education

4 Ways to Amp Up Higher Education Content Marketing

 

Compared to other industries and organizations, colleges and universities easily have some of the most diverse target audiences. Establishments of higher education are likely trying to reach potential undergraduate students, parents of potential students, potential graduate students, potential transfer students, current students, alumni, and stakeholders or donors. Each audience requires different channels; alumni are on LinkedIn, potential students are on Instagram (and many more social networks), and parents of potential students might be reached by direct mail. There is only one thing that remains consistently successful among all target audiences: quality content. At the Contentinators®, an expert content marketing agency, we realize there is more to good content marketing than just well-written articles. Here are four ways to amp up your content marketing efforts.

Consider Your Chosen Channel

Marshall McLuhan nailed it on the head when he proclaimed, “the medium is the message.” The channels you choose to broadcast your content on are actually saying something to your audience. Good content isn’t just good writing. Are you trying to reach potential students? Use a young and fun channel like Buzzfeed. Loras College, a small, liberal arts college in the Midwest, created this quirky quiz that determines what kind of Duhawk you are. It spread quickly on social media, and before Loras knew it, students’ friends all across the United States were trying to figure out what kind of Duhawk they are, not to mention what a Duhawk even is. Potential Duhawks saw that Loras College was fun and trendy. Trying to reach alumni? Easily find them on LinkedIn. Trying to elicit donations? Try creating a presentation on SlideShare, home to 60 million monthly visitors.

People are Consuming 100,000 Words per Day

Stop writing so many words. Don’t get us wrong; blogs and written content are invaluable, but if you really want to stand out, produce something remarkable! Break through the 100K of clutter with something visual. Infographics, animated video, webinars, and interactive content can bring your words to life and address questions that people are searching for answers to. Check out Pepperdine’s docuseries, Rising Tide. This docuseries communicated more about student experience than a widely targeted blog ever will.

Crowdsourcing is Your Friend

The rise of social media, especially among young people, has resulted in an abundance of new content and content creation potential. Some of the best higher education campaigns have resulted from crowdsourcing content that truly represents the spirit of an institution. Gone are the days of stiff stock photos. Potential students are trying to understand your institution through the lens of a student, so show it to them that way. Use the Repost app for Instagram to share photos (with the user’s permission, of course) and host student “take-overs” of Snapchat. Utilize user-generated content from a variety of channels to create content that is truly representative of your school’s spirit. Check out the University of Roehampton website and Instagram to see some awesome examples.

Some of the Best Content Addresses Questions Already Being Asked

Oftentimes, the best content is high quality and answers questions that are already being asked. That is how the majority of content is found. For example, FAFSA is searched for between one to 10 million times per month on Google. Parents and students want to know what it is, how to fill it out, when it’s due, and how much financial aid to expect. Give them answers and introduce them to your college or university at the same time. Are your donors wondering where their money is going? Create an infographic to show them. Are your transfers trying to see which of their credits will transfer? Create a guide that will show them. Find the questions and provide the answers.

As content marketing experts, The Contentinators® know that great content is more than just the piece of content itself. The higher education landscape is constantly changing and evolving and requires an individualized and unique strategy. Simply producing good content is no longer good enough.

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Tapping into the Power of LinkedIn to Grow Your Alumni Base

A university’s alumni base is one the greatest resources a school can tap into, and keeping up-to-date with that base is both a challenge and an asset in itself. As generations connected to all forms of social media continue to graduate, it will be essential to have a proper plan in place to stay in touch with these young technocrats. One way to do that effectively is through the power of content marketing, and particularly, LinkedIn. Alumni bases are networks, and tapping into them can help a university with everything from fundraising to future connections of your current crop of students.

One of the things that is challenging about keeping in contact with your alumni base online is the variety of social networks that graduates can spread out to. For that reason, using a social media platform with a solid and growing subscriber base can be crucial. LinkedIn’s University pages, a service that began in 2013, has access to 25,000 different universities worldwide and 300 million users. Odds are, a good chunk of your alumni base is found in those enormous numbers. University Pages offers your institution the ability to customize a homepage in order to put your institution’s priorities and principals forward facing in the digital world.

But education-based content marketing requires a unique and distinctive approach. Put simply, your alumni base is inured to so much online content that standing out from the pack is vital. Having a platform with engaging content and the ability to present your brand to a targeted base allow for highly specific approaches. However, why is it important for your alumni to stay in touch with your institution?How is your university hoping to stay relevant with alumni in a post-graduation world? What connections can you help facilitate? These are the questions an alumni base will have in mind, and your answers can be crafted and evolved on an assortment of social platforms.

Your online alumni groups allow for interaction and expansion of what is an inherently limited field of potential followers. In a sense, it’s of even more importance to have high-quality content when appealing to alumni: they not only have expectations of the university, but they are a reflection of the university itself. How your alumni base expresses itself online can be a direct reflection of how your university will be viewed by prospective students. To view them as collaborators is entirely fair. Your content should be shaped and guided by them, but also have the ability to lead them in new directions.

Content marketing, especially education-based, is best used when it is an ongoing interaction. Your university should be taking in information at similar rates as you are putting information out. A running dialogue enables the greatest opportunities for both sides, and by tapping into powerful platforms such as LinkedIn and their University Pages, you’ve enabled a whole new field of alumni to find and rediscover their school. Just getting onto the scene is crucial, but knowing your way around it is revelatory.

Using LinkedIn’s University Pages with energetic and vibrant content expands an alumni base by engaging them on a variety of levels. Alumni see LinkedIn as a resource for advancing professional careers, and by adding a dedicated page devoted to their school, and its connections, only helps. This symbiotic relationship can be enhanced on your LinkedIn University Page with available content services such as decision boards, field study explorers and university outcome rankings. Nimble and multifaceted in online response and interaction, no institution should let the opportunity pass to expand their alumni base with this emerging platform combined with insightfully marketed content.

For more information on our content marketing services for higher education, please call The Contentinators® at 866-471-4748, you can contact us online.

Contact The Contentinators® Today To Grow Your Alumni Base

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Fill Those Stadium Seats with Content Marketing

As entertainment options become more numerous and fractured, filling the seats in your stadium becomes a more and more difficult proposition. Not only that, but with phenomenal improvements to the home-viewing experience (ultra-high definition televisions, real-time statistics on your phone, etc.), some fans are opting to watch the game from the comfort of their own home. So, in order to get a full house, sports franchises of all types are getting creative, and one of the techniques on the forefront is the use of content marketing.

Fans need engagement, and they need to feel as if they are part of a movement. Your marketing should push the idea they are missing not only a game, but an event. Social media is a fantastic way to push this point: by generating excitement online and connecting with fans on an individual level, you are building excitement. Not only that, but the enthusiasm online manifests itself in attendance, and it’s something that can be cultivated 24/7.

But the marketing approach to sporting events can go beyond simple fan interaction: by using an array of videos, stadium walk-through tours, and virtual game-day experiences, you can create content that will show off the magic that is a live sporting event and present that online. It’s an experience that should be targeted beyond just the game itself; create content that shows tailgates, parties, and views from luxury suites. Show the assortment of food, the pyrotechnics, and the goofy mascots. The content should highlight the differences between staying at home and being in the action at the stadium.
Social media builds a community of fans. And with this in mind, feel free to make your content marketing active and vibrant: light-hearted (but sharp, and self-aware) online competitions with rival team’s media departments are a great way to generate buzz. If you can, incorporate your team’s players and established online personas. And if you have ticket deals and sales, even close to game time, highlight them in every format: tweets, emails, and more traditional advertising.

Push at every angle.

In short and overall: be everywhere. Content marketing has a long list of applications, and you want your content team to be active before, during, and after the game. Beyond outreach, you also have the ability to take receive feedback. Things learned from the attendance of previous games (Was the parking easy? Do the hot dogs have flavor? Are you serving the beer your fans want?) can all be culled through online interaction, and all can be put in use on a future game. Content marketing thrives on momentum, and when applied properly, you’ll see that same energy roll through you stadium’s gates for every kickoff.

If your higher education institution needs help implementing a strategic content marketing plan to get the seats of your university filled, please call The Contentinators® at 866-471-4748, or you can contact us online.

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How to Reach Alumni Through the Power of Content Marketing

Between all the other responsibilities a university or college has to take care of, engaging with alumni can often be put on the back burner. In a study from 2010, eight out of 10 alumni felt that their alma mater did not deserve their donations because they did not feel that their school tried to connect with them, and they already paid enough to the school with their tuition. Yikes! The problem is, with busy alumni all over the world, how can you make them feel connected? The digital world now offers ample opportunity to create engaging content marketing strategies to encourage the allegiance alumni feel toward their alma mater.

Utilize Social Media

Millions use social media daily, and in Facebook’s case, over 1.5 billion do. This means there are great opportunities to get in touch with your thousands of alumni seeking to rebuild old connections and to network. LinkedIn is the perfect platform to connect, engage, and distribute information amongst your alumni network. Some schools are using it to share job postings that could be of interest to former students and share news about the exciting things their alumni are up to.

Quit Begging for Money

Think about when you receive a postcard or letter from your alma mater. Do you automatically assume they are asking for money? This is the case for thousands of alumni who, most likely, delete or throw away those emails and postcards before even opening them. The best response to this is for your school to generate engaging, personable content instead of constantly asking for money. Some ideas include posting pictures (maybe throw in some #ThrowbackThursday posts) around your campus to send your alumni down memory lane. Ask alumni what advice they would give to current freshman attending the school. Post about reunions and networking opportunities for alumni to attend. Share job openings or career advice to help further their careers. If you stop begging for money and instead do so sparingly, you may find that this will increase the amount of engagement you receive from your alumni community.

Create Relevant Blog Posts

Creating blogs about day-to-day happenings around the school isn’t going to cut it anymore when engaging alumni. Keep blog content relevant to this audience to help them stay engaged and entertained. Create blogs about ways for alumni to gain further experience in their respective fields or highlighting accomplishments of alumni in the community and their different fields. Remember that alumni ages range significantly, so speak to many ages by creating a variety of content that addresses their different lifestyles and interests. By creating relevant content, alumni will come to you in search of information regarding events and donation opportunities. Consider reaching out to alumni who have made big waves in their careers, and ask them to share some insights with current students or younger alumni.

Visuals, Infographics, & Video

Utilizing visual content is just as important as creating informative blog posts. Create and share videos, including sport highlights, alumni spotlights, and school accomplishments for shareable and engaging content. Infographics are great when presenting concise facts around a certain event or fundraiser. Photos of the campus and reunions will bring alumni back to the emotional connection they had with the school.

By engaging your alumni, the likelihood of them feeling emotionally connected will increase exponentially, also leading to increased donations and attendance at fundraising events. Establish a strong content marketing strategy to lead your alumni into remembering why their time at your university or college were some of the best years of their life.

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