It's All About What You Say: The Future of Content Marketing & Higher Education

Christina Diecidue

Senior Content Strategist

A unique aspect of higher education marketing is that the person who pays for the services will never actually use them. For the most part, higher ed marketing speaks to students, and rightfully so. They are the ones who will be attending the college. Still, it’s worth considering how the parents fit in as they, too, contribute to the final decision - and the tuition bill.

Fortunately, you have a powerful tool at your disposal: content. Through content marketing, you can engage with prospective students from the awareness stage. As students see that you listen to and understand their needs, they will be more likely to like you, trust you, and discuss your programs with their parents.

Strengthening Content Marketing for the Future

Let’s dive into a few of the ways that you can boost higher ed content marketing efforts, because, let’s face it. Content marketing isn’t going anywhere. It’s a cost-effective and versatile way to share relevant, accurate information about your school and move students through the funnel in a highly personalized manner.

Discover Your Niche Speciality

It can be disappointing when your higher institution doesn’t make one of the top lists. But, don’t let this discourage you. The landscape is competitive for colleges and universities, so focus on niche specialities and other unique qualities. Check out 50 non-traditional colleges for inspiration!

Here are a few examples of things that can separate your college from the next. Play them up in your marketing materials. You will attract attention from fewer prospects, but they will be the right prospects.

  • Small, intimate class sizes

  • Study abroad or off-campus internships

  • Relaxation techniques taught, such as meditation

  • Vegetarian meals and sustainability encouraged

  • Clean, well-maintained campus with study areas

  • Four-year guarantee

  • Competitive financial aid packages

Incorporate More Pictures and Video

Content is more than articles and blog posts. Often, the best way to showcase your campus is with visual content such as pictures, short videos, live streaming, and user-generated content. When prospects are interested in your programs, the next step is checking out your environment. What are the dorms like? How big is the campus? How easy is it to get around?

Parents look for other things, such as security cameras and panic buttons. Are the streets well-lit? Is campus security active? Photos and videos speak volume, so use them to your advantage. Show students and parents what real life is like at your school. This will distinguish your program so that you may generate leads, increase student applications and and boost brand awareness.

Encourage and Share User-Generated Content

Mix up your content strategy by incorporating blog posts, visuals, and testimonials from current students and alumni. They offer a fresh perspective that students and parents will find helpful. Alumni, for example, are proof that your program is effective. This is encouraging for parents who want to know that their investment will be worth it.

Current students can give an honest review of what campus life is like, including all those small details that us adults don’t think of (best and worst places to study, where to grab the best food, which bathrooms are the cleanest). Prospects will appreciate this! Plus, user-generated content is authentic and genuine, so it tends to get better engagement rates.

Conclusion

How content is created and shared may change, but the need for it will not go away - at least not anytime soon. Through text and visuals, you can effectively connect with the right people and share information about your school. Be sure to consider the parents, too, as their role in the selection process is crucial. A vibrant school full of opportunities is important for students. However, parents need to know that the college will be safe, secure, and an excellent return on their investment.

 

About the Author: Christina Diecidue

Christina Diecidue is the Marketing Project Coordinator at SEMGeeks.  She holds a B.S. in Business Administration, with concentrations in marketing, advertising, and web design from Rider University.  Known to be a meticulous worker, Christina values each client's individual goals and works to meet their digital strategy needs accordingly.  With valuable knowledge in higher education, alumni engagement, and leadership, she provides an array of skills to the SEMGeeks team.  In her free time, Christina can be found binge watching repeats of Friends and spending time with her family.

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