Category Archives: Digital Marketing

Why are academics so obsessed with posters?

I’ve been involved in higher education for some time now – both as a student and an employee – and still to this day it surprises me just how obsessed some people are with posters.

And by posters here I don’t mean posters to stick on the wall; no, rather I mean posters to send out by email or for users to download from social media or a website. Got a conference coming up? Make a poster and send it to your mailing lists. Got an event? Make a poster and upload it to your blog.

But the thing is, pdf posters just aren’t made for digital media. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Posters are not SEO-friendly. Their content is not searchable online.
  • Errors are difficult to correct. If you have a change of date or change of venue, you can’t just go out and edit all the posters you’ve already sent out into the ether.
  • Posters are not mobile-friendly. Large files are slow to download and impact on a user’s data allowance. They also don’t make for easy reading on a mobile device.
  • Posters can be time-consuming to create. They are not an efficient means of communication and can often be overlooked by a time-starved audience.

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The dangers of academic blogging and social media

Blogs are everywhere these days. In the world of academia you almost can’t move for the sheer number of blogs popping up all over the place. From academic departments to research centres, reading groups and individuals, there more blogs out there than any sane person could hope to follow.

So why should you bother writing one? Do you need to write one? Can you get by without one?

To blog or not to blog…

There seems to be a trend in academia at the moment where many people feel compelled to start a blog because it’s the ‘done thing’ without really stopping to think about why they are blogging, or even if they should be blogging at all. Just because other people are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you, or even your department. In some cases, it’s far better not to blog than risk the potential damage a poorly run blog could cause to you and your reputation.
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What’s in a name?

For the first of a new blog series on digital marketing for academics, I take a look at names, and the big choice between marketing yourself, and your ‘product’…

Names… names are important things in the blogosphere. Your name is the thing that will help you get recognised – help you get noticed among the thousands of other academic blogs out there.

The best blog names are the ones that are interesting, memorable, and maybe even a little fun. They also tell you something about what the blog is about, without the need to even visit it. Some of my favourite blog-names include ‘The Law of Killer Robots’ (Josh Hughes), ‘A Nuclear Notebook’ (Emily Gibbs), and most recently ‘The Queer Frontier’ (Danielle Girard).

But of course this isn’t the only approach you can take to blogging. Some authors will decide to take another approach and instead market themselves first, over their ‘product’. Though I wouldn’t describe this website as a traditional blog, MJRyder.net is a fine example. In this case, I am selling ‘me’ and what I do, though at the same time I am also sacrificing something of the unique and memorable nature of some of the other blogs I’ve described above. Continue reading »