Content marketing’s purpose is to educate, inform, and entertain. Marketing professionals use content marketing to attract new clients and potential customers to our brands, but it is time colleges understood the benefit content marketing can serve in their quest for recruiting potential students. Content marketing is a practice that allows schools to share stories incoming students can relate to. Stories that will establish your school as an institution of choice.
Prospective students are not just looking for a school to attend—they’re looking for their future. Whether they see your school as part of that future depends on how well you share your story and engage with a potential student before they ever step foot on campus.
Students have a wealth of information at their fingertips, and they know the journey of a modern student is all but traditional. Today’s students can receive an education through online courses, two-year vocational schools, large four-year universities, and more. With all the information today’s students are exposed to, how can you be sure your institution will stand out?
Traditionally, higher education institutions have relied on direct mail to capture the attention of prospective students. Though it can be useful in a multi-channel marketing campaign, you have to be aware of your audience and how they prefer to engage before spending the time, effort, and expense. According to Mashable, unsolicited direct mailings are more likely to be perceived as pushy and interruptive, rather than a provide a good return on investment. Furthermore, 44 percent of direct mail is never opened. Rather than pushing and shoving your way into the homes of students, you want them to seek you out on their own.
Today’s students are quick to search for solutions to their problems online, most often on their mobile devices. They want relevant content, and they want it quickly. To be a student’s first choice, you have to meet their content needs and earn their loyalty by providing them with fast, comprehensive information.
Above all else, you want students to know what college life is like on your campus. Don’t just tell them, show them. Unique stories about what students, staff, and faculty are doing on your campus can capture and keep a prospective student’s attention. When relevant, educational, and entertaining content is used in combination with a strong social media presence, it becomes more useful to your audience.
Ninety percent of millennials are active on at least one social media network. It’s not enough to simply have an account on Facebook or Twitter. In order to get your content in front of students, your school has to be active on social, engaging with students on a daily basis and answering their questions before they have a chance to ask them. Sharing videos of current students’ experiences, colorful photos of the most iconic buildings on campus, or student-written blog posts are just a few of the many ways to meaningfully engage the incoming class.
Today’s students have been bombarded with traditional marketing tactics their entire lives. They are savvy, and they know how to dig for the information they want. Don’t make them dig. Create content that engages students and makes them eager to learn more about your institution; when your content tells a story, is visual, and is available on a number of social platforms, students will flock to it and, ultimately, book a tour or apply for enrollment.
Content marketing is vital for your institution, and, when used effectively, will flip your old recruiting process on its head, turning prospects into enrolled members of the student body.