If you’ve been through basic training, you’ve heard us say it. Posting news on your site really is worth the time.
You are getting your information out there, yes. And that is of course the primary purpose of news; to spread it, share it. But your single news post does so much more than just announce your event or tout your department’s accomplishments.
When you post a news item in your department news feed, it updates your news section. But, it also updates your home page. When you post your news, it will automatically be added to the Recent News block (on the bottom right of your home page). Just like that, you have put fresh content on your homepage. This is good for repeat visitors, since they need a reason to come back (meaning, they need new content to read). This is also good for search engines, like Google, because you’re giving them new content to search and show as a result. And sites that are kept up-to-date have better chances of getting ranked higher in search results. (Meaning, you are more likely to get found!)
Well, perhaps not viral, but it does get out there. When you post news in your department news feed, it will also be added to the main Campus Bulletins page (a collection of news from across the university). Visitors to the site can subscribe to this page, via RSS (a web feed), and then they can get your news on their phone, in their search browser, in Facebook, and more.
The Web Team pulls out a few items to highlight on the News and Events page as well, so you could get a little more attention there, too. And, last but not least, only news items get picked up for IUP Daily and/or the Beak. So if you want it to appear in there, it has to be news.
Any event, big or small, should be promoted. Just because posters get you enough people to fill the room for your visiting lecturer doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a missed opportunity to reach people. If you didn’t post that event on the web, a potential student across the state looking at your department, considering coming to IUP, wouldn’t have known about it. Those potential students will never know about what you have to offer them if you don’t make it available where they are looking.
There are some simple things you can do to make your news more effective. Review our how-to, Writing an Effective News Post, to grab some easy tips. Basic things like including background information and adding department links will go a long way.
When you are writing your news, keep these key messages about IUP in mind. They most likely will reflect things that are happening in your department anyway, so tell people about them!
Working with News and Events - In the main news how to section, learn how and where to post news, add Event Details Boxes, and more.
Calendar Events - A good partner to news for promoting your events.
Best Practices for Department Websites: A Guide to Making Your Department Website More Effective - The information here is good to know, and can be applied to your news as well.