The creation of great content is not an end in itself.
As part of your inbound strategy, great content is what you use to draw prospective customers in, attracting and delighting them enough that they’ll be willing to share some of their contact information with you, allowing you, in turn, to continue offering them ever more tailored and timely content appropriate to their needs and interests —nurturing these leads in a highly informed and strategic manner. Great content is great—but only if it is actually motivating people to opt in to continued communications with your marketing team. So as you work toward creating great content, make sure that you keep the end goal in mind from the beginning.
Getting to Great
Great content comes from great content creators. Some marketing departments have in-house writers, designers, video producers, and social media experts—which can be very effective. Other marketers find that working with contractors and freelancers is a better fit. Still other college marketing professionals choose to work with outside marketing firms who can provide comprehensive and integrated technical support and research as well as content production. Whatever you and your team decide, it’s crucial that your content is written, edited, and designed to the highest possible standards—today’s consumers are savvy. They can sniff out low production quality and decide that your content isn’t worth their time in no time at all.
How giving gives back
At this point you may be wondering how in the world you can justify spending a sizeable chunk of your budget on creating great content—including ebooks!—that you’re just going to hand out for free. Of course, as a higher education marketing professional, you’re used to doing just that—and you’re also used to paying heavy fees for all that glossy, full-color printing, only to have to send such materials to the recycling bin when they get outdated. By contrast, the content whose creation you invest in as part of an inbound strategy has a longer shelf life, can be edited digitally (and therefore, much more cheaply), and can theoretically be endlessly used and reused and even revised without showing its age.
But there’s more to the rationale for investing in great content. Remember that inbound marketing’s content strategy means less reliance on advertising—and consider that according to industry research, inbound marketing costs significantly less than traditional advertising—as much as 61% less, in fact. Which means, quite simply, that great content is worth the price.
Finally, consider what your generosity in terms of content communicates to your prospective students and their parents. Let’s say that one of your offers includes a really excellent guide to writing college admissions essays, a guide that’s so helpful and well-written that it’s widely linked to and shared and recommended. Not only does this piece of content well to generate organic traffic and interest, it also offers prospective students the opportunity to opt into continued communications with your admissions team, and positions your institution to be perceived as a helpful, savvy, and generous guide within the maze of college admissions and applications—the kind of place with resources that make a difference; the kind of place your prospective students and their parents feel they can trust.Unsure of whether your marketing efforts are having any results?