Schools can propel their marketing strategy by smartly using owned, earned and paid content distribution channels. This includes social media posts and ads, website content (including blog posts), video, emails, display ads and podcasts.
Here are some of the content distribution channels that will propel your school marketing:
These are content channels a school controls and are unique to their brand, such as websites, newsletters, email campaigns and free social media posts. These free channels help build relationships with potential students and their families, tell the story of a school, showcase current student achievements and earn media.
Owned media should be the focus of school content and marketing because of its:
- Control: schools have control over their own content and can post when they like
- Reach: targeted posts that employ strong SEO principles can expand a school’s reach; promoting owned content on social media is key to its wide distribution
- Cost effectiveness: it is free to post on an owned distribution channel
- Longevity: the content can stay online or on social media as long as the school likes
- Versatility: schools can post a variety of content online and in print
Paid content is any content that a school pays for. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter offer paid advertising. Pay-per-click advertising is a popular form of paid content whereby schools can place an advertisement on a website and pay that website a sum each time it is clicked.
Paid content should be used sparingly and schools must do the following when using it:
- Be creative and eye-catching
- Have a clear target audience
- Research keywords carefully
- Make it easy for users to access the content promoted in the ad
Earned content is online ‘word-to-mouth’, seen when third-parties distribute school content through press coverage, reviews, sharing, reposting and mentions on social media, and when a school ranks high in organic search results. This comes as a result of a school’s effort in paid and owned media. According to Neilsen, earned content is the most trusted form of advertising.
To earn content, schools can:
- Create shareable, engaging content
- Use SEO principles
- Connect with the local media and prominent locals who can write or speak about the school
Best practices for school content:
- Make owned content the focus
- Be concise
- Connect all channels to each other (paid content should lead back to a school’s owned content)
- Regularly share valuable, varied and current content; schools must remind the audiences of their presence; delete outdated content
- Interact with the audience; respond quickly to enquiries
- Plan to distribute content in three main areas: on the school’s website; via email marketing; and on social media
- Make sure blog posts are genuine blog posts and not just news stories. Keep blog posts and news posts separate; allows some blogs to be written by students, teachers and alumni
- Emphasise what makes the school different
- Use call-to-action buttons frequently: such as ‘Apply now’, ‘Visit us’ and ‘Support us’; use verbs in headlines too
- Regularly post about student, teacher or alumni achievements
- Incorporate videos and embed them in your owned content