Are you generating lots of content but not getting the enrollment results you want? Frustrating, isn’t it? The answer is not to continue as you have been or to rev up and generate even more quantity of content for posting. On the contrary, maybe less content is the answer only this time write from a strong messaging strategy. Have you developed a messaging strategy? Your messaging strategy isn’t a document you want to overhaul often. Content marketing needs time to build results. Get it right the first time and build your content around your messaging strategy – consistently.
Creating a messaging strategy is not easy. It takes time and creativity. The biggest mistake you can make is diving into content creation without first creating a higher ed strategy. Your efforts will be futile with a frustrating lack of enrollment results. How do you start? First of all, get in touch with your student prospects. What motivates them, how do they respond, what media do they prefer, how do they think and feel, and most of all, what messaging moves them? Put yourself in their shoes and develop content that you would want to receive with a message that is clear, direct, and compelling. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But that is far from actuality.
Next, look at your institution’s value proposition, goals, and the distinctions of your institution’s brand. These elements are equally important since your messaging goal should be to align the institution with your targeted student prospects. This alignment exercise is critical as you develop your messaging strategy. If you fail to align your institutional personas with your prospective student personas, the opportunity for success dwindles. Make certain that you get this part right.
If you follow your marketing strategy, your digital and print marketing messaging will hit its mark producing results that make you proud. Remember to keep your messaging consistent across all content pieces and tightly aligned with your messaging strategy.
Now, you can move on to content development and the tactical aspects of your campaign. Keep your brand value proposition in front of your higher ed student prospects in all communications. Before you write your content, ask yourself what kind of student is most likely to be served by your institution? Evaluate how your prospective students will benefit from the unique education provided by your institution. Remember the consistency in messaging at all points of content development.
According to Bart Caylor, owner of Caylor Solutions, “There are various things about your education brand that make you distinct among other schools. By listing out what makes you unique, you can celebrate your school’s biggest competitive advantage.
- How is your campus setting unique?
- How are your programs one-of-a-kind?
- What makes your faculty special mentors?
- What other features of your classes, degrees, majors, or culture set you apart from your competitors?
Don’t just go for the big differentiators here. List everything that makes you different”.
Consider the needs of both students and parents in your messaging. Address both groups. In generality, the student wants an inviting campus with fun social activities. The parents want a safe campus where their students can study and learn. What does your messaging communicate? Will both parents and students respond favorably to your messaging?
Your messaging strategy and your content need time to take effect. “The biggest reason to let your messaging plan have time to breathe is so that it has time to produce results for you. While you should see immediate results from content marketing, the real fruit comes in around two years after you launch. That’s about the time it takes for a blog, a YouTube channel, social media channel, or direct mail to grow to enough subscribers to begin seeing a difference in your marketing funnel”, states Caylor. Content marketing is a long-term strategy meant to transition your institution from a frenzied outbound marketing model to an inbound strategy where new leads are finding you!
Caylor continues, “Outdated messaging reflects marketing that’s out of touch with its audience, brand, and the higher education space. So let’s dive into the 7 reasons you should consider revising your messaging strategy.
1. Low Enrollment Numbers (Year-Over-Year)
2. Leads Jumping Out of Funnel
3. Few Leads Entering the Funnel
4. Change in Organizational Direction
5. Change in Marketing Leadership
6. Disaster or Crisis Management
7. Change in Audience
There are real moments when a school needs to consider overhauling its messaging strategy to match current realities – both internal and external. Knowing when to go back to the drawing board can be the key to content marketing success or failure.”
A messaging strategy front-loads all the thinking, saving your team valuable time. Without a higher ed messaging strategy, high-level marketing considerations like your value proposition, institutional goals, marketing personas, and the distinctives of your institution’s brand have to be mapped out during the creation of every content piece and campaign. The result of all this strategic planning is that your marketing team can get to work right away crafting the content. “A higher ed messaging strategy keeps your messaging consistent across content pieces.
Each email campaign, every blog, and all white papers should not only have a consistent voice, but they should have the same messaging elements. Successful content marketing happens when each content piece conveys the same value proposition and brand distinctives”, states Caylor.
Are you generating lots of content but not getting the enrollment results you want? The answer is not to continue as you have been or to rev up and generate even more quantity of content for posting. On the contrary, maybe less content is the answer only this time write from a strong messaging strategy. Remember, your messaging strategy isn’t a document you want to overhaul often. Content marketing needs time to build results. Get it right the first time and build your content around your messaging strategy – consistently.
For more information on developing marketing strategy and content that will generate higher ed enrollment increases, contact your Think Patented account executive or call 937.353.2299.