The purpose of the WSU-Rochester Communications Strategy is to provide establish baseline standards and provide direction to content creators for official University channels.

The WSU and WSU-Rochester marketing teams retain editorial discretion and reserve the right to modify this strategy at any time with no prior notice. 

Learn how this general strategy is applied to specific communication channels: 

Audience Identification: What group of people are you trying to reach?


Primary Audience:  The Greater Rochester Community


What are the general characteristics of this audience?


Our “Greater Rochester Community” audience are stakeholders and influencers at all levels with social or economic connection to Rochester. 

These people tend to be established adults who are educated professionals in service industries. They are practical and service-oriented; they care about higher education. 

Many are white and speak English, but this community is rapidly changing and becoming more diverse.  


What types of messaging and content are of interest to this audience?

What do they care about?

  • The economic and social impact of WSU in the region
  • Community partnerships and outreach
  • The quality of the higher ed programs
  • The physical presence (RCTC campus, downtown campus)
  • The staff - they likely have a connection, even if it is distant, from one or more staff members

What do they want to know? 

  • Why WSU-R and public higher education is valuable to the community
  • Why WSU-R is situated to provide unique opportunities for students in and out of the classroom
  • How faculty, staff, and students are serving the community

What would they find helpful? 

  • Facts - about the programs and why they benefit the community 
  • Facts about career opportunities and economic impact
  • How WSU-R collaborates with the community
  • Real, local, success stories
  • How they can connect with WSU-R, even if they are not a student
  • Information on how they can use WSU-R if they are not a traditional student


What do they expect?

  • WSU-R to have its own identity, focused on the local community and on non-traditional students
  • Customizable and inclusive options that are tailored for living and working in Rochester and surrounding areas
  • A practical, service-oriented approach to education for non-traditional students from diverse backgrounds
  • Excellence. They are not looking for average
  • WSU-R to be an outstanding community partner, deeply entrenched in the Rochester community
  • Efficiency and flexibility in programs
  • Accessibility to the staff, programs, information, and even the building



Why are they the primary audience?


They are the primary audience because WSU-R is still building its brand identity at a local level. The general public may not always be the prospective student, more often they may have a connection to a prospective student or other important stakeholders like business and community partners.

WSU-Rochester's general goal with this audience is brand awareness and distinguish from RCTC and Winona campus.


Secondary Audience: Current Students


What are the general characteristics of this audience?

This audience is currently enrolled and active with WSU-R either full time or part time and tend to be older, established adults (avg. age is 34). Student body is more diverse that the general Rochester population in terms of race, socio-economic background etc. Students attracted to this diversity among students and faculty.

They want to stay connected to what WSU-R offers, including what is offered beyond the classroom in They are very busy and often their main connection to WSU-R is through their computer. They’re seeking a digital representation of the campus experience to help them feel connected to faculty and other students. 

They want to feel like they are part of a college community, a sense of belonging that provides a social/emotional “value-add” to getting their degree. They aren't emotionally invested with Wazoo or Warriors, but they do like the prestige of Winona State University.

They tend to be practical and career-focused to develop specific job skills that will give them entry or advancement in a particular field. They want financial security but also want to do this in ways that benefit the community. They’re also looking practical information and motivation related to their career/life goals. 

Subsets of this audience include programs specific, transfer students, and graduate students.


What types of messaging and content are of interest to this audience?

What do they care about?

  • Their career/life goals
  • Meaningful connection with WSU-R
  • Practical community and educational resources

What do they want to know?

  • How to access everything WSU-R offers to make the path to their career affordable, enjoyable, and beneficial

What would they find helpful?

  • Information about programs
  • What types of careers are available to them after graduation
  • Access to tools and resources, both at WSU-R and in the community
  • Who they can go to for help
  • Information on scholarships/financial aid and getting the most value from their education
  • Job outlook
  • Ways to participate in a community

What do they expect?

  • Authentic help
  • Use of technology and a progressive/personalized approach to education
  • Help finding a job
  • Accessible educators & staff
  • Information about events
  • Connection to the community
  • Inclusivity


Why are they the secondary audience?

 Current students are important because they are our core constituency and the proof of performance for the rest of the community. This audience has to have a good college experience and they must be successful. They will ultimately be our advocates.


They are already more engaged with and aware of WSU-R than the primary audience, so they don’t require the same increase in brand awareness. They need more specific and focused content, as well as general motivation and recognition related to their continued and future success.  


Goal & Key Message Identification

What do you want your audience(s) to see?

  • Consistent and helpful information from WSU-R
  • Brand consistency with the greater WSU campus
  • Relevant local content about Rochester and Southeastern Minnesota


What do you want your audience(s) to know?

  • WSU-R has the offerings, connections, and tools they need to be successful
  • WSU-R is an integral part of the greater Rochester community
  • WSU-R is a vital component of the broader WSU institution
  • WSU-R faculty, students, and staff are active in their communities and providing valuable community service in work and in life

How do you want the audience(s) to feel?

  • Secure that WSU-R is providing them with useful information and connections
  • Confident in their decision to choose WSU-R, either for education or as a community partner
  • Proud to be associated with WSU-R
  • Connected to WSU-R students/faculty, to WSU as a whole, and to the greater Rochester area


What do you want the audience(s) to do?

  • Share blog/social media posts
  • Engage with WSU-R (inquire about enrollment, invite WSU-R faculty and students to participate in community events, advocate for WSU-R and WSU within the community)
  • Contribute content to the blog or recommend story/feature ideas



Engagement & Promotion Strategy


How will you promote your content? 

  • Through multiple social media platforms
  • Social media and Google ads when appropriate
  • More grassroots efforts such as adding the most recent blog to signature lines
  • In e-newsletters
  • As tools for internal staffers to use in email communication and sales efforts
  • On the website

In what ways will you encourage ongoing participation?

  • Asking questions or feedback
  • Integrating the content into social media content
  • Clear communication with the staff and students on the available content with an “ask” to help share

How will you handle possible negative comments?

  • Have a strategy in place as to how comments are handled that include:
    • Joe will monitor regularly and respond as necessary in a non-confrontational, informational matter
    • If necessary, negative comments will be forwarded to necessary party (if information is required)
    • Extreme comments will be reported to social media platforms based on their own policies, but nothing will be deleted by WSU-R
    • Create an internal policy for staff comments on WSU-R blog assets
  • Create a policy that addresses the worst-case scenarios 
    • A student in distress
    • Hateful or racist comments



Evaluation Plan


When and how will you evaluate the success of your content? 

  • Monthly analytics evaluation of impressions, engagement, and evaluation of the “stringing” efforts that may translate into actions (sales, form submissions, event attendance, etc)
  • Monthly review of the internal project management tasks items: is the process working, are we producing the content in a timely fashion.

How will you determine whether your stated goals have been achieved? 

By comparing the analytics back to the original goals each month and being flexible to adjust goals when necessary.