Agricultural Communications, Purdue University
An electronic newsletter with communication tips and information

June 1999

"Knowledge to Go" Lean & Mean Style Guide

As many of you know, "Knowledge to Go" is the new marketing concept for Purdue Extension. It expresses the same land-grant values as "Putting Knowledge to Work" in modern, dynamic terms. It is short, simple, smart, and flexible by design.

With it--and with your help--we hope to establish a "brand identity" for Purdue Extension. We can only do that if we use it consistently, if all of us use it on all of our Extension materials all of the time--and if we use it in a consistent manner.

To that end:

In time, when we've succeeded in establishing our brand identity, we can all "flex a little" in using "Knowledge to Go." Until then, consistency is key.

This is a "lean and mean" first version of a style guide. Some "Knowledge to Go" materials have already been distributed, which we'll talk about in next month's issue. And we're working on more, including graphic treatments you can use. We'll keep you posted.

Of course, a style guide only addresses the "consistent manner" in which "Knowledge to Go" should be used to accomplish our goal. Its up to you to help with the "all of us all of the time" part of the equation.

Promotion Pays

A reader asks if she should go to the expense of promoting a meeting with a flyer and not just rely on information in her county newsletter. (The person and the county shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent.)

The answer depends on many variables, but the issue is fundamental to marketing a program. To make this type of decision, you should consider some questions.

Why Not Do Both?

Motivating someone to do something, such as attend a meeting, takes several exposures to the information. Some say it takes up to seven exposures to an advertisement to get people to move from unfamiliar or unaware to aware and ready to act. Consider that information in a newsletter may only be read once. But a flyer at a bank, your office, or posted somewhere else may offer repeat exposures of your message to a number of people.

Also, considering your time. If you take the time to write up an event for a newsletter, with minor changes you can produce an inexpensive flyer. And you can insert the flyer in your newsletter to help increase the chance that someone might see it. In other words, don't bury the event notice in an article and count on people seeing it.

How Well Do People Read Your Newsletter?

Do you know? Are the people receiving the newsletter the right audience for your event? Maybe it is time to survey your readership. If people are missing events that you post in your newsletter, maybe they're not reading your newsletter. What you do about that is another marketing issue for another day.

How Do You Plan to Distribute Your Flyer?

Think of the intended audience. Don't just leave your flyers on your counter. Put them where your target audience might see them. What About Newspaper and Radio?

They are probably the lowest cost way to distribute information (at least until more of our audiences regularly use the Internet).

What Other Methods Might Work?

As Extension audiences become more diverse, we might have to think of more complicated ways to promote a meeting, such as telephone trees or cooperative agreements with associations and businesses (and their newsletters). Good luck on your event. And, if all else fails, offer a free lunch.

Web Primer for Those Who Want It

If you have spent any time on the WORLD WIDE WEB (the graphical portion of the information system known as the INTERNET), it doesn't take long to realize just how limitless a resource it can be. You can be informed or entertained by the myriad of things you find and not need to know what makes the Web work. However, a feel for some basics can't hurt and might help make you feel more at home.

The easiest way to understand the Web is to imagine millions of computers linked together around the globe. Each computer houses electronic sites (WEB PAGES or WEB SITES) that you can access from your computer. Each allows communication through text, graphics, photos, sound, and video.

This linking is known as a CLIENT-SERVER SYSTEM. Your WEB BROWSER software--Netscape Navigator/Communicator (R) or Microsoft Internet Explorer (R)--is the client, which goes looking for the site. The computer that holds the information is the SERVER.

The ties that bind the Web together are called HYPERTEXT and HYPERLINKS. These are click-sensitive words and graphics that allow electronic files on the Web to be connected so that you can easily jump from one to the other. Searching through the many pages of information and jumping from one link to another is commonly called SURFING THE NET.

Web pages are written in a special computer language which allows your Web browser to recognize them. This language is commonly referred to as HTML or HYPER TEXT MARKUP LANGUAGE.

But there are at least 43 million sites available on the Web, and in order to effectively search these pages, specially written programs known as SEARCH ENGINES, such as WebCrawler (R) and Yahoo (R), are necessary. The search by these programs, based on key words (significant words or phrases), creates lists of sites that may contain information that you seek. Even better, these engines give you the actual links to the sites. In other words, the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or "address" of each site is shown so that you can type it into your browser to go directly to that location or simply click on it.

The information here is just the tip of the iceberg. In future articles, my colleagues and I will look into more complex aspects of the World Wide Web.

Grammar Trap: Primer vs. Primer

No, I haven't suddenly lost it. We're talking two different nouns here with identical spellings but different meanings and different pronunciations.

There's "primer" with a long "i" sound ("eye"). This primer is the stuff you apply before you paint. It can also mean a device used to set off an explosive.

Examples: I went to the hardware store to buy primer. The bomb didn't explode because there was something wrong with the primer.

Then there's "primer" with a short "i" sound, like the "i" sound in "prim and proper." This primer is an introductory or elementary document containing or explaining the basics of something.

Example: In this month's "Web Primer for Those Who Want It," Russ Merzdorf explains some very basic Web terms.

If there's a grammar or usage trap you'd like me to discuss or if you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one, please let me know.

We want to hear from you.
Do you have a communication question?
Do you have a comment on this issue of "On Target"?
If so, please e-mail any of our writers or On Target's managing editor, Kevin Smith.

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