Higher institutions may be facing tougher competition from online programs and higher expectations from students and parents, but this doesn’t mean that a college education is any less important. With roughly 5,300 colleges and universities in the U.S., it’s clear that America values a higher education.

Unfortunately, the average college student has to be concerned with mounting debt, low graduation rates and poor job placement. Rather than skipping college altogether, students are choosing alternatives such as online learning programs, hybrid classes and accelerated courses. What does this mean for your higher institution? In one word: opportunity.

As a college or university looking to secure your programs, it’s imperative to attract top candidates, recruit experienced staff, grow alumni donation programs and improve your school’s reputation. Here are a few key content marketing tips that can help you achieve all of these goals – and more.

Liven up your alumni magazine – and move it online.

Many colleges and universities send out alumni prints on a quarterly or annual basis. However, with social media deeply embedded in our society, past students don’t have a need to dig through a magazine to find out what their peers are up to.

Move your magazine online. The online publication will be easy to read on a commute to work and cheaper to produce. This means more space to highlight more students. Also consider opening up your newsletter to accommodate comments and likes. If there’s one thing people love, it’s the comments section.  

Create segmented content hubs on your website.

With so many different audiences to appeal to – prospects, current students, alumni – it’s difficult to create a fluid experience that everyone will enjoy. Rather than stuffing your website with an excess of content, create segmented hubs for each audience.

Content is a great tool for driving traffic to your site and allowing students and alumni to share their experiences. Also consider adding in portals where alumni can reconnect with each other and current students can ask questions, arrange for tutoring and more.

Build a mobile app.

Mobile apps certainly aren’t a requirement, but it’s unique territory to tap into. Many college students use mobile devices to connect to the internet, and an app makes the mobile experience the best it can be. Better yet, each user will get a tailored experience based on their behavior and preferences.  

Creating an app isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s best to work with a marketing company that specializes in mobile app development, as you want to put your best foot forward. Some things to include in your app may be an interactive map, real-time news feed, shuttle tracker, weather radar and menu items. Of course, don’t forget to round out the mobile experience with relevant, timely content.

Spotlight day-to-day life.

Social media makes it easy to highlight what a day on your campus looks like. This is important for prospective students because they want to envision how they will fit into the campus culture. If a prospect feels emotionally connected to your school through social media, you’ll be one step ahead of competing institutions.

Take the time to establish social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Snapchat is also a great place to be, and you may want to consider Pinterest or Tumblr. Because you have so many audiences, it’s acceptable to create accounts for your different departments. Prospects, after all, won’t need to know about alumni programs, and vice versa.


There is a lot of pressure on colleges and universities to impress and perform. Content is an excellent way to generate traffic, validate your school’s programs and keep alumni engaged. If you’re ever at a loss for content, reach out to the best writers you have: students themselves!