It’s no secret that smart digital marketing can help boost your student recruitment efforts. But how can you boost your own marketing activities from “good” to “great?”
Enter Content Marketing
The current darling of both marketers and search engines alike, content marketing is a leading way to improve your marketing and recruiting activities. It improves your site traffic, boosts organic search rankings (SEO) and increases conversion potential. Not convinced? Consider this: content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing, but generates approximately 3x as many leads.
Actually implementing a content marketing strategy, however, can be daunting, not to mention time- and resource-consuming. You’re not alone in this feeling; 44 percent of marketers say that content production is their biggest challenge, and 64 percent of B2B content marketers say their biggest challenge is producing enough content. If you’re already hosting events on your campus, however, you have a leg up: event content is perfect for content marketing. After all, your event IS content!
Event Content IS Content
Before, during and after your event, you have a plethora of chances to generate content. At the event itself, you can set up apps that create user-generated content which participants can share across their own social media platforms. This is creme-de-la-creme of promotion when your audience transforms into ambassadors for your brand. You are already creating content that you may not be utilizing to its fullest potential.
Read on for seven different ways to make the most of your event content:
Pay for promotion
Dig into the data to find out which of your events are trending or most popular, and then put your money where your mouth is! Putting paid media behind the promotion of an event exposes it to a new audience and existing parties who simply may not have known it was an option. Don’t be afraid to repurpose the existing assets you have for promotion, whether that’s an event flier or social media description. And don’t think you have to put tens of thousands of dollars into promotion. Even a few hundred dollars can generate valuable learnings and results, depending on the creative, message and platform.
Create a seamless experience
Make sure to incorporate your entire university’s events. There is a lot going on across campus that might appeal to a wide variety of people. Pull the event information into one centralized place and then optimized for your preferred audience. A site visitor who might not want to attend a biology lecture may be the perfect candidate for your business school’s Prospective Students webinar. Make sure they can find it and RSVP.
Get an interactive event calendar
Like the best content marketing, event calendars do more than just advertise your events. A centralized event calendar like Localist can increase search engine rankings, grow web traffic, streamline event management and boost event attendance. And, even with all the attention being paid to digital marketing tactics, the most effective marketing strategies for universities are still event-based, like open houses and campus visit days for high school students. Make sure your events – both recruitment and campus life – are top-of-mind, every time, with an interactive event calendar.
Consider a campaign
Create thoughtful, innovative campaigns based around key events. You might consider curating user-generated content from students who have attended past events, running social media contests (Facebook Contests is a good resource) and much more. Whatever the topic, have a common theme that runs throughout your content and creative assets. Let viewers know that they’re looking at part of a larger whole, and chances are good that they’ll seek out the rest.
Make it mobile
Today’s students are mobile – make sure your content is, too. Leverage and connect with mobile apps and technology, whether that’s the aforementioned Facebook Contests or other social platforms, or by targeting your paid promotion to mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
Why create content from scratch when there are people who could do so for you? Leverage the voices of your influencers, alumni and students in event content. Testimonials from those in the know can boost your conversion and engagement rates. This isn’t news in the world of content marketing – 89 percent of B2B marketers consider customer testimonials to be the most effective content marketing tactic they can employ. Don’t reinvent the wheel; let alumni and students speak for you. After all, they’re exactly the community your prospective students are hoping to be a part of in the future!
Promote across platforms
According to the Content Marketing Institute, the most common content marketing delivery tactic is social media, employed by 87% of marketers. Colleges and universities are well aware of this trend; as early as 2012, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth survey indicated that 100 percent of respondent institutions were using some form of social media – with 98 percent on Facebook, 84 percent on Twitter, and 86 percent on YouTube. By 2013, over two-thirds of US colleges and universities had some official school blogging activity on their campus. But don’t restrict your content to just one platform – share, repurpose and promote your content across your blogs, newsletters and on social media platforms. You can absolutely repurpose a piece of content that has already been used in one format! That top notch blog post might make a great entry for next month’s newsletter. Your infographic can easily be sliced up for sharing on social media. Be creative and your audience will be appreciative.
Google values fresh content, as do your readers. You can’t just publish and then disappear. But how can you keep a fresh pool of content at your fingertips? These content marketing tips will get you started in promoting and optimizing your events. In addition, don’t forget to glean insights and stories from every event in order to produce future content. Your event IS your content, and your content sets the stage for future events. It’s a win-win strategy that will have you on the content marketing train in no time.