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COSMeTIC SURGERY: PBS Education eNews

By Camila Jones, PBS Education
Following the debut of PBS LearningMedia (pbslearningmedia.org) this past June, PBS Education has launched a sleek, newly re-designed eblast under the name “PBS In Education.” Not only has the new edition been refreshed and rejuvenated - it has also spent some time under the editors’ knife, so to speak.

Prior to the launch, PBS Education published two content-rich newsletters – a weekly one from PBS Teachers and a quarterly one from PBS TeacherLine. Though each was instructive, the newsletters relied heavily on an audience that was willing to scroll…and scroll… and scroll some more.

In its current state, “PBS In Education” pools together the most salient tidbits from PBS Teachers, PBS TeacherLine and now – also from PBS LearningMedia. Inside the body of the eblast, snippets of text reveal just enough content to whet the audience appetite and funnel them into the respective PBS websites. Content is showcased in themed boxes with headlines that resonate not only with the primary audience (teachers, administrators) but also with tech coordinators, bloggers, and the general, education-minded audience.

Below, PBS Education expands on several considerations that were made during the reconstruction of the eblast in the interest of benefitting stations with similar objectives. Though the process was ultimately an elective one, the fresh new face of “PBS In Education” is the perfect complement to the bold marketing efforts underway for PBS LearningMedia.

Graphics/Color Scheme:
  • Limited use of graphics in order to speed up downloading time. 
  • Avoided stock images of teachers – opted for icons instead.
  • Selected monochromatic color scheme; rejected primary colors 
Text/Content:
  • Trimmed out descriptive text in order to reduce need for scrolling. 
  • Relied on hyperlinks in favor of less text and greater audience interaction
  • The focus on themes (Digital Resources, New and Noteworthy, Professional Development) rather than the site of origin (PBS Teachers / PBS TeacherLine / PBS LearningMedia) reflects the way the audience consumes the content – rather than how the internal team thinks of it; use of themes also widens the audience appeal. 
  • Also, given the ease of rewriting shorter content blurbs and given the recent events on the East Coast, some of the stories in this inaugural e-Newsletter included PBS resources on earthquakes and hurricanes. 
Navigation:
  • Like content grouped into boxes. Newsletter contains 3 boxes. 
  • Navigation on left side of the newsletter leads audience to specific areas within targeted websites. This tactic eliminates one of the barriers between the audience and the product – enabling them to reach their destination in one rather than two steps. 
Mailing:
  • Eblast is sent out twice a month, and the kickoff send was Monday, August 29. To sign up, please register on PBS Teachers, PBS TeacherLine, or PBS LearningMedia. Or contact PBS Education Station Relations representative, Rachel Morrison.

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