“The University of Brighton’s Official Student Newspaper”
My time at The Verse was interesting, to say the least. After completing a brief stint under its old editor, the paper and all editorial control was handed over to me in what felt like one night. From the outset, I aimed to build the newspaper’s following to beyond what it was before. One of the biggest challenges I faced early on was the practicalities of being able to distribute the paper across four different campuses. So, I resolved to make the newspaper digital.
At around about this time, I had completed my internship at iCrossing UK, so I was able to put my SEO knowledge straight into practice. We went through a short recruitment process, gathering all of the necessary people to start to form a rudimentary set of digital departments. Once we had our admin, editors, developers, marketers and fringe contributors completely finalised, I set about dealing with the design of the website with the development team. We decided to put the site on a simple WordPress CMS and template, which I customised with the development team. This was one of my earliest ventures into UX and SEO, so the process taught me a lot.
Once the site was live, I began implementing a selection of content strategies. First, we made sure to produce enough content that was relevant to the local campuses of Brighton University. In essence, we created Local Hubs of information for Hastings, Moulsecomb, Falmer and Grand Parade in order to boost local SEO for each area. After capturing the attention of all the campuses, we set about appealing to each demographic of the university, by gathering content from different societies and releasing it on appropriate event nights and during the run up to them.
Our efforts paid off, as even today ‘the verse’ is still at the top of Google (even above a website dedicated to the cult series FireFly).
We had even been informed that our paper was read by Sussex University. Today, the paper still ranks above The Argus and The Badger for ‘university newspaper Brighton’ and ‘student newspaper Brighton’.
After attending a two day conference at Southampton University, I returned to the paper with a fresh set of new ideas. I made my colleague Sophie Mills (a now digital marketer) the Co-Editor-In-Chief and we began about unifying the media outlets at the university. As The Verse’s success was continuing, we had not realised that the other outlets, BURST Radio and Brighton TV were struggling.
After many discussions, we incorporated them into The Verse’s brand (illustrated by the logos above) and formed a Media Federation, so that we could handle all of the student media outlets as a team.
The newspaper was a great stepping stone for me and I learnt a lot about the realities of getting projects completed in the media industry.