Content Strategy Basics

We Love It When a Plan Comes Together​

Mason’s primary goal for our online presence is to attract more applicants, and to do that, we need a plan. We’ve developed a strategy to guide how our content is written and to hone in on the message we want to convey.

Your individual school, college, or department might have a more specific goal or a different primary audience. But having an overarching content strategy helps us present ourselves and talk to our users with a consistent voice.

Students snack on pizza and popsicles on the Mason Fairfax Campus
Use photos that tell the story of Mason and our students. For example, to showcase our diversity, you might use something like this image marking the Bienvenida Latina Kick-Off Party, which celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month.

We want our users to have a consistent experience that is intuitive and easy, and to provide the information that our audiences want to know and need to know.

When people come to a Mason page, the content on our site should:

  • Encourage them to take action.
  • Help them learn about opportunities here.
  • Help them discover more about us.
  • Help them get to know us.
  • Exceed their expectations.
  • Extend the Mason brand.

We want prospective students to see themselves or a self they aspire to be, and get excited about the prospect of coming here. Make it easy for them to imagine themselves here by creating a feel for the school and the campus environment.

Mason is selective; working hard to get in is a goal worth pursuing. Once you’re in, you’re one of us, and we have a role in your future.

You know your students, and you know what's important to them. Show and tell them how and why we can fulfill their needs. If you’re an academic unit, answer the “Why Mason?” question, and explain how we stand apart from our competitors.

  • Who are we?
  • What makes us special?
  • What can we do for you?

What Not to Do​​

Sometimes, what you leave out is as important as what you put in. Use a critical eye and evaluate what you have. Does it fit and/or advance our strategy? If the answer is no, then leave it out. This is an opportunity to update and improve your content; take it.

  • Don't put general university information on your site. If you think your students need to know it, provide a link or call to action to the core site.
  • Don't put something on the site just because one of our competitors has it. Mason is strong enough to stand on its own merits.
  • Don't put something in just because it's on your current site. Now is the time to take a hard look at your current content. Is it out of date? Does it still serve its original purpose?
  • Don't data-cram your page. We don’t want to pile a lot of information onto the site just because we can. Many of our users come to us through mobile devices and expect quick action from a search. If they have to scroll forever to get to the information they need, they're likely to just move on.
  • Don't repeat yourself. We want every piece of information to earn its way onto the site by giving prospective students both what they want and what they need.