the sally sisson blog


October 5, 2019

Back-To-School: Creative Content Writing & Curriculum Development

Writing, editing and wrangling content

Although I’ve been writing content and curriculum for TogetherCounts.com over the past seven years, this is the first time I’ve been responsible for the entire Schools section of the website. During the spring and summer of 2018, I developed the content and curriculum for all four levels — Pre-K, Grades K–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–8 — plus training modules for the Educator Support Center, at-home activity guides and lesson plans to be used in conjunction with FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) charts and guidelines.

Like many website writing and wrangling projects, this involved hundreds of manuscript pages of text, along with nearly as many images, illustrations and video clips. When the final web pages, PDFs and slides were all laid out and uploaded by the web developer, I decided to tally them up. The total: 676 pages of content!

  • Curriculum Units: 12
  • Lesson Plans: 48
  • Pages of PDFs: 440
  • PowerPoint Slides: 236
  • Total pages of content: 676

The new web content went live in September 2018 and is being used again this year in U.S. schools nationwide and by TogetherCounts.com partners including the Girl Scouts and 4-H, America’s largest youth development and youth mentoring organization. The free content is accessible to teachers, parents and after-school volunteers as well.

Check it out here at https://togethercounts.com/educator-support-center/

Part 1: The Creative Process

The Challenge: Develop a new conceptual framework and lesson plans to reflect the newly expanded approach to Health & Wellness recommended by the CDC and ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). Customize content for different grade bands (Pre-K through grade 8) for use by teachers in U.S. public and private schools nationwide.

The Solution: I worked side-by-side (virtually, that is) with design colleague Doug Eymer of EYMER Brand Laboratories to toss ideas back and forth. (Conceptual work doesn’t happen in a vacuum!) I knew he was the right guy to add personality to the visuals for maximum kid-appeal — while driving home the key teaching points in effective ways that would stick.

The New Graphic Toolset: Here’s the final result, below. Called the “Wellness Wheel,” this graphic laid the foundation for the curriculum units and all of the content for the Pre-K through Grade 5 lesson plans and teaching guides. Printable worksheets, also designed by EYMER (see samples below), incorporated this and complementary graphics to help tie all of the separate units into a cohesive whole.


Part Two: Collaborating with teacher reviewers, a curriculum writer, website developer and more…. [to follow]

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August 23, 2013

Best University Website Ever?


Monsters University best college website

Could be. This parody of a university website pretty much nails it. Created by clever minds at Pixar (to promote the Monsters U movie), it has all the elements: video testimonials, faculty profiles, an events calendar, even a school store. The only thing missing is a blog feed.

Over the years I’ve done communications, marketing and website work for K-12 schools, universities and education marketing clients, and I’ve spent a lot of time examining competitor websites and enrollment pitches. So when I saw the Monsters University website for the first time I had to laugh at the uncanny resemblance to the real thing.

college admissions videoAnd when I watched the Message from the Dean (see right), I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cringe. Have I scripted something scarily similar? Err…possibly.

I visited the website frequently this year, as I worked on the Monsters U marketing campaign with SubwayKids.com (wearing my copywriting hat). Each time I clicked I discovered another hilarious, spot-on piece of content. Food for thought as we head back to school and gear up for a new season of enrollment marketing. Here’s to fewer clichés and fresher ideas ahead!

Student ID card

Further reading on the Monsters U website and higher education marketing:

Future Comms: Scare Tactics
Go have a look at the site. It’s pretty much THE American university website. In fact, it’s a really good global university website… But what should we, in the Higher Ed community, really take from all this?
1. It’s not a university website. It’s a really good promotion for a multi-million dollar film made by a multi-billion dollar company. It’s just part of an annual ad budget that Adage cited as $2.1b in 2011.

Bob Johnson’s Blog on Higher Education Marketing
What do you get when you assemble every cliché about a higher education website in a single parody? The Monsters University website. Do not miss the intro to Academics with an opening video “Message from the Dean for Prospective Students.”

Sally Sisson Blog: Web Content and the Eternal Home Page Question: How much is too much?
Lessons learned from “Beyond the University Website – The Future of Digital Marketing in Higher Education.”

 

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August 22, 2013

Smart Content Marketing: Engaging kids with games + activities, not plastic toys

content writing games for kidsThe summer blockbuster movie season is coming to an end, and it’s time to switch out content marketing themes and characters for SubwayKids.com. I had a fun time copywriting and developing online content, games and activities for this project, and have even spotted kids using their eco-friendly reusable meal bags—the best part of this entire SUBWAY FRESH FIT FOR KIDS™ meal marketing campaign, in my opinion. Sure beats those plastic Happy Meals toys.

copywriting and content for kids

Copywriting Samples

Here’s a link to samples of downloadable activities I developed:
Monsters University: Content + copywriting for SUBWAY Kids™ + Disney/Pixar

copywriting for children


Blog posts: Web content + copywriting for kids, parents + teachers

For more on copywriting and content development programs I’ve worked on for SubwayKids.com (via the digital brand agency Jack Morton Worldwide), see these blog posts:

Cartoons and Content Marketing: All work and all play
SUBWAY® Restaurants + The Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb

Content Marketing + Cause Marketing: Public relations with a purpose
Random Acts of Fitness for Kids™:  SUBWAY® Restaurants + American Heart Association, Little League® Baseball and Softball, We Can!™ (a National Institutes of Health [NIH] program) and other national partners

Earth Day Interactives:
Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients
SUBWAY® Restaurants + The Nature Conservancy

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