Reaching prospective students everywhere.
It’s important to reach prospective students where they already are. That’s why a community college content campaign should span multiple channels, using print marketing strategies and popular digital media. Being highly visible often translates to highly effective.
Creating a quality multi-channel content marketing campaign is a challenge. Maintaining a consistent voice and message, while adapting to different platforms, and staying informative, takes skill. However, enrollment is a persistent issue, and we can’t count on prospective students to seek us out anymore. We need to meet them where they already are, online and in the real world.
What is a multi-channel content marketing campaign?
A multi-channel content marketing campaign engages your target audience by spreading the same information or message on different platforms. It distributes clear, consistent, and branded content through your print and digital media feeds.
A multi-channel campaign maximizes your chance of connecting with prospective students by meeting them on every platform. It subtly reinforces the value and importance of a community college education.
Multi-channel campaigns are more effective than other kinds of campaigns. A targeted ad might earn more clicks after a glossy publication arrives in the mail, or a series of persuasive emails.
Choose WHICH types of media you’re going to use.
Your college’s marketing department has to plan how to allocate resources between owned, earned, and paid media activity. This can take some time.
- Owned media are the platforms that your college controls exclusively, like your school website, any print publications it distributes, or its social media pages.
- Earned media activity refers to freely given engagement from prospective students online. Effective earned media attracts other prospective students who are already interested in your college and more likely to enroll.
- Paid media refers to space purchased on channels your school doesn’t already own, such as a Facebook ad campaign. The effectiveness and reach of these campaigns is often determined by how much you spend, but it can be a powerful way to reach prospective students on platforms they are already frequenting.
A strong content marketing campaign will probably use all of these types of media, but each requires its own content strategy, which brings us to the next step of creating a multi-channel campaign.
Decide WHAT content is appropriate for each channel
Most community colleges already have several active channels for reaching prospective students. The question is how to best distribute your content campaign across these channels.
Of course, some choices are predetermined. Twitter has a character limit, so even if you’re focusing on long-form content, your team will have to use a different strategy on that platform.
Still, you’ll need to make lots of other choices. Do you want to regularly post or link to a succession of articles? Design some infographics? Create a series of punchy YouTube videos featuring current students?
There is an optimal content strategy for every channel, and lots of ways to integrate your print and digital marketing. The key is to maintain a consistent voice across all channels, so that prospective students can easily identify your college brand.
Determine WHO your content is directed at
Building a few accurate personas will make your college’s content marketing efforts more successful. An older demographic, for instance, are less likely to have adblockers installed on their web browser. That means a targeted ad campaign could be more effective.
Putting together a persona of your prospective student can take some effort. You can look at research about nontraditional students, talk to existing students, evaluate your enrollment data, and so on.
Once you know the intended audience for your content, you’re much more likely to capture their attention. Creating a few simple personas can dramatically impact the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
As you learn about visitor engagement, you might have to adjust. For instance, you might find that your click-through rate is strong, but your bounce rate is high (which means people leave your website immediately). Good content draws people in and keeps their attention.
Learning from your highest performing content, your team can make changes to your content strategy and capitalize on your success.
Know WHEN to launch your multi-channel content marketing campaign
For community colleges, timing matters. There are deadlines for each semester’s enrollment, which prospective students have to meet. We’ve talked before about how that relates to your content marketing campaign roll out.
There are a few other things that matter, too. For instance, we know that nontraditional students are less likely to own computers. That means it’s important your digital media is mobile friendly.
For the best results, consider timing and media accessibility before launching your campaign. Even a month can make a difference to increasing student enrollment.
Be ready to analyze and make changes
It can be hard to determine the ROI on radio or tv ads. However, there are several good ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a college content marketing campaign using new technological tools.
To begin, you can easily track the number of clicks, the pages viewed on your site, and the length of time visitors spend on each article. You also can keep track of other types of data, like the number of phone calls about the programs promoted in your campaign. These numbers can inform future campaigns as well.
Streamline your multi-channel content campaign
A multi-channel campaign must be consistent in message and tone to actually deliver results, or to even qualify as a multi-channel campaign. This takes careful planning. Without a plan, just using different media channels regularly is not the same thing as a content campaign (though it’s still good to keep your social media feeds updated and send out mailings).
A good plan lets you streamline your multi-channel content campaign so that every media feed is optimized. A streamlined campaign is efficient and cost-effective. Want to know more about how streamlining your multi-channel campaign can save you time and money? Request a demonstration of our services today.