Largest Umbrella Association For School Leaders Uses UpContent To Become Go-To Resource for Educators
Educators are arguably the backbone of society, teaching new generations of leaders.
But how do educators stay abreast of the latest news, advocacy efforts, and other important information so they are the best they can be?
That problem is why the Association of California School Administrators, or ACSA, created its Resource Hub back in 2017 as a free resource for everyone in education, from teachers and vice principals in schools all the way up to superintendents of districts.
The marketing team at ACSA is small but strong, and they built the Resource Hub using content their team wrote and also content their colleagues found that they thought would be an excellent resource for other educators.
But creating and curating the content, formatting it correctly, and publishing it on the Resource Hub was no small task. ACSA struggled to keep fresh content constantly flowing into the Hub.
They wanted to be seen as the go-to resource with something new every time you logged in, but how do you provide that much high-quality, valuable content on such a frequent basis?
The solution they found? Integrating with UpContent not only lets them share third-party content but also their own original content.
Always Trying To Sell Something
In 2017, ACSA designed the Resource Hub to be a resource for educators and a marketing tool for the organization.
The marketing team had a dedicated content writer who created all of the content for the Hub, but the goals were different at the time.
“Everything would be a call to action. Everything would be selling something,” Emily Agpoon, Communications Coordinator with ACSA, recalls.
When the content writer left ACSA, her position was shuffled amongst other team members, and there wasn’t as much focused effort on creating content for the Hub.
“We were paying for [Uberflip] that had a really robust content marketing strategy and capabilities, but we weren’t really using them because we just didn’t have the manpower to do that,” Michelle Carl, Editorial Content Specialist at ACSA, says.
COVID Changed The Resource Hub
In early 2020, when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and many schools started closing down, ACSA realized they had an important tool at their disposal to help spread credible, up-to-date information with educators to help cut through the chaos.
“During COVID, because schools were just so impacted so quickly, that really shifted our focus. We began sharing a lot of third-party content from school districts. And of course, we had to manually add it, like save it and add it to our old platform,” Emily says.
“Those months in March, April, and May 2020 really shifted our Resource Hub into best practices, and almost all of it was being generated by third parties, mostly California’s Department of Education and other government resources.”
The Resource Hub took off with new life breathed into it by third-party content.
But this new method had the marketing team at ACSA reevaluate the Resource Hub’s purpose and platform.
They had stopped pushing traditional CTA’s and content marketing strategies to make way for a more value-based, thought leadership style, and their workflow at the time wasn’t sustainable.
“We knew this was the right direction for the Hub because we were sharing many things from many other valuable places. But the process was tedious: we would have to get their permission, put the PDF up and link it, and all of these steps that became, you know, very onerous with our other duties as well,” Michelle said.
UpContent Helped Build A New Kind Of Resource Hub
When ACSA decided to migrate from its former Hub platform, they were trying to find a faster solution for discovering and sharing curated content to the Resouce Hub.
“We started our initial search in 2021, and our web manager discovered UpContent while searching one day. We set up a demo to talk to Dylan, and it really sparked so many ideas we hadn’t thought of, and we came to a better solution for us: to pivot to WordPress and integrating UpContent,” Emily says.
By switching the Resource Hub to a WordPress site, the ACSA team has been able to create an easy-to-use space for their users and the team to find, share, and interact with the content they curate and create.
“We want our members to trust the content that we’re delivering to them, and we want it to all look like it’s the same, whether it’s something that we upload through WordPress or from third-party links,” Michelle says.
What used to take Michelle multiple steps now is a few clicks of her mouse to have relevant and informative content available on the Hub.
“In our old system, I would have had to upload the PDF, take some copy out of the document to write a little intro statement, come up with a headline, find an image to attach to the article, then publish it on the Hub,” Michelle says.
“Now I take a URL and add it into UpContent, which will automatically pull an image, and if there isn’t one associated with the article, I can use the Getty Images feature. I can change the headline if I need to, or simply use what is already populated in UpContent, and then I can choose which Collections the article should go in, and it automatically publishes.
It literally goes from minutes to seconds for publishing third-party content now.”
Curated Content Allows ACSA To Provide Information When It’s Needed Most
Because UpContent surfaces curated content automatically for Michelle, they are able to have the Resource Hub look fresh and new for anyone visiting for the latest information.
They can also quickly share important information from credible sources during a crisis, such as California's recent flooding.
Instead of having to take the time to research, make phone calls, write, edit, and publish content, they were able to provide multiple sources of information quickly that California educators needed to know ASAP.
“Someone out there has already made that resource; we just needed to find it and put it on our site. And so it allows us to be a lot more responsive and fill in those gaps where we need information for our members on a certain topic,” Michelle says.
Beyond the Hub: The Resource Hub Digest
Last August, after using UpContent to fuel the Resource Hub with curated content, the ACSA team launched their monthly curated newsletter, The Resource Hub Digest, which delivers the latest content from the Hub directly to subscribers’ inboxes.
“We actually had the idea for an email newsletter early on, and all of us were like, ‘Well, who has the time to put something like that together?’ Because you have to build it, then who’s responsible for building it and maintaining it?” Emily recalls.
Using UpContent’s integration with Mailchimp, Emily was able to connect their accounts and build their template quickly, and now they are reaching people in more ways with the information they need to know.
Emily says they couldn’t have handled a curated newsletter without UpContent, and it was easier to set up than she ever thought it could be.
“It was a much easier process than we thought it would be, and now we just don’t have to think about it ever again, except to check the list occasionally. I’m always really excited when I get it, the first of the month, and it’s like, oh, yeah, we did that!” she says.
UpContent Encouraged Engagement on the Hub
When the ACSA team switched the platform over to UpContent and WordPress, they could add plugins that allowed interaction with the content they were sharing beyond just basic commenting.
“I don’t have historical data, but I can say zero people commented on our old content platform. And now we have two dozen comments on our pieces, so we’ve been able to present content in a way where people obviously feel comfortable commenting and rating it,” Michelle says.
In the last 90 days, The Resource Hub’s curated content received more than 2,000 unique clicks on content! And what’s even more interesting is that their most clicked articles are a 50/50 split between their team's content and curated content.
Picture taken March 2, 2023
“These numbers tell us that this is working,” Michelle says.
“We have the internal analytics that shows users are clicking through to our created content from the curated content we source from UpContent, and then they’re also engaging with that content, so it’s just a lot more engagement than we ever saw when we were manually adding to the Hub,” Emily adds.
Using UpContent to fuel their Resource Hub with their original content and curated content, they are continuing to find ways to grow beyond what they initially thought the Hub would be without overloading any one person’s workload.
“One of our goals for our Resource Hub is that the content always seems fresh, you know? We want people to go there multiple times and see new content, and we want to train people to come back to the site again and again.
And so being able to rely on UpContent suggesting content allows me to keep that fresh content coming through and not have to create it myself or go hunting for it,” Michelle says.
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