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Client Dept. of Education Region 14 Comprehensive Center
What We Do Research, Design & Content

Improving outcomes for public education through research and storytelling


The Comprehensive Center Network

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Education awarded five-year grants to 19 Regional Comprehensive Centers and one National Comprehensive Center to provide capacity-building services to improve student and educator outcomes. These 20 federally funded technical assistance centers form the Comprehensive Center Network. Together, they provide services to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the U.S. territories and outlying areas. Regional Centers collaborate with state education agencies (SEAs), national organizations, and community partners to implement evidence-based practices that address priority areas in education.

The Region 14 Comprehensive Center (R14CC), led by the research organization, Westat, supports Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas in enhancing student success. They design and implement projects to help the three SEAs build and sustain their capacity for continuous improvement. The relationship is data-driven and collaborative, targeting issues specific to the region, like ensuring equitable access to education, improving resource allocation, and closing achievement gaps.

A new kind of partnership

R14CC came to Mighty Citizen with one overall question: How could they increase awareness of their work? They knew they had compelling stories to tell that could demonstrate their impact on education throughout the region. Having already committed to a website redesign with another agency, R14CC needed help examining their processes for documenting their work.

What does it look like to tell the story of Region 14? Are there clear methods for measuring the reach of those stories? What could they do to better communicate their value?

We couldn’t wait to find out.

Mission Discovery

Because there were several unknowns with this project, we recommended an agile approach that allowed our team to be flexible on deliverables as we uncovered the needs for R14CC. That process starts with Discovery—our knowledge-gathering process. The initial Discovery phase allows us to deeply understand our clients, their pain points, and the needs of their audiences.

In the case of Region 14, they have two primary audiences: the SEAs they work with and the other 18 Regional Centers. We first had two two-hour conversations with Region 14 staff and leaders to gain a better understanding of the working dynamics. We interviewed Region 14’s primary contacts at each state SEA, three employees from each SEA that worked on Region 14 projects, and Region 14’s Program Officer at the U.S. Department of Education to confirm a permeating truth: awareness of Region 14’s work needed amplification!

Digital Marketing Audit

Based on our Digital Marketing Audit findings, we created rules and protocols to foster an online community. Our audit of R14CC’s digital ecosystem included: keyword research, search engine ranking reports, search competitors’ analysis, social media market analysis, and a general evaluation of their digital marketing technology.

Ultimately, our research determined that R14CC was particularly well-positioned to focus on digital marketing best practices (especially regarding tracking and reporting) while in the middle of their existing website update.

To measure the results and engagement of the new communications efforts, R14CC was encouraged to implement a few of our recommendations from the Digital Marketing Audit, like setting up event tracking in Google Analytics and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We developed six strategic recommendations across three key phases:

  • Phase I: Setting Region 14 Comprehensive Center for Success
  • Phase II: Building Awareness of Region 14 Comprehensive Center
  • Phase III: Encouraging Engagement with Region 14 Comprehensive Center

Cut to the Content

R14CC has many success stories. Innovation and triumph are at the core of their work. That doesn’t mean they should publish content for the sake of it, though. Their audiences are far too small and specialized. However, there was no doubt that Region 14 had good stories to tell, and an investment in content strategy could help foster an awareness of their work.

User Profiles & Journeys

To create more clear guidelines on what content to create, we developed User Profiles and User Journeys for R14CC’s audiences. User Profiles are based on our audience research, with each profile containing demographic and psychographic information that help to identify key audience attributes.

For our User Journeys, we identified key user profiles and mapped how each type should perceive and interact with R14CC. Developing these materials gave R14CC a few insights:

  • Three main user profiles to focus on: The Comprehensive Center Network Program Officer, primary contacts within each SEA, and SEA project team members

  • An overview of how each user type finds R14CC valuable to their particular needs

  • A comprehensive list of actions, touchpoints, thoughts, and questions that each audience type should consider

Building a Messaging Platform

Before any organization can tell their story, there must be alignment on how the people talk about the work. Your people are the biggest drivers of your message. Without alignment, many versions of the story get told, and control of the narrative is lost.

Mighty Citizen developed a Messaging Platform for R14CC as the central hub for their identity. It outlines everything from their audiences to their values and to their internal jargon.

Messaging offers a point of view on the work an organization wants to share. Now, there’s a foundation for the stories R14CC wants to tell.

Annual Communications Plan

With a long list of recommendations and opportunities to improve, R14CC needed a centralized place to document and track its efforts and goals. Developing a custom Annual Communications Plan emphasizes new or refined channels like email and social media.

Creating a communications plan allows R14CC to plan what and how they will do it. Strategies and tactics must be part of the planning stage. Focusing on tactics without connecting them to an overall communication strategy wastes time and energy pursuing tactics that aren’t returning enough organizational value.

R14CC now has a centralized document to reference throughout the year to keep them on track.

The Editorial Calendar

While some organizations need a full-blown Content Governance plan, that wasn’t the case for R14CC. Their content needs weren’t expansive, but they did need a set of workflows.

Workflows define the steps a piece of content should take from the ideation stage through publishing (and after!). As part of the Annual Communications Plan, we built an Editorial Calendar template and recommended content topics based on our research and existing resources. The template also included areas for defining responsibilities and deadlines for each piece of content.

And One for All

In our partnership with R14CC, we’ve seen firsthand how education and student outcomes are improved. Their continuous design and implementation of projects supporting the three SEAs they work with symbolize the rising tide that lifts all boats—ultimately influencing and improving outcomes for the network as a whole.

The tools that have resulted from our work together allow R14CC to better tell their story and highlight their successes with even more clarity. We’re proud to have partnered with an organization that knows the value of data and storytelling, and we can’t wait to see the stories they’ll continue to share.

Thinking of a Project?

Our team of experts are suited to help your organization with its specific challenges. If you have a project in mind or are just curious about a potential partnership with Mighty Citizen, drop us a line—we’d love to chat.

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