Creating Better Content for Prospective Students
A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute revealed that only 8 percent of marketers feel their content is “very effective.” At the same time, 65 percent of marketers admitted that they don’t have a written document of content strategy, and about one third of those who do have a documented strategy say they follow it “very closely.” Correlation? You bet.
Another study by Sirius Decisions says that 70 to 80 percent of all marketing content falls on deaf ears. As more and more organizations pump out more and more content, the situation will only get worse. At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why the heck does Randy keep telling us that we need to produce content when, apparently, there’s too much content already?” My answer is simple. Prospective students don’t need more content; prospective students need BETTER content.
How to create better content for prospective students
It really goes back to being clear about your goals. For recruitment, content marketing shouldn’t be about conveying brand information. It should be about creating demand for your institution, and it should drive measurable results toward a specific goal. The process is simple (even if the execution is not). By providing important and relevant content to our prospects when, where, and how they need it, we gain awareness, build engagement, forge relationships, and ultimately create demand for your institution above all others (brand preference).
Three key elements to document your content strategy
So where do you begin in documenting your strategy? Your strategy should include three key elements. First, you should gain a deep understanding of your prospective students—how they think, how they make their decisions, and what key messages will motivate them. What are their pain points and what are their “trigger” moments as they progress through their enrollment journey?
Second, you’ll need to know how they consume information. What kinds of content do they prefer? What channels do they use?
Finally, you’ll need to create a communications sequence architecture. This framework will allow you to create (or curate, or recycle) content to engage, nurture, or convert prospective students based upon where they are on their personal enrollment paths.
Build the plan, work the plan
Once you’ve created a written strategy that aligns prospect behavior with the decision-making process, you can begin to create content that will produce the kind of results you need to build a quality prospect pool and meet your enrollment objectives.
At the end of the day, it’s not about how much content you’ve created, but how effective your content has been in driving demand for your institution.