A Showcase of Innovative Storytelling Across Higher Ed

(Retired)

A Showcase of Innovative Storytelling Across Higher Ed

(Retired)

Table of Contents


Overview

A Showcase of Innovative Storytelling
Mechanisms Across Higher Ed

One of the most effective ways to get prospective students interested in your institution is to have current students speak directly to them through their own voice and storytelling. Use this resource to inspire your next student vlog, blog or social media “take-over” campaign.

#StudentsofFLC – Fort Lewis College

#StudentsofFLC

  1. What do you call this piece? #StudentsofFLC
  2. What is its backstory? Is it part of a bigger campaign or program? Please explain. One of the new strategic plan and social media goals is to put students at the center. This campaign is the perfect way to put students at the center of our social media by talking with them and learning about their lives.
  3. Who is the target audience? The target audience for this campaign is potential students who are trying to get an idea of the student life here without actually being a student. Another audience that we are targeting is our first-year students who are not involved. We want them to hear about what other students are doing to get them to join clubs and talk with their professors and peers. The last audience we wanted to target is community members and alumni. We want to show this group that our students are doing amazing things.
  4. What was its goal? Encourage student involvement to help increase student retention.
  5. Was the goal achieved? I don’t believe retention numbers have been affected by this initiative at this point, but the increased engagement and high-quality marketing content will only help us.  
  6. What specific successes resulted from your submission? Do you have any interesting statistics? There has been higher engagement on the #StudentsOfFLC posts with users commenting on the amazing things that others are doing. This is a success for us because it shows that people care about what their peers are doing.
  7. What would you try differently next time? Any “lessons learned?” We’ve already made quite a few adjustments to the content creation. The original plan was much more casual — we would aim to find students on a break on campus, take a casual iphone pic, and transcribe their story verbatim. As the series went on, we saw the value of increasing the production value and the caliber of student we’re featuring. Now the students are chosen in advance, sometimes from recommendations from faculty and staff. Our digital marketing assistant and photographer, and sometimes a writer, coordinate a time to meet with the student. Now we have brilliant testimonials and high-quality photos to use in other marketing materials. In addition, we’re constantly looking for ways to tweak the process to better highlight who are students really are. One student we interviewed has a separate drag persona and to take advantage of this unique student we are doing a double feature as Brandon, Anthropology Student and Mia, Brandon’s drag persona & LGBTQ member. Each time we talk with a student and learn more about who they are a new individualized idea for the campaign comes up.


Examples from Fort Lewis College

Duke Decision Day Stories – Duke University

  1. What do you call this piece? Duke Decision Day Stories
  2. What is its backstory? Is it part of a bigger campaign or program? Please explain.The students shot this video to welcome high school students accepted to Duke during Early Decision period in December 2018.
  3. Who is the target audience? Students accepted during Early Decision
  4. What was its goal? To congratulate students accepted during Early Decision and bring some nostalgia to current students and alumni
  5. Was the goal achieved? We got lots of great comments on the video, including some that claimed it made them cry!
  6. What specific successes resulted from your submission? Do you have any interesting statistics? This is the 3rd highest performing video on our channel with 3,014 views. 100% of those views came from 18-24 year olds, so we hit our target audience well. Two of the three comments on the video came from prospective students interacting with each other.
  7. What would you try differently next time? Any “lessons learned?” Videos like this one are targeted at incoming students, but they resonate strongly with current students as well. We all have these stories, and they make us emotional! Sharing on our personal accounts (as Editors) elicits more authentic engagement/reactions. I shared the video on my personal profile and had several seniors message me about how bittersweet it was to watch the video. 
Fighting Cancer with Atomic Physics – Whittier College

  1. What do you call this piece? Fighting Cancer with Atomic Physics
  2. What is its backstory? Is it part of a bigger campaign or program? Please explain. We have a mission to showcase impressive student stories. 
  3. Who is the target audience? The target audience for this campaign is potential students who are trying to get an idea of the student life here without actually being a student. Another audience that we are targeting is our first-year students who are not involved. We want them to hear about what other students are doing to get them to join clubs and talk with their professors and peers. The last audience we wanted to target is community members and alumni. We want to show this group that our students are doing amazing things.
  4. What was its goal? Encourage student involvement to help increase student retention.
  5. Was the goal achieved? I don’t believe retention numbers have been affected by this initiative at this point, but the increased engagement and high-quality marketing content will only help us.  
  6. What specific successes resulted from your submission? Do you have any interesting statistics? There has been higher engagement on the #StudentsOfFLC posts with users commenting on the amazing things that others are doing. This is a success for us because it shows that people care about what their peers are doing.
  7. What would you try differently next time? Any “lessons learned?” We’ve already made quite a few adjustments to the content creation. The original plan was much more casual — we would aim to find students on a break on campus, take a casual iphone pic, and transcribe their story verbatim. As the series went on, we saw the value of increasing the production value and the caliber of student we’re featuring. Now the students are chosen in advance, sometimes from recommendations from faculty and staff. Our digital marketing assistant and photographer, and sometimes a writer, coordinate a time to meet with the student. Now we have brilliant testimonials and high-quality photos to use in other marketing materials. In addition, we’re constantly looking for ways to tweak the process to better highlight who are students really are. One student we interviewed has a separate drag persona and to take advantage of this unique student we are doing a double feature as Brandon, Anthropology Student and Mia, Brandon’s drag persona & LGBTQ member. Each time we talk with a student and learn more about who they are a new individualized idea for the campaign comes up.

Dragons Den for Student Bloggers – University of Victoria

Dragons Den for Student Bloggers

  1. What do you call this piece? Dragons Den for Student Bloggers
  2. What is its backstory? Is it part of a bigger campaign or program? Please explain.The MyUVic Life student blog has been running for almost 4 years and has earned almost 3 million page views. It’s a blog for students, by students and has been extremely successful for student recruitment and building a sense of community on campus. An ongoing challenge we’ve had is: how do you motivate students to tell certain kinds of stories, without jeopardizing the authenticity of the blog? We created an innovative “Dragon’s Den” style of competition for our bloggers to meet this challenge. In this year’s competition, our student bloggers pitched creative ideas for blog posts to a panel of judges. Their ideas had to align with The UVic Edge—our university’s brand and core identity—which we described to them in informal, non-marketing terms. Each idea was eligible to receive $100, but in the end, we promised funds to everyone who pitched an idea. This competition provided the university with blog posts that both authentically expressed the UVic student experience and communicated The UVic Edge brand to future students.
  3. Who is the target audience? Prospective students
  4. What was its goal? Recruitment
  5. Was the goal achieved? Yes. Two of the students really went above and beyond. They had experiences that they would not have otherwise had without this contest and wrote great stories to share them!
  6. What specific successes resulted from your submission? The primary goal was to create student blog posts that told The UVic Edge story. Combined, these 5 blog posts had nearly 3,000 page views and reached 22,266 people. We also shared photos, quotes, and links to blog posts on our Facebook page. Five students carried out their proposed projects and wrote blog posts about it: 
    • Isabel visited an Indigenous community to follow up on a language-teaching resource that she created as a class project.
    • Talen attended a conference and at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.
    • Salma bought a bike trailer for the Community Cabbage, a student club that focuses on sustainability and food security.
    • Hannah talked to students about why they had become vegans and took photos of them with their favourite vegetables.
    • Jacob went on a mini road trip with a fellow student and told the story about why she moved to Victoria from New Brunswick. 
  7. What would you try differently next time? Any lessons learned? Many students had ideas that they could not finish. I would like to try to better support them by giving them more time and checking in more often.


5 student blog post examples

Day-in-the-Life of a Student Athlete – University of Alberta

  1. What do you call this piece? Day-in-the-Life of a Student Athlete
  2. What is its backstory? Is it part of a bigger campaign or program? Please explain. This vlog of Julia, a mechanical engineering student and varsity volleyball player, was the first Facebook post of 20 in a social media campaign called “Changing Lives Week: #20ofMany Ways UAlberta Donors Change Lives.” It’s a week long campaign that ran Jan. 21-25, 2019. It was created with the purpose to increase awareness of the positive impacts of philanthropy at the University of Alberta. 
  3. Who is the target audience? Alumni, Donors
  4. What was its goal? General engagement 
  5. Was the goal achieved? Yes. The post garnered a publicly pledged monthly gift and publicly pledged volunteer commitment. 
  6. What specific successes resulted from your submission? Do you have any interesting statistics? We used our alumni page (8,000 followers) and paid to boost the post for a 24-hour period. To date, it has received 342 reactions, 35 comments, and 72 shares, resulting in 56,000 views. Julia’s vlog has proven to be our highest performing video on social media. 
  7. What would you try differently next time? Any “lessons learned?” We would try to cater the video more to Facebook viewer habits – shorter, and with some key messaging before the 30-second point. We’d also like to add captioning for sound-off viewing. 




w a n t  m o r e 

Storytelling Examples?


See them Here

Why is this event retired?

At AI we want to always ensure that the best and most current trainings are available to members, and we regularly review our trainings to ensure that is the case.