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What we do

University Communications serves as the central communications office for Michigan State University and is responsible for work in media and public information; marketing; public relations; digital strategy; integrated communications; and strategic partnerships.

We serve as the public voice of the university. We have primary responsibility for institutional interactions with the media, and we help establish MSU’s media communication and public information priorities, processes and procedures.

We take an integrated approach to increasing visibility and building reputation for MSU. From brand campaigns and national media placements to enterprise marketing technology initiatives and paid advertising, we help MSU pursue the strategies, products and tools to deliver the Spartan story of discovery, education and impact.

We work with partners across the university to achieve a strategic communications approach for MSU that is coherent, collaborative and accountable. Through networks, advisory committees, forums and work groups, we establish shared goals, strategies and initiatives; support adoption of enterprise tools and technologies; and elevate performance.

 

We bring MSU’s distinctiveness to life, communicating how this world-class research university drives extraordinary contributions to the common good with an uncommon will. We communicate MSU’s brand through high-profile campaigns as well ongoing multichannel storytelling. The way our brand is expressed — its look, feel, tone and messages — reflects who Spartans are and what we aspire to achieve. We provide a range of resources, including brand guidelines, to help the MSU community leverage the positive equity of the brand.

We anticipate, manage, identify and analyze complex issues that impact the university, and we develop strategies to ensure clear, consistent and accurate messages are communicated. Up-to-date information on high-interest issues is available through Issues and Statements.

We respond to media inquiries related to issues, administration and operations and develop strategies to advance specific university initiatives.

In a crisis, we work to provide accurate and timely information to the campus community, media and public.

We work with leaders and partners across campus to develop and share stories about MSU operations, often including new buildings, major gifts and significant personnel or organizational changes.

We manage the msu.edu home page, MSUToday.msu.edu and related websites that serve as front doors to the university. We engage audiences through a number of university-level social channels including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. And we keep MSU alumni and friends connected and informed about MSU news with the MSUToday weekly email and other email campaigns.

We develop and implement digital experience and marketing strategies to meet university goals. In the areas of social media and website design, we establish guidelines and standards for MSU social media and website design, share expertise and best practices with communicators across campus and provide consultation.

We also support enterprise adoption of marketing technologies, including MSU’s preferred enterprise web content management platform, social media management software and marketing automation tools. These technologies support communicators, make the university more efficient and help provide a more seamless digital experience for our audiences.

We support the communication needs of Michigan State University’s president and top leaders, by managing administrative websites, creating and delivering administrative communications. 

Using a variety of channels, including InsideMSU, we distribute administrative and campus news and information to help faculty, staff and students be prepared, informed and empowered ambassadors for MSU.

Our team also provides consultation to university units that request assistance with complex internal communication plans. 

MSU’s media communications coordination procedures help ensure consistency and coordination of information provided to journalists and foster positive relations with media outlets — local, regional, national and international.

We use sustained storytelling and multichannel content distribution to share the Spartan story.

Our PR specialists, storytellers select stories to develop, write and pitch to media, based on inherent news value, strong potential for national media coverage and to build reputation.

PR specialists are MSU’s primary media contacts in broad topic areas. To explore the newsworthiness of a particular item, contact the PR specialist assigned to that area or your unit communicator.

We can provide media training for faculty and staff interested in receiving related to communicating research, scholarship, teaching and outreach topics. We also provide an MSU Communications Toolkit for Academics for campus.

Stories developed by PR specialists, storytellers and channel managers become part of the content mix offered by MSU’s integrated marketing communications team, appearing in MSUToday, social channels, email campaigns and advertising.

We create, aggregate and amplify additional content for these channels, including managing paid promotion, using a content model and guided by analytics.

We design, manage and conduct research and data analysis to inform strategy, understand audience behaviors and preferences, understand trends and improve marketing and PR effectiveness. We are responsible for developing an insights framework for key performance indicators at the university level and across units for strategic priorities.

With design, photography and videography, we bring MSU stories to life. We are the visual expression of Michigan State, working in a variety of styles, formats and forms all designed to share the MSU experience and increase engagement.

A complimentary photo gallery for the public and a free image gallery for MSU communicators and other staff and faculty members are available at photos.msu.edu. Prints of images found in any of our galleries may be purchased from that secure website. Commercial entities must contact University Communications for permission to use MSU images.

Our photo and video team also offers consulting and fee-for-service photography and video on a limited basis. Please contact us for pricing on services.

For the latest MSU videos, visit the MSU YouTube channel, MSUToday and the university’s main social media channels.

We work closely with leadership from across MSU to establish and advance shared goals. Two key groups — a leaders forum of deans and vice presidents, and a work group of senior communicators — help us in this work.

We have strategic partnerships with all degree-granting colleges, the Office of Admissions, Residential and Hospitality Services and Student Affairs.

We work across the university to improve content performance that drives unit and university reputation using an enterprise content strategy, technology initiatives and key performance metrics.

We engage in joint annual planning with each unit and work to ensure integration and connection across all our functions as we partner. We also support units in hiring lead communications staff to ensure they have the essential skills and experience for a digital world grounded in analytics.

The University Communicators Network connects more than 200 communications professionals across campus. In monthly meetings, communicators share ideas and best practices and provide programs and presentations on topics of interest.

We also lead Social @ Michigan State, a subgroup of UCN, for social media managers and social content producers. The group meets quarterly to hear speakers, share best practices, learn new technologies and collaborate on social media activities.

Most years, we host a day-long conference featuring nationally acclaimed marketing and PR experts. We also provide many other resources and professional development and networking opportunities for MSU communicators.