Honesty is the best policy

And so continue my adventures in Higher Education and I'm back in the vortex!

Many moons ago, back in 2016, all universities were required to add Key Information Sets (KIS) widgets to their course pages. I remember this well, as at the time, it was a lot of work for us and our many courses. The only sweetener was that the horrible red widgets at least matched our brand colours at the time! These comparable sets of data, about full or part time undergraduate courses, were designed to meet the needs of prospective students as a standard way of displaying this information.

So last week, I get an email from Unistats saying that these require their first major update in 3 years. It's like they knew I was now back! Whilst the technology gets more sophisticated policy doesn't change.

The same is true of the accessibility statements I've been writing for our website. In September 2018 (whilst I was out of the game) the UK law changed for all public sector bodies to adhere to the EU directive on web accessibility. Whilst this doesn't officially need doing for older websites until next September I've been trying to get ahead of the curve and get ours published this month.

The government will be monitoring all public sector websites to ensure we have these published and are clear on what works and what doesn't.

Whilst I'm not a fan of unnecessary policy this is definitely a good thing to ensure that our websites and apps work for an audience with a disability. Importantly, it ensures that my upcoming website roadmap will have accessibility as a key deliverable and is taken seriously. It certainly makes a change from the public sector where budget was a bigger consideration than the usability of the site!

So with all this policy, the challenge is making higher education websites, and campaigns, stand out from the rest. My new favourite parody account summed this up perfectly in a recent tweet:
The really exciting thing about my new role though is that we do have a clear differentiator. All of the cute animals! These are a marketers (and social media managers) dream so the pressure is on to really make the most of this great content. In fact, we have so much potential content that I've been surprised how small the institution is compared with how I perceived it before I started.

So, to not get ahead of myself I've been spending a lot of time putting in some strategy to leverage this all properly. Whether it be the plans for the website, CRM, or intranet, these channels must come first as this is where we drive all of our traffic.

This isn't to say that I haven't had a look at tightening up our social media posts tone of voice, imagery and reporting. This is important to put a marker down on where I think we'll be going in the future and I've also wanted to demonstrate to my new colleagues that I am doing and not just planning! I particularly enjoyed getting involved in some animations for our Clearing campaign and ensuring we had some great posts lined up to drive engagement on #InternationalDogDay last month:

It's hard holding back when the temptation is to try to fix everything at once but setting goals, asking questions and understanding if things are worth doing in the first place and the ways I'm really going to make an impact in my new role.
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