Google Insights analyzes search phrases people use when searching the Internet, and found one trend they call the Age of Assistance. This fits well with what we do at Extension. Audiences come to the Extension website to find helpful resources, and in today’s online world they skim the content to quickly see if it meets their needs.

Google Insights discovered people are increasingly researching everything to either know what to expect or to make decisions.

People ask for:

  • Specific ideas (e.g. recipe ideas)
  • Things to avoid (e.g. pesticides to avoid),
  • What is best for me in my situation (e.g. best with my soil type).

They expect to find these answers online. Did you write your content in a way to come up in these type of searches?

Writing for the Web vs. for Print

Once on our website, will they decide to stay? When an article looks difficult to read, it sends a message that the topic will be difficult to do. By applying some simple changes to your content, you can make it more readable, and it will also encourage visitors to dig in and use it.

Some examples include:

  • Lead with the most important point
  • Break content into short, readable chunks

Many have done this already with content online; see a comparison table for even more user-tested guidelines when Writing for the Web.

Highlighted Points

You may have seen pull quotes in magazine articles, where an important or interesting sentence is enlarged and stylized. You can now do this for articles on the Extension website to catch the attention of browsing visitors. Just copy the sentence you want, paste on a separate line, highlight it, and click the “insert pull quote” icon in the tool bar.

Social Media or E-News Blurbs

If you took the time to write and post an article, then take a second to think how you can promote it so people want to click and read more.

The Teaser section of the editing screen includes a description field that shows up in search results and can be used for e-newsletters. On articles and videos, there’s also a new place to craft a Facebook post or short tweet, which will come in handy in the longer-term digital strategy.

Getting Started

For new content added to the website or when you’re reviewing existing content, keep the above suggestions in mind. However, for the several hundred articles already published on the Extension website, the EESC publications team will copyedit articles using the EESC style guide and apply these practices along the way. The content stays published while EESC and the Content Team leader work on revising and approving it. It will not affect the publishing process nor visibility of the content to the public. Here’s the process for content team leaders and links to learn more:

Read the full details of this EESC Copyediting process in the Extension Website User Guide under Managing Content.

List of changes to the web guide

When we have updates to the website, we will let you know at the end of all our future blog posts. Here’s one not already mentioned above:

There are new tagging fields on educational content to be used for internal reporting and sorting as part of the future digital strategy.

  • Season – is there a specific time of year this article or video is about?
  • Marketing Category – is there a specific theme this content fits?
  • Audience – is this content meant for a commercial or home audience?
  • Language – is this content in a language other than English (this was an existing field)?
  • Diversity and Inclusion checkbox – is this article or video specifically representing or addressing equity or social justice issues?

Navigator Update

As an organization, we’ve all been heads-down, working hard, and focused on the Extension website for the past year. We’ve made great progress, but this is just one component of an overall digital strategy that we call “Navigator.” It’s a good time to celebrate how far we’ve come, focus on next steps, and look ahead.

Navigor slide deck imageYou may be wondering:

  • What is Navigator?
  • How does this relate to the Extension website?
  • How does this connect to our CRM (Salesforce)?
  • What’s important for me to know or do right now?

We shared a general Navigator update at the May 17 Outreach & Engagement Quarterly conversation to answer these questions and provide more information. You can watch the recording (starts at 1:30) or view the slides. If you’re in a hurry, skip to the last two slides for tips on what to know and do right now, and where to learn more (hint: beav.es/navigator)

We’ve also revised the homepage for the project website to provide quick, easy access to common questions and helpful resources.

And as always, we welcome your comments and questions.

 

Upcoming webinars

Managing County Landing Pages and Local Focus Areas

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2:00 4:00 pm
Friday, May 31, 2019 9:00 – 11:00 am

Presented by Bryan Mayjor

This series of webinars are geared towards staff and faculty who are responsible for managing County landing pages, announcements and events. Program and Content Team members are welcome to attend.

Learn about the new options for managing County landing pages, and Local focus areas.

The webinar will also cover basics such as:

  • logging in using DUO
  • editing your your website profile and photo
  • your role(s) and responsibilities

Connection details

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Meeting number: 926 421 616
https://oregonstate.webex.com/oregonstate/j.php?MTID=mba8857044232bad552e68e86dcd0310a

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 926 421 616

Friday, May 31, 2019 9:00 – 11:00 am
Meeting number: 920 145 176

https://oregonstate.webex.com/oregonstate/k2/j.php?MTID=t076ed23b5c0de87cdf34c2a4df4ba482

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0002 US Toll
Access code: 924 232 853

 

 

Extension Website updates

List of recent updates and changes:

  • County Social Media lists change of location: These used to be displayed on the sidebar navigation, now display on the landing page.
  • County faculty and staff listing: Regional Directors are now displayed at the end of list. Previously Regional Directors were listed first.
  • Ability to customize introductory text on local programs list pages (for statewide programs).
  • Fix non-local events showing in short list on landing page.
  • “Image Slider” paragraph type no longer crops images.

On the Extension website, we share practical educational resources that puts science into the hands of people across Oregon and beyond to help meet their local challenges.*

One of the essential commitments of this website change underway is to facilitate collaborative development of a customer-focused digital strategy based on content. Educational content on the website is driven by and managed by program area leaders (via faculty on content teams), and the content strategy is based on audience needs.

Priority is given to developing relevant, sharable content in OSU Extension’s new content management system. This content can then be shared many places, including the website.

Facilitate content strategy workshops

As faculty experts gather this summer to share projects of interest with each other, consider adding a content planning workshop to your agenda. What would this look like and what tools can you find to help facilitate this?

Extension’s content strategist** can work with content teams to facilitate interactive and reflective workshops, or develop templates for content team leaders to guide your own working groups. To plan, begin with three basic questions:

  1. Why are you doing this workshop?
  2. What do you need to get out of this?
  3. How will you get that?

The content strategy toolbox includes ideas such as:

  • Ways to define the top priority content you want to develop
  • Mapping your existing content to align it with audience questions
  • Creation of an audience journey map through the seasons
  • Development of a roles matrix and workflows to improve processes
  • Card sorting for tackling consistency in content keywords

If you would like a facilitated workshop, so the content team leader can fully participate in the activities, reach out early to collaborate on what would work best in the time and setting available.

Also, starting this summer the web and content strategy team will be looking more closely at your audiences’ experiences with the online content, both through direct user research and by digging into the analytics. Questions that have come up through discussions with content team leaders will be explored, and we may ask you to connect us to people you serve, while we reach out to those new to Extension. We want to learn what the public is looking for, and how that matches to what we provide.

Interested in a content planning workshop or want to explore more your audiences’ experiences? Contact the web and content strategy team to get started.

*This happens thanks to the faculty who work with Extension and Experiment Station Communications (EESC) to produce multimedia and catalog publications, and the also the new development of 38 content teams that create articles and share educational documents directly on the website. These include: Family and Community Health, Sea Grant, Forestry and Natural Resources, 34 Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources working groups, and a collaboration of three program areas focused on Youth Development.
**Michele Scheib

In a nutshell, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager, and what this means is it’s a type of software to organize, build, and maintain strong relationships.

At OSU Extension, it’s true we refer to the people in the communities we serve as something other than “customers,” so we will find another way to describe that part.

Yet we do know the nature of Extension getting work done across Oregon continues to be reliant on relationships. Thus, the ability to efficiently manage the ties by which we relate with individual communities becomes more and more critical.

A sample image of analyzing visits to a web site

The CRM development for Extension will be driven by the goal of strengthening relationships.

So, a big motivator to use a CRM software platform is to allow our organization to act more efficiently with, about, or on behalf of a contact—i.e. a relationship with a constituent or program partner—and in the long term, increase the overall value of that relationship over its lifespan.

Have you ever found yourself wondering “How often did I connect with this person on my region’s programs?” If so, as you begin to open up the CRM and review its reporting tools, you will find that answer!

Adding a set of technology tools that organize and analyze information about activities in your region allows OSU Extension Service to perform work efficiently, having an impact on more people over time without overtaxing existing resources. The eventual aim is to provide improved services to Oregonians by engaging in data-driven decision making, relying on information that shows us what has been relevant and successful in the past.

Salesforce logo

How does Salesforce fit into this conversation?

As far as CRMs go, they happen to have many shapes and sizes. The cloud-based software company, Salesforce, is at the top of this category. In recent years, OSU has made significant investments in Salesforce CRM infrastructure and this investment is growing.

The reasons to have selected Salesforce include the fact it offers many valuable and flexible features. And I am personally excited to begin exploring the benefits it can provide to your own operations.

As Extension’s impact grows, so does the need to manage relationships

As we apply a thoughtful process — informed by conversations I have with each of you — to the roll-out of CRM features to help you work, the benefits include:

  • 360-degree view of constituents and partners
    Awareness of all the points at which you interact with constituents can help you find and focus on individuals and what they truly need.
  • Enrich the relationships, person by person
    Insights drawn out by a CRM report will pinpoint potential program enhancements to deliver benefits to specific people or communities. That sense of individualized attention, known to be time consuming using current tools, can become a powerful communication method inside the CRM-driven outreach efforts.
  • Enhancing communication
    As you know from experience, learning all we can about people and their distinct needs matters. It makes it easier to add  relevancy to the information they receive from Extension. As new people come your way with perhaps more complex questions, a trove of details inside the CRM means you quickly see more about them in one place, making your response and advice more informed.
  • And many many more!

My name is Mark Kindred, and I am in the newly-established role of Salesforce Developer for OSU Extension Service and the division of Outreach & Engagement. In the coming months, many of you will hear from me as I begin a “needs assessment” phase of a longer-term CRM platform strategy. I look forward to talking with you and ensuring my work is in alignment with the business needs of your unit and the long-term strategy of the university.

The digital engagement strategy team looks forward to talking with you about how CRM is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits to you.

Use topic pages and tags so visitors find educational content

When visitors come to the Extension website, they want to see what information we have to answer the question on their mind or to discover what’s new. Topic menu pages (which include the landing page and the “Browse all Resources” pages for each topic) are a primary way for them to browse educational content.

  • Topic landing pages: 122,450 pageviews, 78% of visitors clicked on a link
  • Topic “browse all resources” pages: 15,038 pageviews (since rollout in October), 86% of visitors clicked on a link

The data shows that content is much more likely to be seen if it is tagged with a topic. On average, a piece of content on the site has received 57  views/downloads/clicks since November 2018. However, pieces of content tagged with at least one topic have received an average of 69 during the same time.

This effect is even greater if the content is featured on a topic landing page. Pageviews/downloads/clicks of content increases threefold (average of 319%) while the content is featured on a topic landing page compared to the period before it was featured.

What you can do to make sure visitors see your educational content:

  • Make sure to tag educational content with a topic. For most content types, the field where you can select the topic is in the second collapsed section on the edit screen.
  • If you tag content with a topic, be sure to also tag it with useful keywords so it is easier to find on the topic’s “Browse all resources” page. See the Tagging Guidelines in the Extension website guide.
  • Work with the topic’s committee to feature content that is especially important to audiences or seasonally relevant. Learn more about topic committees.

Now that the new county designs have launched, it’s time to focus on filling out content for your county’s focus areas. Here are some tips to get you started. Also, if you’re in Eastern Oregon, the web team is coming your way for a training this week (see more at the end of this blog post).

1. Review some examples

  • View a mockup of a local focus area at the end of this post. Includes annotations.
  • Review examples of county pages using the redesign and new focus areas: Tillamook county and Washington county. From the county page, click “What we do” in the county’s navigation. Items under “Highlights” are focus areas. We appreciate these county’s help with testing their current content in the new designs!

2. Choose user-friendly titles

When writing a title for your focus area, we recommend:

  • User-friendly titles: Use terms that are general and understandable for people unfamiliar with OSU Extension. Avoid using program names and internal jargon when possible.
  • Encouraging action: Show people how they can become involved (e.g., use “Preserve food at home” instead of “Food preservation”).
  • Concise titles: If a desired focus area is too big to use a simple phrase because it includes too many topics, it should probably be broken into multiple focus areas.

Here are some examples:

  • Activities for youth
  • Caring for your forestland
  • Grow your gardening skills
  • Start or grow your small farm
  • Preserve food at home

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like some help identifying focus area titles or how to organize content to fit within focus areas.

3. Select which types of local focus area

There are three options for focus areas:

  • 1) Display a custom page: this includes a place to add information about the local context, related resources, contact info, etc. See mockup at end of this blog post for an example.

Or, link to existing content:

  • 2) Link to a local program (for 4-H or MG): Links will take visitors directly to the landing page for that local program (i.e. Benton County 4-H).
  • 3) Link to an existing focus area in another county: if you would like to display a focus area that has been added by a different county (e.g. for a regional focus area), select it here. Links will take user directly to that focus area.

Select which desired option under “How to display” when creating a local focus area.

4. Create or edit a focus area

Read last week’s blog post for training materials to get started on creating or editing your focus areas.

The following focus areas have been or will been created for you:

  • Any content that is currently within county sub-pages. We’ll transition this content to focus areas for you.
  • 4-H and Master Gardener: These have been added. They link directly to county program pages (e.g., Gilliam County 4-H)
  • Gardening: A template for gardening is being developed.

You can change the order of focus areas on the ‘What we do’ page and select which three to include on the county landing page.

New locations for content in new design

County programs & local focus areas
Three focus areas are set to display on the county landing pages. The ‘What we do’ page also includes:

  • All focus areas: listed under the  ‘Highlighted’ heading.
  • Programs offered: Include all programs on the OSU Extension site that have been tagged with your county. See what is a program on the OSU Extension website.

Links to the ‘What we do’ page are in your county’s navigation. Links to 4-H and Master Gardener can now be found with focus areas.

Social media & newsletters
When the content is for:

  • The county as a whole (e.g., county newsletter): These go in the orange quick link bar on the county landing page.
  • A particular topic or program (e.g., Eastern Oregon Gardening Newsletter): These go in the orange quick link bar on the relevant local focus areas. County Master Gardener and 4-H social media are already part of local program pages, but can also be added to relevant focus areas.

We recommend using announcements to promote new newsletter issues.

County subpages
Content that is currently in county subpages will be transitioned to local focus areas by EESC. If we aren’t sure how to make the content fit, we’ll work with you to find a solution.

Eastern Oregon website trainings this week

You are invited to attend in-person trainings in Eastern Oregon this week:

  • Malheur County office on Wed., April 24: 10am-noon, lunch break, then continues 1-3pm. If anyone wants more personal, hands on instruction, contact Bobbi Howell.
  • Union County office on Thurs., April 25: 10am-noon, lunch break, then continues 1-3pm. If anyone wants more personal, hands on instruction, contact Sherry Nantz.

The trainings will focus on using the new county page designs. Please bring your questions and a laptop if possible, so we can work with you on your county pages. For questions about the location or accommodation, please contact Bobbi Howell (Malheur County) or Sherry Nantz (Union County). For questions related to the training, contact Bryan Mayjor or Victor Villegas.

Getting help

  • Attend our office hours starting April 26th on Tuesdays and Fridays. Visit by WebEx, in person or by phone.
  • As always, you are welcome to contact us if you have a question or suggestion.

Mockups & a shout out

A shout out to Carrie Berger and the forestry team for the awesome content they developed for county subpages! This content provided an inspiration and starting place for the focus area mockups below.

Focus area mockup with annotations.
Click mockup to view larger version.

Focus area mockup.
Click mockup to view larger version.

The updated designs provide a way to share and highlight what OSU Extension does within our counties and helps to:

  • Provide a landing spot for local relationships: These pages provide a place where people can find what is offered in their county and learn the local context of programs and other county offerings.
  • Provide guidance for finding resources: These pages provide ways to help users visiting county pages find educational resources on the OSU Extension website.
  • Decrease duplicate content entry: When one faculty member works in multiple counties, focus areas provide a way for them to enter county or region specific information about a topic or program. This info can then be shared on other relevant counties.
  • Prioritize local content: Local events and announcements will be given priority. They will display before and display separate from other tagged events (e.g., other events you might be interested in).

What is coming this week

  • County landing pages: We updated the county designs based on your feedback and posted the new county designs.
  • Local focus area content: County offices can highlight what you do in your county and share the local context. See below for an example.
  • What we do page: This page displays a list of local focus areas and programs offered in this county.
  • County events: There will be a new events page to display all county related events. And ways to highlight a few upcoming events on county landing page and on focus areas.

Please keep in mind design modifications will remain an iterative process. Expect the look and feel to evolve, the functionality to be fine-tuned.

Shout outs

Thank you to Amy Schmid, Jenifer Halter and Laurie Gibson for working with us last week to help us test out county content in the new county designs.

How to prepare

  • Review new county designs and think about any content you need to create.
  • Find or take a photo of your county office to help people find your building. This will display with the county contact info.
  • See training options below.
  • County group coordinators, keep an eye out for an email from us this week when the changes and new features are live and ready for you to use.

Training

  • Watch video on how to create local focus areas.

Visit our new user guide to learn:

Getting help and providing feedback

  • Contact us to schedule one-on-one help sessions
  • Attend office hours. Our team will be available for weekly office hours after the new county designs launch.
  • As always, you are welcome to contact us if you have a question or suggestion.

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your feedback and challenges related to the county pages and the site as a whole. Please continue to share any feedback on how these changes are working for your counties and teams.

Examples of new county page designs

Example county landing page

Example focus area

When a change happens, there’s a lot of fluidity in roles with some people pitching in where needed. At a certain point into the transition, clarity is needed to outline current expectations and responsibilities. This helps working relationships and goals be more defined, and taps into the strengths and interests of each member of a group.

Last week we shared our new guide on working on the Extension website, and it included updated roles for all who are involved with the web project and the long-term digital strategy. These roles are shaped by the guiding criteria of the “right people doing the right things”.

Roles and Responsibilities

Focusing in on just a few responsibilities at a time may make the way forward more manageable. Some of the suggested focuses for 2019 are highlighted in “Getting Started with Content” in the new guide. Full roles and responsibilities are also outlined:

Everyone in a content team or program or county office group can learn how to add content to the website. The team or group can also designate a member to be “publishing editor” who does the entry or this assignment can rotate. There is flexibility in how the roles fit for your team or group (see the points of contact for each team or group).

Working on the website can be more effective when you meet as a group and discuss, for example, “How does your content address the questions being asked by your audiences?” This collaborative inquiry can make your content more engaging too.

EESC can facilitate interactive workshops for your team this year to define your website goals, plan your content strategy, or map out your process in making the roles fit for your team or group. Contact the web team with your ideas and requests.

A complete, searchable guide to the Extension Website is now available online: beav.es/extension-webguide

This guide contains all information and instructions you need to work with the Extension website as well as tips and tricks for advanced users. For those of you who are already familiar with the site or just need a quick refresher, it includes several quick start reference documents.

We welcome questions and feedback and hope that this will serve as a valuable resource to Extension employees who work on the website.

Over the last months, as you scroll down our digital strategy blog, we have shared various tips for managing content on the Extension website. Let’s revisit these to see what may be worth using in  upcoming quarters.

  1. Did you know most fields you need to fill in when adding content on the Extension site are searchable? Just place your cursor in the select field and start typing. A list will pop up to select from, such as the name of the county or a list of OSU authors.
  2. Keywords allow content to show higher in search results, and help you and visitors to narrow down the results too. You can add them using these keyword guidelines.
  3. For content that doesn’t use keywords (e.g. program resources, events), any important words that someone may want to search on to find the content should be somewhere in the text or title.
  4. To capture your effort as a content team leader in your P&T CV, document it in Digital Measures under “Other Assigned Duties.” Content you write or edit can be added under “Publications.”
  5. When you see a Program Resource list you want to reorder, click on the pencil icon that appears next to the list’s title and select “reorder items”.
  6. If you are hosting a virtual event or webinar, you can now select “online only” as the location. If your event is the same time and location on several different days, then you can mark the “event occurs multiple times in a specified period” checkbox to only have to enter it once.
  7. The Equal Opportunity and Accessibility statement is already on every page of the Extension website linked in the footer, so you only need to add it to downloadable documents on the website.
  8. For best results when posting applications (such as for Master Gardener trainings), add the application’s file or link as a “program resource” that displays on a “How to Join” sub-page. Then create an announcement that references that program resource or the page itself.
  9. When you save a piece of content, you can enter a “Revision log message” to describe the changes you made or why you made them. These messages get displayed in the content’s Revisions tab.
  10. A simple way to add new content to the website could be taking a newsletter or blog piece you have written recently and turning that into an article useful for your audiences.

Is there a suggestion that has worked well for you? Share it with our web team.