July 23, 2013

Why Private Schools Need Content Marketing

Imagine this: Mary has had her heart set attending Boston University ever since she was three years old. A top tier student who has been on track for college since the first day of kindergarten, Mary has the credentials to attend just about any school that wants. But now, as the time to make a decision rolls around, Boston College suddenly seems like the better choice for her—all because of a piece that she read on the school’s blog detailing the day in the life of a student.Now, Mary does not know what to do. And even though she has been set on B.U. for the majority of her life, she is up online at 3 am scoping out both university’s websites, trying to figure out which one will be a better fit for the next four years.

A college’s website is the first—and oftentimes last—place a prospective student will visit when trying to make a major decision between two schools. When a student such as Mary approaches a college website, she is going to have a lot of questions and the one website that does a better job telling its story is ultimately going to have a large impact on her final decision. 

In fact, only 58 percent of college students now enroll in their first college of choice. And out of a recent poll of 203,967 students, information from a website was placed 10th on a list of important factors when choosing which school to attend—ahead of rankings from a national magazine.

Students today have more factors—and stresses—to think about than ever before when it comes to deciding which school to attend. Factors such as a poor economy and the rising cost of tuition are leaving a shadow of doubt on many prospective kids about where they should attend school. With so many options to choose from, many top ranking universities are losing out to competitors because they are not marketing themselves accordingly. Case in point: universities are brands, and brands need to be marketed properly. And due to the fact that 9 out of 10 marketers are using content marketing strategies, every university should currently be using them to attract students such as Mary onto campus.

This means that every university website should come with an accompanying blog which details student and campus life as well as course descriptions. Content should address topics about the surrounding area as well as what goes on around campus. There could be interviews with professors, spotlights on students, detailed accounts of academic life and reports on the extracurricular activities. These blogs should also be linked to social media so that students can interact in real-time with those who not only went through the admissions process, but are currently experiencing life on campus.

The possibilities for interaction are endless. But as more and more schools begin to leverage content marketing strategies to lure top recruits in the coming school year, those that choose to take more traditional marketing strategies will be left out—and they will be left wondering why their high rank is no longer bringing in as many students as it once was. Marketing has changed, the needs and expectations of students have changed, and so it is up to individual universities to adapt as well.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

Comments powered by Disqus

Related News