A trip to the apple orchard this past weekend led to rows of trees available for picking. Fallen apples lay scattered across the ground; low branches held a few ripe pieces in easy reach. This season, the website content is in a similar situation. Fallen apples represent the bushels of content that need to be cleaned up. The low hanging fruit is a handful of easy tasks to get started on.

If we want our visitors engaged and involved with Extension, then we have to be active too in providing relevant and current resources. If our online content becomes outdated, such as an article with crop statistics from 2002, then potential clients may begin to wonder about our advice. It’s easy enough to update, or leave out, time-dated information if it’s not essential to the article.

Updating your web content maintains trust and loyalty with Extension’s audiences. It also helps search engine optimization and builds the confidence of new visitors about our authority on the topics.

Cleaning the content

A year ago, the majority of archived county and program sites on Drupal 6 sites went away for good. The flurry in putting content on the new website meant some content didn’t get thoroughly reviewed. Others got left in Box unless someone asked for it.

Do you have content that needs a second look? Some of the low hanging tasks could include:

  • Look on your groups page, filter by “events” and archive any old events that no longer need to be visible to the public.
  • Ask EESC for a spreadsheet that shows all content for your group listed by publication date. Then start reviewing the oldest among them. If you’re unsure it’s worth updating, search around to see if there’s content that is similar or think about how it could be repurposed.
  • Look at the the Box files or content in your groups folder marked “draft” to see what could still be reviewed and published.

While you need to look for accuracy and completeness of the content, EESC is contributing to this process too.

  • The publishing team is copyediting your published content. Also, they are adding formatting that helps with website readability. They are currently 20% through all the web articles.
  • The web and content strategy team is fixing broken links and changing published content to correct content types. This mostly means changing educational documents to more accessible articles.
  • The administrative team is tagging catalog publications to improve findability. They are also helping with missing photos or image quality.

You can keep track of what we’re doing by looking at the “Revisions” notes tab of your content when logged in. If there are major changes, then we will email you directly with questions. Learn more in the web guide.

Keeping on top of content’s health is best managed when pruned a little each day over the winter months. Set a maintenance plan, and then come spring your resources will be fresh and ready for new growth. This will make our web visitors very happy.


Web updates

In case you missed it, last week’s blog post shared what Salesforce looks like to someone using it. This can help you in better understanding how a CRM (customer relationship management system) works.

Thank you to all the Extension program area leaders for sharing your goals with EESC in October. This will help inform our communications and content strategy over the next year. Stay tuned!

What I thought would be fun is to walk through a few actual screens people see when using the Salesforce CRM.

If you’ve never logged in to Salesforce (or any CRM) and have wondered what it is like to experience that work flow, this will be a brief window into the way this powerful software works.

There is too much to fit in just one post! But it’s worth it to try to reveal some of its features.

And not just any screens… What I will cover today is a few steps in the process of sending emails to Extension partners or constituents from directly inside the CRM and, furthermore, explain why that’s a good idea.

Let’s get started.

For a recap of posts related to Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) …

  1. What exactly is a CRM… and why should I care?
  2. Steps to build CRM capabilities for an Extension program, and how long will it take?
  3. How collaboration across Extension leads to effective use of a CRM

How it all begins…

The benefit of operating in a CRM is it provides the ability to make data-informed decisions. Check out the way this dashboard fills the screen with targeted details about an ongoing set of outreach efforts—emails, text messages, and the like.

With dynamic feedback in front of you, showing how your audience is responding to recent outreach efforts, you can step up the pace of new messages. Or perhaps the better choice may be to switch gears and reach out to folks by phone because their email response rate shows up as lower than everyone else’s.

The CRM provides the info you need to make the best choice on process and timing. Now, let’s review varying levels of email delivery.

A-B-C basics: let the CRM deliver your message

From Salesforce, sending a single email is handled on a screen that, once you take a look, bears a resemblance to any webmail software. You’ll feel right at home crafting all the parts of the message, just Salesforce does the work when you click the Send button.

Options for customizing the email message mean you have added flexibility here. It enables you to communicate with your constituents in ways that align with your team’s plans for providing support.

For instance, the email can be sent from you or from the organization and you can modify this aspect on-the-fly (right before you send). An example: if the person receiving your email chooses to reply, you may need that reply to go to a group mailbox—as it is reviewed by the team, there’s a greater chance of reacting to it right away—so in that case, send out from the team’s group address.

Not only can you customize, but the message is saved as an “event” right in the CRM. Read on to find out more about message tracking.

Step it up! Smart tools for bulk email delivery

We already know there are times when a critical message needs to be sent out to a wider audience. Think of advertising the opening of registration for a new workshop. Or an advisory committee meeting has a new start time and all committee members need to be notified right away.

In the below screen shot, we see a sample Salesforce screen showing a list that has been filtered to reveal five people set to receive your next message. The purpose of this Pending Approvals screen is to restrict the actual delivery of messages until details are fully approved by the right person on your team.

Using a special set of features in the CRM, not only can you quickly send all five people an artfully designed template-based email — a process that from this screen requires exactly two clicks — but, in fact, you can also choose to pause for a moment and add personalized comments of your own.

NOTE: we will cover email templates in more detail in a future post

So, you decide to add a personalized message to one recipient. You would use a screen like the one below. On the left side of the screen, a text box for Introduction above, and an open text box for Conclusion below it, permit personalized comments to appear at the very top and, optionally, bottom of your beautiful, HTML-format message.

Not every email can be handled in this way, but for parts of your communication plan that are incredibly repetitive, this technique can add a lot of efficiency. It’s time I am sure you would like to gain back!

Message tracking — measure the results, improve as we go

Of critical importance to us as the total number of messages we are expected to send and receive shows signs of increasing dramatically, is appropriate analytics we can use to better predict how our outreach efforts will perform.

For example, your team just used the CRM to send a message out to a large group. So far so good.

The first draft was a wall of text, a step-by-step guide instructing each recipient how to carefully negotiate a sign-up process. Your team waits to see if every recipient follows through on the steps. Do they open the email? Will they read it all thoroughly?

Or… you suddenly recall another team member’s brainstorm of placing a visually appealing photo at the top of the message. Nothing compares to a photo of OSU Extension faculty immersed in an engagement with smiling young people, who are excitedly learning about forest ecosystems. So, you wonder, would that have been a better way to engage with this audience?

Thankfully, you have the CRM dashboards you can turn to for answers to these important questions! Check out the sample screen above, offering up an Email Performance report.

This is another reason we use the CRM. Through the power of advanced analytics gathering, it collects up vital details of key performance indicators such as email open ratesclick rates — i.e how many times did the “Read more” button in that third paragraph receive a click — as well as the dreaded unsubscribe rates, which we all agree should never happen, because Extension info is just too fun and interesting!

NOTE: enhancing email message relevance as a means by which to prevent people from unsubscribing from emails is a critically important process. It is based on processes to which we can all contribute. More on this at a later time.

Conclusion and (a little) more to think about

If you are reading this far, I thank you for catching up on the power the CRM brings to managing message delivery and analytics data gathering.

Some related (and intriguing) features we haven’t yet talked about include:

  • The CRM can send SMS text messages. too
  • Pulling up one of your contacts in the CRM displays a history of messages you sent them via the CRM
  • Microsoft Outlook plugins are available to bring some CRM capabilities right into standard emails
  • Instead of manual delivery every time, certain messages can go out automatically, using customization options within the CRM

If you would like to hear more about any of these features, please reach out to me any time for discussion. I’m here to assist.

 


About the Navigator digital engagement team. In the coming months, many of you will hear from me as I produce a long-term CRM strategy for OSU Extension. I look forward to talking with you and ensuring the CRM plans are in alignment with the business needs of your unit and the long-term vision of the university. The Navigator team is looking forward to talking with you about how digital engagement is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits.
Posted in CRM.

Box logoOver the last month or so I’ve been traveling around the state giving regional website training workshops. At these workshops I’ve been promoting Box for file management, especially when you have files that change on a regular basis. One of the weaknesses of Drupal, is file management. Box offers some features to make up for that.

Programs like 4-H and Master Gardener™ have quite a few forms for volunteers and participants. Updating these forms and uploading them to the website each year can be an arduous task. 

This process involves logging into the website, locating the old file, removing it, then uploading the new file. The problem with this method is the link to the file changes. What if someone bookmarked last years form, or the file wasn’t deleted? This can lead to the dreaded Page Not Found (404) error, or a Google search result that links to last years form (not good). 

This is where Box excels. With Box, you can create a URL to the file that doesn’t change, even when you replace the 2019 form with the 2020 form. Replacing a file is a snap, and Box is version controlled. Each time you replace a file, a copy is saved in the version history. So if you make a mistake, or want to see what the old file looked like, or even revert to a previous version, you can do that right in Box. 

Box shared link settingsYou can also use Box to password protect individual file(s), or folders. Have you ever wanted to provide volunteers access to files require a password to access? This is quite simple with Box. You can even create links that expire after a particular date.

Box is far from a perfect solution however. Setting the direct link to a file is not intuitive process. It is quicker to initially upload your files to the website. Yet using Box will save you time in the long run. The initial set up is tedious, but you only have to do it once. When it’s time to update your files next year, login to Box, replace the old file and you’re done. 

See our webguide (beav.es/extension-webguide) for detailed instructions for using Box to manage files. Visit the OSU Box website for complete documentation.

1. Reuse events from last year

Events on the Extension website automatically disappear from lists and search results once the date has passed. However, the records still exist in the system, so if an event occurs annually, you can reuse the content from the previous year. This has several benefits:

  • You can save effort now by reusing work from last year. All you need to do is update the dates (and flyer if there is one).
  • Visitors who may have bookmarked last year’s event (or find it through Google) will see current information if they visit the page again.

Instructions:

  1. Go to the group content page for the group that you originally entered the event in.
  2. If you remember the title of the event, you can search for it. Otherwise, you can select “Event” in the “Type” filter above the list of content.
  3. Once you find the previous year’s event, click the “Edit” button next to it and update the dates. This will put it back in event lists and search results.

2. Store files in Box

Box is OSU’s file storage platform. Anyone with an ONID account can store unlimited files on Box and share them with other employees or the public. Box was created specifically for file management and has many useful features, including:

  • File versioning – if the document changes each year, you can easily replace the old file with the new one without changing the link.
  • Privacy settings – you can set files up so anyone (the public) can access them, only people who know a specific password, or only people with an ONID account

Instructions:

  • There is documentation about using Box on OSU’s Box page and our Website user guide.
  • Some tips for effectively setting up files in box:
    • To share a file or folder with the public, click “Share” next to it. Then, turn on the “Enable share link” toggle. It is very important that you set the dropdown below the share link to “Anyone with the link.” Otherwise people will need to log in with an ONID to see the file.
    • There is a link near the share link box for “Link options”. This is where you can set a password to protect the file or get the “direct download” link (which allows visitors to download the file directly without seeing it in Box first).
    • Be sure to set one of your coworkers as a co-owner or editor of the file, in case you leave or otherwise can no longer access it someday.
  • When you have the “share link” for the file, create a program resource and select “External website” as the resource type. This will give you a field to paste the link.

3. Break up long pages

If you have long pages that are difficult to scan, there are options to make it a little easier: page section settings and nested pages.

Page sections:

For most page sections, you can configure:

  • Background color (alternating background colors is a good way to break up the page)
  • List style (you can make lists more condensed by using a “Text list” style, which doesn’t display images with items in the list)
  • Section id (you can use section IDs to create a “table of contents” at the top of the page that links to sections further down)

Instructions:

  1. Edit the page
  2. At the top of where page sections are configured on the edit screen, there are two tabs: “Content” and “Settings”
  3. When you switch to the settings tab, you can configure options for each section

Nested pages:

One of the best ways to help a long page is to break it up into several shorter pages. Then, to prevent the sidebar from getting unwieldy, you can nest the new pages under the original, so they only appear in the sidebar when the parent is selected.

Instructions:

  1. Go to any program page that shows the sidebar and click the “Reorder Pages” button at the bottom.
  2. On the next screen, you can drag the pages into any order you want. To nest one page under another, drag it under and to the right. When you’re done, click “Save order”.

4. Look at peers for ideas

One of the best ways for you to get ideas for your own pages is to look at pages from programs similar to yours. Here are some programs that have been set up with some of the website’s new design features and serve as good examples:

5. Think about all your audiences

Programs produce content for many audiences, including:

  • Prospective members
  • Current members
  • Volunteers/leaders
  • Program faculty/staff

It is, in general, usually best to organize content according to audience, and depending on what audiences your program serves, we may recommend options outside of the Extension website for content (e.g. the Extension Employee Intranet or an OSU WordPress blog).

Another audience that all programs have but that often gets overlooked is the general public. There are many reasons why the public would be interested in content produced by a program, including:

  • They utilize the services provided by program volunteers (e.g. MG plant clinics)
  • They are affected by the program’s outcomes or impacts
  • They want to learn the information taught to program participants, but for whatever reason can’t participate themselves

However, visitors often perceive program pages as being only for active participants in a program. So, if you produce program-related content for the general public, make sure it can be found through topic and county pages, where the general public is more likely to look.

The website brought a lot of content together from all different parts of Extension, created for different purposes, at different times and sometimes published by non-Extension faculty. Everyone has come across an article or two where they wonder “Is this content accurate, useful information for Extension’s audiences?”

Content teams, along with the program area leaders, have started discussions that can help to shape content quality decisions. Questions touch on process and guiding principles, such as:

  • Should we put everything we write on to the website? If not, how do we decide?
  • Who should be involved in the review process, and at what stage in content publishing?
  • How do we determine what makes for “quality content” for our diverse audiences?

An articulated content strategy helps content teams to identify a roadmap to follow.

Step one: establish ownership and roles

Half of Extension faculty and staff can publish content, which is coordinated through content teams or web groups.

Use the content overview tool to search a content title and see what team or group a piece of content belongs to, and contact the team leader or group coordinator if you see questionable content. Your feedback can help them to see other perspectives and their response inform yours.

Roles and responsibilities, outlined earlier in 2019, clarify how people fit into the content development cycle and their relationships to each other.

Among those roles, teams and groups need to discuss who controls the content quality, holding relevant content authors accountable to content guidelines, standards and policies that will be explored in the next steps.

Step two: design and document content processes

Content may be written by author(s) but it is the content teams and program leaders that need to work together to plan, review, publish, and revise the content. It helps to share a common set of tools and expectations in this content process.

Plan

Statewide planning meetings can set the stage for a participatory process. Together you can review audience analytics and determine the content purpose, gaps to fill, and plans for the year. It can also help decide what content isn’t needed based on strategic priorities. Set up a content planning spreadsheet in Box to keep track of content to be created.

Review

A peer review checkbox and name field appears on all articles if your team wants to use this as part of the publishing process. It currently means at least one other colleague looked at it, but does not mean the same level of scrutiny as catalog and journal peer reviews. Content that is questionable can also be put “in review” by the team or group to keep it from public view until the issue addressed.

Publish

A team needs to decide if they will independently upload articles, appoint an uploader on the team, or find program/research assistants or students to support this. These people need to be aware of the guidelines, standards and policies discussed below. An editorial calendar can help schedule content to be published at key times.

Revise

Many are familiar with the EESC directed process to review and update Extension catalog publications more than four years old. Content team leaders need to coordinate a similar process for their team’s articles and educational documents; EESC can help by setting up automated notifications and maintenance reports to use.

Step three: produce supporting documents and tools

Ground rules for doing content right can help to address differences in opinions. EESC has outlined some key recommendations or requirements below. Content teams and groups can adapt and expand on these to establish what makes for “quality” content.

Guidelines that EESC provides and encourage you to use include:

  • Messaging maps to create consistency of voice and tone depending on the audience
  • AP style and plain language guidelines for standard language and format of content
  • Readability formatting for a web page (which is different than a print publication)

Standards mean there’s a correct way to do things, and an expectation this will be followed, such as:

  • Web instructions of what content goes on the Extension website, and how to enter and tag it in the content management system; see the quick start checklists to make this clear
  • OSU and Extension branding requirements

Since these guidelines and standards can be a lot to learn, EESC will help by reviewing content after it is published and making minor changes or suggestions on how to improve. More information is in the content requirements and best practices section of the web guide, or request a specific training.

Policies are critical to follow to be inclusive, ethical, or not put us at risk, this includes things such as:

  • Copyright rules
  • Non-discrimination and accessibility laws
  • Personal data protections

Information about this is in the legal requirements section of our web guide. Also OSU’s Web and Mobile Services is offering “Accessibility Basics for the Web” trainings, including information about the OSU Policy on Information Technology Accessibility. Offered Oct. 3, Dec. 5, 2019 and Feb. 7, April 15 or June 4, 2020.

Destination

Teams and groups need to keep a pulse on what is going on with their online content and scrutinize not only if it is accurate but also if the overall quality meets our expectations.

Keep those discussions going, work with EESC to set up some shared tools and communicate the guidelines, standards and policies to group members working on the website. Then before you know it, you will have arrived at a functional content strategy.


Extension website updates

You can now see all featured questions on a single page.

The “seasonal” tagging field now allows multiple options to be selected for a piece of content.

Minor fixes have been made in the display of phone and email on county landing pages.

Collections now have the formatting options: standard teaser (thumbnail image, title, short description), grid format (3 card size images and descriptions next to each other), and plain list without images. After adding a “collection section” see the settings tab.

Thanks to Joseph Phillips, Content Strategist for the Examined Web, for ideas from his article “A four step roadmap to good content governance” for this blog post.

Salesforce logo

Hello there, everybody. I’m here to share a little more info about basic CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) practices and especially about beginning to use the Salesforce CRM platform.

One of my posts introduced the Salesforce CRM platform.

And another one outlined the steps needed to design and build CRM capabilities for an Extension program, complete with timelines.

But in case you were still wondering, there are many practical (and simple) ways in which your program will derive benefits from the advance to CRM practices. Here are examples of powerful results you can expect from this new tool. Thanks for reading on!

Organize your contacts, see a history of their interactions.

A CRM’s core purpose is managing relationships. Those relationships you have with constituents, clients, agencies, and industry partners are the lifeblood of the work you do. You spend time interacting with them as individuals, other times as groups, and the CRM will help coordinate both.

You will benefit from the sophisticated ways it maintains information about the people with whom you collaborate and get work done.

The system will, yes, provide a simple phone number or email address you need to reach out. But at a glance, you’ll also see when the last time was that you had an interaction with that person and what the outcome was. In case you ring her up to answer a big question and she’s out of the office, not to worry. The CRM’s awareness of relationships between people lets you track down the contact info for her colleague inside that organization who’s also a contributor to the same project — problem solved!

Then type in a summary of that new conversation in the CRM, allowing you to access the details any time.

Likewise for relationships with Extension clients and constituents. Go ahead and pick up the phone for a conversation with someone who’s in the midst of submitting critical paperwork. You’ll have access to an interaction history for that person in the CRM, showing you what steps have already been done and so you are able to advise them about the next step, simply because you pulled up their detailed info before calling.

Send smarter emails.

Let me share this example from an earlier post.

Let’s imagine a class or workshop that just took place. The last hour of the workshop was dominated by a very interesting discussion topic. One idea the instructor can have is to follow up with even more relevant resources to enhance what the group is learning. The steps would look like this:

  1. Login to the CRM immediately after class
    this makes the information timely and helpful
  2. Create a custom email message; fill it with relevant links
    make use of an email layout with attention to branding and readability standards
  3. The new email delivers out to the cohort
    the people from that class—the appropriate audience—see the email and experience the benefit
  4. The cohort may continue the discussion
    include a link to a discussion board where they continue sharing ideas
  5. Afterwards, extend the usefulness of the content
    flag that helpful content so it’s then used in an upcoming enewsletter – broaden the impact on a wider audience

Additionally, the CRM will allow for an increasing reliance on automating certain emails. Automatically deliver messages even for simple things like a note to say “thank you” after a person fills out interest forms on the Extension web site.

Consider the ability to send automated reminders for upcoming project due dates and important events. Has a calendar date come and gone and an important document hasn’t shown up? A well-crafted gentle reminder can make all the difference. Salesforce can be enabled to react to predefined conditions and automatically trigger messages to the appropriate people.

Your partners — relations and support.

Another key point of a CRM is that it is a database. It stores and organizes incredible amounts of information.

Using this data, you will be empowered to manage the many various aspects of working with a program partner.

Your team will want to research prospective new partner organizations. For each prospect, you’ll need awareness of each one’s presence, capabilities, and capacity in the various geographic regions your team serves. Simply record this complex info in the CRM.

As your team’s regional specialists plan outreach efforts, lists appear for them, each one pre-filtered to show relevant information for that region.

Maintain profiles of your partners that are accurate over time. Because your entire team has access to the shared data, their contributions to the system keep up with various changes for that partner. An important piece of the partner relationship is assessing and evaluating the efficacy of the work being done with them and you will save these details in the CRM to inform future efforts.

With established partners, those vigorous periods where the actual work is getting done will lead to new relationship management challenges. Make use of the CRM’s database features to design and manage workflows. Salesforce will be a quick and easy way to manage the sometimes complex communication plans you’ll need to customize for each partner.

Though its true the possibilities are endless, hopefully you’ll agree I have shed light on a few effective examples that will save your team time and energy? I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

 


About the Navigator digital engagement team. In the coming months, many of you will hear from me as I produce a long-term CRM strategy for OSU Extension. I look forward to talking with you and ensuring the CRM plans are in alignment with the business needs of your unit and the long-term vision of the university. The Navigator team is looking forward to talking with you about how digital engagement is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits.

Extension website updates.

  • The OSU Extension homepage looks a little different now. Updates were made based on user data. We are also working on a more comprehensive homepage design to come this fall.
  • Minor feature update: added ability to change list style and anchor id of collection sections
  • We made changes to the main menu based on user feedback. “Find us” is now “Contact us”. We added a link to ‘Ask an Expert’; And the latest website content is now available under ‘About us’.
Posted in CRM.

UPDATED 7/30/2020

We want people to understand what OSU Extension does and how it is relevant for their lives. This isn’t easy, we provide resources for many topics and our impact is challenging to summarize.

The county page design has places to share different parts of our story. Below are recommendations for text to use.

County landing page

Page title

Use OSU Extension in Malheur County for the page title. This is a road sign to show website visitors where they are on the site.

Intro text

Show the ways your county helps Oregonians. Share the breadth and relevance of OSU Extension. And make it easy for them to find the many ways they can learn with us. Keep it brief. Keep the words simple and easy to understand. And the text easy to scan.

We recommend using this text:

OSU Extension’s network of teachers, experts, mentors and volunteers is at your service, across Oregon and here at home. Learning with you. Sharing knowledge. Putting lessons into practice.

 

When we work together, we can create positive change in our communities. Helping farmers and gardeners grow healthy foods. Strengthening our economic and ecological future. Helping people of all ages, families and communities thrive. And much more. We’re here to help.

 

How we serve you
We provide reliable, research-based education and advice to help you make informed decisions. Access is affordable—often free. Learn through one-on-one conversations with experts, workshops, conferences, publications, hotlines, online classes, and youth development clubs and activities.

For the intro, avoid sharing how we work — or who we are (this comes later).
Don’t include:

  • Our program names
  • About trained-volunteers
  • Community partners
  • Academic terms (use ‘gardening’ instead of ‘horticulture’)
  • Complex things we do, using terms the general public isn’t very familiar with: ‘collaborative community coalitions’ or ‘family and community health’
  • The word: problem(s)

First we help them understand what we do, then we tell them how or why we do it.

The intro text was developed by Ann Marie Murphy, our OSU Extension Marketing Manager. The text matches the language we’ll use for the new OSU Extension brochure.

 


‘What we do’ page

Intro

This is a great place to share more details on how we help Oregonians. And how we provide our services.

We recommend using this text:

OSU Extension faculty, staff, and trained volunteers work alongside partners across Deschutes County to provide educational workshops, activities, and services tailored to the unique industries, natural resources, and people in our communities. [Optional history info, for example: We’ve been working in Jefferson County since 1935.]

 

Oregon State University’s land grant mission drives us to conduct research and share research-based education to minimize community risk, improve economic vitality, and promote personal and environmental health.

 

[Optional partnership info, for example: OSU Extension is a partnership of USDA at the federal level, OSU at the state level, and Harney County.]

We don’t recommend including:

  • Our program names (i.e. Family and Community Health). Include this information on focus areas.

Note: The “what we do” section provides some concrete examples of information that can be learned about in this county. About section can be a great place to include impact information, this displays further down on the page.


Focus areas

Titles

Create concise, easy to understand titles.

  • Is the title is getting too complicated? Perhaps there are too many topics contained within one focus area. Try breaking it into multiple focus areas.
  • Is the title too long? Try removing some of the information or adding it to the description.

Title example:

  • Livestock
  • Home food preservation and safety
  • Small Farms
  • Field crops
  • Nutrition and healthy living
  • Youth activities

Description

Briefly outline the benefits. The description text shows on the “What we do page”.

Example title and description:

Activities for youth
4-H empowers young people with hands-on learning experiences to help them grow and thrive. By creating a safe and welcoming environment, young people develop the skills needed to make a positive impact on the world around them.

Home garden and landscape
We provide research-based information for backyard gardeners and green industry professionals, including regional specific information.


Make it easy to read

  • Read the text out loud. Are there sentences where you need to slow down? Is the sentence long? Try breaking the information up into smaller sentences. Consider removing some information.
  • Write for a general audience. The target audience for county landing pages is the general public. Aim for an eighth-grade reading level. Use terms that are general and understandable for people unfamiliar with OSU Extension. Avoid using program names and internal jargon when possible.
  • Write directly to the reader: Whenever possible use ‘you’. We serve you. Avoid ‘clientele’, ‘customers’, and ‘audience’.
  • More tips: See writing for the web.
  • Helpful tools:
    • Hemingway Editor: Estimates the reading level. Highlights text that is hard to read. Is free. See how to use Hemingway Editor.
    • Jargon tool: A very easy way to see what words are jargon. Rates how well the words are known.

Working together on county pages

We will be collaborating with each county on developing their county pages. This will include optimizing the use of the website’s design, refining landing pages and creating focus areas.


Website updates

  • Checkout the updates to the statewide 4-H including user-friendly menu and the great way they are using the website’s designs! Nice work!
  • There is a new youth development topic page. It is ready for programs and focus areas to add this topic tag to your content. Educational content for the public can show on this topic page.

We are headed your way!

Starting next week and continuing through October, EESC’s web team will be hosting regional Extension website training sessions across the state. Don’t miss this in-person opportunity to learn about the website and how you can contribute. RSVP to reserve your place.

Dates and locations:

Central Region:
Sept. 17 (Tue.), Wasco County Office (The Dalles)
Sept 18 (Wed.), Deschutes County Office (Redmond)

Western Region:
Sept. 24 (Tue.), Marion County Office  (Salem)

Coastal Region – North:
Sept 26. (Thur.), Tillamook County Office (Tillamook)

Southern Region:
Oct. 2 (Wed), Klamath County Office (Klamath Falls)
Oct. 3 (Thur.), Josephine County Office (Grants Pass)

Metro Region:
Oct. 17 (Thur.), Washington County Office (Beaverton)

Coastal Region – South:
Oct. 22 (Tue.), Coos County Office (Myrtle Point)

Note: Eastern Oregon workshops were held in April.

Agenda

Each workshop will have a morning and afternoon session. Try to attend both sessions if possible.
Note: The Wasco and Deschutes County workshops have different start and end times, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Morning session (10:00 am to 12:00 pm)
The morning session will include an overview of the Navigator project, understanding the differences and purposes of office, program, and content team groups, updating your website profile, tagging, and basic content creation.

Lunch break (12:00 pm -1:00 pm)

Afternoon session (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
After lunch we’ll dig deeper into managing landing pages, content types, tagging, best practices, tips and tricks, how to avoid duplicating content, and answering your questions.

 

Do I need to do any preparation before the workshop?

No. However, you’ll get more out of the workshop by learning about the Navigator project and skimming through the website guide beforehand.

What should I expect?

The format will be a combination of lectures, how-to demonstrations, one-on-one assistance, advice, and learning from your peers.

What should I bring?

Your ideas and questions

A WiFi enabled laptop, tablet, or pair up with a colleague.

Bring anything you want to add to the website on a flash drive, or on your laptop. We’ll show you how to add it to the website.

What will I learn?

You will learn: How to create and edit content. What tagging is and why it is important. Your role within your office, program or content team. And where to get your questions answered as you learn how the website works.

RSVP

If you are planning on coming to a workshop, please RSVP to ensure we have enough room for everyone.

The past couple of weeks sparked some new possibilities to test out, in hopes of resolving ongoing requests from content teams. Everyone has a role in making this possible. What then is the role of the content strategist? It involves listening for commonalities, looking for bright spots, and asking questions to facilitate people thinking about strategy.

Currently, group conversations have generated insight into:

  1. Facilitating workflows that can support a new way of doing things.
  2. ­­Creating a way to share human interest stories that show the value of Extension’s work.
  3. Improving access to resources in ways that audiences want.

1) Workflows

A lot goes into identifying, writing, reviewing and tagging content that only experts in the subject can do. Entering, coordinating and managing educational content by the content team, however, needs further discussion.

Events, announcements, newsletters, and county focus areas can all still be managed by the county office groups. Educational content, however, shifted to the program areas. Regardless of where faculty are stationed, the content is valuable regionally and statewide, and no longer seen as tied to a county. Who then is best to enter and manage this content of the statewide teams? How do we leverage existing resources to do so?

Some new ideas include:

  • Write into your annual work plan 5% of website responsibilities that go beyond creating and updating content, so that your time as a team member is acknowledged and supported.
  • Shift responsibilities and offer incentives, so a champion wanting to spearhead this innovative change can take time to set up topic pages and tagging guides as needed to organize and maintain content.
  • Leverage support professionals from the program area, such as education program assistants or research assistants, to learn the entry, tagging, and coordination processes.

2) Stories

“We need to capture the essence of who we are as a community in Extension and how we meet the needs of our communities,” said Anita Azarenko recently at the Quarterly Conversations. She asked, “How do we put feeling back into our website?”

Content analysis published in the Journal of Applied Communications* found the majority of awareness campaigns on agricultural websites used logical appeals with education-based and fact-based content. However, content with emotional appeals can be more effective in connecting with and being remembered by web visitors.

Stories showcase the value of what we do for the public by putting a face to our work. Publishing stories ourselves in addition to media coverage can increase the longevity and reach of our stories, and help show people how they too can benefit by being engaged with our programs. EESC is moving forward to capture these stories and to find the best way to showcase them online.

3) Audience navigation

Technology can level barriers for some, and be a learning curve for others. Audiences come with all different preferences and skill levels. The new content management system helps to customize how content is displayed, even for the audience that just wants a straight list of resources in one place.

Topic landing pages came out ten months ago so teams could organize the content based on audience needs and interests. The “custom topic sections” can gather similar content under easy to skim headings. Keywords (which are now easier to modify) can help filter less relevant content. Links to these resources can still be reached from county page focus areas if people enter the site that way, and topics continue to evolve based on content developed and how audiences look for it.

We’ll continue to work with faculty on improving audience access to resources they depend on in the coming months.

Web updates

  • A recording is available from Quarterly Conversations on Extension’s digital strategy.
  • Updates to the faculty and staff directory fixed filter functionality, added new filters and fixed links to county, program and unit/department on profile pages
  • A pesticide safety disclaimer is now an option to add in English or Spanish on articles (just check the box on relevant content)
  • Content that appears in web-based newsletter issues and or collections now have an attribution stating this connection.

* Assessing the Content of Online Agricultural Awareness Campaigns Joy N. Rumble, Quisto Settle, and Tracy Irani, This research is available in Journal of Applied Communications: https://newprairiepress.org/jac/vol100/iss3/10