AGLS Communicators Nov. 14, 2012

In this meeting I highlighted a few tools you can use to help find, post and share content more efficiently.

Google Reader:
The Reader allows you to add multiple RSS feeds or content sources and see them all in one place. You can also have multiple folders to assist with sorting and filtering results. To add additional folders, select a feed and visit Feed Settings/Change Folders/New Folder.

Google Alerts was also brought up during the meeting as a great way to find content from other sources based on a keyword search. Alerts will pull articles from newspapers and blogs across the country and world. This is especially great for finding alumni stories.

Press It:
If you are using a WordPress CMS (either on our servers or your own) you should have access to the Press It tool. Visit the Tool section of the dashboard. On the main page for that section, you should be able to click and drag the gray Press This button into your bookmark bar at the top of your browser. Keep in mind that every Press It bookmarklet is specific to that website, so if you plan to use this tool on multiple sites you will need to get a different bookmark for each. I recommend renaming them as well to keep each straight.

The Press It tool will allow you to pull content from other websites and publish it to yours as a post. It will automatically include a link to the original source at the bottom of the post. Please do be mindful of where you are pulling content from and if they could consider it plagiarism or inappropriate. For the College, I only pull content from other TAMU sites.

To use the tool, highlight the text or story you would like to “press” and then click the appropriate Press It in your bookmark bar. A pop up window should appear showing your post and allowing for editing, tagging, etc. before you publish it. It does have a few quirks. I’ve found that on the initial copy/Press It, often any photos will not come through. To fix this, I will only highlight the text up to the photo and then copy and paste the rest directly into the pop up. Also, sometimes you will have to adjust paragraph spacing and such depending on how the original story was posted.

Social Media Scheduling Spreadsheet:
The final item I showed was the scheduling spreadsheet I adapted from an example from the U.S. Army. This is the tool we use to plan and schedule the majority of our social posts each week and allows you to easily add in a basic strategy based on university core values and college priorities. Of course, the nature of social media demands flexibility so we always leave some spaces and opportunities to post other items as they come up. And now that you can schedule posts directly through Facebook, you can complete your main posts all at the same time and schedule them to run throughout the week.

This template can be adapted for any number of accounts. You can even add in blog post scheduling or email newsletters so all your schedules are together.

Get my version of the Excel template that you can adapt.

View an example from the Army.

If you have any questions or would like tutorials on any of these tools, please feel free to contact Amy Wells.


Print/Branding updates from John Chivvis:

  • Talked to Dr. Sams regarding branding and he’s on board with providing flexibility. Those of you who provided examples, thanks for that. They helped.
    • Departments will be able to use their own “departmental version” of the university mark — with caveats!
      • First, decide what identity/brand helps you out best, the college or the department, then use that mark.
      • For example, in most print pieces, if you choose to use the lockup with the aTm and your department, then you’ll need to make sure the College mark is located somewhere else on the piece, or type treatment.
      • On shirts and small collateral (name tags) use of the departmental mark will be fine.
      • Use of the maroon on white and white on maroon have rules too, and I’ll be documenting those as well.
    • I will put each departments mark out online on the communicators page as a zip file with EPS, AI, PDF, PNG and JPG versions in white and maroon. I’m still contemplating offering the “stacked” version, too. (These will be available soon and I will send an email out when their ready for download.)
    • Dr. Sams has mentioned using the Brand Guide site templates, so we will want to visit/survey those. I have modified a couple of the templates already. We also need to address how/where these will be printed. If on your own printers, then we can’t do bleeds. If using Copy Services, then we can run bleeds easily.
    • We will be making use of the university fonts, too. Frutiger and ITC New Baskerville if you don’t have them.
    • As for colors, we use the university’s Brand Guide but we’ve added the agency colors, too. Thanks to Michaela Muck in the VC’s Office for putting that together for us. Download the color palette here.

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