Category Archives: At Michigan Tech


Meeting Photography Needs

As marketing requests have grown and as an emphasis on visuals through print, social media, and websites have continued to expand, the need for quality photography in our projects has changed over time.

In response to this shifting dynamic, our University photographer, Sarah Bird, has shifted to a marketing photographer role.

Sarah will focus on producing the visuals that bring UMC projects to life. She will capture the people, experiences, and opportunities of Michigan Tech in a way that represents and enhances our brand. She will work with departments, groups, and areas on high-impact, external-facing projects.

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OU Campus: A Better CMS for All

We are excited to begin rolling out our new CMS product, OU Campus, beginning in April. We have created an entirely new printed workbook and corresponding blog posts to help campus learn this new system.

There are many things that are easier to do in OU Campus. Each webpage will have a shortcut link in the footer that you can use to easily access and update content directly in the CMS. The update process will be more visual: no more slotting or creating multiple Highlights before assembling your webpage. You’ll be able to publish your changes instantly, instead of waiting for the next scheduled publish.

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Switching CMS Vendors

In response to ongoing feedback, the Digital Services team is working to switch CMS vendors. Our new product will be OU Campus, powered by OmniUpdate. OmniUpdate was founded in 1982 and began serving higher education institutions in 2001. Unlike our current product, OU Campus has undergone numerous upgrades over the past decade to keep up with industry trends and best practices.

We went through a rigorous process to choose a new vendor. An important last step was to demo OU Campus to a number of CMS users across campus. Feedback was very positive with many asking how soon they could make the switch. We’re excited to provide this new technology to campus.

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Heading to Memphis

Three members from the Digital Services team (Gail, Q, and I) will be traveling to Memphis for the HighEdWeb 2016 annual conference in mid October. If you haven’t heard of this conference, it is wonderful. Web professionals from colleges and universities across the country come together to talk shop. Working in higher education provides a unique set of challenges and who better to get advice from than from your peers—people who have and understand the same problems as you?

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Avoid Duplicating Meta Descriptions

Often times, it is easiest to copy something that you have already made in the CMS, to use as a starting point. Am I right? This is particularly true with Generic Pages. You’ve already made this particularly awesome webpage and now you want to copy it. You duplicate the item in the CMS, update the content, send it to Public and you’re done with it. Easy! One issue that we are seeing more and more though, is duplicated meta descriptions. This is often because people don’t know what a meta description is or why it is important.

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Will My iPhone Photo Work?

Our new CMS templates put a premium on photography. Compelling images help tell better stories. They catch your eye and draw you in. Make you say ‘wow.’ A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Everyone seems to have a smartphone with an amazing camera these days. My iPhone goes everywhere with me. I’m sure yours does too. It can capture a photo from your research lab as you conduct a new experiment. Your internship in Silicon Valley. Your kayak ride on the canal. Or mountain biking on the Tech trails. There are many opportunities to capture the Michigan Tech story each day.

Lately, more people have been asking if an iPhone photo is high enough quality for a CMS webpage. The answer is “it depends.”

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Know Your Audience

As we move through 150 CMS websites, upgrading to our latest template, we have been getting a number of disheartening requests for featured homepage content. Because of this, I would like to offer a friendly reminder to know your audience.

Example 1: An Academic or Donation Website?

We had one academic department wish to ask for donations boldly at the top of their homepage. My question is: what is their main mission? I would hope that it is to attract and educate students and not to simply raise money. Obviously, attracting donors, connecting with alumni, and securing sponsored research is important. I get that. However, if I am a 17 year old high school student looking at your program information and I’m asked about donating as my first interaction with your department, do you think I will come to Michigan Tech?

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Grow Your Social Media Audience

It’s seldom as simple as launching a Facebook or Twitter pageand boom—there’s your captive audience. It takes a little time and a lot of effort. Here are a few ways to gain quality Michigan Tech fans and followers:

  • Integrate social media into your larger communication plan; setting goals and tracking metrics keeps your social media targeted and strategic.
  • Add social icons and a call to action in your printed collateral and e-newsletters. Tell your audience what kinds of content they can expect and where to go (URL) to like/follow the page.
  • During events, ask folks to like and follow your pages. Leverage the opportunity to grow your social media audience when you are speaking to several hundred people—who happen to already love the University. Ask them to take our their smart phone and hit ‘like’. Seriously. Give it a try!
  • Ask the campus community to like and follow your pages in a Tech Today post. You might even consider quarterly reminders.
  • Like and follow other Michigan Tech accounts. Upon launching your accounts, this is one of the best, first steps (after you load your page with a bit of content).
  • Regularly like and follow key industry, research, or partner pages. Interact regularly to stay visible. Remember, social media is not just a megaphone to
    shout messages—it’s a real conversation.
  • Perhaps the most important way to expand your reach is through consistent, quality content. Check out our Social Media Field Guide for more best practices and ideas (2017 edition coming soon!).

What are some of your tried-and-true ways to grow your Michigan Tech social media pages? Email social@mtu.edu.

Shannon Rinkinen
Brand and Social Media Manager