“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.”- Aristotle
As an educator, you already know the immense importance of education. Education helps young and innocent minds to think critically and apply the acquired knowledge to improve their lives. With numerous educational institutions and various available courses, students have multiple opportunities to obtain higher education. As an educational institution, you may offer high-quality education, hands-on training, and professional opportunities for students, but that is not enough to attract talented students. Your prospective students need to know what you can offer and how you can help them achieve their lifelong goals with the help of education. Hence, several educators are focusing on digital marketing to attract students for their colleges.
In the digital age, educational institutions need to leverage digital marketing strategies to build an online presence. By building an online presence, you can develop your brand that students and professors would want to be a part of. With this approach, you can attract students locally as well as globally. Digital marketing can help establish authority and stand out from the competition. However, creating an effective digital marketing strategy is a complicated task. You need to consider the following steps to develop a reliable digital marketing strategy:
Before implementing a digital marketing strategy, you need to identify what you wish to achieve. Your goals can be having more followers on social media, increasing the number of online applications for admissions, and/or being #1 ranked educational institute on Google search results. Digital marketing can help you achieve all of these goals right from enhancing your brand image to generating more leads (increase in student application, acquiring talented faculty, etc.). However, you must decide what will be the primary goal of your digital marketing campaign.
If your objective is to increase your college popularity in the digital world, you need to get more people to know about your brand on social media. Social media is where you will find a majority of your target audience (students). The first thing you need to do is increase your engagement rate on social media. In order to do so, you need to first have a good number of people following you on your social media pages. However, gaining followers on social media is a long and tedious process. You need to share good quality organic posts or you may consider running social media ads to increase followers.
When it comes to increasing engagement with your followers, schools and colleges can use social media channels to resolve students’ queries, and share a wholesome experience that students have on their campus. Also, colleges can use social media channels to promote upcoming events.
Brand awareness should be one of the most significant goals of your digital marketing campaign. If you ask anyone to name some globally popular educational institutions, they’ll most probably name Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford. This is how brand awareness works. You know you have made it when people start naming your college among the most reputed educational institutions. Building brand awareness is a complex process and with the help of effective content marketing and social media marketing strategies.
Once you have decided on your goal, you can move on to the next step.
A successful digital marketing strategy includes a well-defined audience that is meticulously crafted by you. For this purpose, you need to do extensive research about your market. As an educational institution, your audience may include students, alumni, professors, researchers, and recruiters. You need to collect various details about your audience such as their age group, gender, race, financial status, location, and many more. You can also look for which audience other colleges are targeting and which type of details they look for. After collecting all the necessary details about your target audience, you can understand various demographics of people that may respond positively to your marketing efforts. Based on your target audience, you can select channels that you may need for digital marketing. For instance, students may respond well to social media marketing, while professors may be more interested in your blogs and other content. Hence, you need to carefully curate your target audience to maximize the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaign.
Using the market research you conducted, you can develop personas for your ideal audience. For this purpose, you can segment the obtained data to acquire details that are unique to different demographics. Describe your personas using details like age, annual income, family background, geographical location, likes and dislikes. These personas will help you gain insights into goals, fears, pain points, and online behaviours of different demographics.
For instance, your alumni may be interested in reunions or events that include keynote speeches from successful and popular individuals. Detailed personas will help you understand your target audience better and select a suitable marketing channel.
You can also do additional research using social media and data analytics and conduct polls and surveys with the help of digital channels. Such research will help you understand what your audience engages in and what type of content they prefer. Based on this research, you can identify multiple personas with intricate details. Creating perfect personas is complicated. It requires practice, time, patience, and consistency from the marketing team. Also, personas need to be updated and revised when you acquire new information or when you create new personas for the ever-changing market.
You may be aware that your future students, professors, and recruiters are looking at multiple colleges before investing their time and money. Multiple colleges offer similar education and services, leading to fierce competition among various educational institutions. Due to immense competition, several educational institutions are implementing digital marketing to gain a competitive edge. Therefore, competitor analysis is a crucial step in digital marketing for colleges. For analysis of competitors, business owners generally implement SWOT analysis. Similarly, you can apply SWOT analysis to understand your competitors. A simple SWOT analysis consists of:
Strengths: Strengths of your college will help you understand what your college excels at. You can also consider what makes your college facilities, educational experience, and professional opportunities unique compared to other colleges.
Weaknesses: Weaknesses can be where your college lacks compared to your competitors. Limited resources could be one of your weaknesses.
Opportunities: Recruitment opportunities, various courses, and guidance from experienced professionals can be considered as opportunities.
Threats: Your threats can be emerging competitors, negative media coverage, and changing regulations.
Along with the above points, you can also take a look at how other colleges and universities function, what makes their college stand out, and which marketing strategies they use. You can carefully analyze your competitors and figure out their strengths and weaknesses to ensure that you don’t repeat their marketing mistakes.
You may have several ideas for successful marketing campaigns but you cannot execute these ideas without deciding a budget. However, when it comes to digital marketing, it is easier for institutes with limited funds to run promotional campaigns. In fact, it is one of the major benefits of digital marketing. Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing can be inexpensive and generate higher ROI. Yet, you have to consider all the campaign costs and the revenue that will be generated.
Several businesses use cost-effective marketing techniques that are budget-friendly and generate required results. Likewise, you can use inexpensive marketing methods along with your core marketing strategy to gain better results.
Consider Different Marketing Channels
An effective digital marketing strategy will enable your audience to engage with your educational institution. Different types of channels used in digital marketing for colleges are:
Blogging is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques and hence, 55% of marketers consider blogging as their top marketing priority. Publishing a compelling blog and following SEO guidelines will increase the chances of your website getting a higher rank in the search engine results pages. Your blog posts need to be informative to establish your institution as a credible source of providing information. You can cover a wide range of interesting topics in your blogs that are related to education, which could be helpful for your target audience. Apart from blogs, you can have other forms of textual content such as:
How-to guides: You can write how-to guides for your students to provide information about different subjects such as Math, Physics, Quantum Mechanics, and many more. Such guides can also offer information about different college etiquettes and admission procedures. For example, blogs like ‘How to keep your campus clean’ and ‘How to apply for Astrophysics’ can be extremely useful for students.
EBooks: EBooks are long content pieces written solely for educational purposes. They can be used as additional study material for certain subjects. Such content material can prove to be extremely helpful for students in tackling difficult subjects.
Newsletters: You can post informative articles about recent changes in the education system, new educational and professional opportunities, and scientific discoveries. These articles can be accessed by students as well as professors to stay updated about the latest developments in the professional and educational environment.
One of the key aspects of blogging is Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for achieving higher rankings on a search engine results page. For this purpose, you must first research keywords that will be included in your blog posts. Keywords are terms that users may type on search engines. To find suitable keywords, try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and figure out what your target audience may look for. You can brainstorm multiple keywords and type them into Google search to observe how the search bar autofills.
You can also use online tools such as Answer The Public, which provides several questions and related keywords that people usually type on search engines based on any given keyword. For example, you can see which questions people ask online when I searched for ‘colleges.’
You can also promote your blogs online using search engine marketing. These ads are based on pay-per-click model where you will be charged only when someone clicks on your ads. Another model is the cost per impression model wherein you will be charged a specific amount for a thousand impressions (ads viewed by 1000 people). Such types of ads are good to increase your brand awareness.
Email marketing campaigns have the potential to generate a high ROI. You can send emails about admission news, newsletters, upcoming events, and recent blogs to your subscribers. However, you need to be careful while sending out emails to your subscribers. You surely do not want your email to be marked as spam.
Use automated email marketing tools such as MailChimp and Hubspot to run email campaigns. But, you need to balance personalization when you opt for automation.
For starters, you have to understand your audience’s needs. You need to consider that your audience most probably uses email services that filter out unwanted messages with the help of priority inboxes. To tackle this problem, ensure that your audience can opt-in and opt-out for email alerts. Once you receive the list of people who have opted to receive your emails, follow a concrete schedule. According to multiple studies,the best time to send emails is 10 am. Other time slots that are proven to be effective for email marketing are 6 am, 2 pm, and 8 pm. And the best days for sending emails are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. However, you need to experiment with these time slots and days to find the most suitable schedule as audience engagement may vary across for various demographics.
Another major aspect of email marketing that you need to consider is the content of your emails. The content of your emails should be engaging for your audience. Also, your emails need to complement the needs of your audience. For this purpose, your emails should be customized for specific audience demographics. For instance, your alumni would appreciate emails about upcoming events in your institution, while they might consider emails about ebooks as spam. Therefore, ensure that your emails are interesting for your audience. Furthermore, include a call-to-action in your emails. A call-to-action will enable your audience to perform a particular action once they have gone through your entire email. For example, you can have an email with a CTA button to ‘Book a counselling session.’
Along with the above tips, you need to be careful of some more aspects of email marketing that can help you increase your email response rates and avoid getting your emails listed as spam:
Avoid words such as buy, earn, credit, affordable, bargain, compare rates, cash, discount, and free. These words are spam triggers.
Don’t use too many symbols.
Make sure you include unsubscribe links.
Don’t include too many links.
Avoid using the colour red as it would trigger spam filters.
Make sure that you don’t use misleading subject lines.
Social media platforms are the best channels for interacting with the younger generation. According to a research, teens spend almost nine hours a day on social media. Hence, social media marketing is an essential part of digital marketing for colleges. You can effortlessly target future students with the help of social media platforms. However, you need to develop an effective social media marketing strategy. For this purpose, you can start by identifying which social media platforms are widely used by your target audience. Also, you have to analyze how every social media platform works and how it can benefit your marketing strategy.
Facebook: Facebook is a business and consumer-focused platform that people use to connect with their friends and family. Facebook offers great opportunities for engagement with the help of Facebook pages that can display posts on the newsfeeds of your audience. Also, you can promote your Facebook posts using paid marketing solutions like sponsored posts. With this approach, you can ensure that the content you post on Facebook has higher chances of reaching a larger audience. Additionally, you can also post videos, advertise your blogs, and create an event page for various events in your educational institution. Furthermore, you can use Facebook to retarget your audience that visited your website as well.
Twitter: Twitter is a micro-blogging platform and you can use it to condense important information and share it with your audience. Also, you can use hashtags to discover interesting topics that Twitter users are discussing online. Offer valid opinions and insights about various topics to engage with active Twitter users. Users may like your opinions and they may become interested in your Twitter profile. With this approach, you can attract more followers for your Twitter handle. Twitter can also be used as an ad platform to build brand awareness.
Instagram: Instagram is an interactive platform for sharing pictures and short videos. You can post pictures and videos of your campus, events, student activities, and lectures on Instagram. Just like Twitter, Instagram offers hashtags that you can add to your posts. These hashtags will help you achieve better visibility for your Instagram posts. Like other social media platforms, Instagram also offers paid promotions for your posts.
Afteranalyzing what every social media platform offers, you need to select the most suitable network for you. When you create a new social media handle, try connecting with your audience first. Also, make sure you have a complete social media page for your educational institution. After connecting with your audience, you can build your social media presence by following other people such as industry experts, ex-alumni, researchers, professors, and educators that may be interested in your educational institution. With this approach, you can focus on developing a loyal online community for your brand.
Focus on offering valuable content to make your audience interested in following you on social media. Share images, videos, and website content on social media platforms. Consider posting questions or polls on to increase engagement. Additionally, you can share content created by your students or your professors’ research papers. Hosting online events on your social handles can be considered as well. For example, if you have hosted an online event to keep your campus clean, create a hashtag on Instagram like #CleanCampus. Students and professors can use this hashtag to post pictures before and after cleaning different areas of the campus. In this manner, you can build your social media presence as well as ensure cleanliness in your educational institution.
Another option to increase the popularity of your institute is by teaming up with social media influencers. Social media influencers have a good number of online following that includes a diverse audience. Several businesses are paying social media influencers to promote their products or services. Likewise, you can invite social media influencers to your events and they can share their experience at your institute on their social media profiles.
Lastly, always make it a point to track your performance on social media. Each social media platform provides analytical data. Use this data to identify which post is the best performing one and what kind of posts got the most number of engagement. Some data will also give you an insight to decide which is the best time to post on a particular platform. Using the analytical data will help you understand what kind of posts are helping you achieve your objectives. Based on the data, your can improvise on your social media strategies.
Media sharing platforms such as video sharing and podcasts can be used for digital marketing. The content created on these platforms will help you build awareness about your brand.
You might have heard how crazy people went during the whole PewDiePie vs. T-Series incident on YouTube. Just that one incident is enough to show how much impact media platforms like YouTube have on people. Hence, creating content on media platforms such as YouTube are effective techniques of digital marketing for colleges. You can publish relevant and interesting videos about your educational institution on YouTube. For example, a professor can teach a complicated concept of Astrophysics and link study material available on your website. With this approach, you can help students with their education and drive more traffic onto your website. You can also post videos about various events, interviews, how-to guides, and guest speeches on YouTube. By posting multiple relevant videos consistently, you can offer interesting content to your audience. Also, you can publish 360-degree interactive virtual reality videos that offer a glimpse into your educational institution.
Consider optimizing your videos for SEO. Start by embedding your videos to increase the odds of obtaining inbound marketing links. You also need to include interesting titles and create descriptions with relevant keywords for your videos. Also, you must create video sitemaps to implement more effective video marketing. With this approach, you will have higher odds of achieving a higher rank on search engine results pages.
You can create podcasts with professors and guests who are successful and experienced. You can discuss a wide variety of subjects on podcasts such as hot button topics, history, psychology, and pop culture. You can also integrate your podcasts and videos with blogging and social media platforms to build your online presence.
We live in a cross-platform environment. Your mobile website layout must be as functional as your desktop one. Over 26.1 million Canadian smartphone users utilize mobile web and the number of users is ever increasing. Hence, not optimizing your website for mobile users is a wasted opportunity.
Optimizing your website for mobile users is a crucial task. To create a user-friendly mobile website, you need to focus on the user experience. Develop a website that is responsive and navigates through various sections and landing pages effortlessly. Ensure that your CTAs are obvious and easy to click. Additionally, you need to make it increasingly simple for your audience to contact you. For this purpose, make sure that your contact information and address are easy to find. Also, a responsive mobile website will enable your audience to engage with your website and blogs on-the-go.
After implementing a digital marketing strategy for your educational institution, you need practical ways to measure the results. For this purpose, you have to ensure that you constantly monitor the right metrics.
1. Website Metrics
These metrics enable you to quantify the relationships that you have built with your audience. Monitor the following metrics carefully:
Page visits: The total number of visits on different pages in a specific time period.
Average visit duration: This metric helps you analyze how much time visitors spend on your website on an average.
Return visits: The total number of visits from users who have visited your website before.
Bounce rate: This metric enables you to view the percentage of users who visit your website and leave immediately.
2. Social Media Metrics
These metrics enable you to view distribution and influence of your content on social media. The following metrics can quantify social media marketing strategies:
Social media shares: Content shared using different social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Comments: Comments on social media posts can allow you gather direct feedback about your content.
Likes: Likes help you understand the reach of your posts and the number of people who appreciate your content.
Direct messages: Social media users can send you direct messages to offer feedback for your posts or ask queries regarding your courses.
Unique visitors: This metric helps you view new visitors on your social media handles.
3. Emails Metrics
Success metrics for email marketing campaigns help you quantify their success and make changes for future email campaigns. Monitor the following metrics meticulously:
Open rate: Open rate enables you to understand the rate of subscribers who opened your email.
Click-through rate: Click-through rate allows you to measure the rate of subscribers clicked on the links in your emails.
Number of unsubscribers: This metric can tell you how many people unsubscribed after receiving an email from you.
Spam complaints: This metric helps you understand how many people considered your emails as spam. You can make changes to your content or subject line based to avoid getting your emails marked as spam
Along with these metrics, paid promotions ads offer provides analytical data which can be evaluated to understand the impact of paid marketing campaigns.
Higher studies is a challenge for students today. The level of competition makes every student want to choose the best possible college that provides the best of the courses. In fact, competition is not only among the students but also colleges. For a college to sustain in a competitive environment, they need to acquire a good number of admission applications. To achieve this, colleges require visibility and popularity among college students. There is no doubt that marketing will get the visibility and popularity for college but to get the specific popularity among your target audience, you need to consider using content marketing apart from the traditional form of marketing.
Before we jump on why content marketing is good to promote your college, let us first understand what content marketing is. Content marketing is the promotion of your educational institute with the help of content. It’s important to know what encompasses in content as even a paid ad has content. The content we are referring to here is different though. The content that are a part of content marketing are blogs, videos, podcasts, articles, whitepapers, infographics, etc.
Now coming back to why you should use content marketing. For your college brand image, it will help in getting a much-needed brand awareness. In fact, if your college name is not a popular brand yet, it will become one if you use content marketing correctly. Apart from that, you will gain the trust of your audience. Though it will take some time, you will have a better chance to connect with your target audience. Keeping all this aside the major benefit you will get through content marketing will be increased website traffic and better SERP ranking, which is a must if you want more interested student to know about your institute. Read on to find out how you can do content marketing for your college.
You are now aware what content marketing is but that does not mean you directly start creating content left, right and center. What you need to do first is to create a strategy for using content marketing for colleges. Though your goal for using content marketing will be to gain more popularity for your college, you still need to define it better.
To manage everything and anything, you need a system. Having a systematic technique helps you to understand how your strategy is working and if it is even working. So before you start creating content for your college, device a system to manage it. You do not need to buy an extra tool for it. Your very on Microsoft Excel is an amazing platform to keep track of how your content is being managed. Excel has innumerable rows and columns, which you can very well utilise to chalk out a comprehensive content plan. From keywords to topics to dates of content publishing to target audience, make it as detailed as possible. Do not forget to add your goals and objectives to keep you on track.
Define the Goal
Talking more about your goal, we already know that your main goal is to attract more admissions in your college. However, to achieve this goal you need to have multiple shorter goals. Content marketing will not directly get you admissions. It will first get attention. Also, there will be some colleges who might just be looking for better publicity instead of getting admission applications. Irrespective of what your goal is, defining it is essential. With content marketing, you can generate leads, create awareness, build a reputation and become an authority in your field, so make a choice as per your wish. Do keep in mind to align your goals with a promotion plan to have a better achievement judgment.
Marketers know well that the audience is the most important aspect of any strategy. Without a definite target audience, you are just like an ad poster on a common community board that everyone will see, but only a few will stop to read. Don’t be that! We want aggressive content marketing for your college, and for that, we will define the target audience from the niche.
Try to get as specific as possible. Don’t just stick to potential students but also think of targeting their parents who are the actual decision makers. Then identify the most visited websites and platforms of these target audience. This could be news websites, blog websites, social media, etc. Finally, create a persona of the target audience by assuming their demographic, psychographic and geographic.
Chalk the Strategy
To start strategizing, make it a point to look back at your main goal. If your content topics, ideas or strategy does not match with the main goal, do not waste time on it. Similarly, you need to plan on creating keywords that align with your end goal. You can also waver a little away from general website blog posts and opt for third-party blogs, magazine articles, video blogs, podcasts, infographics, webinars, etc. There are different types of content so don’t limit yourself. Once the content type is decided, go back to the content management excel sheet and decide a schedule of how and when you will post this content. Make sure you post content often. Do plan the length and style of writing in advance as well.
Content once created, needs to be shared appropriately to make it work for you. You now need to decide how you are going to publish the content you create. WordPress is a common choice among major marketers as it gives you easy options to manage your website as well as post blogs. You could also have eBooks and PDFs on your website. Similarly, you can publish your video blog and podcasts on both your website and on platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Stitcher, etc. Don’t forget about making a blog newsletter for your subscribers.
Manage Your Content
Whichever content type you choose, you need to break down your main goal into smaller goals and assign it to the content type of your content strategy. If you are brave to publish more than one type of content, then you can assign different goals to different content types. For example, you could assign the goal of creating awareness with the help of your blogs while you can generate leads with the help of ebook PDFs. Further, in the process of content management, you need to decide who will create and edit the content, who will upload the content and who will promote it. You also need to set up a schedule to ensure that you are providing timely content to your audience.
Create Content Ideas
You may set a schedule and decide to keep sharing good content for your readers but what type of content will you create? What you need is an unending bag of ideas. You cannot keep giving content that talks about the same old topics. Fresh day needs fresh information that will keep your target audience glued to your blog posts and other forms of content.
Ideas are something you cannot come up with one fine day. Sometimes you get content ideas when you are not even thinking about it. For this reason, you need to bank these ideas whenever they pop in your head. Again our friend Excel can be a good place to create a sheet of blog ideas. You could alternately use apps such as Evernote, which you can access both from your phone as well as your PC.
Follow What’s Happening
When you sit down to prepare the curriculum for students do you randomly select chapters to study or do you choose the ones that are being taught in that semester? You go by the semester. Content marketing runs in a similar pattern. If you randomly select ideas, you will get random traffic. However, if you go by the current trends and hot topics, you are bound to get more views. Identify what the talk of the town is and write something about it for your target audience. You could check the trending news for your selected keywords for ideas. Keep an eye on blogs posted by your competitors as well.
Do Keyword Research
For more content ideas you can simply go to Google. Just do a quick search on the internet with the help of Google. Put in a few keywords in the search query box and see the suggestions made by Google based on the keywords. You can use these suggestions for ideas. Google even has a keyword research tool, Google Keyword Planner, which can be very handy to find the keywords that are prominently used in your industry. These keywords can then be used to create blog topics.
Ideas can come from anywhere, and that is why you need to dig deeper. But why dig deeper alone when you can take help? Include your faculty and administration staff to give more ideas on topics that can be covered in your college blog. Have a brainstorming session with a serious agenda of only choosing ideas. You could also visit student open forums and social media pages to find out the solutions and information that students are looking for. Use this to your benefit and be the solution provider through your blog.
Plan Your Marketing
We already spoke about planning your content marketing strategy by starting from scratch. It’s time now to talk a little more in detail about the planning process. We will now try our hands on creating a complete planner that not only tracks your content but stores its performance.
Blogs are a medium that enables a person or entity to share anything and everything. But that does not mean you can be as random with your blogs as you want. To plan your blogs, you need to categorize them so that it is not all over the place. For a college blog, you need to have different categories of blogs which should include informational blogs, event blogs, daily blog, listicles and so on. Plan these categories accordingly and make sure the right type of blog is published on the right date. You wouldn’t want an event announcing blog to be published after the event has happened, right?
We already spoke about identifying your customers. We know that you have to target both potential students and their parents, but now we will take this process deeper. We will identify the inner insecurities and wants of your audience. Any student before they decide to take up admission in your college will have a set of questions on their mind. These would be, “Can this college fulfil my study goals?”, “Will this course benefit me in the future?”, “Will I have adequate support and guidance for my career planning?”, and so on. To be able to answer such questions, you need to first let go of assumptions and think like a student. A better plan would be to talk to one of your existing students and identify what they were thinking before taking admission in your college. During such a conversation, make sure you listen thoroughly before giving your own input. Let the students give the complete detail. You can do this with more than one student to get a larger perspective.
Create an Editorial Plan
Once you have your research ready in your hand, you can now prepare a final editorial plan. It is recommended to let the key staff members of your college be a part of the discussion where you set timelines for your content publishing. The writers, editors, graphic designers and marketers also need to be a part of this discussion so that everyone is in the loop. During this discussion, you need to set strict deadlines for not just the publishing of the content but also the creation and editing of the content. Apart from that, you need to set specific days or dates in a month when you will have this meeting to keep everyone updated on the plan and progress.
We have come pretty far in our strategy of content marketing for colleges. We have ideas, goals, systems, technology and editorial plan in place, so let us now focus on creating some really good content for your college. Blogging is an important aspect of content marketing for college as it is a good medium to engage your target audience. So let us take a look at how you can start blogging for your college.
P.S. These similar steps can be used for any type of content creation.
Creating an Excel spreadsheet to manage your ideas and schedule will make this task so much easier. With the spreadsheet, you now just need to browse through the ideas and choose a topic. The approach you take on every topic can be different. Often the corresponding keywords can limit your writing but it actually also gives you direction on creating content that achieves your goal. If you already have some reference matter with the idea, then the research time is cut short. If not, then let’s move on to the next step.
Content marketing for colleges is not all about studies. Some content will be informative, some entertaining while some factual. But whatever it will be, having good research to back your information is a must to write blogs or to create any other form of content. Why? Because it is the information that will be representing you online and if it is not proper, it will tarnish your college name. Some important information that needs to be verified and well-researched includes statistics, personal stories, case studies, quotes, data from other writers and so on. You could simply find such data online by searching for keywords that are similar to your target keywords. One thing to keep in mind is that you should always take reference or data from trusted and authority websites or else the data can be considered invalid.
Create a Structure
Now it’s time to start the actual content creation. Keep your researched data and topic approach ready but do not directly start writing. Before you write, create the skeleton of your article. Creating a skeleton will help you be on track and make the writing process much quicker. A basic structure for a simple blog should have four parts. The first part is the introduction, which will give a brief idea of what the reader is about to read. The second part is the main body which will encompass the whole topic in detail. The third part is the conclusion that makes your article complete. The fourth part is a ‘call to action’, which will compel the reader to take some actions. The third part and the fourth part can sometimes by clubbed together to make an article precise.
Now you can actually start writing your blog to begin content marketing for your college. The good thing about writing with a structure or a skeleton is that you now don’t need to start from the beginning. If you feel like writing the main body subheads before the main introduction, you can totally do that. Just start as you wish. Blogging gives you a chance to write as you will but writing for a crowd will not help. Always write with one person in mind. Address them and imagine talking to them when you write in order to connect better. Once you finish writing, leave the article alone. No! Do not proofread it immediately. Do something else and then come back to proofread it. This will give you fresh eyes and a new perspective towards the article, and you will be able to find all the errors easily.
Learn Content Optimization
After putting efforts in creating good content for your target audience, you need to optimize it to make sure it reaches the right audience. Optimization makes your content search engine friendly and increases your chances of ranking high in the SERPs. So let us take a look at how you can optimize your content.
On-page optimization is the process of optimizing your content to make it SEO-friendly. But never think of it when you are writing as you may not be able to communicate effectively with your target audience. Think of optimization later. For on-page optimization, your major focus will be on keywords. If you have already done the keyword research, then set aside a few keywords for your college to rank on. Use them in your content appropriately. Try
to add two to three keywords in your content if possible. You could also check Google Trends to find out more about what people are looking for.
Don’t Neglect Your Website
Content marketing will help you rank in the SERPs but if you really want to push it more, you should not only write general content but become an authority in your field. An authority website is a place where your target audience can find every possible information related to your field of business. This is the website that other websites want to link to as the information here is trusted and the information is encompassing core topics. However, to have such a website and content may take time. But you can still aim for it as it is difficult but not impossible. Until then you can try to be a hub website that works as a resource of trusted website links and helps people find the information they want with the backing of other authority websites.
Link building is a very important part of content optimization. With the help of link building, you get a thumbs up from the search engines. The search engines consider that your website is trusted by others as a good source of information. Link building can be done in two ways, first by adding external links to your blogs and second by getting other websites to link back to you. External links can be easily added to your blog. Just be careful to add authoritative website links so that your content is up to the mark. For backlinking, you need to have good content that makes people want to link back to you. You could also try guest posting on other websites and then link that guest content back to your college website for an easy backlink.
Promote Your Content
We create SEO-friendly content to make it rank well on the website. But apart from that, you can also help push your content further to your target audience by promoting it. Content marketing for colleges, in fact, does need a push of promotion but a well-planned promotion strategy.
Promotion should begin the day your content goes live. People need to know that something new has been put up by your college for their viewing. Start with the people who are already aware of your blog and send out email newsletters to your subscribers. You could also create a thrill by sending out just a peak of your blog in the mail with the link taking the audience to your website.
Use your social media platforms and post your blogs on your social page along with a catchy caption. You could also ask your staff members to retweet and repost it t. This all should be done on the very day your blog is published.
Continue Through the Week
Promotion should not stop especially if you are one of those colleges who publishes a single content every week. In the coming week after publishing your content, find subtle ways to promote the content further. You could tweet a line or two from the content for another event of your very own college. You should also promote your content on the social media platforms that you missed earlier. Keep the promotion going by replying to people who shared and commented on it. Create engagement out of your content!
Plan Overall Promotion
The promotion we explained so far was one-sided because it was only our efforts. The real promotion will happen when you involve others. Every once in a while post on your social media about someone else who is prominent in your field and build a give and take relationship in return. Guest blogging will be very useful here. For the websites where you share your guest blogs, you can request them to promote your blogs.
Keep These Tips in Mind
Always Browse For More
Content marketing for colleges is not a one-time thing. Once you start it, you should keep it going by churning out good content for your target audience and readers. This means that your research should never stop. Keep reading more about the education industry and jot down every new idea you read or hear.
Have Your Own Style
There are so many colleges throughout Edmonton. Each one wants to stand out for prospective students. If you are a college that wants to stand out too, then don’t be a copycat. Have your own individual style and type of writing. Use a tone and writing that defines your brand and stick to it. Do not change it frequently.
Always Have a Bottom Line
When you have your own blog section, you don’t need to worry about the word count limit and creativity. You can take any approach you feel like with this blog. However, if you are planning to be creative, just keep one thing in mind, always have a single aim for the blog, don’t leave the audience confused. For example, if you are writing a blog to create awareness about an upcoming inter-college football league, then stick to talking about the event and its planning rather than talking about your institute more.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
In content marketing for colleges, both long form and short form articles are a good option to opt for. Long form blogs give you more word limit to convey your message while short form helps you to precisely deliver your message. Whichever you choose, ensure that the quality of information is good and not just stretched to make the blog longer. Always aim to provide informative blogs and not simply long blogs.
Have Catchy Topics
You have a young audience with a wavering mindset. They are done reading boring information in their textbooks. When they read online, they want something interesting and engaging to read. Keep this in mind and create topics that are catchy. Your topic is what will lure a prospective student to actually open your blog, so make it an appealing one.
Content marketing for colleges is a wise decision. You not only get a large scope to communicate with your target audience but also a constant space to keep promoting your college and courses. But always keep in mind to be strict with grammar as you would for your students and check the end result and measure the outcome to keep making your content marketing strategy better!
After reading this article, you might have realized digital marketing is not an easy nut to crack. You can easily notice how many intricacies are involved in the process. Hence, outsourcing digital marketing to a reputed digital marketing agency is always a feasible solution. You can reach out to RapidBoost Marketing for all your digital marketing needs.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.