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Research, Resources and Tips on business domains - marketing, digital and creativity.
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05 11

Building a BRAND of an Educational Institution: ‘CONTENT’ Approach is Must

Keywords: digital marketing, content marketing, education sector / 0 Comment(s)

A research study by Google(July 2018) says that ‘engaging students online’ is the new syllabus that educational institutions need to excel at. 97% students found researched about educational institution online and 80% found to be checking institution website before confirming their decision. Of course in India, push for the use of institutional portal/website by NAAC, AICTE and directives provided by UGC and Public Universities regarding what all content to be made available on an institutional website are the initiatives, supporting movement in the right direction.

Many educational institutions and universities still found believe that, handing out brochures and flyers can show how great their school is. Secondly, traditionally institutions preferred custom writing in newspapers and print media but most of the student applicants, today, engage in mostly online interactions than offline. This is a force that institutions must understand and develop their custom digital marketing plans that are based on great customer experience throughout the customer journey map. Social media has become important tool to share institution’s culture and testimonials, as today’s word-of-mouth tool. Testimonials from students, institutional awards and accreditation or the credible latest results can earn a lot of credibility to any institution.
All though some have started to believe that getting on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and posting regularly is good marketing. Do they really focus on the purpose and quality of content they should share? What do educational companies like Udemy, edX or Khan Academy, are doing that attracts millions of subscribers and students who take their courses? They have a well-focused content marketing strategy in PLACE.

How students get the information they need has changed a lot over the years, doesn’t this dictate the new approach in building a brand of an educational institution?

It is already well established fact that, whenever a prospective student searches for education options online, marketers have enormous opportunities to show up relevant digital content helping reach a decision point. Many students love to know the people, traditions and the campus before considering joining an educational institution. Whereas, most of the educational institutions in our study have found presenting leadership photographs having political influence, dominantly presented statutory body information or the admission process links or at the most school’s annual events on homepage. Can this have potential to impress a prospective student/parent in search of a good educational facility or does it at least adds to brand value of the institution? Exceptionally, emphasis on sharing research projects, industry interactions, faculty details, live social channels interactions and student’s testimonials right on the home page of few premium institutions in India are very good examples to share.

It must be also understood that not all content is to be written by a single person, but every stakeholder’s specific contribution can add much more meaning and weightage to the content. Faculty writing about research articles or teaching experiences, administrators writing about future plans, new programs or initiatives, students posting on informative blog as an opportunity to add to their professional portfolio can truly help make quality content available to prospective users. Content like faculty accomplishments, new research and successful alumni stories can help build trust while meaningful and relevant content like explained above can show institutional expertise much directly than ranks and other facts. User generated content, meaningfully curated social media content, faculty-led bulletins, notifications, and updates are few more types of quality content.

Content shared by educational institutions can be broadly classified into four key areas namely compliance, constructive, creditworthy and competitive. While Internet users in India are to reach 627 million in 2019, majority of institutions in India still found focusing only on the first 2 categories of content i.e. compliance guidelines provided by UGC, NAAC, NBA or parent University and other constructive material showing details of various events, infrastructure, facilities and laboratories or admission process details. The next two types of content that can be categorized as ‘creditworthy’ and ‘competitive’ truly help establish any institutional brand online and this is where institutions need to focus to get noticed in online crowd. With a custom CMS like ‘Enstitute Empower’ you can kick start your institutional content marketing in just a couple of days. ‘Enstitute Empower’ is already in use and adopted by many NAAC accredited institutions.

Marketers say that, a good informative blog is the foundation of all content marketing efforts. A blog article shared by a friend can be the first interaction one can have with an institution much before he or she can think of joining it. A simple blog post written to understand a deeper case study or an infographic making statistical findings much lightweight to read, understand and share, can for sure become much popular among the targeted community of students. Also such content if aligned with the institutional vision and mission can make it more effective, authentic and creditworthy.
Sharing of inspirational quotes and images mixed with stories from alumni on Tumbler blog by Stanford University, Concordia university sharing video of the teacher of the year ‘Greg McFall’ who continuously work on his ability to connect with his students, YouTube tutorials used by Khan Academy to receive millions of views, Corsera sharing a learner’s story helping a student take ownership of own career who earlier felt trapped in career path, are few very successful and well-known content marketing examples. Short videos shared via YouTube, explaining important business topics by Columbia school of business not only gives authenticity to school but creates a valuable platform for students and faculty to participate and discuss online.

Creative course content giving added meaning to the course, graduate works, case studies and finally the suggested list of careers that a student can persue after completion of a course should add to much of ‘why’ students buy instead of ‘what’. Creative emails and Newsletters can also keep prospets informed about whats going on in the campus.

A well planned digital transformation journey with our proven roadmap and well guided support can for sure reward in terms of increased students’ engagements and improved course enrollments, so expected revenue must not be unachievable to any deserving institution.

  1. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-aunz/consumer-insights/path-enrollment-higher-education-why-engaging-students-online-new-syllabus-success/
  2. https://www.singlegrain.com/res/marketing-guide-for-online-educational-companies/content-marketing/
  3. https://www.relevance.com/the-changing-role-of-marketing-in-education-sector/
  4. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/68288868.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
  5. SWOT Anlysis of E-learning Educational Services from the Perspective of their Beneficiaries. (2014). Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences.
  6. Higher education and the digital revolution: About MOOCs, SPOCs, social media, and the Cookie Monster. (2016). Business Horizons.
  7. Literacy, literacies and the digital in higher education. (2011). Teaching in Higher Education.
  8. Digital Native Debate in Higher Education. (2012).
  9. Strategies for Higher Education in the Digital Age. (2017). California Management Review.
  10. CLEAN AND SMART CAMPUS AICTE letter. (n.d.).

What Next:

John Chambers, Executive Chairman, Cisco System says "At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years... if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies". Lets discuss 'Digital Disruption to SME Sector in India...today's imperative' in my next artical. till then ...good bye and have a great time ahead!

Posted by Mr. Sachin Mutha on Nov 05, 2023

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