“Content marketing” is a popular buzzword these days, but many organizations are unclear on its value. Simply put, content marketing is content (not just text-based articles but videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.) that educates and informs, and unlike content created by news media and traditional publishers, it is created primarily for marketing purposes. Whether you want to raise awareness of your brand, promote a new program, or attract new students, content marketing can help.
Content marketing does this by:
- Helping institutions develop a relationship with potential students. By reading about faculty accomplishments, new research, events on campus, and successful alumni, potential students become increasingly familiar with your institution, building trust.
- Building credibility. By providing meaningful and relevant content, institutions show their expertise, which can be more powerful than simply reading about rankings or other facts.
- Expanding your academic profile and reach. Posting your content on social media and other shareable channels, as well as incorporating SEO keywords into your content, can help you reach new audiences.
What Kind of Content?
In addition to different content formats (articles, audio, video), institutions should aim for diverse types of content, such as pieces with a newsy angle, editorials, and academic articles. More research-heavy content, such as case studies or research reports, can be balanced by lighter infographics and blog posts. Offering a mix of content types and topics helps institutions reach different audiences.
Denser and longer content can be “repackaged” or split up into lighter content. For example, a blog post can explain a complicated case study in simpler terms, or an infographic can highlight important findings or statistics from a technical research report. A long article can be summarized in a short video.
In addition to diverse content, you should also make sure that your content aligns with your institution’s brand and mission, and is useful, relevant, and meaningful rather than simply serving as a form of publicity.
Who Should Write Content?
Not all content needs to be of the same quality as a slick brochure created by a campus marketing department or an ad agency. Consider the potential of faculty, staff, students, and alumni as contributing writers. Faculty members can write articles about their research or teaching experiences. Administrators can write about new initiatives, programs, and plans. Students might be excited about having the opportunity to write blog posts or other content, which they can include in their professional portfolio.
Where Should You Publish It?
Content strategy is an entire discipline in itself, but in general, content should be easy for potential readers to find on your website. You should also actively promote it to existing audiences as well to gain new readers and followers.
- Identify which pages of your website see the most visitors, develop related content, and post it on those pages or link to it from there.
- Include SEO keywords in content to help pages appear in Google searches.
- Use engaging social media posts to attract interest and direct potential readers to your content.
- Create and cultivate social media accounts, email lists, and newsletters for the institution as well as individual departments and schools, which can host dedicated content as well as link to articles and blog posts on your main website.
Faculty and administrators can also seek out opportunities to create content for other publications as guest experts, linking to their social media and the university’s site in their byline or biographical information.
These are the basics. An effective content strategy takes each institution’s unique brand, mission, strengths, resources, and goals into account. We can help guide your college or university in creating engaging and relevant content that meets your needs and shows results.