Creating a successful content marketing strategy for your higher institution doesn’t have to be complicated. At the same time, you don’t want to underestimate its potential. Some colleges and universities take the time to develop these marketing strategies, but they do very little to change them over time. If you fall into this trap, your content marketing strategy may suffer and your competition can surpass you.
Fortunately, once you have a strong marketing plan in place, it’s easy to make updates to reflect new changes. Let’s discover some of the easy, effective ways that you can strengthen your content strategy for your higher institution and watch the success roll in!
You probably have your audiences segmented based on demographics, behavior, age and so forth. Now it’s time to expand on these factors. What motivates potential students to inquire about your program? Download a brochure? Tour your school? Rather than looking simply at demographic factors, you need to get into the heads of students and understand their interests, intents and motivations. You may decide that it’s in your best interest to assume more risk in athletes, those with high GPAs or international students.
Discover Content Possibilities
Once you have highly segmented audiences, you can develop different content for each one. Don’t be afraid to take some risk. As long as the content aligns with your goals and represents your institution, you can try some new things. You may find that some groups are more receptive to unconventional marketing tactics while others prefer the tried-and-true practices. Of course, if you want to hit the mark and appeal to everyone, highly visual content like infographics are the way to go.
Run A/B Tests
Split testing your content is an excellent way to see which branding, messaging and tone appeals to your unique audience. Based on the content you plan on using, randomly divide your audience into two groups and send one piece of content to one half, and another piece to the other half. Determine how responsive each group is to the content. If there’s not much difference in response rates, you can probably make a few more adjustments.
Deliver Responsive Content
Prospective students are coming from all devices: smartphones, tablets and laptops. Make sure that your content looks the same on all of them. Mobile content deserves special attention since more students are exploring colleges and universities on this platform. It’s amazing how many higher institutions still fail to deliver a highly responsive website that offers easy-to-read content, clickable links and fast loading times.
Know the Student Journey
It’s important to understand the journey students take when showing interest in your school. There will be different journeys, which is why you need to segment your audiences. Challenge yourself to think of all the stages that students go through and the content you can create to accommodate this journey. What inspires a student to continue their education? What is the application process like? What opportunities do graduates have? Are there accelerated programs available? How do older students balance school and family?
Update Evergreen Content
Sure, the search engines love fresh content, so it’s important that you update it often. But there are some pieces of content that continue to be valuable. You probably have some evergreen content on your site, but give it a lift by adding in new information and updating it with current facts and figures. This boosts engagement and keeps quality content a staple on your site.
Create an App
An app is a great way to share content in a seamless manner. Sometimes websites can be cluttered or difficult to follow, but apps can be neatly streamlined with a small selection of content. Think about building an app that showcases some of your best content and also offers other valuable information such as campus maps, videos from faculty and current students and photos of dorm rooms, classroom buildings, the library, etc.
Make Content Easily Shareable
Include accessible share buttons on your content. You don’t want readers to have to do anything fancy to share your content, otherwise they probably won’t do it. A senior in high school looking for tips on choosing a school won’t hesitate to share your content if they feel it can benefit their friends, too.
Brand Your Content
People should be able to tell that the content belongs to your higher institution simply by looking at it. That’s because all of your content should be consistently branded with your logo, messaging, tone, etc. This is a great way to gain brand recognition and credit for your work. The more prospective students see your school pop up on various pieces of content, the more they will learn to trust you as an authority.
Follow the Best Practices
Brush up on the best practices for delivering strong content such as using appropriate keywords, subtitles, headlines and links. Create content that is valuable and has a distinct purpose. Share the content on your various social media profiles and find ways to engage your audience such as by requesting feedback or asking questions. There is no shortage of information online about building a stronger content strategy, so make sure you’re always on the forefront of trends.
Your content marketing strategy is an excellent way to boost visibility for your school, gain brand recognition, build relationships with students and establish yourself as an authority. Every now and then, adjust your strategy so that you’re appealing to new audiences and experimenting with creative marketing tactics. Not everything will be a winner, but when you do see success, it will be well worth the extra effort.