This guide is designed to help you determine how to best reach your on-campus audiences. The following recommendations are informed by industry-wide communications best practices, as well as surveys conducted at Carleton about how students, faculty, and staff engage with different types of communications. Please reach out to Rachel Everett, internal communications manager, with questions. 

Create a communications calendar using this template

Faculty, staff, and student email lists 

The faculty-all, staff-all, and students email lists are useful tools for getting important information out to our campus community. Because they have such widespread audiences, all emails sent to these groups are first reviewed by staff moderators before they are approved to be delivered. Messages sent to these groups should follow these guidelines and best practices: 

  • Use of the faculty-all, staff-all, and students email lists should be limited to messages that are specific to one of these groups. The preferred communication method to reach all of these audiences is Carleton Today. 
  • The message should be relevant to most members of the group, not just a select portion, and should require the recipient to take an action (i.e. open enrollment for employees, course registration and drop/adds for students, faculty meeting agendas, etc.). When possible, if your message is only relevant to a select segment of the group, try to email that segment specifically using a Google Group or list. 
  • Message formatting should be in accordance with digital accessibility standards, including: only use underlining for hyperlinks, use no more than three font sizes, and if including a PDF or image, all key details included in the PDF or image should also be included as plain text. E-readers cannot read text included in most PDFs or images that are designed to be posters or event invitations, so only including information that way is not accessible to those with visual impairments. 
  • Please carefully review your message before sending to ensure all details are correct, and that hyperlinks go to the correct page. Do not include QR codes in emails. Because the reader is already on their phone or computer, hyperlinks are more effective. 

Campus calendar 

All events should be added to the campus calendar. In addition to ensuring that anyone can find the key information about your event, the campus calendar also generates an “add to Google calendar” link that is very useful to include in communications. In an informal poll of students, many indicated that they decide what events to attend by putting events on their calendar about a week in advance and then deciding day-of whether to go. Though this poll did not include faculty or staff, this indicates that invitations and posters would benefit from giving people an easy means to add events to their calendar. 

Club, department, or interest group emails and newsletters 

For those notices with a narrower audience than the “-all” lists, there are Google Groups or newsletters! These are a great means to get the word out to your primary audience. Compile a list of groups your programming is most relevant to, and go through it when planning your communications to consider which ones should be alerted. Additionally, ensure you’re coordinating with other members of your department or club about their upcoming communications to avoid excessive emails. If you find yourself regularly emailing a large group of people for which there is no Google Group, you can set one up.

For most events, it is recommended to send your first outreach two weeks in advance, and a reminder the week of. In considering who to send it to, prioritize outreach to interest groups or departments most closely aligned with the event topic. 

There are some newsletters that are automatically sent to all faculty, staff, and students without them having to opt-in. Again, submissions to these newsletters should be relevant to most members of the group, and can be a great way to get attention from those not already tuned in to your programming. 

For newsletters that only run monthly, prioritize including your most important events, and know that follow-up communication will be necessary. Informal survey data suggests that students decide what events they’ll attend up to a week in advance, ultimately deciding day of. 

Posters

Posters can be a means of reaching people who may not otherwise hear about your programming or event. That said, with all the posters around campus, it can also be hard to capture people’s attention. Because of this, posters should be considered a supplemental form of communication. Design-wise, posters should be easy to read and have the key information needed to inspire participation or attendance. For events, these are also great materials to use QR codes to share the “add to Google calendar” link! 

Buildings tend to have their own guidelines for how long posters can be displayed, but it is recommended to put them up for the week you need engagement most. For events, this is usually the week leading up to the event. 

Social media

Social media—Instagram in particular—can be a great way to reach students. Staff and faculty do not tend to look to social media for work-related information or updates. Erica Helgerud, news and social media manager, monitors all Carleton-related accounts and shares posts on the @carletoncollege Instagram to help boost visibility. 

A few quick tips: 

  • In order for the main Carleton Instagram account to share any stories you post—greatly increasing your overall reach—you must tag @carletoncollege in your story.
  • Instagram doesn’t allow links in captions, but if you post something about an event to your story, you can include a link as a sticker. This can be another great place to use the “add to Google calendar” link generated by the campus calendar! 
  • Don’t include a QR code in Instagram posts or stories. Since the user is already on their phone, they won’t be able to scan it. 

For more information about how to best utilize social media, check out the social media guidelines.