Let’s face it – content strategy for higher education often gets pushed aside. More tangible marketing tactics, such as paid search campaigns or usability, are prioritized over the long-term goals of content marketing.
But content is what creates connections. Content makes students want to enroll. So we have some tips to help you effectively implement the type of marketing that builds lasting relationships:
1. Find out what interests your prospective students.
You need relevant content in visible places. Research where your potential students are online and what they want. You can do this by polling current students and people you’re already reaching. And take a look at the effective strategies of colleges and universities who compete with you.
2. Educate your board.
While content marketing seems obvious to marketers, the term is still new. Often, an institution’s board doesn’t see the real value of this new tactic. But you need their support, so it’s essential to convince the decision-makers.
Put it in language they’ll understand. Essentially, content marketing is communication. And effective communication tells a story that builds trust. Explain the specific outlets your audience occupies, the value of building trust with potential students there, and how you can nurture those relationships.
3. Develop your strategy.
Get creative and tell your story. You can use competitor successes and failures, along with facts about your audience, to develop a unique strategy. The most important rules are to remain passionate and humanize your brand. Follow these rules through humor, historical accounts, stories of failure and redemption, and simply starting conversations with your audience. Then choose your platforms: social media, videos, blogs, emails, infographics and the many other content outlets.
4. Work with someone who’s willing to take a risk.
Even with the decision-makers up to speed, conflict will likely arise while trying new ideas. To implement your content strategies, you need to find someone who’s already on your side – and has the power to convince. This person can get you the resources you need. Once you have the means to take a risk, you can test which tactics build effective relationships with potential students.
5. Measure results.
Be sure to gauge your audience’s reaction to all of your strategies. If you prove that you’re creating content that works, you can gain the trust and freedom you need for continued strategy.
You will find successes and failures. Don’t let either stop you from innovating. Always run experiments and take measured risks. Only through these can you find the best strategies for your higher education institution.
What are your best content strategy tips?
Check out Fathom’s 30-pg. Ultimate Guide to Marketing an Educational Institution with Social Media. It’s full of insightful interviews and illustrative case studies on using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for marketing a school.
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