When developing content for colleges and universities, it all comes down to communication. Duh, right? Content is communication. But in higher education, the communication issues get more complicated:
- If your school’s leadership doesn’t understand your content strategy, they don’t let you implement it.
- If your students don’t connect with your content, they don’t engage.
- And if potential students can’t find your content, they don’t apply.
If you’re in the higher education marketing business, you know what I’m talking about. So where do we go from here?
The Higher Education Web Professionals Association hosts an annual conference just for Web professionals at colleges and universities. From design to development to marketing, speakers share insights to the Web issues that higher education institutions face. Here are the top content tips I took from #heweb13:
- Educate your leadership and emphasize your common goals, especially when making major digital content changes.
- Conduct stakeholder interviews to eliminate politics and “get the pulse” of your college’s campus, faculty and students. (Jennifer Pope, Rutgers University)
- The marketing department should drive autonomy and control; allow departments to customize designated content sections on the website, but claim control for a uniform feel. (Rogue Element Inc.)
- Narrow your content types for alignment across departments. Be strict on this.
- Your brand on the Web should empower student engagement rather than merely match your existing brand.
- Use social media to get useful information on your current students, prospective students and alumni. Then tell the stories that matter to them. (John Murphy, Brown University)
- Your audience is already on the Web. Use found content to leverage student engagement. Then challenge students to keep creating. (Jessica Krywosa, Hamilton College)
- And a classic piece of advice from keynote speaker The Woz (Steve Wozniak): always innovate. If we consistently try new things until we find the most efficient way, we will eventually succeed.
What are your EDU marketing tips or takeaways from HighEdWeb 2013?
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.