Water Cooler Gossip logo

The Build-Up: The Making of Water Cooler Gossip

I had the privilege of designing and launching the marketing and communications plan for the Water Cooler Gossip blog, a resurrected project made possible by the McMaster University Student Success Centre (SSC). It was a lot of fun. I was responsible for making the communications plan, plotting out goals and objectives, and setting the budget, responsibilities, timelines, and checkpoints.

We did a pre-launch photo-shoot with our 4th year student blogger (Taylor Noble). The photos were used in blog promo and her very first post, “Dear First Year Me.”

Launch video

Blog theme

With Taylor’s creative input, we chose to host the blog on WordPress using a theme called Aresivel. It’s a great out of the box theme, but of course I customized it a bit!

Here’s a list of the customizations I made to the Water Cooler Gossip theme:

  • Changed the size of the social sharing icons, removed VK (because who really uses it?)
  • Changed font to “Lato” (a Google font)
  • Created a customized tag cloud using an Ultimate Tag Cloud Widget (fully customizable! It’s wonderful)
  • Added the “Water Cooler Gossip” logo above the slider
  • …. now to make some customizations to my OWN ArielCoverage theme….

Other blog customizations

  • Setup Google Analytics
  • Installed Yoast SEO to specify which images / excerpts are shared on Twitter VS. Facebook
  • Changed the backend colours from the WP template to a nice blue… goes with the whole “Water Cooler Gossip” theme

There really weren’t a lot of changes made to the out-of-the-box design. I wish that we could include our SSC LinkedIn in the sidebar, but the template doesn’t include an “in” logo.

On top of the photo-shoot and blog setup, I also designed the logo / posters, distributed H-frames around campus, live-tweeted Taylor’s 93.3 CFMU radio spotlight, created TV screen ads for the campus libraries, McMaster Student’s Union (MSU) screens, and the SSC screen. I tweeted updates via the SSC Twitter account as posters and H-frames were put up around campus.

Since the launch Taylor has collaborated with the Bloggers at Mac student club, and added posts which mention other SSC partners and community members. The blog itself is slowly gaining momentum in the McMaster and Hamilton community, but it will take a while for it to really stick.

On the blog launch, Taylor Noble (Water Cooler Gossip) writes:

Writing a blog is by far the coolest job I have had to date. I find it therapeutic to be able to write about subjects that students can relate to. In addition to being a fun and creative outlet geared towards students, the preparation leading up to the launch involved hard work behind-the-scenes.

Source: The Build-Up: The Making of Water Cooler Gossip – Water Cooler Gossip



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