Is content marketing an effective way for private schools to recruit new students? Can implementing content marketing help differentiate your prep school from its competitors? In many instances, the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.”
Content marketing helps private schools enhance their website and develop a robust repository of online information that can help to answer common questions families have when looking for the right private school for their child(ren). The question is, how does a private school start a content marketing program?
Start with your website
Effective content marketing programs rely on responsive, content-rich websites. If your private school is looking to implement a marketing program, making sure your website is responsive is the first step. With a responsive website in place, it’s time to cull through your existing content and find opportunities to integrate compelling calls-to-action. These calls-to-action/opportunities for engagement may range from downloading a toolkit to scheduling a tour or registering for an info session. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure the forms people are completing to obtain this premium content or register for these events are also responsive and, of course, that the completed forms are being funneled to a central point of contact.
Since Google’s algorithm was refined to give preference to high quality content as opposed to promotional/sales content, there is an even greater opportunity for a blog to enhance your online search rankings. Further, answering common questions encountered during the admissions process via a blog can help to attract new applicants to your school. As a general rule of thumb, your blog posts should be a minimum of 500-600 words, optimized with website keywords and include a clear call-to-action. If you commit to a content marketing program and start a blog to help recruit new students, set a reasonable posting frequency at the onset (once or twice per week is ideal for SEO) and commit to sustaining it.
Integrate your admissions team into the process
While your marketing department may be spearheading your content marketing program, your admissions team should play an integral role in the program. Admissions counselors are a wealth of information about what families are looking for in a private school, why families ultimately enroll their students in your school, what prompts families to enroll their child at another school, and the list goes on. You’ll want to leverage their insights to influence your content strategy and you’ll also want to be sure there is a process in place for funneling any leads that come in via your website to the admissions process for follow-up.
Consider premium content opportunities
Some of the calls-to-action incorporated into your blog should be opportunities to secure deeper content. For example, a blog post may answer the top 10 questions about the enrollment process while an enrollment toolkit may help to walk prospective students and their families through the application process step-by-step. This content can be promoted via not only your lead generation blog, but in email marketing, online advertising and via social media marketing.
Strive for social integration
While organic search will help drive traffic to your content marketing assets, you’ll also want to ensure a steady stream of promotion across your content marketing channels. So as not to overwhelm your social media communities with too much of the “same old,” find new ways to make your content relevant and drive reads, shares and downloads as time goes on. Remember, it’s also important to share relevant third-party content on your social media marketing channels to demonstrate that you are up-to-date on relevant trends.
Content marketing can help private schools to fill the pipeline with prospective students and educate families about their programs. It is an opportunity to answer online audiences’ questions, bolster engagement and share an inside perspective as a student at your school. Lastly, it provides a bank of ready-to-use assets for the admissions team to use as they follow-up with prospective students and their families. Remember, effective content marketing programs for private schools rely on a consistent stream of optimized, relevant, high-quality content. When executed correctly, content marketing can cultivate new leads, move existing leads further down the sales funnel and, ultimately, drive conversion.