Community colleges with strong marketing and technical writing programs can promote them as stand-alone options, or as ways to expand current career options.
When many students consider options for reliable, long-term careers, marketing and technical writing programs aren’t typically the first to come to mind. But, for those who possess an analytical eye and strong language skills, both these programs can lead to in-demand jobs in fields that pay well and show signs of good job stability.
Marketing is a broad field that encompasses research, writing, design, analytics, and digital media proficiency. Marketers combine their knowledge of niche demographic groups with their awareness of social nuance to reach their audiences. Meanwhile, technical writers rely on attention to detail and clean prose to write instructions and user documentation, usually for larger firms with complex products. While marketing is a more creative field and technical writing is more process-oriented, both share an emphasis on clear communication.
Community colleges can attract new students to these programs by sharing practical information about what careers in these fields look like.
Benefits of marketing and technical writing programs:
- Job prospects and salaries are both promising. Neither technical writing nor marketing jobs can be easily outsourced or automated. In fact, both fields are facing high demand as companies find new ways to reach broader audiences.
- Flexible work-from-home options are available. Companies are still experimenting with ways to attract workers and manage their office space. While some jobs require in-office presence, marketing and technical writing jobs are more compatible with a fully remote lifestyle.
- Job experience is more valued than academic credentials. Some careers require professional certification that may take years to complete. While bachelor’s degrees and even more advanced credentials are available, many jobs are also accessible to those with a two-year degree, and remain upwardly mobile as workers gain experience.
- They enhance other career paths. If you have a business degree, a marketing program can help you get your ideas off the ground. Similarly, if you already have a background in a technical field, it can prove invaluable as you transition into a career as a technical writer.
4 ways for community colleges to increase enrollment:
No matter how good a career is, community colleges have to get the word out if they hope to increase enrollment. Here are four proven strategies to market community college programs to prospective students.
1. Provide marketing materials that speak directly to their concerns.
Before a community college student will enroll, they need a number of questions answered, such as: how much will courses cost? Will there be childcare options for my children? Is there public transportation to and from campus? What are my financing options? What does a career in my field look like? What kind of salaries are available, and what is the job market like? Marketing must first help students determine whether community college is even a possibility for them before it can focus on other concerns.
2. Use multichannel marketing to amplify your message.
With the right message in place, multichannel marketing is an effective way to reach more potential students. Multichannel marketing draws on multiple content pathways—including print, social media, and long-form digital content—to reach a broader audience with a unified message. For instance, you might create a piece of print content focusing on your technical writing program, and publish a similar piece on your website so that whoever receives your print mailer will see matching content when they look up your website. Social media content which follows that same campaign can reinforce the message to anyone who encounters your posts on Facebook or Instagram. You can even encourage current and former students to tag your school to raise the profile of your establishment among their circles of contacts.
3. Feature stories from graduates.
The most convincing advocates for your program will always be the students who have found success through it. Work with your teachers to connect with students who may want to be featured in marketing stories about your programs. If you run any professional development programs, or if you have student organizations that are career-oriented, these may serve as helpful starting points for featured stories.
4. Develop career opportunities with local businesses.
Internships are a way for students to gain work experience, and they’re also an important way companies recruit and train new employees. A school with a strong connection to local organizations can do a better job of demonstrating to potential students that career opportunities exist for them after they graduate.
Increasing enrollment at community college begins with information-based marketing.
Many community colleges, when they look for ways to increase enrollment, focus on the benefits their college has to offer students. While that may cause some students to think about community college in a different way, few will be persuaded to enroll if they don’t know what program to enroll in. For a demographic that tends to be more cost-conscious, nothing could seem like a greater waste of money than signing up for classes with no particular goal in mind.
On the other hand, marketing materials that help students settle on a specific course of study are successful in raising enrollment. As resources, prospective students rely on them to help them envision the possibilities their choice in career has to offer. However, the time it takes to develop these resources for a range of possible academic programs is often beyond the reach of community college marketing departments.
At Aperture Content Marketing, our specialty lies in creating and distributing these resources for community colleges across the country. We research articles for our content archive, and then work with community colleges to adapt that content for their own purposes, including micro sites, print magazines, and social media posts. If your marketing team is in need of support, contact us today. We would be glad to tell you more about our services.