8 Top Content Marketing Trends for Schools in 2021

Content marketing continues to be an essential element of the marketing mix for schools in 2021. The global content marketing industry has been growing rapidly in the past few years; currently, the industry as a whole is valued at more than $400 billion. This demonstrates the confidence and investment marketers have in its future.

Schools today use many different types of content for marketing purposes, including:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Ebooks
  • Newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Podcasts
  • Testimonials
  • Paid advertising
  • And other types

Schools that anticipate content marketing trends and changes in audience behavior will be able to adjust their marketing strategy to make the best investment in time and resources. In order to maintain growth, school marketers need to stay tuned to the ever-changing landscape of content marketing.

Content attracts new visitors to your site and increases inquiries when it’s done right. So how do you do content right? Here are 8 content marketing trends school marketers need to take note of in 2021.

  1. Improve the content experience for parents

Today’s parents are tech-savvy and have certain expectations for content published online. They expect to be able to have a positive experience with content. What that means is you need users to stay on your website, love what you write and, hopefully, decide to submit an inquiry form. An example of an amazing content experience might include an inquiry form, description of the application process, a tuition calculator, scholarship application, school calendars, campus map, admission Q&A on Zoom, sign-ups for campus tours, blog, videos, resources and more.

  1. Have a voice search strategy

Voice assistant technology (Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, etc.) is growing steadily. As of 2020, there were 110 million voice assistants in the U.S. Voice content opens a whole new channel for engagement with parents. As people increasingly use voice-activated searches, content marketers need to understand how to optimize their content for voice search.

  1. Content as part of the parent enrollment journey

Online content is becoming a more important part of the parent enrollment journey. Today’s parents are more web-savvy and use technology more often, regardless of age. And they expect to have their questions answered; otherwise, they will keep searching.

Parents, like all consumers, expect to have search engines fill an immediate need. Your content needs to make it easy to find the answer they are seeking. Tools like Text Optimizer help create content in a problem/solution and question/answer format. This allows your site to rank higher in search engine results.

  1. Go live with videos

Livestream videos are more popular than ever, and this trend will continue in the future. People enjoy watching videos and livestream is a quick and effective way to communicate with your audience. In the future, you can expect more live video interactive approaches for people to ask questions and interact with schools.

  1. Think “mobile-first”

It’s no longer enough to have a mobile-friendly website. Parents today expect schools to offer mobile access. An example of this would be a mobile app for your school. However, if you don’t have the budget for a standalone mobile asset, there are smaller investments you can make to ensure your content is mobile-friendly.

  1. Optimize content for featured snippets

A featured snippet is the information box (also called an answer box) at the top of the search results page. Google shows content in the information box that it thinks best fits the searchers query. If you’re able to get to the top of a search engine results page you will receive more traffic and your site will rank higher in other searches.

There isn’t an exact recipe for getting shown as a featured snippet, but we know there are a few ways to optimize content to help increase your chances.

  • Make your content easy to read. Write in short paragraphs, add headlines, create numbered lists and write in a concise manner.
  • Write content in a question and answer format. Make your answer in the form of step-by-step content.
  • Consider using structured data (i.e. Schema markups) to help search engines understand your content better
  1. Design social media stories

Stories are features on social media that typically disappear after 24 hours. Snapchat was the first platform to introduce Stories. The format was a big hit so now Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and Twitter (Fleets) have rolled out their own versions.

Stories are mobile-friendly formats using the shape and functionality of mobile phones. Web stories are web-based versions of social media stories. The use images, videos, text, audio and animation to create highly interactive content.

Try creating Stories using Canva templates. You can also find beautiful social media templates, including for stories, that integrate with Canva on Creative Market.

  1. User-generated content

We live in a world of content producers. Having a smartphone in your pocket means everyone, including teenagers, are content producers these days. And, people love to join in when invited. UGC can be a huge asset to schools when leveraged correctly. According to research conducted by Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92 percent of people trust UGC over other types of marketing and advertising.

UGC can save your school time, budget and boost your credibility. There are many ways people can contribute content, whether it’s photos, short videos, reviews or video testimonials. This is a content strategy that can surely make a difference in your marketing efforts. Read more: #3 Instagram Aesthetic Trend for School Marketers – Curated User Generated Content

  1. SEO is still critical

Organic search is still the biggest driver of traffic, and its usage is outpacing growth in other channels. Performing SEO for search engines is going to be even more important throughout 2021 and beyond.

One of the biggest changes in SEO is the focus on user and search intent. At their core, search engines are where people go when they want answers to a question or want to learn about something. When we understand what parents are searching for and help them with content that provides the answers they are looking for, our schools will benefit.

Search engines are getting better at showing results based on what they perceive as the searcher’s intent. By providing content that addresses the answer to the question, you are increasing the likelihood the search engine will show your content high on the search results page, and thereby signaling your site should be ranked higher. The content marketers and SEO experts who will be successful in 2021 are those who know how to address searcher intent.

Do you want help with SEO for your school marketing website? SEO Coach is a do-it-yourself platform designed to make it easy for schools to use and understand SEO. SEO Coach offers all the features you need to get to the top of Google. And, best of all, you won’t have to hire an SEO consultant.

Start by getting a FREE SEO Audit for your school website.

Times they are a’changin – and so should your content marketing strategy. Your overall focus should be to create high-quality content that has a high return-on-investment without necessarily taking more resources.

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.

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