In the past, many universities figured that they had an unending supply of would-be students, certainly more than enough to fill classrooms and lecture halls. If some dropped out, there would be others to take their places. But such is no longer the case. Today’s colleges and universities are facing intense challenges not only recruiting students, but also in retaining students and enticing alumni to remain active. If they wish to remain successful, institutions of higher education must ensure they are making the most of every opportunity they have available to build rapport with their prospective students and get them to consider enrollment.
In order to operate an effective recruitment strategy, colleges must understand their prospective students’ interests, needs and concerns. The majority of students visiting your website are just looking for more information, but are not ready to take the big leap of applying - this is where your school’s content strategy omes into play. You need to develop, publish, and share important content that these students might not have considered but can sway them to choose your institution.
Here are eight types of content that you can create to engage those prospective students online:
1. Career Guides
This can be a short guide or checklist about how a student can plan for their career, and how your school can help them do so. This is a great opportunity to help build your school’s list of prospective students by area of study and then nurture them with other relevant content via email.
2. Student Stories
The best way to show how it is to attend your college (or to take your online courses) is with student stories and testimonials. This is a great way to offer a real look into the student life for your prospective students and perfect content to post on your school’s blog. Share these stories on social media, too, so your network can do some marketing for you.
3. Campus News
If someone is just starting their search for a school to apply to, setting up a lead nurturing campaign for those contacts you already have about campus news -- like sports teams’ big wins, academic achievements, student group news, etc. -- is helpful to keep them engaged. This information is a great fit for a monthly newsletter format.
4. Course Offerings
For students that are more serious about applying to your school and are looking for middle-of-the-funnel content, providing a sample or example course offering, segmented by area of study, is a great idea. This will provide them a glimpse into what a day or week would look like if they attend your college. It will also give them an idea of what types of courses are available for them to enroll in. This can be on a landing page, behind a form so you can track who redeems the offer.
5. Alumni Achievements by Industry
Career information is very important for prospective students. They want to know how an education at your university will help them find a job when they graduate. By providing stories of your successful alumni, segmented by industry, you’re connecting prospective students with those that have graduated and gone on to build admirable careers.
6. Athletic Clubs
Student athletes may be curious about intramural clubs that they can join if they get accepted to your school. Make sure this information is available on your website. You can even ask current student athletes to share their experiences of being on a team sport at your school.
7. Videos of the School’s History
Videos showing past academic achievement are a great way to share content in an engaging way. Featuring videos on your website, sharing them on social media - on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, in particular - as well as via email are the best ways to get your content out there. There are a lot of easy ways to make a video, including reaching out to your creative students for help.
8. Information About the Town or City
It’s great to share information about your school, but giving prospective students a full picture of what it’s like to live in your school’s city or town is even better. Share information about local attractions, favorite restaurants of students, concert venues, libraries, and historical sites so that students can more easily picture what their life would be like in that city, both on and off campus.