the sally sisson blog


April 22, 2012

Earth Day interactives: Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients

I’ve worked on a few copywriting and content development projects for SUBWAY® Restaurants and their SUBWAYkids.com group over the past year (via the Boston office of ad agency Jack Morton Worldwide).

My latest project, an interactive game and content for a campaign developed with The Nature Conservancy, the world’s leading conservation organization, is now live on the site. This spring, every SUBWAY Fresh Fit for Kids Meal comes in a reusable meal bag with a special code to unlock the interactive game and bonus eco-facts and video clips.

“With your help, we can work to reduce, recycle and reuse—and clean up the planet.”

Kids play the “Eco-Quest” by picking up pieces of trash along their journey through habitats on three levels: land, air and sea. With each clean-up or successful answer to a question, users are rewarded with an ec0-fact or a downloadable Nature Conservancy feature on an endangered or at-risk animal whose habitat is threatened by pollution. Check it out at www.subwaykids.com.

Pretty basic, as it’s designed for younger users, but kind of fun. And it was definitely fun to work on. Kudos to big corporations like SUBWAY for catching on, cutting down on waste and encouraging the use of reusables.

Speaking of Earth Day and jumping on the green bandwagon…

The Earth Day content I wrote a couple years ago for the Think Green website, developed for Discovery Education in partnership with Waste Management, is still live on their site. Check it out if you’re looking for creative activities for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 or 9-12. The content is evergreen because, as they say, every day is Earth Day.

By the way, Waste Management, the largest recycler in North America, is offering discounts on battery recycling kits for business as a special Earth Day promotion this year. Find out more about this and other features, like recycle-by-mail programs, at www.wm.com.

ThinkGreen.com: Earth Day Ideas

 

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December 1, 2011

Web content and the eternal home page question: How much is too much?

 

education websites | xkcd venn diagram

I love this Venn diagram by xkcd. It was projected on the wall at the start of a Future M seminar I attended this September called “Beyond the University Website – The Future of Digital Marketing in Higher Education.” This image keeps coming back to me, in content decisions for both edu and B2B.

Sponsored by ISITE Design, and moderated by chief strategy officer Jeff Cram, the panel included Mike Petroff, Web and Technology Enrollment Manager at Emerson College; Perry Hewitt, Chief Digital Officer at Harvard; Gene Begin, Digital Marketing Director at Babson College; and Tom Baird, Vice Chancellor of University of Michigan Dearborn.

Content Overload? It’s all about balance.

I’ve been working on content strategy, optimization, writing and editing for an independent preK-8 school website this year and am about to begin on one for an independent high school. Funny how, regardless of the size of the school, the home page issues always seem to be the same.

How to balance content for current vs. prospective students and constituents? How many news feeds, blog feeds, photo and video galleries do you really need? How can we make sure it’s all optimized for search? What is the true purpose of the home page anyway? How much is too much?

I’m knee-deep in content migration from one CMS to another on the above mentioned website, but once I come up for air I’ll grapple with this question some more. Got any formulas for success? Would love to hear them.

FutureM wrap-ups:

Here are a couple good summaries of the FutureM seminar, along with some choice tweets on CMS quandries (as universal as the homepage ones, it seems to me), mobile stats for edu, and the need for social strategy:

Open Parenthesis: Future M on Higher Education
post by John Eckman of ISTE

Inside FutureM: Digital Marketing and Higher Education
post by Erik Devaney on New England Post

 

 

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February 1, 2011

Extreme Content: How is web writing like extreme winter weather?

Ready Classroom 2

A: You’ve got to be prepared for both.

When a client needs web content, sometimes it’s just a home page or a few headlines. Sometimes it’s the whole thing – 1st, 2nd and 3rd level pages plus links and special features.

Light to moderate to heavy

For the Ready Classroom website, Discovery Education needed the whole package: research and writing for a dozen categories of extreme weather and natural disasters, customized content for each of the 50 states, copy to cross-reference it all, and creative standards-based lesson plans for different grades ranges for K-12.

On top of that there were different strands for three different audiences. All content had to be run through Discovery Education as well as the Ad Council and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), their partners for this particular project.

blizzardsatful

Stock up. Hunker down.

Web writing involves a range of skills: research, writing (both copywriting and long-form content), editing, organization, planning, critical thinking. It also takes time, especially a job of this size. It can be enjoyable to dive deep into a topic and stay holed up for a while. The key is to be be prepared (clear your schedule, line up childcare), stock up on supplies (decent snacks, decent coffee, case of coffee filters), and prepare for a couple all-nighters. Note that it’s good to come up for air every once in a while, whatever the weather.

Toolkits, checklists and survival skills.

We’re getting pretty hard hit with winter weather this year, some parts of the country worse than others. Just this morning I consulted Ready Classroom to check my own family’s state of preparedness for this week’s monster storm. According to FEMA, the Red Cross and my own trusty tips, we still have another trip or two to the hardware store before ticking all the boxes on our Disaster Preparedness Checklist.

Check out the site and see how you stack up. Are YOU prepared?

The calm after the storm

Judging by the broken flashlight and half-empty box of kitchen matches by my side, I would not win many Girl Scout badges for preparedness. However, the content I developed did score some points: Ready Classroom won a 2010 BESSIE (Best Educational Software Award), which made those days and nights in my underground bunker all the more worthwhile. Read more here.

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