You’re working hard to tell your school story and create content that markets that story to your dream families … but you’re still uncertain.
Are these efforts actually having an impact on your school marketing efforts? Are they driving inquiries? Boosting admissions? Getting you the results you need?
If these questions sound familiar, it may be time to press pause on new content development and, instead, focus on the content that you’ve already created — and where that content falls along your admissions funnel.
Because if you’re strategic with your content marketing, each and every piece of content that you create should make your audience take the next appropriate step in their relationship with your school.
There are five questions you need to ask yourself about your content to know if you are actually content marketing, or if you are just producing content:
Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute says it best:
“If you are not changing behavior for the good of the business [or school] in some way, you are just producing content, not content marketing.”
The Enrollment Management Association is a great resource for this. They provide lots of free and members-only articles, reports and tools that detail the different phases and stages of the enrollment process.
However, there is not one right admissions funnel to follow. It’s important that your school’s marketing and admissions teams work together to define each phase of your admissions process and how potential students and families move from phase to phase. You will use this funnel to create content that speaks to your dream families at every stage. And that strategic approach to content creation and distribution is when you shift from content to content marketing.
Once you’ve defined your funnel, discuss specific questions about each stage:
Once you answer these questions, you will have a great list of initial content ideas that address each stage of your funnel, and an idea of who to talk to to get the information you need.
Review each content idea you developed and think about the format that would best fit the topic. You might be able to address simple questions in a short blog post … an explainer video might be the strongest way to explain a complex program or issue … an eBook might help paint a bigger picture for someone at the beginning of the funnel.
Don’t squash ideas that sound too complex for your capacity and budget. Creating well-rounded content that speaks to your dream families at each stage is a process, and this content plan might not be confined within a school or calendar year. The important thing is to have a plan that addresses it all and allows you to see where you need to go, even if you don’t get there as fast as you’d like.
Now that you’ve started to align content with your admissions funnel, you’ll begin to clearly see gaps you need to fill in. Prioritize them based on your findings. And remember: don’t overlook current or past students. Continue to produce content for them; satisfied students and alumni are always valuable and can provide testimonials, case studies, and irreplaceable word-of-mouth referrals.
The hard work you put into understanding your admissions funnel and aligning your content with it will help you nurture prospects over time. That’s the power of content marketing, and it’s about so much more than just the content.