Staff member wins collegiate blogging contest

April 28, 2009 | News
By Shannon Wermer

When Deanna Woolf started blogging a couple years ago, she thought it was a great way to write about things she loves.



She never thought it would land her some cash.

But the senior marketing specialist in the University Marketing Office is the winner of the’s 2009 Education Blogger Scholarship worth $1,500.

Woolf’s blog is called “The Old College Try,” and her winning entry is titled “Marketing Higher Ed: Top Distance-Learning Marketing Challenges.” Read it here.

“The topic of marketing challenges developed from what was going on that week at UT with distance-learning programs and from some conversations with colleagues,” she said.

“I was struck by the fact that we tend to think of marketing challenges as things going on outside of an institution — things like prices for ads, audience preferences and the like,” Woolf said. “But when I really started to ask questions and listen to those who know, I found out that many of the challenges come internally before an ad or brochure is even created. Just goes to show you that the front lines staff knows best, and that marketers should always take time to gather those insights.”

Matt Herzberger from, Stewart Foss from eduStyle and Karine Joly from were the judges for the contest. They reviewed posts from the 20 chosen finalists and scored each based on originality, what was learned from the blog, and if the copy was engaging.

Woolf decided to enter the contest because she likes to blog about all aspects of marketing in higher education, including distance learning. “The higher ed blogging community is awesome to be a part of; people support each other by posting, commenting and sharing links. I just looked at this as another extension of it.”

She said she was surprised to learn of her victory.

“I was so excited to win the contest, I honestly didn’t think I had a shot,” Woolf said. “I’ve been blogging since the summer of 2007, but my blog is certainly not the most updated or best designed one out there. I just write when I feel like it, and I write what I’m passionate about. So ‘The Old College Try’ as the blog’s title is not only referencing the subject of higher education, it also relates to my feelings when I started the blog — I was just going to give it my best and see what happened. It’s been an awesome experience since then.

“I am so grateful and thankful for winning. I truly am blessed.”

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