The Basics of Higher Education Microsite Content Development

Is your college or university considering creating a microsite? This can be a great tool for collecting information from prospective students and targeting specific groups, but it won’t be effective if you don’t know the microsite basics before you start developing content.

From writing compelling headlines and CTAs to choosing and creating relevant page content, your microsite copy can make the difference between keeping your lead generation flowing and flopping. Microsites shouldn’t have as much information as a school’s main website, so the information you choose to share should be poignant and well laid-out.

Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your microsite.

Establish your Audience

This needs to come first. If you don’t know your audience, you probably don’t know why you are creating this microsite. Create personas for your microsite audience before you do anything else. This will help at every stage in your microsite development process. Know why your target audience would find your site and what you want them to do when they get there. Do you want them to enroll? Or maybe you want them to fill out a form to capture leads? Map out the process you would like to see them follow.

Make a Plan

Colleges and universities have a lot of information that can be added to a microsite, so it’s important to narrow down the selection of information before you start writing; otherwise, it’s easy to get caught up and want to include too much. A microsite should get to the point and aim to capture the attention of your target audience. Your outline should include the working titles of the pages and corresponding page sections you want to include. This should give you clear direction and content constraints.

Add Value for Your Leads

If your site is all about lead generation, it’s important that in exchange for your leads’ information, you make a relevant, engaging offer. For colleges and universities, this could be a campus guide, admissions checklist, residence hall handbook or any other material that would compel your target audience to provide contact information. As you decide what your microsite offer will be, make sure you’re not misleading the audience. If they expect a campus guide, provide a comprehensive, practical campus guide that your lead will find useful. Not only will you collect the lead, but they will love you for delivering quality information.

Align Your CTAs, Offers and Body Content

Your CTAs and offers should be highly targeted and aligned with your messaging. If your school is targeting student athletes, be sure your content provides relevant athletic information and that your CTAs and offers are specific to student athletes’ interests. This kind of microsite may have a home page with a bulleted list of each athletic team, as well as separate pages for each athletic team. Each page would, in turn, contain content and CTAs that support the specific page content, such as, “Play Lacrosse for [Your School’s Name],” or, “Learn More About the Tennis Team.”

Once you have the basics down, you can go back through your microsite and implement keywords, try A/B testing and more. Just be sure to know your audience, understand your goals and align these goals with your content and offers.

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