What I want most from my content is for it to be seen. And, concurrently, appreciated. There’s nothing more aggravating to me than a project that I’ve invested time, creativity, and energy into that never sees the light of day. What’s the point of what we do without an audience?
I spend most of the year thinking about students (both prospective and current) and what content really speaks to them. Alumni are mostly a bonus (some of them truly love seeing what’s happening on campus), and donors become front and center at different points throughout the year. I’ve yet to create any content that focuses specifically on parents, but I do have a project in the works this summer that’s a bit of a double hitter. These are my audiences, and every day I spend here I get to know them better and better.
You know what audience I don’t create for? My colleagues in this field. It never crosses my mind that someone from another institution might find my work innovative or inspiring (although those are definite goals of mine.) But their attention means the world to me—a fact that became painfully apparent this week after I had the distinct honor of receiving a CASE Silver award for my ongoing academically focused Instagram series at Colby: Crash Course.
There aren’t many organizations that allow friendly competition and recognition among colleges and universities of all sizes and geographies, so CASE’s Circle of Excellence awards are a big deal in this industry. This year’s competition boasted over 2,856 submissions this year from 611 schools from 20 countries. My boss is actually calling us the ‘North American Champions’ because University of Nottingham took the Gold in our category.
It’s always rewarding to receive positive view counts, retention rates, engagement, and face-to-face feedback on your content. It’s satisfying to see and understand your success, to be able to back it up with data and refine your product as you go. But there is nothing quite like recognition from your peers for the work that you do. To really know that putting your heart and soul into a project is apparent to any audience (and that they find your numbers just as encouraging as you do.)
I really love this job. And, damn it, I’m good at it. It’s nice to have that recognized outside of my institution every now and again.