August 17, 2016 | Sarah Sullivan | Digital Strategist

Westwerk Presents at 2016 EduWeb Digital Summit [Google Slides Deck]

EduWeb Digital Summit, a conference for higher ed. marketing and communications professionals, invited me to give a presentation on “Designing your Website with Google Analytics in Mind.”

Full conference room at EduWeb 2016 for Westwerk's presentation
Sarah Sullivan presenting at EduWeb 2016: “Designing Your Website with Google Analytics in Mind”

 Higher Ed. presentation deck provided at the end of this post!

The conference took place Aug. 1 -3 in beautiful (and hot) Denver, CO. There were a lot of excellent speakers, representing both institutions and agencies. But the keynote speakers were particularly noteworthy.

Opening Keynote – Rob Humphrey / LinkedIn

The opening keynote address was presented by LinkedIn’s Rob Humphrey and was titled “The Modern Student and the Digital Imperative.” He drew a distinction between when he was choosing colleges (almost 20 years ago) and his children’s experiences today, highlighting where LinkedIn can play a critical role for the “modern” student.

LinkedIn isn’t just a networking tool for employers and working professionals but, increasingly, high school and college students. There are 433 million LinkedIn members; students are the fastest growing and most engaged cohort.

LinkedIn actively develops functionality, like the Alumni Tool, to appeal to this demographic. The social network is well-positioned as a content sharing tool and Humphrey encouraged the Higher Ed. representatives in the room to leverage those capabilities more fully by:

  • Performing Content Marketing on staff and lecturer profiles, career advice, and expert commentary & reviews
  • Using infographics
  • Being relevant and helpful to prospective students

Closing Keynote – Seth Odell / Helix Education

In his closing keynote address, “Uphill Both Ways: How to Make Meaningful Change When Everything’s Against You”, Seth Odell had inspirational remarks for anyone that experienced roadblocks or adversity when trying to affect change in their workplace.

Some of the key takeaways that particularly resonated with me included:

If you find yourself giving a big pitch in a presentation for the first time you’ve already lost – meaning you haven’t tested out the idea in one-on-one conversations and greased the wheels enough before making the big ask.

Pitch the idea, not the execution. Get just enough buy-in to build the plan. Always secure buy-in before budget (buy-in and budget are two different things).
Research and prove the idea, generate excitement but don’t rush into HOW it’s going to be accomplished right away because often times that can turn a “yes” into a “no” due to cost or time.

When we’re aligned on where we want to go, we don’t need permission on how to get there. Your mileage may vary on this one depending on your work culture. Communication is still critical, but when the whole team is aware of the mission and goal, individuals don’t need sign-off on day-to-day or month-to-month initiatives as long as those tasks are moving the organization towards the mutually understood finish line.

Risk Analysis can uncover the risk of NOT taking action.
When we think about risk assessment it’s often in terms of what the risk is to enacting the initiative or change, but it’s also important to assess the risk of NOT taking that action and maintaining the status quo. How much business or exposure are you potentially losing?

Coming up with big ideas takes work but approving big ideas takes courage.
This one is a nod to the managers, boards and CEOs that approve big ideas and it’s a helpful reminder that those people are accountable for the overall success of the business or institution. Approving innovative or sweeping initiatives isn’t easy!

Don’t take credit! If leadership thinks it was their idea or wants to take credit that is still a big win for you!

Higher Ed. Presentation Deck

Overall it was a great conference experience and the EduWeb team were gracious hosts. Check out my presentation tailored to Higher Ed. institutions looking to strategically plan their websites around data acquisition.

Tip: Click the “gear” icon from the control panel above and select “Open Speaker Notes” to get detailed notes for the slides.

Checkout the blog post that started it all (recently updated!).

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