Camille
Team Lead
Content Strategists

Level Up Your Marketing Campaign

Level Up Your Marketing Campaign

It’s a common challenge in digital education. You can have all the cutting-edge technology and resources, but without a steady stream of students, it’s like having a high-tech ship with no passengers.

So, how do you captivate the hearts and minds of students in this age of virtual everything and make them eager to enroll at your institution among the sea of other choices?

The answer is simple yet incredibly powerful: content marketing.

You might not have realized it, but you’re already in the content marketing game.

Every brochure, white paper, and leaflet your potential students encounter represents ‘content.’

You’ve even embraced the digital age with your Twitter handle and website. But, research tells us that surface-level efforts can no longer influence admissions decisions.

Why You Need Content Marketing for Higher Education

The most successful higher education institutions have already hopped onto the content marketing bandwagon, and the reasons are crystal clear.

Content marketing drives enrollment. And increased enrollment provides the financial means to invest in cutting-edge educational technologies, attracting even more students in a virtuous cycle.

Successful institutions have gone a step further — they’ve built a brand. You must craft a brand for your institution to harness success.

You might be thinking that higher education and content marketing don’t naturally go hand in hand, but in reality, they’ve formed an inseparable power couple in academia.

The landscape of higher education is evolving at lightning speed. Gone are the days when colleges could solely rely on their reputation or word of mouth to attract students. Now, it’s all about creating captivating content that weaves a compelling story about your institution.

This might seem like uncharted territory for some institutions, but here’s the secret: when done right, higher education and content marketing can revolutionize student engagement and drive institutional success like never before.

Crafting Your Unique School Brand Through Content Marketing

Today’s competitive higher education landscape leaves no room for sitting idly by in the marketing arena.

In other words, standing out is no longer an option – it’s a necessity.

Successful institutions have mastered the art of creating unique brands that mirror their distinct values and offerings.

A stellar example is The University of Arizona’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Using content marketing to its advantage, it created informative videos about its majors, catering to the digital preferences of modern students.

These videos featured current students’ perspectives, major highlights, and alum success stories. This made it easier for students to choose a major. The university expanded its reach and reinforced its commitment to students through online platforms.

Let’s explore how your institution can follow suit and build a compelling brand through content marketing.

1. Creating an Engaging Persona for Your School

Your institution’s persona is what sets you apart. It’s not just about academic excellence; it encompasses elements like inclusivity, community spirit, sustainability commitment, or anything else that genuinely defines your uniqueness.

To craft a compelling persona, identify these defining attributes and weave them into your narrative across all communication channels, from website copy to social media posts. Consistency is vital in maintaining brand integrity.

2. Telling a Compelling Story Through Content Marketing

More than just presenting facts about your university, compelling storytelling involves connecting emotionally with prospective students.

Do this by telling engaging narratives featuring real-life experiences within your institution’s walls.

Showcase student success stories and emphasize experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and study abroad programs, that illustrate practical applications – a highly valued aspect for Gen Z learners.

3. Building a Brand to Tell a Unique Story

In an era where nearly every higher education institution has a website, merely blending into the background is no longer an option. Creating a strong school brand, an online identity with a unique story is your pathway to shining brightly.

Begin by identifying what sets your virtual learning program apart from the competition. Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which should be the central message of your school’s website. It’s not about saying, “I suppose you could come here… We’re pretty good, I think.”

Instead, craft a compelling narrative that resonates with your audience and inspires them to share it with others.

Your story becomes the essence of your virtual learning program, answering the fundamental questions: “Who are we, and why should anyone care?”

4. Energizing Your Brand Through Educational Content Marketing

Your website’s content plays a crucial role in bringing your brand to life. Educational content marketing offers endless possibilities to make your website user experience fun, engaging, and informative.

You’re not just selling an education; you have the freedom to do extraordinary things with your content marketing.

Below, we will look at three creative ways you can use content marketing to stand out, and we’ll showcase some standout higher education institutions that have perfected this strategy.

Enhancing Your Content Strategy

Blogging: Your Digital Pulse

Blogging is the cornerstone of a robust content marketing strategy.

The University of Chicago is a shining example of excellence in educational blogging with its unique UChicago News blog. This platform seamlessly blends general interest topics with creative writing to bring their brand to life on the internet.

Through UChicago News, the university demonstrates a compelling strategy: showcasing how the work on its campus resonates with the broader world. This approach sparks interest among prospective students and parents, who are integral stakeholders in decision-making.

In summary, creating intriguing, niche content and consistently publishing it can boost website traffic and ensure your institution remains relevant and valuable to potential students.

Consider investing time and resources into developing a blog or “microsite” to achieve these goals.

The Power of Influencers

Never underestimate the impact of celebrity endorsements in creating buzz and interest around your higher education institution. If there are celebrities with affiliations to your university, be it through birthplace or other connections, leveraging those relationships for promotional purposes can yield significant benefits.

Celebrity endorsements bring visibility, credibility, and appeal, particularly among younger demographics who follow trends set by famous personalities.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that any collaboration aligns seamlessly with your institutional ethos, avoiding the appearance of being forced or off-brand.

The University of Tennessee provides an illuminating example by harnessing the celebrity status of locally-based icon Dolly Parton.

They curated a course named ‘Dolly’s America, which delves into Appalachian history through her perspective. By promoting the course through their university magazine and social media, they engaged students and tapped into Dolly Parton’s widespread appeal.

Engaging a celebrity isn’t just about using their name for promotion. It’s about integrating aspects of their persona and experiences into your institution’s narrative.

Alums Networks: A Hidden Goldmine

Consider looking beyond your campus to find potential collaborators. Alums represent living proof of your institution’s success and are often willing to support their alma mater, particularly when it aligns with their values and interests.

Reach out to notable alums and invite them to participate in guest lectures, webinars, and podcasts or contribute blog articles and case studies based on their experiences in their respective fields.

These activities enhance the student experience and significantly boost your institution’s reputation. Active alums involvement promotes a sense of community and enhances brand recognition among students.

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education marketing, influencer collaborations are gaining traction. Forbes Communications Council, an organization for senior-level communications and PR executives, recognizes the power of partnering with individuals who significantly influence your institution’s community or target audience.

Identify potential influencers within your community, whether they are accomplished alums, current students with strong social media followings, or faculty known for their expertise. Look for opportunities to involve them in sharing your institution’s narrative.

When reaching out to influencers, meticulous research into their profiles can help tailor proposals to align with their interests. Clearly define expectations and highlight the mutual benefits of the collaboration.

In summary, influencers work wonders as demonstrated by the University of Tennessee. If your institution has an influential alumnus, a local personality, or any individual affiliated with your brand, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Engagement and awareness are powerful proof of success, and influencers are adept at generating both.

Video: Engaging and Relatable

Another potent tool in your content marketing arsenal is video, particularly on platforms like YouTube. You can capture your audience’s attention by curating relatable, concise video content showcasing your faculty and staff discussing real issues in real time.

Take, for example, the Columbia Business School, which excels in producing snapshot business-related videos that exhibit authenticity and high production quality. These videos drive traffic to the website and attract new audiences by offering valuable insights.

The University of Leeds, too, recognizes the potential of video marketing. They leverage their YouTube channel with various video series, presenting well-narrated, inspirational videos set to music. These videos speak the language of existing and prospective students, making the university’s online presence more engaging and mobile-friendly.

Video content has the power to connect with your audience on a personal level and can be a game-changer in your content marketing strategy.

Navigating the Evolution of Educational Marketing

Change is the only constant in today’s educational marketing landscape. To stay ahead, higher education institutions must keep their fingers on the pulse and adapt to these changes while finding innovative ways to engage prospective students.

Current Trends Shaping Educational Marketing

Educational marketing has witnessed a surge in new trends reshaping how universities and colleges position themselves.

Data-driven strategies have also gained traction as schools realize they can harness analytics tools for actionable insights into target audience behaviors and preferences. Tailoring messages based on this data allows them to attract ideal student profiles more effectively.

Consider the example of Georgia State University, which improved its graduation rates by identifying at-risk students early using predictive analytics.

Last but certainly not least, personalization has taken center stage when communicating with tech-savvy Gen Zers who expect tailored experiences across all interactions, including those with potential future alma maters.

Schools like Arizona State University use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for personalized email campaigns targeting specific segments based on factors like academic interests or geographical location.

Adapting Traditional Strategies to the Digital World

Traditional strategies need serious digital revamping to compete successfully amidst these evolving trends.

Many institutions have adopted content marketing as a part of their overall strategy, recognizing its importance. However, there is often room for improvement in the effectiveness of these efforts. This presents an opportunity for institutions to align content creation with their institutional
goals further and enhance the optimization of distribution channels.

This gap indicates an opportunity for growth, especially in aligning content creation efforts with institutional goals and optimizing the utilization of distribution channels.

One solution lies in digital storytelling: shifting away from ‘institution-centric’ narratives towards ‘student-centric’ stories resonates deeply with prospective learners by putting them front and center within your institution’s narrative.

Whether through blogs sharing real-life student experiences or videos showcasing groundbreaking faculty research projects, numerous opportunities are available now for leveraging digital mediums to tell compelling stories that drive engagement upward along with enrollment numbers.

FAQs About Higher Education and Content Marketing

What is educational content marketing?

Educational content marketing involves creating and disseminating valuable, relevant information designed to attract, engage, and retain an audience within the higher education sector.

This approach focuses on sharing knowledge and insights to showcase an institution’s expertise and build meaningful relationships with students, faculty, and supporters.

What does marketing do for higher education?

Marketing plays a pivotal role in higher education by enhancing the visibility of institutions and promoting their unique selling points.

It is a dynamic tool for attracting potential students, increasing enrollment rates, and fostering lasting relationships with alums and donors. In essence, marketing empowers institutions to effectively communicate their value proposition and connect with their target audience.

What are the 4 Ps of marketing for educational institutions?

The 4 Ps of marketing in the context of educational institutions encompass:

  • Product:
    This pertains to the educational programs and offerings that institutions provide, highlighting their distinct academic experiences.
  • Price:
    It refers to the tuition fees and cost structures, crucial factors that impact the affordability and accessibility of education.
  • Place:
    This signifies the physical campus location or the online platform where learning takes place, emphasizing the convenience and accessibility of education.
  • Promotion:
    This encompasses the various advertising and promotional strategies employed to communicate an institution’s unique attributes and engage with prospective students.

What is a content marketing article?

A content marketing article is a written piece that serves a dual purpose: delivering value to readers while subtly promoting a brand or product.

These articles are integral to a broader digital marketing strategy and are crafted to engage audiences, provide insights, and drive interest in a specific educational institution or program.

Embrace the Future of Higher Education Marketing

Higher education institutions have evolved from solely academic entities into powerful brands with compelling stories to share. The influence of content marketing in shaping these narratives is undeniable. Collaborations with celebrities and influencers can significantly amplify a brand’s reach, making it even more attractive to prospective students.

Yet, the landscape of educational marketing continues to evolve rapidly, demanding constant adaptation and creativity from institutions.

If you are all set to transform your institution’s success with some top-notch content marketing strategies, check out our content marketing services at okwrite.

Our team excels at creating content that clicks with all kinds of folks and supercharges your institution’s growth. We are here to guide you through this thrilling new journey in higher education! Elevate your content marketing game to new heights with okwrite. Contact us today, and let us help you achieve your goals.

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