Content Marketing is nothing new. Actually, it's as old as parchment and ink. Even so, there have certainly been some evolutionary changes in the last decade or so that warrant learning the art from the beginning.
Why is Content Important?
For institutions like yours, content isn't just about attracting and teaching an audience. It's about communication and building relationships.
In the US alone, adults spend about 12 hours each day consuming media. If you can convince your target audience to spend just a fraction of that time interacting with your school, you can forge the sense of trust and familiarity that boosts your attendance rosters with little more than creativity. If you play your cards right, that is.
Think of your reader as a pen pal, and each piece of content you create is actually an intimate letter intended for someone special. Remember these things:
- Speak directly to your reader and their interest as if it were all you think about. Your dedication and knowledge will be amplified.
- Share candid stories about you and your school. Story telling is a powerful tool. People don't always remember what you teach them, but they are impacted by how you make them feel. Make sure your content is evocative. Your audience wants to interact with media that is funny, sad, exciting, or offers support and relief for their daily trials.
- Talk about things that matter to your audience. Your curriculum will never represent more than a small fraction of your reader's life. So it shouldn't take up more than a fraction of your content. Take a holistic view of your intended audience, and attempt to relate to them beyond your obvious connections.
If you learn to do these things competently you will identify yourself as trustworthy. If you learn to do them well you will establish yourself as exemplary.
What Is Content Marketing?
Think of your content marketing plan as a house, the house where visitors come to discover who you are and where you belong in their life.
Most beginners tend to think of content marketing as synonymous with blogging. Yes blogging tends to be the frame of your content plan. But attached to the frame should be the walls, plumbing, wiring, a roof. Your house should be accented with paint and fine decor.
These are the tools you'll use to build your house:
- Video: often online content that can be shared life or recorded. You can share videos on platforms such as YouTube, through various social media sites, or on your own blog or website.
- Webinar: a virtual classroom where participants can come together to interact with you and your educational materials as a group.
- Apps: tools or games your audience can download onto a phone, tablet, or computer.
- Quizzes: should be fun, interactive content that encourages your audience to let loose and talk about themselves. Bonus: people love to share their results.
- Email: can be a great way to start a conversation on a personal note. While email can be very effective, it takes hard work and serious innovation or a well-established relationship to make it work.
- Social Media: one of your most important tools, this is how you attract attention, create a community, or facilitate ongoing conversations. It takes time to get it right.
- Magazines and Publications: the oldest trick in the book. Print publications can be good advertising mediums, but it's difficult to track value and ROI, and nearly impossible to segment.
Where Should Your Content Strategy Focus?
With so many platforms and mediums for your content, you may be pulling your hair out just trying to decide where to focus your efforts. The answer is difficult for every school, but you shouldn't have to look far to figure out it.
Focus your content marketing efforts on the platforms and mediums most popular with your audience. And if you're unsure, just ask them.
As you develop your digital marketing strategy, it's important to remember that your content shouldn't be about the brand, the products, or the services. It's about the audience: building relationships and adding value.