Modern day press clippings made easy

You may still have a photo album or four sitting around your office holding press clippings from your early days on the job; but nowadays, with online news, social media, bloggers, and more, it can be difficult to maintain a thorough collection of the news circulating about your district.

Enter Storify. Storify is an online tool used to gather, save and share online content. I relied on it first in grad school to collect online research on story topics and to monitor current stories about what I thought was a novel story idea. Now, I use it as my online press clippings album for what is actually put in print about my district.

Within Storify, you can set up feeds, or “stories,” by collecting and organizing various media from various platforms – from Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter to Getty Images, Google Plus and Flickr. You can search news feeds, images, even set up RSS feeds. You can organize by date, topic or media type – it’s all up to you. You can make your “stories” private or share them with the public. You can even share links to collections to show others all the media on a particular issue or accomplishment.

If, like me, you have Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts set up, you can easily enable the Storify Chrome Extensions and your press clipping file is now just a click (or share) away.

Of course, as a former journalist, I’m still fond of starting my day with the Metro section in hand. But now, I can save myself from the missed articles, inky fingerprints and tape, glue and photo books all over my office. Now I may never have to take a pair of scissors to a newspaper again!

What do you think? Do you have a way of keeping track of media reported about your district? Share your tools or tips with us!

Keep your social media feeds fresh with crowdsourced content and Buffer

As school PR pros, we understand we can’t cover every good story going on in our districts. The beauty of social media, however, is that everyone is now empowered as a broadcaster, and there are scores of school and district brand ambassadors out there sharing the good stories to their own followers. By tapping into the crowdsourced content created by teachers, PTAs, parents, student groups and alumni, we share their good news to a larger crowd and keep our social media feeds fresh.

When I find crowdsourced content to share, I use a tool called Buffer to queue it to be published at a later time. There are a number of benefits I enjoy by using Buffer:

    • Buffer spreads the content out in a more natural pattern so that you don’t bombard your followers with multiple posts in a few minutes.
    • It allows you to set your content to be published during optimal viewing times, when most of your followers are online. To find out what those times are, use tools like Tweriod or SocialBro for Twitter, and Insights for Facebook.
    • Buffer supports both the native and manual retweets. Retweet with comment doesn’t seem to work, however.
    • If you install the Buffer extension for your Firefox or Chrome browser, Buffer will install a button for you to queue up content straight from the Facebook, Twitter and Tweetdeck websites.

I did a one-week experiment of using only Hootsuite for our social media updates, and I quickly realized how I can’t live without Buffer.

Do you use a similar tool to queue and spread out your social media posts? How do you take advantage of crowdsourced content?

Boosting Engagement on Our District Facebook Page

My team has been working on increasing our engagement on our district Facebook page, and we’ve seen some success. Our organic post reach was 1,397 in January, and it was 3,710 in May.

Here are some things we found effective for boosting engagement:

  • Video:
    For a while, Facebook didn’t show how many views a video received, so we just embedded the YouTube link. Now that Facebook shows this data, we take advantage of the fact that videos uploaded to Facebook auto-play in users’ feeds and the site pushes them more.
  • Tagging:
    At first, I didn’t tag people I knew in our photos, but when I recently started doing this, traffic soared. I also learned that I can tag friends of friends, and this allows me to tag people in almost every photo. It helps that I’ve been in my district a long time, so I’m Facebook friends with lots of people.
  • Driving Traffic:
    In each edition of our email newsletter, we include a link to a Facebook photo album that we’ve been populating throughout the month. This brings in traffic from patrons who might not have visited our page in a while, as well as a few folks who are Facebook-phobic.

    Our research told us that our audiences, especially our internal audiences, want to see something from every school. So my team works carefully every month to make sure we have something from all 16 schools in our photo album. This is boosting our click rates from the email newsletter.