  to air MU commercials.  Possibly, in time, I’ll seek commercials from area businesses, charge a nominal amount and turn the money over to our Foundation for scholarships.    (I’m thinking out loud here.)

After several shows aired, I wrote a news release and we sent it out to local media.    People on campus and around the area have stopped me to tell me how much they like the show and what a great community service it is.  This is the kind of word-of-mouth publicity you can’t buy.

Like everything else that all of us do, the producer and I have fit it into a crowded schedule.  But the payoff on a local and regional level is worth it.

We pull the audio, lay down a music bed and turn some of the shows into podcasts.  I also have an intern breaking the shows into four-five segments to upload on Youtube.  (I actually had requests to do this from people not on the local cable. I’m sure alumni will be interested, too).

Some of you have also expressed interest in seeing them so I’ll provide a link in a future post when some are up.

I emphasize again that this show is no budget.  No special effects.  No set design.  We use a few still shots when appropriate.  It’s exactly what the show title says it is, conversations.

As we do more shows, I’ll keep you posted on our progress and what I learn.

If you have thoughts or ideas, please share them.

Message by Bubble

Once in awhile something new comes along that just feels right.  It feels exciting.  It is bubbling with potential.

I was reading Ad Age Digital where I go for new and unique ideas from today’s leading advertising and marketing experts.  I opened the article “What Brands Can Learn from a Weiner,” which I found mildly interesting.

I scrolled down to the comments and discovered a person who left a video message.  I clicked the link but instead of going to YouTube or the person’s site, the guy appeared in a bubble.  I also found that no matter where you scroll on the page, the bubble moves to stay in view.  I know that’s nothing new, but the idea of a bubble video comment is just too cool.

I wanted more so I clicked on the article’s author, David Armano.  It took me to his blog, Logic + Emotion and after a little poking around, I found he was intrigued by the bubble, too, and had a link to the service’s site, Bubble Comment.

The first thing that came to mind is testimonials from students on our Mansfield University home page.  On our Admissions page.  Department pages.  Alumni testimonials or messages.

The free version allows messages up to 30 seconds. . . .Well, you can check out the services and limitations.

Let me know if you can think of other applications.

Animoto, YouTube & Summer Camps

I love Animoto. I’ve written previously about doing several productions on commencement and alumni weekend, packaging dozens of photos with music using Animoto and posting them on Youtube. They’ve brought a whole new audiences to us.

Last week we discovered one more. As Christie, my student employee, and I stood out of the porch enjoying a break, a helicopter flew over and circled. “What’s up with that?” Christie asked.

“It’s for Camp Cadet,” I said, realizing I’d forgotten all about it. The helicopter landed behind the mountain on the football field for a demonstration. “Let’s send Matt up for photos,” I said.

Christie was way ahead of me. She and Matt spent the next three days photographing. Photos of the helicopter demo, the session with the drug-sniffing dog, covering a simulated crime scene, and lots of marching.

Camp cadet is sponsored by the State Police. The kids get up at 5:30 every morning, work out, eat breakfast and get on with activities, moving to each new spot in that well-rehearsed march which the kids seem to love.

“I have yet to get a picture of someone smiling,” Christie said after the third day. They were a pretty serious bunch. She went to the cafeteria during lunch. As she took photos she told the kids they were going to be on Youtube. The kids were excited. The counselors were excited. The State Police were excited.

At the end of the week, armed with several hundred photos, Christie spent the weekend producing two shows for Youtube.

Now I’m figuring that every kid will go home and check Youtube. They will text friends. Parents will check it out and call friends and relatives. It sounds like the state police will spread the word among their colleagues.

Again, these are new audiences we wouldn’t otherwise have had.

I’m not concerned about recruiting students. In this case I’m more interested in giving people that something extra, finding new viewers and underscoring that Mansfield is up on the technology.

And yes, we’re going to cover some more camps.

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts 21

It finally feels like summer. The lawn is mowed and trimmed, the tomatoes are planted and the blisters are turning into calluses.


Excellent article on how H&R Block successfully marketed their brand on social sites, YouTube and Twitter. Some good lessons here.


Marketing guru Steve Rubel makes a prediction about social sites that’s a little unsettling for us in marketing and advertising.


Some thoughtful speculation about TV advertising “While Many Have Rung Its Death Knell, the Pendulum Is Swinging Back to TV.” No wonder I’m in a continual state of confusion.


In a recent post , “Imagined Identity: Envisioning the Future of Social Networks,”

Fred Stutzman sees three themes emerging: Closeness, Curation and Imagined Identity. Fred’s blog is Unit Structures.


According to Social Media Trader, If People Love You They’ll Pay To Promote You. Can this be migrated  to higher education?


I mentioned in Sunday Afternoon Thoughts 19 that my multi-media experiment at commencement was partially successful. What I didn’t mention was that I recorded the commencement speaker with the Flip. I was too far away and it was boring. So my student took the audio, and the several hundred still shots taken between my photographer, news director and myself, and assembled a slide show with his address as the audio. It’s too long for YouTube but we’re airing on the area cable TV station.

Fortunately the address is interesting and gives some context of the photos of excited graduates, our president hugging nearly everyone of them, proud, parents, siblings, the crowds in the bleachers and the stunning scenery.

I mention this because we wound up with two YouTube videos, a cable TV show, and it’s the first time we’ve used more than a handful of commencement photos.


Martha Horton is a retired college PR director who’s been a friend for more than 30 years. She’s published her first novel, Faun, loosely based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun. The mystery, set in today’s Rome is well-paced, well-written and literate. Martha knows a lot about fine food, wine, music, literature and history and weaves it throughout this witty, suspenseful work. Check it out.