How to communicate to faculty and staff
By Jackie Todd, University Relations
Faculty and staff on a robust, active campus have an opportunity to learn about myriad issues and engage in many events. Clemson promotes faculty and staff engagement and shares university-level information with them through a number of channels. By understanding your communication goals, knowing what engages your audiences and using appropriate channels to deliver your information, you’ll be able to share your campus news effectively.
Use these tips:
Know your goal. How do you want your audience to think, feel and act? After reading your article or announcement, what do you want them to do?
Know your audience. Who are you really trying to reach? Faculty, staff, students, alumni? Make sure that your news is appropriate for your audience and something that is pertinent to them. Saying that you want to “invite everyone” to your event, or “get the word out” to everyone does not mean it’s pertinent or even interesting to everyone. Using that “blanket approach” rarely works because although you think it’s something that will interest them, they do not see the “what’s in it for me” value.
Target your audience. If your article or announcement involves or will interest a small segment of people, target it to that audience. If you’re hosting an event, invite people who have participated in the past. Analyze the subject matter of your article or event and determine who that will appeal to.
Know your (internal) channels. A number of channels exist to help carry your message.
- The university calendar is the appropriate place for ALL events that are either university-sponsored or take place at the university. Submit your lectures, talks, trainings, exhibits, recognition lunches, receptions, etc. in the university calendar, which can be segmented by event type, target audience, department, location and more. To make your event a featured event on the university calendar home page, send an email to email@example.com with that request.
- The faculty and staff web page has an Inside Clemson news tab, as well as a number of resources and helpful links on the page.
- The weekly Inside Clemson e-newsletter is distributed to faculty and staff (not students) on Wednesdays. Inside Clemson news is typically pulled from Clemson’s Newsstand, the faculty and staff web page and the university calendar.
- What to do
- Submit on time: The deadline for requests to include your content is 4:30 p.m. Mondays.
- Include the URL/Webpage where your announcement is posted.
- Keep your content concise: Be sure to include the who, what, when, where and why in your article. It’s crucial to include the “what’s in it for me” for your audience – why does/should your audience care about your news? What’s in it for them? How do you want your audience to think, feel or act? Also provide contact information, should your audience have additional questions.
- Consider posting a picture with your article, which attracts reader interest.
- Plan accordingly to time the release of your information in Inside Clemson. (For example, if you submit a calendar event, plan to run it about a week before your event takes place.) We do not repeat articles or events, because of the high demand of requests for content to appear in the e-newsletter, so it’s crucial that you plan accordingly. Remember that we run items space-pending.
- Do not submit flyers, because we can’t attach them to the newsletter and the format does not support flyers. Your information must be submitted as an announcement or article.
- Keep content relevant to a large-scale audience. Topics or events that are pertinent to a smaller segment of your audience should be targeted toward that audience for best results.
- Digital signage on the main campus can be used to supplement your events. University Relations and CCIT control a small area in most on-campus digital screens.
- What to do
- To submit your event, create a 1024 x 768 slide (.jpg format, low file size) with the basics of your event. Because the area on the monitor is small, be sure to include fewer words – typically the name of the event, date, time and place. Pictures attract attention, so include some kind of graphic. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the exact dates that your slide should run. Give us at least a week to post the slide to the monitors.
- Faculty and Staff Senates meet the second Tuesday of each month and include an open discussion time where guests can present their topic(s).
- Social Media is easy and ideal, particularly if you want to reach students.
- What to do
- Publicize your event on your Facebook, Twitter and or Instagram accounts. Tag influencers in social media who can help carry your message.
Believe it or not, low tech works. Place flyers in high pedestrian traffic areas on campus, or use lawn tents.
Snail Mail is the often overlooked communication channel. A nice invitation delivered directly to an employee’s inbox is both free (through interoffice mail) and might be a better approach than an email to a jam-packed email inbox.
Brown bag luncheons are an effective way to get your message to groups under 30 or so members. Book a smart classroom for lunch and promise great collegiality during a working lunch.
Things to avoid
Creating noise. Don’t send blast emails that add to employees’ already overburdened inboxes. They cause frustration and may cause faculty and staff to miss important university-level messages.
Late planning. Don’t plan communications late in the process. It should be one of the first things you think about as you plan your message.
Sending everything to everyone. Don’t use a “blanket approach” to send communications out to all audiences, even if the content is not of interest, or not pertinent to them. While it might be easy for the sender, it’s not effective for your audience. Remember, it’s about them.
For questions or more information, contact me at email@example.com.