9/26/2010 3:46 AM
Communications professionals in higher ed seeking a case study on creating a viral buzz should look no further than Frostburg State University. The school's "Frostburg: Take 5" was a successful contest in which students were asked to create videos that in 5 minutes or less expressing their love for FSU. A total of seven videos were shown during a screening event for the campus community and later featured on FSU’s YouTube Channel, which was launched with the contest.
Frostburg: Take 5 yielded several videos that the university went on to use for marketing and donor relations purposes, including “I Love Frostburg,” a video created by FSU alum Carolyn Kilkus. “I Love Frostburg” was screened at the university’s gala for select leadership donors, friends and other supporters in fall 2008 as part of FSU’s Leadership and Homecoming Weekend. It’s also been highlighted on FSU’s Web site and social media sites and shown at open houses for prospective students.
“Like most communications and marketing teams in higher education, we’re always looking for creative ways to get new content, without going over budget or stretching our resources,” said Becca Ramspott, FSU’s public information specialist in technology and new media. “ 'Frostburg: Take 5' gave us a way to turn to our talented students and alumni and get them to add their creativity, ingenuity and most importantly, their own voices to our own in expressing why Frostburg is a great place to be. Our students and alumni are some of our best storytellers. And as a result, we got some great videos for free that we were able to disseminate in a variety of ways.”
The effort proved to be so popular that the university is bringing the contest back this fall semester, complete with cash prizes and an award ceremony at the historic Lyric Theatre in downtown Frostburg. The contest provides three themes this year to give participants creative guidelines and inspiration as they consider what kinds of videos they can create.
“In addition to giving us free marketing material, more importantly, we’re giving our students and alums great professional experience in a growing segment of the communications industry – social media,” Ramspott said. “We think it’s important to help students and alums develop in this area so they can pursue jobs.”
To learn more about FSU’s "Frostburg: Take 5," visit www.frostburg.edu/take5.