Content Marketing can be a very effective school enrollment growth strategy. Unfortunately, many schools that invest time and money in content marketing do not achieve the success they expect to see as a result of their content marketing efforts. Why? Here are five key mistakes these schools typically make.
1. They Fail to Know and Understand Their Audience
The main principle of content marketing is build to attract and engage an audience based on an effort to build trust. To do that, you need to know something about the audience you are trying to attract. Who are they? What appeals to them? What are their wants and needs? What are their greatest challenges? Without knowing the answers to these questions, it’s difficult to offer the type of content that will attract, let alone engage them.
Creating buyer personas can help you identify the answers to these questions and provide the information needed to create the type of content that would appeal most to your audience.
2. They Don’t Publish the Right Kind of Content
Too many times schools that are not seeing success in their content marketing efforts have fallen victim to the “me monster.” Having lost sight of their prospects, schools succumbing to this malady publish mainly school-centered content about school activities, accomplishments and accolades, rendering their blogs and websites to be little more than an online calendar of events or brag book for their current community. Not very welcoming for prospects. Or very engaging either.
If you want to attract prospects, your content needs to appeal to and be geared towards the prospects’ wants and needs. And, if you want to keep them coming back for more, it needs to be engaging and relevant to them.
3. They Have No Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is more than simply creating and publishing an interesting blog article or designing a pretty web page. It’s a strategic approach of creating compelling content in an effort to drive customer action. In the case of schools, it’s guiding a prospect through the buyer’s journey to the point of making an enrollment decision.
When you create content, you need to start with the end in mind. In other words, what do you want website visitors to do once they read your content? Your content should lead them in that direction. For example, each blog and relevant web page should include a CTA (call-to-action) that encourages and allows your visitor to take that next step, such as subscribing to your email list, downloading an ebook, or scheduling a tour.
4. They Have No Content Marketing Plan
Knowing the ultimate goal of your content marketing efforts is only one part of the equation. And it’s all well and good to decide you’re going to include blogs, ebooks and videos as part of your content marketing strategy to turn your website visitors into prospects and then enrollees. But how? To achieve your content marketing goals, you need a road map to guide you. You need a clearly defined content marketing plan.
The creation of a content marketing plan does not revolve around blogs, ebooks, or videos. While these are all important tactics to include, an effective content marketing plan begins with and revolves around a campaign.
A campaign is a concentrated effort that aligns your marketing tactics and channels around a single message or goal. One that begins with an offer you promote to generate leads and then involves nurturing them through the buyer’s journey to the point of the enrollment decision.
For example, say your overall goal is to increase enrollment in your preschool program. Your campaign might start with a “10 Chores That Can Develop Your Young Child’s Math Skills” blog to attract and engage website visitors in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. The blog might include a CTA inviting the reader to download a “Guide to Choosing a Preschool” to lead visitors to become consideration stage prospects. Then, after a series of scheduled emails, you might send a link for your “A Day In The Life of A Preschooler at XYZ School” video to help guide your prospects to and through the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.
Content marketing is an intentional approach requiring an intentional plan.
5.They Fail to Invest in the Proper Resources
Content marketing is a proven and effective school enrollment growth strategy. However, it takes consistent effort to make it work. A strategy needs to be developed. A plan needs to be devised and executed. Content needs to be created. And if there is no one in place to carry out these responsibilities, your content marketing efforts are doomed to fail.
While a number of people may be involved to varying degrees in your content marketing efforts, schools that have had the most success in achieving their content marketing goals are those who have assigned one individual, a content manager, to oversee the process. One who is provided ongoing support and guidance.
Be sure to avoid these mistakes if you want to achieve success in your school content marketing efforts.