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The Seattle Collegian Strategic Marketing Plan

Last updated on February 2, 2020

ABOUT

Mission

The Seattle Collegian’s mission is to serve as the voice for the collective body of Seattle Central students. The Seattle Collegian strives to keep them informed and engaged with student life while serving as a platform for student expression.

History

The Seattle Collegian, now referred to as the Collegian, is Seattle Central College’s independent student-led online news publication. The current iteration of the paper has been in operation since 2017. The news publication was initially established in Fall 1966 when the community college opened. The Collegian has covered news stories on student life, student work, college, politics, and events around the Capitol Hill community. The publication has had two other names at the college.

The City Collegian ran from 1966 to 2008 and was a newspaper print publication. The publication closed down in 2008. The college administration at that time claimed the decision to “temporarily suspend” the Collegian was due to the lack of a faculty adviser. The college also ended the journalism program. Journalism classes are not being offered at this time either.

The Central Circuit ran from 2008 to 2014. The Central Circuit began as a newspaper print publication but switched its layout to magazine-style at the end of 2008. In 2014, the Central Circuit was brought to another abrupt end when a story exposed the school’s administration for mismanagement.  The college’s administration again cited the lack of a faculty adviser as its reason for the shutdown.

In 2016, a group of students began advocating for the need to have a student publication continue to operate. In 2017, the Collegian relaunched entirely online with periodic prints issues during each quarter.

PLAN

Situational Overview

The Collegian reports on news stories free of special interests or paid influence. Meaning there is no advertisement sales revenue for its publication. Therefore, the Collegian operates within its budget each year provided by S&A fees. Funding is submitted and approved yearly by a Service & Activities Fees committee.  Readership analytics reports are delivered weekly to the committee for consideration of budget allocations.

In the first year of operation, the Collegian had been successful at reaching readership goals and maintaining its operational budget. Their stories have received recognition by the administration. They have propelled accountability, involvement, and readership engagement across the campus: students, faculty, and administration. Every year the paper goes dormant over the summer break, and a new publication board in the Fall must re-engage its audience and meet new readership goals.

The Collegian has a significant following on social media. Its audience was due to the previous publication board’s social media influence through their accounts. This year, the Collegian is struggling with their readership engagement and student following goals. Presently, analytics reporting does not provide enough insight into the Collegian’s target audience. Thereby, the Collegian is seeking the assistance of our organization to provide insight and solutions towards understanding its primary audience, readership engagement, and social media goals.

RESEARCH

S.W.O.T. Analysis

Strengths

  • Local News Coverage
  • Encourages Student Journalism
  • Website responsiveness meets with technology requirements of devices
  • Social Media platforms accounts are the most popular for news consumption

Weaknesses

  • Lack of staff creates difficulties in availability for training on equipment
  • Student availability makes it difficult to meet plans fluidly
  • Organic impressions on social media are limited to friends’ circles

Opportunities

  • Expand awareness of brand to other media and news outlets
  • Increase social media following among student body
  • Creation of incentive programs for student writers

Threats

  • Funding for incentives may be limited
  • Stories may not reach or spark interest in target demographic
  • Failure of meeting target campaign deadlines

Competitive Analysis

Company Info

The Current
Green River College
Auburn, WA
Company Size: Unknown

Description

Online College Publication

On the Web

Product

Strenghts

  • Images and articles are relative to each other
  • Photos is interesting, attention grabbing
  • There is a sport coverage section.
  • Articles seem to target different audiences

Weaknesses

  • Not periodically updated
  • Pay for advertisement but no advertisements
  • No About page

Company Info

The Ebbtide
Shoreline College
Shoreline, WA
Company Size: 15

Description

Online College Publication

On the Web

Product

Strenghts

  • Thorough information on the homepage
  • Concise About Page
  • Navigation intuitive and user friendly
  • Displays publication print dates, meeting dates for public to view

Weaknesses

  • Thorough information on the homepage
  • Concise About Page

Company Info

ThunderWord
Highline College
Des Moines, WA
Company Size: 14

Description

Online College Publication

On the Web

Product

Strenghts

  • Student centered topics
  • Action photography focused on topics.
  • • Students in many photos

Weaknesses

  • Layout is not responsive on mobile and slow
  • No publication dates on the articles
  • Difficult to know where to click to read an article

DESIGN

Objective / Goals

The objective of the Collegian is to expand its brand awareness and target audience. The goal of the organization is to define branding materials across all platforms to create uniformity and brand recognition. Their goal is to increase social media readership engagement organically. Organically, in this case, meaning that new followers are gained through non-paid methods and actively engaged with the college.

The Collegian’s goal towards increasing their brand awareness and target audience will include:

Understand audience methods of news consumption

Increase web traffic from the average of 1200 to 3000 hits weekly

Increase social media following from 500 to 2000 followers

Develop partnerships and industry recognition in the journalism field

Audience

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The target audience is Seattle Central College students, faculty, administrators, staff.

Strategy

The Collegian will gather and analyze the information from its strategies to articulate and produce written stories, audio stories, images, and videos that readers will find engaging. To increase readership of its target audiences, the Collegian will campaign brand awareness through grassroots and corporate means of engagement such as:

Surveys & polls will provide feedback and insight on audience

Creating a brand guide audiences can easily recognize across

Quarterly events will engage new and existing readership

Social Media Campaigns will engage and maintain readership

Encourage partnerships and local community support

DEVELOP

Tactics

The Collegian will reach target audiences using various strategies, tactics and form analysis outlined below:

Category 1 Audiences

Seattle Central College students, faculty, administrators, staff

(Week 1,2,3 – Fall Quarter)

A. Strategy:    Surveys – Readership Demographics – Collegian Survey / Questionnaire

B. Tactic:     Board members will develop a survey to provide insight into their target audience. No less than two hundred reviews shall be collected to represent the student, faculty, and administrative population. The study shall provide information about the following: Demographics, Social platforms, Preferred methods of news consumption.

C. Analysis:     Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership. 

(Week 1 Quarterly)

A. Strategy:      Event – Social Media Campaign – Tabling

B. Tactic:          Board members will organize four tabling events in which poster boards would highlight information about the publication, stories, and info graphics.

Social media handles will be prominently displayed. Students will be offered a promotional pin of their choice in exchange for a Like on one of our social media outlets.

Students will have the opportunity to collect one custom promotional pin for a LIKE on one of our social media platforms at every tabling. One pin per student per tabling = 4 pins.

C. Analysis:     Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership. 

(Week 2 Quarterly)

A. Strategy:      Event – Readership Engagement – Movie Night/Review Contest

B. Tactic:          An entertaining, progressive, or educational film will be screened at the Collegian with limited sitting and reservation required. The event will be promoted through our social media platforms and the publications website events page. Participating students may choose to write a review as entry to a contest. The winning story will receive a monetary prize, be posted on our website, and shared on social media.

C. Analysis:   Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.                

(Week 3 Quarterly)

A. Strategy:      Event – New Readership Engagement – Open House Pizza Lunch

B. Tactic:          Board members will decide on one educational department within the school (Ex. Stem Programs / IT Programs / Behavioral Sciences). They will visit classrooms one week before the event promoting The Collegian.  Staff and faculty within the chosen department shall also be contacted and invited.

The event will provide an opportunity for students to engage with publication board members. Board members can share their experience, provide tours of the board room, and encourage visitors to follow us or write for us.

Departments may not be repeated quarterly within one calendar year in order to provide random inclusion of all departments.

C. Analysis:       Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.

(Week 4 Quarterly)

A. Strategy:     Event – New Readership Engagement – Creative Story Contest

B. Tactic:         Open to all @seattlecolleges.edu. A monthly contest for creative storytellers. For Example, A shaky moment. Please write us a story of a shaky moment. You could write about a time you had a shake. Your account should be real, not name anybody directly, and the word count is between 500 to 700 words.

C. Analysis:     Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.

(Week 4 – Spring Quarter)

A. Strategy:    Event – Student Engagement – The Collegian Story Hour

B. Tactic:        A yearly event in the spring quarter during Welcome Week at the Atrium called the Collegian Story Hour, where the top ten stories of every quarter are narrated on stage. Prior to the event the winners will be given the chance to tell their story along with 7 randomly picked of the top ten of every quarter. For the event story tellers will be given 10 minutes to tell their story. 

C. Analysis:     Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.

Category 2 Audiences

Local area news agencies

(Week 6 – Winter Quarter)

A. Strategy:    Event – Journalism Industry Engagement – Coffee/Donuts Open House

B. Tactic:        Local News outlets to join board members at the Collegian for coffee and donuts.  Publication board members can share their experience, provide tours, and engage visitors about story ideas and get industry insights.

Board members will collect information on local news organizations and community organizations — a press release sent to the news organization. Publication board members will be encouraged to create relationships by visiting the local news organizations in person and promote the event. Board members will present a topic supporting discussion on the local, state, national, global level.

C. Analysis:     Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.

(Week 2 – Winter & Spring Quarter)

A. Strategy:      Collaborative Partnership – Local Community – Beats / Articles

B. Tactic:          Write a review of a news story highlighting a report written by another local news organization or event that has occurred in our community. For Example, KOMO News, Seattle is Dying Special or Lifelong Thrift, Aids Walk. The tale shall include attribution links and quotes.

C. Analysis:      Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.

Category 3 Audiences

Capitol Hill and Seattle Community organizations and leaders

(Week 6 – Fall Quarter)

A.  Strategy:      Event – Local Community Engagement – Coffee/Donuts Open House

B. Tactic:           Local community organizations will have an opportunity to join board members at The Collegian office for coffee and donuts. This event will provide an opportunity for local community leaders of organizations and the publication to network. Publication board members can share their experience, provide tours, and engage visitors about story ideas and get industry insights.

Board members will collect information on local community organizations and community engagement representative provided with a press release on the event. Publication board members will be encouraged to create relationships by visiting the local community organizations in person. Board members will present a topic supporting discussion on the local, state, national, global level.

C. Analysis:       Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.               

 

(Week 2 – Winter Spring)

A. Strategy:      Collaborative Partnership – Local Community – Beats / Articles

B. Tactic:        A news story highlighting a report written by another local community organization or event that has occurred in our community shall be reviewed and a story written on. For Example: KOMO News, Seattle is Dying Special or Lifelong Thrift, Aids Walk. The story shall include attribution links and quotes.

C. Analysis:     Information shall be collected presented and analyzed to target, engage and retain readership.

Analysis

The Collegian will conduct analysis of theirs Audience, Strategy and Tactics at weekly meetings. Information on attendance, demographics, engagement highlight, and web analytics shall be discussed to determine the success of Tactic or method of Strategy. Modifications to Tactics and Strategies shall be noted and be implemented for upcoming events accordingly.

LAUNCH

Calendar

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Fall

1.1. Survey

1.2. Tabling

1.5. Story Contest

1.1. Survey

2.2 & 3.2

Beat/Article

1.1. Survey

1.4 Open House

(Students & Staff)

1.5 Winner Announcement

 

1.3. Movie/Review Contest

1.2. Tabling

1.5. Story Contest

 

 

3.1 Open House Comm. Orgs

 

 

Free

1.5. Winner Announcement

 

1.3. Movie/Review Contest

 

 

1.5. Story Contest

 

Free

 

 

 

Free

 

1.5. Story Contest

Winter

 

1.2. Tabling

1.5. Story Contest

1.1. Survey

2.2 & 3.2

Beat/Article

 

1.4 Open House

(Students & Staff)

1.5 Winner Announcement

 

1.3. Movie/Review Contest

1.2. Tabling

1.5. Story Contest

 

 

3.1 Open House Comm. Orgs

 

 

Free

1.5. Winner Announcement

 

1.3. Movie/Review Contest

 

 

1.5. Story Contest

 

Free

 

 

 

Free

 

1.5. Story Contest

Spring

 

1.2. Tabling

1.5. Story Contest

1.1. Survey

2.2 & 3.2

Beat/Article

 

1.4 Open House

(Students & Staff)

1.5. Winner Announcement

1.6 Story Hour

1.3. Movie/Review Contest

1.2. Tabling

1.5. Story Contest

 

 

Free

 

 

Free

1.5. Winner Announcement

 

1.3. Movie/Review Contest

 

 

1.5. Story Contest

 

Free

 

 

 

Free

 

1.5. Story Contest

Summer

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

 

 

N/A

 

 

 

N/A

 

 

 

N/A

 

 

N/A

 

 

N/A

 

 

N/A

 

 

N/A

 

N/A

 

 

 

N/A

 

N/A

BENCHMARKS

Evaluation

Analytics reports conducted weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. Meetings held every week shall include a portion set aside for the discussion of an event that occurred during the reported week and numbers analyzed to compare the impact of the strategic plan.

Milestones

Follows 100%
Likes 50%
Attendance 75%

BUDGET

The Collegian allotting $3,000 for expenditures related to costs of events. Contest winners receive payment for their stories using the current compensation table for staff writers.

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