Educational institutions are under the spotlight, being asked questions on value, teaching and student experience, so their marketing needs to address this and answer those questions. And good content can provide those answers. That's why education marketing is quickly shifting towards being content-led.
But, what exactly makes good content? After spending two days at the ContentEd Live Conference, our Head of Content and social guru, Dave Musson, casts his eye over the subject and brings you seven top tips.
Make your content useful and usable
This might well mean not making everything you writebeabout your institution or the courses/services you offer. For example, if you buy a vacuum cleaner from Dyson, you'll be entered into an entire life cycle of content around your new device that runs for more than 2000 days after your purchase. You'll be emailed reminders of when to clean your filter (with instructions of how to do it) or even just general cleaning tips for your home (you'll be amazed what mayonnaise can be used for, aside from as a condiment). Why do all this? Well, it means Dyson is offering useful and usable content on a subject - in this case cleaning your home - rather than just trying to plug a product.
This is great for your brand and builds trust and loyalty from your audiences.
Experiment with user-generated content
Chances are you've heard or read something about user-generated content over the last few years and you might well want to explore how you can use it for your institution. If so, don't make it purely around re-sharing social media content created by your followers. How about getting a current student to write the introduction to your prospectus instead of your VC and making the person looking out of that page someone a prospective student can really relate to?
Understand your web metrics
Some web metrics can be tricky to look at. Take exit rates for example - are people leaving your site because you've given them what they were looking for and you have done your job, or are they leaving for the opposite reason?
Join our webinar on Wednesday the 26th of July where we'll be discussing how to make the most of your Google Analytics to improve your student recruitment strategy.
Make the most of your existing content
For example, you've probably got a load of alumni case studies, right? They're probably on the 'alumni' pages of your website, right? But how many of you have also added them to the course pages that are relevant to what that alumnus or alumna studied? Just think how much more value something as simple as that would add!
Distribute your content
How is your distributed content strategy looking? What's a distributed content strategy?
It's a plan to create content specifically for different social media channels, rather than being obsessed by getting people to your website - you know, the kind of thing that Buzzfeed does. Why do this? Well, much as people will get information about you from your website, they get the emotional side of who you are from your social media, so you want to make sure your content on there has the best chance possible of doing well.
Be bold, be brave
Press releases. They're great at being press releases and being a means of communication with journalists. They're not so great at being posted on Facebook. So, be bold, be brave and create some great content based on what that press release is about. For example, just look what Harvard created to reveal their commencement speaker in 2016. Clue, it wasn't a press release!
Define your tone of voice
Be sure to establish a voice document for your social media channels to define the tone of voice and character of your accounts - don't simply use the voice of the person running your pages. Why not? Well, aside from it probably not matching your brand, if that person leaves then you're screwed.