News posts are a great way to share recent awards, faculty members featured in the news, new faculty books, and other information for the department. We’ve outlined several areas that will help you create engaging content.
A headline is often the first piece of content people read. And often it is the only thing people read. If you want your visitors to read your news posts, you need to write a successful headline. Good headlines for your news posts should be:
- Short, because long titles create long URLs, which break breadcrumbs and may be truncated by Google (aim for <80 characters)
- Information rich, by providing facts or information from the article that pique the readers’ interest
- Front-loaded, with the most important keywords first, because users often scan only the beginning
- Understandable out of context, because headlines often appear without articles, as in search engine results
- Predictable, so users know whether they’ll like the full article before they click (no click bait!)
- Free from hype and idioms, which are often vague and can sound inauthentic and unprofessional
By default, the first 300 characters of a news post will appear on your home page and on your news archive page. Often, these words are just an introduction and don’t adequately describe the overall point of the article. Instead, use the excerpt function to craft a summary of each post that will show on the home page and news archive page. News posts with excerpts typically have a higher click-through rate.
The excerpt box should appear below the Quick Page/Post Redirect box when you are creating a new news item. If you don’t see it, do the following:
- At the very top right of your screen, click the Screen Options button.
- Check the box that says Excerpt.
- Click the Screen Options button again to close the drop down.
Writing a Good Excerpt
- Keep the length to less than 300 characters, or about 2-3 sentences.
- Think of the excerpt as an extension of the headline. In other words, include the most important information that you are trying to convey to your reader that isn’t already in the headline.
- Use complete sentences.
- Don’t use any links or text that says “click here.” Links will not appear on the home page or the news archive page.
- Use user-centric language. Tell readers why they should read the full article. Is the guest speaker famous in the field? Is the award very prestigious? If so, include that information.
- Use words people can relate to, instead of industry jargon. Not all your visitors will be expert in your department’s field. The primary audience for Krieger School websites are prospective undergraduates, who are 16-18 years old and may be interested in your field but are likely not experts (yet!).
Whenever possible, a featured image should accompany a news post. News posts with a interesting featured image typically have a higher click-through rate. Images also help regular visitors to your site notice when new news items are posted.
- Upload images in the Featured Image box. Images that are embedded directly in the text of the article will not appear on the home page or news archive page.
- Avoid reusing images, such as a faculty member’s headshot, as much as possible.
- Use relevant images. Please do not upload copyrighted images, stock photos, clipart, or other unrelated imagery.
- Do not only upload an image. All news items should also have text and, if possible, an excerpt.
- You may use an event poster as your featured image. However, you must include the text from that poster in the main body of that news item. Low vision, blind, and dyslexic users will not be able to read the text in the poster image with their assistive technologies.
- Posts that contain no content besides an event poster image will be removed without notice.
Examples of Good News Posts
National Geographic gives best-of-year nod to JHU historian
Prof. Nathan Connolly helped digitize records of redlining in Mapping Inequality, an interactive database that allows users to search hundreds of maps and documents that contributed to housing discrimination beginning in the 1930s.
Peter Armitage and Team Discover Clue to Key Master of Modern Physics
In a paper published in Science, Associate Professor Peter Armitage and a team of six scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Rutgers University experiment with material that straddles the world of classic physics and a hidden quantum realm.