2 min: Background for what Shannon does
Three Moons Collective is Shannon Guild and Beth Brant – they clarify strong messaging and create a polished web presence and a package of marketing materials that allow people to disseminate
3 – 6 mins: What are top things that people are getting wrong.
First a caveat – you’ve been groomed in an environment where it is in your nature now to present all of the information. Citations, facts, method, etc. So this is all counter-intuitive to distill down to three key points.Biggest mistake is difficulty in clearing away all of the steps of how you did something and keeping the message of who you are, what you do, and why that matters. Then, allow a pathway to get to all of those other places
Second common mistake – academic institutions are thinking about themselves as researchers centers but not as businesses, but both are actually true. It is your job to make sure that this is a profitable business that has scale to grow.
Connect with them on how you help [funders] understand how you would help solve their problems and that you are going to be a reliable place to invest their dollars.
7:45 mins: if you want to connect, you have to speak the same language. It is on you to translate your language out of jargon that makes sense to you and into the terms that are valued and interesting to the funders.
9:30 mins: have people learned through this process of distillation how they can actually broaden the number/type of people and groups that can be reached?
Shannon gives a great example of how distilling a message (for a produced water treatment research center) opened up a broad range of other avenues to get creative about where the ideas and solutions might add value that weren’t originally in the sights of the researchers (environmental protection work, venture capitalists looking for scalable technology).
13:00 mins: Discussion of search engine optimization (SEO) and positioning for positive search rankings. To optimize as much as possible, you need to understand what people are searching for to begin with, which is not necessarily the words that you think of. So, find key words based on guessing from context expertise, then vetting those with some research, then peppering the site with key words.
16:45 mins: Advice for someone who wants to do this themselves? Think about scaling as you grow, but the key if you go with a DIY approach, at least get clear about some core positioning. Homepage should tell: who you are, what you do, the problems you solve, and appropriate call to action meaning how can they connect with you.
Rather than pages and pages of publications, think about cleaning it up to a highlighted number of case studies. A couple of paragraphs maybe about what the problem was, what the solution was and a photo of students
“No business is going to stay alive if they are not playing offense at least part of the time.”
21:00 mins: Talking about the attention to students and post-docs within a professor’s website. This is one big collaborative circle where everybody wins if it’s a team approach.
Centered in: here are the problems we solve, here’s how we are collaborating to make the world a better place, etc. – on the front end, highlighting this bigger purpose is important because that is how students decide where to apply to study. They want to go where the action is, and where interesting problems are being solved.
It’s critical that there’s a spotlight on the students for two reasons: the businesses/funders want to know who’s going to be working on their stuff, who’s making things happen behind the curtain, so this removes ambiguity.
Second reason is again recruiting – the more students are involved in the spotlight, it provides a better recruiting pipeline in multiple directions, both to get new students and to place existing students. Also, the students are really primary products of the research investment.
25:00 mins: Introducing MyProfessorWebsite.com –
Team Helium is collaborating with Three Moons Collective. A succinct PDF guide is created there called “the Business of Academia”. Encouragement to start thinking of yourself as a business owner. With that comes the need to really think about what value am I bringing to the table here. This has 6 key questions to ask yourself to really help yourself uncover. The great thing about this clarity of messaging is that it translates to make the rest of your world more streamlined as well – you can answer questions at a conference in a way that flows, you can write proposals in ways that are distilled as well.