What the WSU-News Blog is About

The purpose of this blog is to tell the story of WSU to the general public with a focus on public information with some more marketing-oriented feature stories. Content will be surfaced through submissions from the campus community and stories strategically selected by the MarComm team.   


These posts will be written by MarComm team. Posts will be attributed to the author or a generic “WSU Communications Office” account as appropriate.

Ultimately, these posts will be released to media, help feed social media and be integrated into the WSU website. When published, the post will be shared with the person who suggested the story or is featured. 

Voice & Style


Posts will generally be written with an objective, institutional perspective in a news-writing style. Focus on facts without inserting judgement as an author. You may quote opinions from interviewees.

Feature stories will be somewhat more subjective, but still in an informational style. Posts should be written in a professional voice that is still welcoming and accessible.

Do not use first-person point-of-view (“I” or “we” language), unless it's in a quote from interviewees.

Keep paragraphs short with 1-3 sentences. Use subheadings and lists if appropriate. Aim for posts between 300-400 words. Feature posts should be closer to 500-600.

All posts should have at least one image in the blog post and a set featured image. Ideally, images will be 1280 x 720px. If this size is not available, compromises will be discussed. Posts sent to external media will include a link to the high-res image file also uploaded to Wordpress.


Target Audience

Always keep your audience in mind when writing posts.

Primary Audience: General Public

People (mainly stakeholders and influencers) in the region (MN, WI, Midwest in general) who are socially, economically involved or otherwise have an affinity to WSU. Primarily adults (not current or prospective students) who have moderate-high knowledge of WSU with an interest centered around “What’s in it for me?”--the health of WSU as it informs the health of Winona, which ultimately impacts their personal quality of life—and as source of pride, that they can be proud of their relationship to WSU.

It could be a parent, a business owner, a teacher, a legislator, WSU employees or WSU alumni.  


Secondary Audience: Outside Media

Reporters look for stories that reflect larger trends or social impact that is relevant to local/regional audiences. They look for thematic stories (the 4-year college experience or graduation rates) and human interest stories (especially unique and/or funny). Also looking to tell stories about pride for the region, not WSU specifically.

Reporters for print, digital & TV platforms are often new in their positions and don’t have a lot experience gathering facts or digging in to find stories. They might not ask all the questions, so stories need to anticipate and fill in those gaps. If a story has a colorful spokesperson who is engaging and can translate complex topics for a general public understanding, this is more desirable to video reporters. 


Tertiary Audience: Prospective Students


Prospective students typically live in the Minnesota or Wisconsin, and many are from Winona and nearby towns. A significant percentage are first-generation students who are unfamiliar with college resources and processes. 

They are looking for stories about how WSU is different (better) than other institutions. They want to know about academic opportunities and student experiences, graduate outcomes—in a way that they feel impressed, excited, confident, proud. 


General Editorial Content Strategy


A detailed editorial calendar will be developed on an on-going basis by the MarComm Team. Preference is given to stories with advance notice and submitted with detailed, pre-written content. 

Each semester, we should cover annual events and stories from across the 5 colleges. When appropriate posts will be broadcast to the Alumni Blog, WSU-Rochester Blog and Academics Blog.  

Posts will generally:

  • Inform people about what is happening at the university
    1. Events (promotion and recap depending on timeline)
      • Large-scale community-focused events (Commencement, Move-In Day, Homecoming)
      • Staple events that contribute to community outreach (Music events, Halloween in the Halls, Santa event, Dancescape)
      • Events that help distinguish WSU from other universities and further institutional values/priorities/mission
    2. University Decisions & Announcements 
      • Policies affecting the community
      • Hiring in administrative and/or community-focused positions
      • Building naming & large philanthropic gifts
      • Academic Program development (new degrees, new delivery formats, expansion of programs)
    3. Projects & Initiatives 
      • Major or otherwise noteworthy facility & construction updates
      • Initiatives that impact the campus community, Winona community 
      • Initiatives that differentiates WSU from other universities (e.g. Equity 2030)
    4. Achievement & Accolades 
      • Rankings, awards, accreditation – both institutionally and department-specific
      • Significant “prestige-building” achievements by alumni, faculty, staff and students
      • National athletic awards
    5. Crisis communication 
      • Severe weather announcements – only if more context needed
      • Student, faculty, staff deaths – only if needed for safety awareness or to counter rumors / control narrative
        • Death announcements will be sent via campus email and PSA to media 
      • Debrief of a crisis situation after it has been reasonably contained
  • Celebrate the efforts of the WSU community (student, faulty, staff, alumni)
    1. Community engagement, organization partnerships and other efforts that have local community impact
    2. Learning experiences
    3. Student outcomes
    4. “In the news” --pointing to third-party stories about WSU people
  • Demonstrate the value WSU provides to students, the community


Story Assessment Criteria

If a story does not support at least one of these goals, it is not worth investing time and resources unless there are special circumstances.

  • Will this help raise our brand profile?
  • Will this help raise our academic profile?
  • Will this help differentiate WSU from other institutions?
  • Does this impact community relations? 
  • Does it further the Strategic Initiatives?


Post Types

Posts will generally be written in one of the following formats:

  • PSA: not published to WSU News Blog, sent via email to reporters (requester is always cc’d) 
    1. Usually event-related or time-sensitive news content not suited for a feature story
    2. Usually shared 1-2 weeks prior to an event (longer timeline for major/ high profile events)
  • Media Advisory: not published to WSU News Blog, sent via email to reporters (requester is always cc’d)
    1. Intended to invite reporters to cover a large-scale event or learn more to develop feature story
    2. An extra step that includes a specific call to action (photo opportunities, interview times etc.) that could be paired with a link to a news release, feature story or PSA
    3. Usually sent just a few days before the event
  • Feature Story: published on the WSU News Blog
    1. Usually person-focused or project-focused
    2. Has more details/context in a narrative format to encourage awareness/engagement (more than just an announcement of basic facts)
    3. Adds value to the overall narrative of WSU and can be leveraged across other channels (social, dept. newsletters) in the future
  • News Release: published on the WSU News Blog
    1. Usually institution or news focused, 
    2. Has more details/context in a narrative format to encourage awareness/engagement (more than just an announcement of basic facts)
    3. Adds value to the overall narrative of WSU and can be leveraged across other channels (social, dept. newsletters) in the future