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How University of South Carolina uses Smart Brevity to keep its campus connected

The university's communications team uses Smart Brevity® to simplify and amplify vital messages.

The challenge: The University of South Carolina wanted to strike an important balance in its communications — keep all the smart, essential news its faculty, staff, and leaders needed but find a way to simplify and streamline those messages. It had to be:

  • Efficient: Campus communicators handle a high volume of essential updates. They needed a way to trim how long it took to draft, edit, and send their weekly newsletters.

  • Scalable: Vital communications can take many forms. They needed a solution to enhance any type — from short news items to marketing outreach and longer feature stories.

The solution: The University of South Carolina used Axios HQ’s Training and Editing services to learn Smart Brevity and use it to revamp two of their most crucial campus communications — USC Today, sent to faculty and staff three times per week, and Comms Briefing, sent to campus and community leaders each Friday.

Open rates grew nearly 10 percentage points, in kind.

💭  Melissa Spring, Manager of Strategic Projects: 

  • On Smart Brevity Editing: “It is a quick and easy way to communicate — so audiences can understand why this news matters and what we want them to do about it. The style takes away all the noise and lets readers get what they need. That’s especially important in higher ed, where there is so much to share.”
  • On Smart Brevity Training: “We’ve embraced the style for news items, transactional content, and even in longer feature stories, which was a welcome surprise. The style really makes it easier to write and edit and has helped our editors streamline their process — a welcome shift in time spent.”

How it works: There were two phases to Axios HQ’s and the University of South Carolina’s collaboration. First, Axios HQ’s team led in-depth Smart Brevity training sessions with USC communicators — helping them build a foundational understanding for how the style works and ways it can be useful to any campus update.

Next, Axios HQ’s expert editors worked 1:1 with USC editors for four weeks to curate, craft, and edit each edition of USC Today and Comms Briefing — practicing Smart Brevity together until they became independent experts.

🧠  Melissa’s words of encouragement:

  • “Some of our editors were hesitant to adopt a new style and evolve the way we work. The training and editing made a big difference — all of our editors embraced Smart Brevity after the 1:1 support.”



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