Friday Five: Best posts of 2013

calendar8It’s the final Friday of 2013, which means it’s time to do a backwards glance at the contents of this blog over the past 12 months. And time for a bit of introspection.

At a time when the experts are saying (again) that blogging is dead (again) — or at least dead for anyone except “40-somethings with kids” (I’m 50-something and have no kids) — I do have to stop and wonder whether there’s any value in a traditional blog like this versus, say, a tumblr. (Except, as I reported earlier this year, I haven’t exactly gotten the hang of the whole tumblr thing.) But then I look at the handful of fine higher ed-focused blogs that are out there, and the value they bring to their target audiences, I have to think that blogging still has a purpose.

And therefore, I plan to continue to publish this blog in 2014. And just as it was in 2013, the frequency of posts will likely be sporadic and sometimes off-topic, but I hope that some of you find some value in the topics I write about, just as you did this past year.

Here are the five (or so) blog posts that I thought brought some value, if not a little bit of insight, to the higher ed community in 2013:

  1. The elements of a great #highered Twitter account. First on the list is a two-part post, and its success belongs to all of you much more than it does to me. For this reason, the topic is probably the best example of how these old-fashioned blogs can still foster conversation among members of a community of practice, and tap into the hive mind to generate great ideas. The discussion began with a post last April in which I took Education Dive to task for their approach to ranking the top Twitter accounts in higher ed. (Education Dive relied on two criteria — number of followers and Klout score — plus an undefined “subjective appraisal” to determine the best of the best.) In that April post, I called on the higher ed community to share their thoughts on what makes a great Twitter account, and you responded in droves. I sifted through those comments to create the second part of this discussion in May: The elements of a great #highered Twitter account.
  2. ‘College (Un)bound’ and the frog in the kettleMy thoughts on Jeff Selingo’s 2013 book College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for StudentsOne of my highlights in 2013 was getting to meet Jeff Selingo at the CASE Annual Assembly last July in San Francisco.
  3. Content strategy is fine, but… A suggestion that, instead of focusing so heavily on content strategy, we take a look at the needs and wants of our customers and come up with an audience strategy.
  4. Media relations in a disintermediated world. As a former journalist turned PR/media relations practitioner turned brand manager, the role of media relations and the news media is a recurring topic for me. I wrote this back in October, and will also be presenting on this subject in June 2014 at a regional PRSA conference in Springfield, Mo.
  5. Boring old brand-building. A post that builds off of a quote from the greatest branding book ever written, Al and Laura Ries’s The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.

Thanks so much for reading in 2013, and for sharing your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, and elsewhere. I wish you all a successful 2014 in all measures.

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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.

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