CareerFocus is the tool you need to shine the spotlight on your career programs.
Community colleges across the country are facing challenges as they seek to raise their enrollment rates after an academic year largely interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. As community colleges look to the fall, many uncertainties remain regarding the return to in-person teaching, and schools are looking for ways to market their programs to appeal to students.
For many community colleges, marketing has always involved the dual challenge of competing against prestigious 4-year universities and delivering a message in a way that will reach students effectively. At Aperture Content Marketing, we believe that community colleges can market themselves best not when they try to be the same as four-year universities, but when they differentiate themselves from what those universities have to offer.
And what community colleges have to offer is careers. Here’s how community colleges can talk about them.
1. Focusing on careers can help community colleges close the skills gap.
Even before the pandemic disrupted job markets across the country, the United States was facing a critical skills gap in many sectors traditionally viewed as being more blue collar. These are jobs that are perceived as being lower-paying and more dangerous, yet modern advances have improved these jobs significantly. Many are not only safer, but offer better wages and benefits.
Unfortunately, not enough students are aware of the promising employment these careers offer. Community colleges can help close the skills gap by sharing information about expected wages and career opportunities with learners. A prospective student who sees that a certification program can lead to a career with an average salary of 80K with opportunities for advancement is much more likely to take action.
2. Students need help understanding the range of careers available to them.
Many students have a hard time connecting the title of a community college program to a future career. They may not be able to envision what that work looks like, or they may have preconceptions that make them uninterested.
We recently wrote about this problem in digital and IT fields, drawing attention to the diverse range of careers that are available in IT-related programs. The same could be said for many more courses. Career choices are diverse, and the more students learn about their options, the more readily they can envision that career for themselves.
3. Preparing students for careers is the strongest selling point for community colleges.
Today’s students are more wary than any prior generation of college marketing that focuses on intangible benefits. While these do have value, many students are more focused on how a community college education will help them achieve their life goals after they graduate. Community colleges that focus on the long-term benefits of a degree or certificate, and deliver accurate information based on current job data, will help their students make decisions that will set them up for success once they graduate.
CareerFocus gives community colleges the tools they need to spread their message.
Having the right message only helps if you can spread it to those who need to hear it most. However, the important information students need to know can’t be easily communicated in a slogan. A slogan can tell students that a community college will help them find a good career, but it can’t give them all the data they need to paint a picture of what their lives will look like with that career.
For that, community colleges need marketing tools that can deliver longer messages in a format that is convenient for students to read. Aperture helps by researching and writing articles about specific career paths that are available to students at community colleges. These articles go into our resource library, where community colleges can access them and use them to build specific marketing deliverables using our content marketing platform. Here are the solutions Aperture provides:
Print is not dead. In fact, our marketing data shows that high quality print mailers are some of the most effective marketing strategies for community colleges who want to promote their programs. Online marketing has a place in a multimedia campaign, but print is too often overlooked.
Our print catalogs are more likely to hang around the house, where students can see it repeatedly, and may subconsciously be reminded to research their options. Print catalogs are also seen by friends and family members, who may encourage a student to sign up for classes. And print catalogs feel more credible and legitimate, by virtue of being tangible. You just have to hold one to see for yourself.
Print magazines are an excellent way to get the idea of a community college degree into a student’s head, but what happens when a student wants to look up information away from home? Or what if a parent reads an article in the magazine and wants to share it with their child?
Our microsites make it easy for colleges to digitally publish the articles from their magazine, where students can access information wherever they are.
CareerFocus social posts.
Finally, social posts are a form of reinforcement, a way to remind students of their interests, and of a specific pathway toward their career goals. Social posts on Facebook and Instagram can be lengthy, or they can link back to content on the microsite.
More importantly, they can be highly targeted toward students with specific interests, or who have visited certain pages, and this can help community colleges time their messages to be more relevant to students who are searching for employment options.
Marketing methods based on direct and honest communication work.
Community colleges exist to build strong communities. Those are built on graduates who build stable careers on the basis of what they learned. Giving students factual and honest information—about salaries, industry growth, and career opportunities—is how you do that.
Contact us today to learn more about how our CareerFocus platform can help you reach them.