Content marketing for education sounds like just another buzzword, but what does it actually mean and how can it help your school?
My education marketing agency, Kreative Webworks has been designing school marketing strategies for education institutions for almost a decade, and content marketing has been an integral part of all our programs.
If your school has a Facebook page, I’m sure you have promoted your blog posts or created a PDF brochure to entice prospective parents. Well, you were practicing content marketing and you probably never even thought about it.
Content marketing is the basis of so many marketing strategies today. It is simply a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content to attract and retain a targeted audience that drives specific action. That could be anything from alumni donations and enrollment numbers to sign-ups for an open house.
So why should you focus on content marketing for education, and what types of relevant content should your school create? Let’s go over that in greater detail.
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Why does your school need to embrace content marketing?
Gone are the days of blanket pitches about your school to anyone you can get in front of and hoping they will bite. That’s not sustainable as parents and students are better informed than ever before thanks to the internet. They don’t want to hear a stale sales pitch that hasn’t changed in 25 years.
Parents and students want personalization, added value, and to know exactly how you can benefit them without having to sift through fluffy marketing talk.
For a competitive advantage, your school should provide relevant and useful content to prospective parents and students and those currently in your community, bringing them value and helping to solve their pain points.
Are you thinking, “What pain points can my content help solve?”
You can create marketing content that helps a parent to find the right school for a child who may be struggling in large class sizes, or give parents easily digestible information about what matters most to college admissions.
It’s about creating loyalty by bringing value to the lives of those who interact with your community. Content marketing is one strategy that greatly improves conversions because it enables you to connect with and educate your audience.
TIP: In marketing, when we say “conversions,” we mean the instances where people who see your content (on your website, social media, email, or elsewhere) end up “converting” to becoming enrollees or potential enrollees. A conversion could mean signing up for your email list, signing up to attend an open house, or directly enrolling in your school.
You’re not just building trust, you’re encouraging conversions by giving people the information they need to make an educated decision.
Now that’s powerful stuff!
What types of content can my school create for content marketing?
Regardless of what marketing tactics your school implements, content marketing should always be a strategic part of your overall process. Quality content is seen in all forms of marketing from social media, SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click advertising, like Google Ads), inbound marketing, and more.
So where should your school begin?
Start by taking inventory of your current content and matching it to different personas such as your prospects, current parents or students, and alumni. You can further refine it by considering the various stages in their journey. This is called “content mapping” and is one of the most effective ways of organizing your content.
Content marketing can seem overwhelming, especially for smaller schools with small or one-person marketing departments. However, you’d be surprised how much you can repurpose or “spruce up” the content you already have.
Have you written news stories, blog posts, produced videos, gathered student testimonials and photos? Then you already have content you can use.
A school blog is a great place to start when implementing content marketing. It not only provides your community with relevant information in a single place, but it’s also an important part of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
Search engines, like Google, love fresh content and are a great source of free traffic to your website. Of course, there are technical aspects when it comes to ensuring an effective SEO strategy. But at the core, search engines value relevant and meaningful content that people want to see. One of the ways search engines gauge the quality of your content is how long visitors spend on the page reading it, and if they interact with it by clicking on additional links in the content.
Schools should aim to create diverse content in various formats to reach multiple personas. One persona might prefer academic articles while another might respond best to behind the scenes videos or easy to follow infographics.
If your institution has typically focused on denser or longer-form content, you can repackage this to reach more people and bring fresh eyes to tired content. For example:
- A blog post can explain a case study in a more digestible way.
- An infographic can highlight key findings from a school’s annual or quarterly report.
- A complicated article can be condensed into a short video.
No matter the content you create, it should always align with your school’s overall branding and mission to ensure the content is truly useful, relevant, and meaningful to your community.
And remember — content marketing is more than a form of self-promotion. It’s about being genuinely helpful to your audience and meeting their needs with informative content.
How to write marketing content for education that converts
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about howyou go about writing amazing content that successfully generates conversions for your school.
First, that depends on your goal; what you want to accomplish with the content. A few of these goals could include:
- Attracting new parents, students, or staff
- Educating others to establish yourself as an authority in your field
- Encouraging users to engage, thus converting into marketing qualified leads (MQLs) or sales qualified leads (SQLs)
- Increasing your school’s brand awareness
- Securing consistent alumni donations
There’s a concept in marketing that’s become all too familiar – people don’t care what you do, they only care what you can do for them.
In short, people are interested in how you can benefit them because we live in a world of endless choices. So before you start creating your content, know why you’re creating it and where it fits into your overall marketing strategy. Think about what value it will bring to your audience.
A blog post can be used to establish your credibility or demonstrate your expertise on a topic. However, it’s likely to be read at the beginning of a prospect’s journey when they are researching multiple schools or programs before making a decision.
Ensure the content you create matches where your prospect might respond best to it in their journey. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how well-written or visually appealing your content is — it won’t convert.
Good copywriting typically follows a simple formula, and the most-used formula is AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action).
Attention: You need to get your audience’s attention for them to interact with your content; use an enticing headline, video or featured image.
Interest: You have to maintain their interest by strategically helping them to see that you understand their problem and have the best solution.
Desire: Create desire by showcasing the amazing benefits you offer and by demonstrating this through photos, videos or testimonials.
Action: Finally, use a clear call to action that compels readers to act. Don’t be shy!
Effective copywriting is all about putting your personas’ needs and interests first. Think about how they would want to hear about your school in a way that will make them act to be truly successful.
Final thoughts on content marketing for education
Now that you’ve got the basics of content marketing covered don’t forget to utilize paid advertising to amplify your efforts. Facebook and Instagram Ads, for example, are incredibly powerful if done correctly and can be a great way to exceed your enrollment numbers.
Now we set you free to start creating great content that converts — think relevant, meaningful, and timely.