Online research plays an essential role in a prospective student’s decision-making process. Therefore, a strong content marketing strategy is an invaluable tool for attracting future students to your institution.
To create and implement an effective strategy, you need to understand the journey your audience takes before they enroll in your institution. This will allow you to engage with them from the moment they begin their search and address their needs at every important juncture.
Follow these five tips to create a content strategy that sets your institution apart:
1. Enhance or develop your marketing personas
The first step in establishing a content strategy that boosts enrollment is to understand your audience’s needs and their enrollment journey. It’s crucial that you develop a few distinct personas that represent and encompass your distinct types of prospects.
Even if you’ve already created marketing personas, you should make sure to revise them periodically. Here are some methods for producing or improving your personas:
- Conduct interviews to clearly define key drivers and motivators for applicants
- Analyze your student database to gather more information about where students are coming from
- Monitor social media interactions and industry news
- Look for discussions about employment trends and skills gaps, and reflect on how your programs are relevant in that context
Your content marketing plan should reflect the path that each persona will take to make a decision. Creating personas will help you determine what kind of information your target segments require at each stage of their journey. Use this process and the insights you gain to guide your content creation.
2. Audit your existing content
Most higher education institutions have a wealth of marketing materials readily available. In such cases, the best way to start improving content strategy is to perform an audit of all existing resources. An audit will allow you to identify resources that need improvement, as well as content gaps and topics that need to be addressed. To audit your content assets, follow the steps outlined below:
Identify your content assets
Start out by making a list of all the content and marketing materials you have available — both print and digital. The best way to audit and analyze your digital assets is to extract all content and sort it in a spreadsheet.
Asses your current content
Analyze each asset to determine its marketing effectiveness. The content should meet the needs of at least one target persona and address a stage in the student journey. Determine which pieces of content best address applicant pain points and clearly communicate the institution’s value. These will be the assets that you keep. Any redundant, outdated, or trivial content you come across should either be updated or discarded.
Determine which prospect pain points are not properly addressed by your current content
By this step in the audit, you should have clear understanding of which content pieces you plan to reuse and which can be expanded or revamped. You can also ascertain where your missing content.
Incorporate these findings into your content creation strategy, but be sure to consider where these assets will fit on the student’s journey.