Can we agree that the way we access and consume content has fundamentally changed over the last decade? Our attention spans are shorter, yet our demand for personalized information is greater. As consumers in today’s digital world, we are more empowered than ever to make informed purchase decisions and less influenced by traditional, interruption-based marketing messages.
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “the art of communicating with your ideal customers and prospects without selling.” In other words, instead of pitching products and services to sell, brands can now win business and trust by providing information that makes their ideal customer more intelligent.
Higher education is no exception to this paradigm shift as marketers face daily challenges to drive their school’s brand awareness, recruit first-rate students and faculty, and persuade alumni to support capital campaigns. And with more than 4,000 accredited post-secondary institutions in the U.S. competing for the same block of students each year, it’s becoming critical for colleges with limited budgets and low brand awareness to explore new marketing innovations to break out and compete with the better branded institutions.
Conceptually, content marketing is a more effective response to today's changing marketing landscape because it engages audiences through fresh, relevant, targeted content that educates the market and positions the brand as a knowledgeable and trusted resource. Unlike traditional marketing, content marketing is designed to pull ideal prospects to brands rather than blindly push advertising messages out to broad, non-targeted audiences.
Here are 4 good reasons why content marketing is good for higher ed:
1. Today’s prospective students are digitally savvy and always connected.
Choosing the right college is one of the most important decisions anyone will ever make. While institutions have traditionally bombarded prospective students with direct mail brochures and outreach emails, it is becoming abundantly clear that students are actively searching, discovering, and engaging online to learn more about the colleges they are considering.
Whether browsing college websites, social media platforms, blogs, virtual tours, or peer-to-peer chats, there’s an expectation to find relevant content that helps tip the scales in the student's decision-making process.
2. Good content effectively drives brand awareness.
With the ever-increasing competition for quality students, research-driven faculty, and alumni support, colleges are recognizing the value in defining and articulating their unique brand story in order to differentiate themselves from other schools. Institutions can drive brand awareness and demonstrate thought leadership by engaging their online community with relevant, informative content that answers questions and provides solutions.
3. Colleges have compelling stories to share.
Institutions can leverage their most valuable assets to tell their stories and harness positive word-of-mouth influence. From student experiences, to faculty research, to alumni testimonials, colleges have a goldmine of content waiting to be curated into compelling stories and shared via social media, blog posts, videos, emails, white papers, infographics, and case studies among other content formats.
4. Colleges have loads of existing content.
Even institutions with the smallest budgets are in large supply of recruitment content. That robust inventory of printed brochures, booklets, inserts, posters, flyers, and white papers can all be repackaged as digital content in a variety of formats and shared across multiple channels with your different audience segments. Why not resuscitate outdated content by breathing new digital life into it?
Download a free copy of our ebook to recruit higher quality prospects for your college/university.