Welcome back higher education marketers, it’s time for part #2 of the smash hit blog series, Promoting World Class Research. Last week we discussed how content marketing can literally be anything given the right circumstances. This week we are going to keep running with that ball and look at the content marketing opportunities surrounding the events universities participate in each year.
There are a million different events going on in academia each year, from chess competitions all the way to the NCAA Championship. Yet for the purpose of this blog post, let’s talk about the Formula Hybrid competition.
Formula Hybrid is a design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate college students. Held annually at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the contest pits the top engineering schools in the nation against each other in a series of tests centering on hybrid design, acceleration, and long-range fuel efficiency. Formula Hybrid is all about performance, and how well a hybrid car can handle itself in a high stress racing environment. While most hybrid car competitions focus on how far a car can drive on a certain amount of fuel, Formula Hybrid has more of a Daytona Speedway, Formula 1 feel.
Looks exciting right? Last year’s winner was The University of Waterloo, completing all categories in record time and shattering the previous endurance record with a total of 33 laps. Yet perhaps the real trophy was the one given to all the schools that decided to participate. And no, it’s not some “great effort” medal, the true reward from a contest like this is something far more powerful than that.
Long term sustainability and innovation in the field of clean energy?
All this stuff is a prime opportunity for content marketing.
Please allow me to elongate. Lately at Fathom we have been talking about the best ways to promote world class research. Utilizing research as a promotional tool is a great idea for a couple of reasons. Firstly, content marketing campaigns designed around research show students what exactly is going on inside the university. By developing distinctive content around unique research, you don’t risk duplicating generic content constantly tossed around the web by every other university. Secondly, by using research as a centerpiece for marketing strategy, you attract two groups of prospects. Promoting world class research attracts students and teachers.
When trying to attract the best students and teachers, the content marketing opportunities stemming from an event like Formula Hybrid can be seen on many different levels. Let’s take a quick look at the event and check out some of the possible marketing avenues available to participants.
Firstly we have participation in the event itself. University of Dartmouth is a great example of a university utilizing the event to develop effective promotional material. As the host of the competition, Dartmouth has a ton of content developed around the event that serves for some killer content marketing. From promotional videos about the competition and complete content sections of webpages dedicated to the event, Dartmouth provides multiple angles for prospective students to get interested in what Dartmouth is doing at Formula Hybrid, and subsequently, attending the school itself.
Some more great examples of content marketing stemming from this event are interviews and quotes by participating alumni. Take Dartmouth alum Nathalie Capati for example. A past participant in the event, Nathalie has gone on to a lucrative career in the hybrid engineering field. In this great promotional video, Nathalie goes on to talk about how great the event was for her from a networking and career perspective.
What is most likely the biggest question on the minds of prospective students when they consider attending a particular college? Most of the time that question centers around the sort of career opportunities available after graduation. What question does great content marketing like this video answer?
I think you can see where I am going here.
And let’s not forget about the other half of the equation, the teachers. While most universities focus solely on recruiting ideal students, there is a whole different part of the recruitment game that many marketers fail to realize. Someone has to teach these crazy kids, and putting the right, notable, and sometimes famous faculty in front of the masses is a great way to subsequently attract new students. The best engineering teachers in the nation want to teach at the most robust, interactive, and passionate programs. While seeing content about a school’s participation in Formula Hybrid might not completely convince them to jump on board, it may indeed be a crucial part of the greater recruitment picture.
And that’s just what content marketing is isn’t it? This type of marketing is not something that stops and screams, “SIGN UP FOR MY SCHOOL NOW.” It is a more subtle process, great content builds a comprehensive brand profile around your institution that reaches students and faculty at different stages of the recruitment process. While every piece of content you create may not stop a student/teacher in their tracks and convince them to come to your school, the important thing is that the content indeed exists to nurture the overall decision process.
Join us next week as we delve into the technical aspects of promoting world class research, and detail many of the avenues available to schools looking to get more students and teachers interested in their brand digitally.
Learn more about the importance of content strategies in our upcoming webinar – Social Repair, Content Replace: How Fathom Helped Safelite AutoGlass Create a Documented Content & Social Strategy to Shatter Their Goals. Register now.