Getting started

Getting started as a communicator in our college

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences marketing team is delighted you’ve joined our group of communicators who are responsible for maintaining a unified voice and brand across platforms. We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you get started in your position at the university. From understanding our college’s focus to learning how to publish on ASU Now and Events, we’ll help make sure you’re prepared to tackle your job as a communicator for one of our academic units, centers or institutes. 

Our college’s focus

  1. We foster educational excellence through a unique blend of programs in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. We create master learners who are prepared to tackle challenges and pioneer solutions to society’s problems.
  2. Through our marketing and communication efforts, we should appeal to our students’ needs while helping them find (and love) the right university for them (hopefully ours). 

University-approved platforms

The university has designated the usage of approved platforms for a variety of communicator-specific tasks, such as web development, customer surveys and mass emails. As a communicator, we require you use the chosen university platforms.

There are several training resources available. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources:

Enterprise Marketing Hub mailing list

Sign up for the Enterprise Marketing Hub mailing list to stay current on important brand updates and invitations to the Marketing All-Hands meetings.  

University-wide resources

How-to guides

Web Writing Guidelines

Best practices for web content

Refer to ASU’s Enterprise Brand and Marketing Guide for writing standards

Audience

Understanding your audience’s goals and motivations for visiting a website or landing page will help you cater to their needs more efficiently by developing only relevant and necessary information.

  • Who’s your target audience? Prospective students, current students, alumni?
  • What goal are they trying to accomplish or what problem are they trying to solve?
  • How can your school, department or unit help them reach their goals?

Brevity

ASU-branded language is direct and succinct. Get to the point quickly and tell readers exactly what they want to hear in as few words as possible. Every paragraph, sentence and word should serve some purpose and support your main focus. Be ruthless in the editing process. Always look for places to shorten and tighten copy.

  • Headlines should be 10 words or less.
  • Sentences should be 20 words or less.
  • Paragraphs should be five lines long or less (on desktop).
  • Break apart long sections of text with bullets and other stylistic elements.

Calls to action

You can direct your viewer’s actions by writing compelling, clear and specific calls to action. There should be one primary call to action with a few secondary ones, avoid too many buttons on a single page. See brand guide for button style specifications.

You should include verbs in calls to action that lead to a specific action such as apply now, request information, visit campus, explore programs, etc.

  • Create urgency.
  • Emphasize benefits.
  • Be brief, five words or less.

Capitalization

ASU’s writing style guide is based on the Associated Press Stylebook’s current edition with some exceptions. Check the brand guide first, then consult AP rules for capitalization.

  • Program and concentration areas are not capitalized, unless they are proper nouns.
    (e.g. Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, BS in nursing, biology degree, English degree)
  • Do not capitalize centers, colleges, departments, etc. in a descriptive manner.
    (e.g. the history department, the university, the institute)

Consistency

Language and formatting should remain consistent throughout your website to emulate ASU’s branding and identity standards. When a website is riddled with inconsistencies, viewers will think the source isn’t credible or reliable. Consistency increases usability and cohesiveness.

(e.g. 480-555-5555, not (480) 555-5555 / a.m. and p.m., not AM, A.M., am)

  • Use My ASU consistently throughout copy, don’t switch between myasu, MYASU, etc.
  • All phone numbers, times, emails, etc. should be formatted in the same style
  • All buttons should be in the same style whether sentence case or title case.

Check the Enterprise Brand and Marketing Guide’s rules for formatting bullets, dates, times, email addresses, links, quotation marks, social media addresses and other common references.

Headlines

Headlines should be short, powerful and direct. Use active language and convey sincerity. Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns – this is known as sentence case. Do not use punctuation, unless needed for clarity. Use figures for all numbers.

  • Explore our history
  • Transform your future
  • Discover the possibilities

The introduction to ASU’s writing style guide includes a list of powerful words that connote action, determination and scope. Try incorporating some of these words into your headlines.

Keywords

You can improve your website’s conversion rate and quality score by aligning copy with the searcher’s intent and incorporating keywords. Content should remain comprehensive, useful and relevant as opposed to feeling forced with too many unnecessary keywords.

Language

ASU-branded language is direct, clear and sincere. Content should be declarative and succinct, inspiring and provocative. The tone of our brand is ambitious, bold, visionary, aspirational, optimistic, determined, future-focused, authoritative, purposeful and honest.

  • Use direct, active language.
  • Reduce word count in favor of power, clarity and gravity.
  • Implement ASU’s tagline, “Learn to thrive,” when appropriate.
  • Select powerful words that connote action, determination and scope.

Punctuation

ASU’s brand guide addresses common issues with punctuation and symbols. While most of the grammar rules reflect what’s in the current edition of AP style, some exceptions exist.

  • ASU style does not recognize the “Oxford comma” (or Harvard comma).
  • Do not use italics because they create readability issues for some viewers.
  • Avoid using superscript letters because they don’t always display correctly.
  • Do not hyphenate adverbs ending in “ly” (e.g. nationally ranked, not nationally-ranked).
  • Do not use the ampersand symbol in text to represent and, even for official unit names.

Second person

Using the word “you” makes your copy feel personal to visitors and allows for intimate conversation. Showcase what you can do for your audience. Writing in second person helps you demonstrate the value of your offer because it lets readers visualize how it can impact their lives as opposed to an abstract person’s life.

  • Forge your own path.
  • You’ll learn to thrive academically and beyond.
  • You can help us change the world through research and discovery.

Visual design

Content is a visual component on a webpage, just as much as images and graphics. You should focus on creating scan-able copy because most visitors will skim a page instead of reading it.

  • Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs.
  • Make headlines bold to command a viewer’s attention.
  • When using columns, make sure the text is even in length.
  • Use white space to offset large amounts of text and increase readability.

Word list

The writing style guide has a word list that provides clarification of words and phrases used in ASU communications. It’s a great resource for frequently misused terms and can help ensure your web content meets ASU’s identity standards.

SEO

Tools and modules

These can be installed/enabled for Webspark sites:

  • Drupal Redirect module
  • Drupal Metatags module
  • Google Analytics (pre-installed, request access from HUB)
  • Google Search Console

Tools for research, tracking and scanning:

SEO and analytics contacts

  • The College: Tyler Kilbourne and Allison Oswalt
  • University/HUB: Tiffany Sellwood

1 - Initial planning and setup, revisit yearly

  • Create a list of keywords your site should be targeting
  • Build a keyword to URL map (spreadsheet) for your top 10-20 pages and their keywords (example spreadsheet).
  • Make sure the keyword(s) for each page in the keyword map appear in these tags (you can use this meta tag analyzer to check the following items):
    • Url
    • Title metatag
    • Description metatag
    • Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc)

2 - Basic monitoring and monthly upkeep

Use tools listed above to run reports to find SEO issues. Important and easy to fix items include:

  • Each page should have a unique title and description metatag
  • Fix broken links
  • Fix generic anchor/link text, “Learn more”, “read more”, etc. should be “Learn more about ___”
  • Add alt tags to images
  • Make sure a page’s urls redirect instead of being accessible from multiple aliases

3 - Advanced monitoring and improvements

Additional resources

Digital signs

Digital signs are TV displays located inside buildings across ASU campuses and used to communicate ASU messaging. For content that is being programmed to digital signs in Armstrong Hall, the following guidelines should be followed.

Supported file types

  • Document - PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF
  • Image - .png, .jpg, .gif, .tif
  • Video - .mp4

Up to 100MB

Content guidelines

All graphic and video content should follow the ASU Brand Guide standards and be in good taste. Content will be reviewed by The College marketing team and approved based on the relevance of the messaging to the audience, quality of graphic or video, and the available space on the content feed.

Submitting a request

If you would like to request an ad on the digital signs in Armstrong Hall, please fill out the request form. You must submit your request at least five business days in advance of when you want your item added to The College content playlist.  


For questions about digital signage, please contact Allison Connell.

Fact Sheets

All fact sheets can be downloaded from: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1030-_iOWLWKqWx3wN7ZaE-2IORmTTkpq?usp=sharing (Use your ASURITE Google account to sign in. This folder is open to everyone at ASU. Please don't request access for non ASURITE accounts.)

iSearch (ASU directory)

Guidelines

Maintaining your personal profile:
https://brandguide.asu.edu/web-standards/isearch-profiles

ASU Directory guidelines:
https://brandguide.asu.edu/web-standards/academic/directory

Access and training

Request Directory Admin access:
My.asu.edu > Service > Submit Service Request > iSearch Directory Admin Tool Access

Directory Admin guide:
https://www.asu.edu/courses/oasis/iSearch/ManageDepartmentProfile_BPG.pdf 

Profile fields that must be maintaned by a Directory Admin:

This information is updated through the Department Admin Tool, not profiles.

  • Department Affiliation (must be added if new, removed if no longer affiliated)
  • Faculty Rank
  • Title

How to add people to your isearch directory

Visit: https://isearch.asu.edu/asu_dept_mgr

  1. Start typing their name in the Search ASU Employees text box.
  2. An auto complete dropdown will appear. Select the employee to add from the dropdown. This will populate the text box with the correct ASURITE.
  3. Click Add to Department. An overlay form will appear allowing you to set their department title and employee type. If you don't see the overlay form, scroll down the page. Sometimes it appears below the fold.

Social media

Building a successful social media game plan

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is active on four social media platforms. Our marketing team’s creative division is happy to consult with communicators in the college about the ins and outs of social media strategy, content creation, campaign planning, reporting and more. Whether you’re starting on a new platform or creating a campaign for a new event, we’ll make sure you’re prepared to tackle the complexity of social media communications and forge stronger connections with your community. 

Best practices for social media

  1. Choose the right platforms
    Social media can take up a lot of your time. If you attempt to manage too many platforms without time to devote to each one, you’ll negatively impact those networks. Choose the best platforms for your unit’s needs and spend more time generating higher quality content.
  2. Strategize your efforts and set goals
    Create a social media strategy to establish objectives that can be tracked and measured. You’ll be able to focus on results-oriented strategies and adapt your efforts as needed. Your strategy should include building brand awareness, strengthening customer service and increasing engagement.
  3. Showcase your brand on social platforms
    Your identity should be uniform across all social media profiles. This creates brand awareness and drives fan loyalty. Maintain consistency with your logo and tagline. Use images that resonate with your audience and promote your brand. Tone and voice should remain consistent in all content.  
  4. Prioritize quality content over quantity
    When it comes to content on social media, more isn’t always better. You should value creating high-quality content that provides value to your intended audience. Also, make sure your content has variety. You don’t want to just post promotional items. Be engaging and share industry knowledge.
  5. Plan content calendars in advance
    Writing a content calendar in advance will ensure your page has regular and consistent posts. You’ll save time by not having to figure out what to post each morning. Take advantage of ASU Events, holidays and niche days related to your unit. Use the template below to create content calendars.
  6. Keep posts simple and concise
    Social media users prefer shorter posts because many networks are used for leisure. If your post requires a high level of attention, it’ll likely be overlooked. You have less than eight seconds to capture your audience’s attention so make it brief and noteworthy. Two to three sentences max.  
  7. Respond to feedback
    You should respond to negative and positive feedback on social media. While it may be impossible to respond to each and every post, make sure you answer questions, address strong statements and acknowledge criticisms or complaints. Offer resolutions and think of it as an opportunity to improve.
  8. Monitor analytics
    Taking a look at your social media analytics on a monthly or weekly basis will help you understand what’s working and what needs help. Effectively monitoring the data will give you the tools to support your goals and objectives, from building brand awareness to increasing engagement.  

University resources for social media

List of social media accounts within our college

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning

School of Human Evolution and Social Change

School of Social Transformation

School of Transborder Studies

ASU Origins Project

Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing

Center for Evolution & Medicine
Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict
School of International Letters and Cultures
School of Politics and Global Studies
Alumni

School of Molecular Sciences

Institute for Humanities Research
Department of Military Science - Army ROTC
T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
Institute of Human Origins
School of Life Sciences

Department of English
Project Humanities

Department of Physics

School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

ASU Public History Program
School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
Center for Biology and Society
LeRoy Eyring Center for Solid State Science

School of Earth and Space Exploration
Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture

Jewish Studies
Project Humanities

Biosocial Complexity Initiative

Center for Political Thought and Leadership

Hugh Downs School of Human Communication
American Indian Policy Institute

ASU NewSpace

American Indian Studies

Naval ROTC

Center for Digital Antiquity

Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science
Biodiversity Knowledge Integration Center

The Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology
Center for Meteorite Studies
Center for Strategic Communication
Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics
Department of Psychology

School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

ASU Center on the Future of War