Academic content marketing that raises your institutional profile
One of the biggest challenges of running a content marketing campaign is finding quality content. To engage readers the content you share has to be edifying, school-specific, well-researched, and well-written. Marketing departments, especially at small community colleges, may feel like they just don’t have time to produce this sort of material.
However, colleges are home to legions of academic authors working on published and unpublished research. While this material is often technical and not immediately accessible to casual readers, it is possible to use academic research to successfully generate leads for your school. In fact, publicizing academic research can earn plenty of inbound links, boost your SEO, and establish your school as an authority site.
Creating a content marketing campaign using faculty research isn’t as simple as sharing journal articles on your Facebook page. If people wanted to click on that, there would be a lot more doctorates in the world. So how can you use faculty research in your academic marketing materials?
Keep it simple and fun
One of the hallmarks of academic research is its length and complexity. It’s not often well-suited to a quick read on the web or in promotional materials. That doesn’t mean professors can’t break down their research in a way that makes it accessible to the average eighteen-year-old or internet reader. After all, that is their job as professors.
Say your school marketing department is interested in featuring research from a certain department connected with your Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences program. Approach the department chair and see if anyone has some research they would be willing to summarize. Often academics are happy to see their work reach a broader audience and would be glad to help create a short article.
Make it aspirational
Prospective students don’t just want to know that professors are doing great things at their school. They want to see how they can be part of it. Focusing on ways that students and professors are collaborating gives prospective students an idea of what their academic career might be like. Are students collecting data for scientific research, painting a campus mural, or co-authoring papers? Highlight their work.
These stories are especially eye-catching when they are accompanied by data-rich visuals that show actual students and professors working together. It’s a great way to draw attention to your campus facilities too – a professional shot of a student working in a pristine lab is a compelling image. When you focus on how current students are involved, prospective students will want to be involved too.
Choose a format that works for your school
Just because digital content is the new normal doesn’t mean that print is done. There are a lot of reasons that community colleges should still invest in print marketing, and a magazine is a great place to showcase faculty research. Still, schools need a multifaceted marketing approach. The best way to roll out your content marketing campaign is over several platforms at once, including website pages, social media, and paid promotional materials.
Once the content is widely available, it will deliver continuous value. Visitors to your site or readers of your magazine will consider it a trusted resource and continue to return for more. Targeted exposure of certain programs generates SEO benefits too, making it easier for prospects to find you through organic search.
Content marketing using faculty research done right
A wonderful example of this kind of content marketing appears on Indiana University’s website. The site has a page dedicated to university research that features short videos, blogs, and student and faculty research stories. The page instantly connects with heartwarming stories about life-changing advances made by medical researchers, in-depth features on exciting classes, and plenty of commentary from current students.
As you can see in the image, the content on Indiana University’s research page is interesting but not intimidating. There’s no academic jargon. The student quote, “I never thought I would get to study robots,” is accessible and aspirational. There’s also lots of content that can easily be shared social media feeds. The power of the stories and the quality of the work sells the academic experience.
Celebrating the academic experience
Frequently publishing relevant, informative and engaging content is the best way to draw more attention in a digital maelstrom. Using academic research in your content marketing is a great way to do this. It can generate a lot of fascinating and sharable content, inform great print articles, and give prospective students a glimpse of the exciting world of higher education.
Publicizing faculty research in your content marketing materials also increases institutional prestige, combating the negative stereotypes so often associated with community colleges. Prospective students will see that they can receive a quality education with experts in their field of study without paying top-dollar.
If you’re new to content marketing, you may want to turn to the experts. From print to social media we can help you assemble high-quality, customizable content marketing campaigns to promote your institution. To learn more or to request a demonstration of our services, contact us today. We can’t wait to help you take charge of the narrative.