Written by Scott Knauer, Director of Client Development and CRM Strategy
Summer is prime time to recharge yourself and refresh your marketing and enrollment efforts.
When I worked at a local community college a few years ago, each summer would roll around and a friend or family member would inevitably make a statement like, “Summer break, huh? I bet you’re glad to have some downtime!”
Palm, meet face! 🤦🏻♂️
The question never failed to gall me, though I guess the assumption could be a relatively safe one given that K-12 educators typically relish and defend this time off with their lives. While those of us who work in higher education may get a few weeks off in summer and around the winter holiday, summer is typically a time to double down on your efforts to pursue enrollment goals, refresh your publications and communications, bolster your team by hiring new employees, and more.
You know that resting on your laurels is not an option, however, you are also tired! Summer is a great time halfway through the calendar year to rest, seek inspiration, and create new workflows or habits so you can be off to the races when the semester starts fresh in the fall.
How do you get enough rest in order to recharge yourself for the first day of the semester? How can you look at your work with a fresh perspective that energizes and excites you to keep tackling today’s difficult challenges in higher education enrollment and marketing? Here are seven quintessential, fun, and easy tips for you to try in order to recharge your passion at your community college.
1. Take a hike walk to recharge yourself.
Science tells us that regular movement and exercise are crucial ingredients to a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that walking can also help creativity and problem-solving? According to WebMD, a successful walking routine is one based on comfort, building a habit of walking at a regular time, and allowing yourself to have fun. So consider some movement when you want to recharge yourself!
The next time you need to have a brainstorming meeting with your team, try hosting a walking meeting. This helps with idea generation, team building, and overall morale. And if it’s essential that you take notes during the meeting, you can always use the voice memos app on your phone or a dictation feature in your favorite notes app to grab all the good bits so you don’t forget!
2. Read some fiction to help you tell your students’ and faculty’s stories.
Have you thought about recharging yourself with a good read? A recent article in Reader’s Digest claims that reading fiction can make you a better person. A story that really pulls you along has been known to make readers feel a stronger sense of empathy for the characters in the story.
And let’s face it: strengthening your emotional intelligence can only make you a more savvy and heartfelt marketer or enrollment professional! Consider putting down the marketing books and picking up a novel or collection of short stories before the summer comes to a close. You may discover a few tips that will help you add excitement and dynamic storytelling to the student interest pieces that you publish.
3. Drop in on colleagues in different departments to recharge yourself + your networking.
Making connections is another way to recharge yourself and gain momentum. As marketers, this one is easy! Many of you have to make your rounds on campus to help promote your college’s varied departments and services. If you’re not already doing this, start today. You’ll learn new things about different services offered on campus, meet some new people, and have the chance to experience your college from the perspective of your students.
At Interact, we make a point to have people from different departments in meetings to capture these different perspectives and priorities. A fun way we do this is through bimonthly virtual coffee meetings with our remote teams, who represent different departments, time zones, and backgrounds.
Make a list of departments and teams who may commonly catch you off guard during the academic year with marketing and communications requests. Connecting with them now means you’ll be proactive in scheduling their necessary projects for later in the year. If you want to earn bonus points when implementing these tips, invite them for a walking meeting like we mentioned above!
4. Rechange yourself… and charge up your communications.
Let’s face it: If you’re still sending out the same emails and text messages on various platforms, they may be missing some critical ingredients that can help set the tone your students expect. Check your automated messaging for an encouraging tone as well as clarity. If your calls to action and next steps are too convoluted or full of jargon, the time to fix them is now.
We recommend starting with the emails or text messages you use most often, but taking a broader look at communications across your marketing and student services departments can take a lot more time. Start today with a few empathetic improvements and move toward clear next steps, and you may wish to conduct a larger communications audit later. The latter can be a massive undertaking as you dig deeper, but it’s also one of our specialties!
5. Plan for new platforms and tools.
If your college is on the verge of adopting a new CRM, LMS, or some other fun acronym or platform, don’t put off the foundational work that will pay dividends on the first day of implementation.
Take the summer months to get ahead on those long-term projects by crafting all necessary messaging for students and internal audiences now! You’ll thank yourself later in the year and feel less burned out as we near the end of the semester.
6. Check in with your team.
Summer can be a time of rest for recharging yourself and your team. As people are out for summer vacation, be sure to check in with them as they return to campus as you align your department goals with your group.
At my former college, this time of year always coincided with annual performance reviews, which always felt like a great time to set some professional goals in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions. These can be individual goals, shared department goals, or larger college-wide initiatives. Use the period of rest to rejuvenate excitement for the work at hand during the next academic year on your campus.
7. Get some rest!
One secret to successfully recharge yourself is to prioritize rest. We all know you don’t catch up on sleep, but you can certainly improve it. In his book “Why We Sleep,” Dr. Matthew Walker states that when we only get seven hours of sleep each night for ten consecutive days, the brain is just as impaired as it would be if you pulled an all-nighter!
While we may serve college students who are young and still may desire to stay up all night studying (or playing Mario Kart), you’re doing yourself a disservice by depriving yourself of necessary rest. We’ll save our effective power-nap tips for a future blog post or podcast, but Walker doubles down on the misconception that you can make up for this deficit with “recovery sleep.” Plus, we all know how much better we feel to take on the world after a night of quality, uninterrupted sleep!
Conclusion: Use These 7 Tips to Recharge Yourself This Summer!
As the dog days of summer begin to approach and fly by, and the buzz of students returning to campus fills our to-do lists and calendars, we don’t have to usher in this busy time of peak enrollment with feelings of frantic panic. We get it — over here at Interact, we are busy bees too — but we try to use these recommendations ourselves to achieve a proactive approach when tackling our own priorities and when working with our clients.
By using this time to get grounded, focus on the work that’s on the horizon, and allow you and your team time to be proactive, you open the possibilities for more creativity to seep in every day.
Recharge Yourself with More Tips, Less Stress
Want more tips and tricks on keeping the creative edge in your work? Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. We have more content in development, including some upcoming work with a community college on this subject that we hope to share with you soon. Every step toward improvement means better things for the lives of your students, communities, and beyond.
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About the Author
Scott KnauerDirector of Client Development and CRM Strategy
Scott Knauer is a graphic designer and technologist who gained an interest in the web at an early age. Scott previously worked at Clovis Community College, managing the college’s website redesign, designing print publications, and training users in content management. He worked closely as a bridge between the college’s marketing and information technology departments for more than five years. In 2014, he earned the Rising Star award in NCMPR’s District 4, and he has used his creative and communication talents to serve clients in retail, hospitality, healthcare, and education.