The Hub in Education

by Rob Waldeck | June 14, 2010

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) has published the New England Journal of Higher Education (NEJHE) for more than 25 years – and we have had the pleasure of being their design and production partner for over a decade and a half. For reasons both strategic and economic, it was time for NEBHE to elevate their online offering and bring the robust content of their well-regarded Journal to the digital space. For the past few months we’ve worked closely with them on this endeavor and we’re delighted to celebrate the launching of their new site,

We are particularly proud of this effort because NEBHE hasn’t just redesigned their website ­– they’ve created a Content Hub. They’ve embraced the notion that it is not enough to simply create content on their website for others to find; they’ve made the strategic decision to elevate the new NEBHE site as a center for the distribution and discussion of the most relevant and compelling commentary, analysis, news, data, and conversation about higher education in New England.

In the past we’ve posted lots on how to build a Content Hub, including “Ten Steps to Build a Basic Content Hub” and “The Plumbing of Social Marketing.” But beyond the technical, what does a Content Hub mean for NEBHE?

The good news is that NEBHE is a content-creating machine. After all, they’ve produced dozens of pages of content each quarter for more than 25 years. But creating a Content Hub isn’t as simple as posting the Journal content to the site. Here are the biggest of the challenges we faced:

1) Articulating a content strategy. The magazine delivered a certain kind of content each quarter that was appropriate for that medium and frequency. In the new medium we needed to determine what of that we would keep, what needed to go away, and what new could be added. Ultimately we needed to identify what NEBHE’s target audience wants to read about, what content NEBHE is qualified to deliver, and what content best serves NEBHE’s mission.

2) Elevating the content. NEBHE is an active non-profit with a number of substantial initiatives and hundreds of existing web pages. Bringing the Journal to the web led to two questions: one, how best to integrate the Journal content and weight it with/against the existing site content, and two, how to logically structure and present the various content types within the Journal.

3) Enabling participation. Producing a quarterly print publication requires one set of processes. Redirecting those efforts to continue to produce long-form content, while adding responsibility for curating the most relevant content of others, offering daily perspective on breaking news and events, and reaching out to contribute to the conversation in the online space requires substantial realignment, new processes, and a little training.

We worked through these challenges and a few others too. And we are proud of what NEBHE has accomplished. So visit the NEBHE site. Or grab their feed. Or follow them on twitter.  We hope you’ll take a look and let us know what you think.