Friday Five: A pioneer blog turns 10

When I first started this blog in the fall of 2005, there was plenty of room to grow.

It was not a crowded space. You could count on one hand the number of blogs focused on communications, marketing and PR issues related to higher ed. A couple of them I didn’t even know about until later.

But I knew about Michael Stoner and his company, and I knew he had a blog. The existence of Michael’s blog, in fact, is what nudged me to begin this one.

On Thursday of this week, the mStoner blog achieved a milestone: its 10th birthday.

In his post commemorating the achievement, Michael asked staff members to cite some of their favorites. I thought I’d share five of my favorite posts from the mStoner blog as well. It’s tough to select just five, and I could go through this exercise again and select five entirely different posts. But for today, here are my top five favorite mStoner posts, in terms of appeal and relevance to me and my work.

1. mStoner’s First Law of Branding. If you learn nothing else about branding, learn this law: Everything is connected to everything else. This concept of a brand ecosystem really resonated with me. It still does. Because it’s true. (Also a favorite of mStoner senior strategist Susan T. Evans, so it must be a damn good blog post.)

2. Strategy at the start? Not always. Speaking of Susan Evans, she really knocked one out of the park with this post. As someone who believes in the ideal of “strategy first” on any project, the pragmatist in me connected with Susan’s point that none of us works in the ideal world, and that “strategy development can and should happen as you go along” on any project. Wise words.

3. Thoughts about MBTeamS and the (First) Great Tweet Race. Remember the Great Tweet Race and how Todd Sanders and John Pederson blew away the competition, proving the power of social media along the way? If you’ve forgotten about the excitement of that 2011 drive from L.A. to Dallas, revisit Michael’s post for a great summary and key takeaways on how that event provides an excellent object lesson on how to run a social media campaign.

4. Brand. It’s not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is. Again, Susan nails it. A must-read post for anyone interested in branding and brand identity.

5. The Shopping Effect — And Your Website. Here’s one from the archives, cited by Michael himself as one of his favorites. Though written in 2004, its lessons are still relevant. In fact, nine years later, we still need to understand how prospective students and their parents shop for schools, and how prospective donors shop for causes.

As I said, there are many more great posts I could have cited. But these are the ones that specifically resonated with me.

Over the past 10 years, you can see posts that were relevant for the time as well as forward-thinking. And that’s the thing I observe, as an outsider, about the mStoner culture. At its core, the organization strives to provide relevant resources while staying on the vanguard. From their role as a pioneer in blogging to more recent pioneering efforts — such as the launch of EDUniverse, the merger and broadening of HigherEdLive and the publication of the collection of case studies titled Social Works — you can count on the mStoner team to be at the forefront.

I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.

Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

2 thoughts on “Friday Five: A pioneer blog turns 10”

  1. Andy, thank you for this post — and your kind words. One of the useful lessons of “everything is connected to everything else” is how much we can learn from our environment, if we’re willing to pay attention. I’m grateful that I work with so many generous colleagues who share their insights freely. I don’t just mean Susan and others at mStoner but many people in higher ed. It’s inspiring and generosity begets generosity. Thank you for the insights you’ve shared on Higher Ed Marketing over the years: I’m grateful that our blog inspired yours!

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