Develop Boilerplate Content

  • Have available basic descriptions of each faculty member, each program, and your department for inclusion in news releases.

    For instance:

    Professor Lon Ferguson, chairperson of the Safety Sciences Department, received a B.S. and M.S. in Safety Sciences from IUP and a doctorate specializing in higher education administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

    He has been active in the American Association of Safety Engineers, having served as a member since 1979. He earned the ASSE’s William Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator of the Year Award in 2002.

    Before joining the IUP faculty, Ferguson served as an assistant professor in the Occupational Safety and Hygiene Management Program at Millersville University and had twelve years of experience as a safety consultant.

    At IUP, Ferguson teaches undergraduate safety and fire classes and graduate safety classes.

    This boilerplate content only needs to be three to five sentences long. You should do the same for your department:

    IUP was among the first schools in the nation to develop an undergraduate degree program in safety. Since its establishment in 1971, the Safety Sciences Department has educated more than 2,500 safety and health professionals and has experienced employment placement rates of greater than 90 percent. Program graduates are employed in a variety of industries, such as chemicals, construction, steel, consulting, insurance, and manufacturing.

    And for each of your programs.

    Where Should You Use Boilerplate?

    What is this content for? One place you might use it is on the profile pages for each of your faculty and programs. But just as importantly, you can use this text within your news items, making this:

    Dr. Lon Ferguson of the Safety Sciences Department has been selected as a director of the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

    He was appointed in January 2009 and will serve a three-year term.

    into this:

    Dr. Lon Ferguson of the Safety Sciences Department has been selected as a director on the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).

    He was appointed in January 2009 and will serve a three-year term. During his first year of service, Ferguson will serve on the examination and professional standards committees.

    Established in 1969, this national board, based in Savoy, Ill., is recognized as a leader in credentialing for safety, health, and environmental practitioners in order to enhance the safety of people, property, and the environment.

    Ferguson, chairperson of the Safety Sciences Department, received a B.S. and M.S. in Safety Sciences from IUP and a doctorate specializing in higher education administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

    He has been active in the American Association of Safety Engineers, having served as a member since 1979. He earned the ASSE’s William Tarrants Outstanding Safety Educator of the Year Award in 2002.

    Before joining the IUP faculty, Ferguson served as an assistant professor in the Occupational Safety and Hygiene Management Program at Millersville University and had twelve years of experience as a safety consultant.

    At IUP, Ferguson teaches undergraduate safety and fire classes and graduate safety classes.

    IUP was among the first schools in the nation to develop an undergraduate degree program in safety. Since its establishment in 1971, the Safety Sciences Department has educated more than 2,500 safety and health professionals and has experienced employment placement rates of greater than 90 percent. Program graduates are employed in a variety of industries, such as chemicals, construction, steel, consulting, insurance, and manufacturing.

    With the additional content, you’ve just taken a news item whose significance will be understood only by safety professionals and turned it into something that prospective students, parents, and the general public can understand. (In other words, the improved version Keeps Multiple Audiences in Mind and Keeps Multiple Contexts in Mind.) And having this boilerplate handy makes it easy to do this for all of your news items.

    Wait a Second There…

    If you’ve been paying attention, you may be saying to yourself, “Well, doesn’t that contradict the Avoid Repeating the Same Content in Different Places best practice?” And the answer is—yes. However:

    1. Ektron news feeds only include a single content block per news item. So if you created this content as a separate block and included it in your news item as an extra content block, it would only appear on that particular page: not in your RSS feed, not on web portals, etc.

    2. Furthermore, news items are “disposable” content. Readers won’t expect a year-old news item to have an up-to-date biographical note about that faculty member (and it would be a little odd for that year-old news item to mention a further award the faculty member received last week).

    It is unfortunate that we have to repeat content this way, but the payoff is better news items created more quickly.