It’s no exaggeration to say content marketing is all the rage, regardless of industry or business size. In fact, 73% of business-to-business (B2B) and 70% of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers use content as part of their overall strategy — and nearly 70% of businesses intend to increase their content budgets in the year ahead.
Brafton has been at the forefront of content marketing solutions for universities for 15+ years. Today, we’re an international leader in content marketing strategy, content creation services and content marketing technology. And we’re ready to share our expertise with university staff and higher education professionals all around the world.
Why Do Universities Need Content Marketing? 5 Key Benefits
The higher education industry has long thrived on more traditional forms of advertising. However, customer preferences and habits are changing: 62% of B2B buyers say their research process relies on content more than ever, while 89% of consumers say content such as a promotional video has convinced them to pay for a service. To remain relevant and competitive in today’s customer-centric landscape, your university must go where your target audience is: online.
Of course, the value of content marketing isn’t just about staying trendy. A good content strategy has plenty of other benefits, including:
#1: Return on Investment (ROI)
Content marketing allows you to create an asset and put it to work — and if you’ve done everything right, search engines and your audience will do the rest. It’s an easy way to get more out of a single investment, thus boosting ROI.
That ROI can manifest in different ways, including:
- Increased website traffic.
- Higher average time per page.
- Improved brand awareness.
- More social shares.
- New students.
#2: Value for Customers
Through content marketing, you can create benefits for both potential and existing staff and students. By answering common questions, covering educational trends, discussing available services and more, you prove to your target market that you’re willing to provide passive value — that is, you’ll serve them even if they aren’t actively engaging with your services or offerings. This builds trust and loyalty and can even improve student retention.
#3: Industry Authority
Content marketing is your chance to build authority, whether by sharing thought leadership, explaining the benefits of your university services or highlighting student testimonials. This will help you stand out from the competition while strengthening your reputation as a reliable source of education solutions.
#4: Increased Visibility
If you want to get in front of more potential professors and students, you need a solid content marketing strategy. You’ll enjoy increased visibility through higher search engine results page (SERP) rankings, better social media reach and increased digital engagement. Good content is worth talking about — and that’s great news for your university.
Any well-designed good content marketing strategy encompasses many different assets, approaches and concepts. This gives your higher education institution the flexibility to engage through a variety of channels, delivering valuable content based on what resonates with your target audience.
Hear From Some of Our Clients:
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Types of Content Marketing Services for Universities
While content creation and distribution are critical in today’s marketing landscape, these tasks require a unique set of skills, plenty of resources and a lot of research to perform properly. Even an enterprise-level organization may not be equipped to handle the fast-changing world of Google Analytics and similar tools. That’s part of the reason half of all marketers outsource at least some of their content marketing.
Don’t make a higher education professional do a marketer’s job. Here are just a few services your university can outsource:
The right content speaks to the right people. You need a team of dedicated professionals whose skills span all the major content types, including:
- Content writing, such as blog posts, landing pages and gated assets.
- Graphic design, including eBooks, white papers and infographics.
- Video production, from short-form videos to longer explainer content.
- Web design, which improves the user experience and acts as a home for your university content marketing strategy.
When all of these talents are within reach, your university can choose the best way to share different kinds of information. For example, graphics and video are particularly valuable in the higher education industry, where hard data must be visualized in approachable, memorable ways. Similarly, blog posts are a perfect platform for thought leadership and industry expertise.
Another benefit of having dedicated content creation teams is that these experts are trained in search engine optimization (SEO). This means they’re able to build assets that appeal to search engines, rank more highly on SERPs and get your content in front of more potential students and faculty.
Your university can also benefit from content distribution services. This includes:
- Email marketing, which involves writing emails to promote services or assets and maintaining a newsletter distribution list.
- Social media marketing, which prioritizes channels where your target audience is most active and encourages engagement, sharing and more.
- Pay-per-click advertising, where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
All of these distribution options rely on a strong content marketing strategy, solid research and a robust library of unique assets on your website. That’s why it’s often best to outsource to experts in building and managing a marketing plan.
To actively improve your digital marketing efforts and consistently create better blog posts, email marketing content and other assets, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. Good content services will offer performance tracking at every stage of the strategic process and utilize tools like Google Analytics to provide in-depth looks at your campaigns. This not only supports your marketing efforts in a fast-changing environment, but it also allows your university faculty to better understand what an incoming student might be looking for.
These numbers can come from a variety of sources, but the best marketing partner for your university will use approaches such as:
Google Analytics Monitoring
Google Analytics offers a wealth of knowledge for any organization, from a small community college to a massive university. This tool helps digital marketing experts track key website information — for example, the source of traffic directed to a particular page. Your marketing partner should use Google Analytics at every stage of your university content marketing strategy, from planning to performance tracking.
An SEO score is a measurement of how well your site appeals to users and, therefore, search engines. You need to keep track of this score to determine whether your digital marketing efforts are headed in the right direction. Fortunately, a good marketing services provider can do this work for you, providing key information on elements such as technical SEO, user-friendliness and more.
Your digital marketing provider will assign a content marketing strategist and account manager. These experts — along with their partners in social media, email marketing and other branches of content creation — will interpret the data and recommend next steps based on their insights. This helps ensure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity and addressing any gaps in your marketing plan.
The Right Content Marketing Agency for Your University
When searching for a content marketing agency to partner with your recruitment agency, look for elements such as:
- Skill sets: Does the agency employ a wide variety of creators, strategists and SEO experts to serve your university’s needs?
- Experience: Can the agency demonstrate a strong pedigree in digital content marketing, with many years of experience in the field?
- Testimonials: Are there case studies or testimonials from existing clients, ideally in the higher education industry?
- Flexibility: Can the firm serve multiple industries and business sizes, indicating strong attention to detail and an ability to address changing needs?
- Adaptability: Does the organization promise to build a marketing strategy based on industry insights and your firm’s unique needs and KPIs?
- Capability: Can this partner create, distribute and track the performance of all content?
Remember, this isn’t just a business deal — this is a partnership. A good content marketing agency will take your suggestions and ideas, help you brainstorm, interview internal subject matter experts or handle the creative work themselves, depending on your needs and goals.
To learn more about what a content marketing partnership should look like, get in touch with Brafton today. We look forward to helping your university deliver even better service to potential and current students.