There’s an untapped resource of content marketing inspiration right on your campus.
Few people understand the minds of your students quite like your faculty. The staff interacts with prospective families daily. They know your audiences, they know your school, and they have stories to tell.
While encouraging everyone on campus to participate in content creation may seem like a daunting task, you can make it simple for yourself—and for them. So how do you begin to engage faculty and staff in your storytelling efforts?
As you review these ideas, write down three ideas that seem like good starting points for your school. Then, add them to your to-do list to be sure they become part of your action plan.
1) Explain your content marketing efforts. In order to get faculty and staff involved, they first need to know 1) what content marketing is; 2) why you’re doing it; 3) what they can do to help. Keep it simple.
2) Ask for input. Once they understand the scope of your content marketing efforts, invite their input. Let them know that ideas and comments will all be seriously reviewed – and if someone submits an idea that informs your strategy, acknowledge them. This way, faculty and staff feel invested in the initiative and see that they truly have the opportunity to participate.
3) Ask about hidden talents. Perhaps someone on the IT team is also a great storyteller. Perhaps a person in the registrar’s office also makes for an animated on-camera personality. Let people know the support skills you are seeking, and you never know who might have just the talent you need.
4) Create an editorial board. Include faculty and staff from various departments, and ask these people to contribute stories and ideas. Feature your editorial board on your blog or website to give members heightened exposure and credit for their work.
5) Create story prompts. Often, people don’t recognize the stories they have because these stories are so woven into their daily jobs. Every once in a while, send faculty and staff an offbeat or unusual question. Questions like, “When was the last time you bragged to your family about doing a good job?,” “What happened the last time a student complimented you?,” or “What is your favorite school memory?” will help them think about their jobs, and the stories they have to tell, in a new way, and you’ll get inspired input.
6) Host story (happy) hours. Create somewhat informal gatherings on Friday afternoons to kick off the weekend and share stories from the week. Assign one person to make note of any stories that could support your content marketing efforts.
7) Find out what they read. Faculty and staff from various departments will have various personal and professional interests. Find out what publications they read to expand your content curation efforts.
8) Find out whom they follow. As with what they read, whom they follow on social media platforms can also be a good source for content or connections that your marketing team may otherwise miss.
9) Ask for interesting articles or news. Use faculty and staff to help curate information from their sources. Have them email articles they feel relate to your content marketing strategy to either one person on your team or an established email account, so that you can keep an inventory.
10) Ask for frequently asked questions. Have faculty and staff members who frequently interact with prospective families submit the questions they are most often asked, and use these questions to spark content ideas.
11) Ask for testimonials. Ask people to share testimonials from happy students, or have them reach out to alumni families with whom they have relationships to obtain new testimonials.
12) Ask them to curate your own old content. Ask faculty/staff if there are any pieces of content created by your school that they have found particularly useful in connecting with students and families. You may uncover an old piece of content worth updating or sharing.
13) Find out what they’re excited about. What projects, initiatives, research or papers are your faculty working on? Have they won any awards or grants lately, or been published somewhere new? Ask them to keep you informed about their accomplishments so you can spread the news and build the buzz about the many amazing aspects of your school.
14) Have them provide feedback on popular content. If a particular piece of content is performing well with your audiences, ask your faculty and staff if they have anything to add to it or a new take on the topic. This can help you tackle the topic in a deeper way or approach it from a new angle.
15) Make them video stars. Your faculty and staff have great expertise to share. Give them the opportunity to share their thoughts, advice, insights and stories on video. This not only creates great content, but also demonstrates the passion, drive and inspiration that can be found on your campus.
16) Provide plug-and-play content. When you publish new content, send faculty and staff ready-to-post social media updates that they can easily share across their own social platforms.
17) Create connections. Encourage faculty and staff to connect with your school and each other on social media platforms. Encourage participation so that faculty and staff become part of these online communities, start conversations, learn, and share your content.
18) Keep them informed. Create a faculty/staff eNewsletter that shares your latest content and provides updates on your efforts.
19) Promote their events. Ask faculty and staff to make sure you know about everything that’s happening on campus—from club meetings to competitions—so you can share these events on social. They’ll appreciate you for getting the word out, and you’ll appreciate them for making it easy to share how vibrant and engaged your campus is.
20) Send out reminders. No matter how interested they are in your content marketing efforts, faculty and staff will forget to participate if they are not prompted. Send out regular reminders asking for ideas, input and stories to keep these efforts top of mind.
21) Make it easy. For all of the above ideas, include specific instructions for how faculty and staff can join in or support the efforts. Make sure their participation is as effortless as possible.
22) Say thank you! A little gratitude goes a long way. Thank faculty and staff for their contributions with a personal email or even a handwritten note. They deserve it!
Do you have any additional tips on ways to get school faculty and staff involved with your marketing efforts? Share them with us in the comments below.