If you’re new to school marketing, let me be the first to welcome you to the world stage of online users, where attention spans are profoundly short, and every post is at risk of being scrolled past or ignored completely.
It may seem harsh, but it’s true. Promoting your school online isn’t easy. Even if your school has been in existence for a long time, you’re facing stiff competition. If you want to stand out, you’re going to need an effective content marketing strategy.
What is Content?
Before we discuss content strategy, we need to understand what it means when we say “content”. Content has different meanings and connotations depending on the context. There are many different types of content but when it comes to digital marketing, there are four core aspects of content.
- Information – content contains information. It can be educational, factual, entertaining or practical (or any combination of these).
- Context – context is addressing the right audience with the right message. Context is understanding the purpose of the content.
- Medium – What channel are you publishing on and how does that impact the content?
- Type – What type of content are you publishing? Text, graphic, audio, video, interactive, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc.
The relevancy of content is impacted by the context in which it is published, the type of content it is and by the medium through which it’s transmitted.
What is a Content Strategy?
A content strategy directs who, what, when, where and how you will connect with your audience, making it an essential component of your overall marketing strategy. A content strategy is more than a list of topics and the type of content you will be creating. A content strategy includes a content audit, parent personas, enrollment journey map, and content governance. (Content governance is a set of guidelines laid out that “governs” how content is planned, developed and published. It also assigns roles and duties for the execution of editorial content.)
A content strategy is a blueprint you develop using content (written, audio, and/or visual) to achieve your school marketing goals.
A content strategy ensures you aren’t publishing content in isolation. It’s not just developing an editorial calendar, creating content and publishing it. It’s not just having a blog with random posts or putting out a one-off piece here or there.
The elements of content strategy start from the larger goals you’re trying to accomplish. If you aren’t creating content for the right purpose, you won’t be successful in your efforts.
Once you’ve determined your overall goals and objectives, it’s time to focus on the “how” of your content strategy.
- What outcomes do we expect from our content?
- What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the types of content we publish?
- What are our target audiences for the different types of content we publish?
- What insights can we gain from a content audit?
- How will we source content topics?
- What content formats work best for the types of content we will be producing?
- How do we ensure we will follow our documented strategy and governance?
- How will we distribute our content? How will we ensure our email, social media and other outreach efforts supports our overall content marketing plan?
Your content marketing strategy needs to align with your broader marketing goals and objectives in order to be cohesive and consistent.
Content Strategy and SEO
Content strategy and SEO must work together in order to increase organic traffic and inquiries generated while lowering your costs.
In today’s marketing world, creating a content strategy is an essential part of SEO strategy. As search engines (i.e. Google) evolve, their algorithms are placing emphasis on finding quality content that matches the searchers’ intent.
That’s why even small websites can break through with authoritative content that ranks highly for competitive keywords.
Content clusters, formed through proper information architecture, will rank higher because the aggregate content will provide answers to the questions your audience is asking.
Internal linking will also help visitors to your site find the answers they need easily and intuitively.
If you would like more information on content strategy and SEO, check out SEO Coach. SEO Coach offers in-depth knowledge on building content strategies.
Content Strategy and Admissions
Admissions content is content admissions officers can use to educate prospective families and help build a case for enrolling in your school.
Your content strategy should take into account common questions and objections your admissions staff commonly hear.
Why Is It Important to Have a Content Strategy?
A content strategy can help you improve your marketing results and return on investment (ROI). It will help you define your marketing goals and set priorities. When you have a content strategy, you gain clarity on why you’re using a particular type of content, who you want to reach, what type of content you will create, what channels you will publish through and who will be responsible for what.
A documented content strategy will give your team the direction they need to achieve the results you are looking for. You’ll find ways to optimize your workflows. You’ll get feedback from prospective parents, enrolled families, community partners, and the public about your content that will help you refine your strategy.
A content strategy isn’t something you compose, print out and leave in a file drawers somewhere. A content strategy is something you refer to, re-evaluate, adapt and find new ways to move through your content development cycle a little easier and wiser each time around.
A successful content strategy is based on knowing what your strategy is. Once you develop your strategy, you can track, measure and analyze your content marketing ROI.
Building a Content Strategy
Now that you understand what a content strategy is, how it can help your marketing efforts and what is needed to be successful, you’re probably wondering how to put it into practice.
SEO Coach can help!
SEO Coach is the best place to start learning how to build a successful content strategy. Not only does it guide you through the actions you need to take to improve your online visibility, but it also offers SEO Academy, your one-stop-shop to learn SEO. Every month you can build a new content strategy with three new topics. It will also help you track the top SEO keywords of your competitors.
Be sure to check SEO Coach out and let me know if you have any questions!
Does your school have a documented content strategy? If so, has it helped improve your content marketing success? Please share your experience in the comments below…