Don’t be confused about when to capitalize “extension.”
If you are referring to the organization, capitalize. For example, “The NDSU Extension Service is hosting a sheep shearing clinic Sept. 23.” The reason for capitalizing the words is that they are the proper name of the organization.
Also, use the organization's complete name – North Dakota State University Extension Service – on first reference to the organization.
On future references to the organization in the same document, Extension is OK, but be sure to capitalize it. That’s to distinguish the organization from the generic “extension.” For example, “Presenters for the workshop will include Extension livestock specialists.”
Ellen Crawford, Information Specialist, (701) 231-5391
You may not be aware that Facebook has very specific rules for how you deal with promotions, contests and giveaways on your Facebook page.
Many Facebook pages are violating the Facebook Terms of Service because they are not using a third-party application to run their contest or giveaway.
The Facebook Terms state, "Promotions on Facebook must be administered within Apps on Facebook.com, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App."
You can't run a promotion using the Facebook "Like" button, comments on a post, a photo album or any other native Facebook space. Using an app allows you to run your promotion of a separate tab on your Facebook page or on a "canvas page."
Here are some of the other rules for promotions and contests on Facebook that you need to be aware of:
- Make sure each participant has released Facebook of any legal responsibility for the contest.
- Acknowledge that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
- You must not require participants to "Like" your page, comment on your post, post a photo or perform any other Facebook function to enter your contest.
- You must not notify winners through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.
Find the complete Facebook terms for promotions at http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
Facebook can and has removed entire Facebook Pages because they have violated these terms regarding contests, promotions and giveaways.
Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381
Portlets are a great and easy way to add some spice to your website! Use the News or Events portlets to display the latest. Easy to set up and no monitoring after that. Got a Facebook page? Have all your Facebook activity and fans display on your site. There are many more portlets to choose from, so see what works best for you.
Portlets section in the Ag CMS How-To Guide
For the past year-and-a-half, I've been producing the Working Differently in Extension Podcast to keep Extension professionals up-to-date on new technologies and how they might use them to improve their teaching and learning.
This year the podcast has focused more on the impact the rapidly changing knowledge landscape is having on the roles of Extension educators. I've been interviewing a number of people using online tools and social media for new and exciting Extension work.
Earlier this year, I talked with University of Minnesota Extension forester Eli Sagor (@esagor on Twitter). Eli is a "tree guy" and a social media guy. He's the creator and manager of the online resource My Minnesota Woods.
I had a great conversation with Alice Henneman, food safety and nutrition educator with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County, about the use of social media tools, like Facebook and Pinterest, in Extension education.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Tony Cook, Alabama Cooperative Extension 4-H science and technology specialist, joined me to talk about the For Youth, For Life Learning Network project. Dr. Cook leads this exciting project that leverages the power of online networks for youth learning. The project recently received won $150,000 in the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition.
Those are just 3 of the 13 interviews that have been featured on the podcast this year. I'm looking forward to producing 13 more this year, asking really smart people the questions that challenge those of us interested in working differently in Extension.
I hope you'll listen to at least a few of the podcasts. Let me know if you have suggestions for future guests or if you'd like to know more about podcasting.
Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381
With all the information available and delivered to us everyday, consistent, high-quality content is at a premium. People are hungry for online content that is fresh, engaging and useful. To be sure that you are regularly providing content that meets those standards, an editorial calendar is a must.
An editorial calendar is a simple tool for planning what content you are going to create, when you are going to create it and how you are going to share it with others.
If you are working by yourself, an editorial calendar can keep you on your key messages, keep you from repeating yourself and help you plan and create content in advance of when it is needed.
If you are creating content as a team, an editorial calendar can keep your team from imploding. Being clear about who is responsible for what, when, is critical if you are going to attempt to create and share content as a team.
We are using an editorial calendar in Ag Comm Web Services to plan our blog posts and Facebook Page updates. Take a look at our editorial calendar in action.
If you want to use our template to create your own calendar that your team members can access via Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), go to our template, login to Google Drive/Docs, click "File" and "Make a copy." Share your copy with the members of your team to start using the calendar collaboratively.
These days, you have a number of ways to get your message to your audience.
Ag Comm staff can help get you started with a blog or website to share timely information online, as well as craft news releases and other materials to reach people through online and traditional media outlets.
However, determining when your content should be shared as a news release, blog post or Web page sometimes can be difficult.
Why not do both?
If a news release and blog post appear online and have "significant" blocks of similar text, Google and other search engines may interpret them as “duplicate content.” Duplicate content hurts the reputation of both sites. NDSU Ag news releases are posted online at www.ag.ndsu.edu/news, so taking all or some of a news release and posting it to a blog or Web page could result in both sites being considered duplicate content.
Using the right channel (news release, blog or Web page) for the content can help you avoid duplicate content and serve your audience more effectively.
When to use a news release.
When it's official - News releases are still recognized as the official, "on-the-record" method for public communication. If you are announcing the hiring of a new employee, changing hours of operation or making a similar official announcement, use a news release.
When it's newsworthy - Content is newsworthy when it is timely and has broad appeal. Most news releases go to a wide variety of daily and weekly newspapers, radio and TV stations, and online news sources and blogs. If you want multiple news sources to use your news release, the content better be newsworthy.
When you want a specific outcome - News releases can be effective in getting results. For example, when you need people to register or attend an event.
News releases that come from NDSU Agriculture Communication or from your office or department should relate directly to NDSU. For example, NDSU must be a sponsor or co-sponsor of an event. We are not responsible for promoting another organization’s event, activity or program.
When to use a blog post or Web page
When you are providing an "inside" perspective - Blog posts are a great way of giving your audience a glimpse behind the curtain at your work. Posts about securing speakers or a location for an event can make people feel more connected to that event. Posts about a project that is in development can give your audience an opportunity to offer their input for making the project effective.
When you need to go "in-depth" - News releases offer limited space (in print or on-air) and are one-time opportunities. Blogs allow you to discuss a topic from multiple perspectives, across multiple posts.
When you need to get information out now - Sometimes you cannot wait to get people important information about an immediate threat or concern. If you have content you need to get out right now, blogs and social media are the way to go.
When you want to engage your audience - New releases provide very limited ways for people to get more information or provide feedback. If you want to engage your audience, posting to a blog that allows comments is a great way to do it.
Make them work together
- Effective communication isn't just about using the right tool, it's also about making your tools work together.
- Use blog posts to provide in-depth content on a topic you shared in a news release.
- "Preview" upcoming news releases in blog posts about things you are working on or preparing for.
- Use a news release to promote a blog post or series of blog posts
- Write a blog post that customizes content for a specific audience and links back to the news release intended for a broad audience.
For help with news releases:
For help with blogs and Web pages:
If you are shortening “4-H member,” the correct way is “4-H’er.”
Note the apostrophe goes between “4-H” and “er.” That’s because the apostrophe replaces the “memb” portion of “member.”
For example: “Jane Smith has been a 4-H’er for four years.”
When referring to more than one 4-H member, simply add an “s” to 4-H’er. You do not need another apostrophe before or after the “s.” For instance: “Four 4-H’ers were selected to attend the national conference.”
Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391
Do you have a video that you want to get onto your Web page, but it needs some editing to clean it up? You probably have the resources right in front of you. Most Windows 7 computers have Windows Live Movie Maker on them, and if yours doesn’t, it is an easy and free download.
If you don't have Windows 7, your computer probably has the old version of Movie Maker, which has some limitations but still can get the job done.
With Live Movie Maker you can make easy edits, add title slides or captions, and even add music to your video.
A 5-minute tutorial on getting started with Movie Maker is on YouTube.
If you don't have the program on your computer, go to the Windows Movie Maker website to download and to see more information on using it.
If you are going to record a video, see Ag Comm's online training for some tips and tricks on how to capture quality video.
Contact me with questions about Movie Maker or about getting your video onto YouTube.
Scott Swanson, Electronic Media Specialist, (701) 231-7086
PowerPoint templates available for the NDSU Extension Service and N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station can provide a professional look to your presentation and consistently market our organizations. The samples to the right and six additional options are available for download on the Ag Communication website under Logos and Templates.
In addition, North Dakota State University PowerPoint templates are available on the Vice President for University Relations website under Resources.
Dave Haasser, Graphic Designer, (701) 231-8620
AM and a.m. can’t be used interchangeably.
If you are referring to time, the correct one is a.m. “The field tour will start at 10 a.m.” Always lowercase the letters and use periods.
The same rule applies to p.m. “The storm started about 3:30 p.m.”
AM is short for the amplitude modulation system of radio transmission. “The only radio station in town is an AM station.”
PM mainly is used in countries such as England and Canada; it stands for prime minister.
Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391