How to Expertly use Content Marketing for Schools
“Content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign” – Jon Buscall
Content marketing for schools is just as valuable as it is for any other business or industry. Think about it. You want to attract prospective families whilst keeping current families satisfied. Content marketing was made for this.
If you’re not familiar with content marketing, then fear not.
It is simply the creation of valuable, relevant and useful content which can be distributed to a target audience. In the case of schools, this is prospective and current students.
How can content marketing help schools?
Whether you’re looking to raise awareness of your institution, promote a new program or attract new students, content marketing is the answer. But how exactly does content marketing do this?
Develop a relationship with potential students
The strongest relationships are built on trust. And one way to increase trust, is to increase familiarity. Share the latest accomplishments of your faculty. Publish your new research. Broadcast the stories of successful graduates. Let your potential students know the exact type of school they will be joining, and more importantly, get them excited about the type of school they will be joining. The more they know about you, the easier it will be for them to picture themselves as part of your school.
Show, don’t tell. Go above rankings and facts and actually prove your expertise. Use real examples of successful students, give your take on current, relevant affairs, provide testimonials, set up a blog dedicated to subject news. The possibilities are endless as to how you can show your worth to prospective families.
Expand your academic profile and reach
Even if your goal is to attract new students, there is no limit to the audiences you could reach by posting shareable content. Form bonds with other academic institutions, reach influencers and ultimately, get your name out there as a thought leader.
What kind of content should you post?
You know what they say, variety is the spice of life.
Diversity is what makes life interesting, and it’s also what keeps content marketing fresh. Aim for different formats. Mix it up with articles, podcasts, videos and infographics. And don’t forget about your actual content. You want to keep your audience interested, so explore pieces with a newsy angle, academic articles, informative videos from current students.
Spend some time writing a longer, denser blog post that adds value to the reader. Then repurpose this post into bite size chunks for your social media pages. If you’ve posted an academic article, create a simple, eye-catching infographic to summarise the findings or statistics. We’ve listed some engaging, content ideas below:
The content marketing classic.
Regardless of who you are or what you’re trying to achieve, a well written blog is proven to generate new leads and website traffic. Blogs are meant to be more informal than traditional forms of marketing, so get others involved! There is potential within each faculty, staff member, student and alumni to offer unique, valuable content. Take advantage of all these different points of views, expertise and strengths when curating blog posts and you’ll never be short of content!
Note to schools: keep your news stories separate from your blog.
News stories are excellent for promoting upcoming events or changes, both within your school and the general educational sector. Whereas a news story is ideal for sharing upcoming open days, a blog post is suited to tips on preparing for your first day”.
With that being said, a news story certainly doesn’t have to be boring. Spend time on an attention grabbing (but true to your content) headline, work on your text to ensure it alludes back to a common theme that readers can resonate with, and include high-quality images to round it all off.
Fun fact, we can process visual content 60,000 times faster than text content.
Infographics will therefore always go down a treat with your target audience. Whether it’s a back to school essentials infographic for current students or parents, or a day in the life of a student for prospectives, visualising your data conveys information in a way that can be quickly consumed and easily understood.
Did you know that 80% of website visitors will watch a video in its entirety?
A video is your chance to put a face to your institution. Show your audience that you’re more than just rankings and brochures. Videos are fun to watch and easy to digest, and importantly are more likely to be watched than your text content is to be read (no, this doesn’t mean you should slack on your written content).
Why not give a fun tour of the school? Or go into more detail about what each course will be like? Perhaps current students can get involved and connect with prospective students in a way they will find engaging?
Of course it’s important to ensure your content aligns with your brand and mission, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop a voice unique to your institution. Content marketing for schools is, and should be a lot of fun. You have scope to get creative and ultimately, a chance to connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
Where should you publish your content?
Ultimately, you want your content to be published in as many relevant places as possible. Social media, Google, websites, newsletters, you name it.
- Identify the pages of site with the most traffic, develop your content and post it here.
- Make sure to sprinkle keywords throughout your content so your pages appear in Google searches.
- Use social media to attract interest and direct your audience to your website.
- Create social media accounts, email lists and newsletters for the institution as well as for individual departments and schools. Dedicated content can be posted here as well as links to blog posts on your main website.
How do I find out more about content marketing for schools?
Although you should be able to get going with the above, we’ve really only just scratched the surface. A winning content marketing strategy will take your institutions mission, brand and goals into account. Shareable has experience working with independent schools across the country and can help transform you into a content marketing powerhouse.