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An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers

Content Marketing

The growing use of content marketing for inbound marketing has been accepted and used in many industries. In higher education, more and more experts are utilizing content marketing to help drive traffic, leads and visibility for their schools and institutions. I had a chance to interview a few experts about their integration of content marketing and reasons why they agree content marketing is so valuable online today. Read their answers and respond with your own feedback. How are you integrating content marketing in your industry and why do you feel it’s so valuable today?

Taylor May

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image taylor may 300x300Taylor May is the Director of Search Marketing for Deltak, a company that partners with higher education institutions to develop successful online programs. In this role, Taylor oversees the strategy and implementation of all organic search initiatives. Previously, he managed SEM strategies in the real estate and energy industries.

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image Content Marketer Taylor May

As a higher education marketer, how have you planned to integrate content marketing into your efforts?

Since I oversee organic search, I feel content marketing is one of the most important pieces to integrate into the organic search puzzle. Unique content is easily at our disposal from faculty who want to share articles they have written to students who want to provide a testimonial on how great the school was. Higher ed content marketing can also expand outward from faculty and students. There are also opportunities to interview thought leaders within professions or create videos at an industry conference. With the amount of unique content available, we can provide something engaging on our website for the reader. Even better is the ease of accessing the content. Content pieces such as infographics or videos rank highly in the search engines. Prospective students can easily find good content without surfing through various areas of the site to get there. If those readers are sharing through Facebook or Twitter or linking to the content from their blog then we have done our job at naturally building our site for organic search. I feel if we create and market outstanding content, many of the other organic search pieces (links, shares, etc.) will fall into place.

While the plan is to focus on building the website, there are a myriad of external options to promote our content. We can upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo. YouTube is the second largest search engine available and there is a lot of potential. We can create infographics and post onto Visual.ly. These are various content marketing pieces that can be outside of our website yet still provide value through brand building.

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Why do you think content marketing is so valuable in higher education marketing?

I feel content marketing is valuable from an engagement perspective. Potential students conduct a lot of research regarding unique degrees and their outcomes once the student finishes the program. However, they now have new types of content that are very engaging such as infographics, top 10 lists, and videos. With all the research they are conducting, these forms of very digestible content may allow them to not get overwhelmed through the process. However, I believe what makes content marketing for higher ed even more unique is that the source of the content may be the actual professors teaching their courses. It doesn’t get any more engaging then that.

Secondly, content marketing is very valuable when it comes to organic search. Many potential students are using search engines to research degrees and schools. On top of that, higher education search engine rankings are unbelievably competitive. Utilizing a content marketing plan provides the opportunity to increase the size of the website and target highly searched, less competitive keywords. If the potential student is engaged, then they will share the content socially. With Google’s algorithm being high on social sharing, opportunities open up for sites that have engaged in a content marketing plan. This is even more important for higher ed sites due to heavy competition.

Frederic Lee

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image Frederic lee 150x150Frederic Lee is a content marketing specialist for Circa Interactive, as well as a regular contributor to the HigherEd Marketing Journal. He specializes in high quality content creation and distribution for the higher education vertical with a focus on branding, lead generation, and link building.

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image Content Marketer Frederic Lee

As a higher education marketer, how have you planned to integrate content marketing into your efforts?

We are actually already very active in utilizing content marketing as part of our overall strategy. Through our content marketing efforts, we offer a variety of forms of quality content to blogs and websites, and aim to generate a number of diverse backlinks from quality websites directed towards our programs. While we are continuing to implement new forms of content marketing, we are currently focusing on high quality articles and infographics. We utilize social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Slideshare, etc.) to gain social traction and help facilitate the distribution of the content. Content marketing is an excellent way to build brand awareness, relationships with current and potential students, and website strength in search engine rankings.

Why do you think content marketing is so valuable in higher education marketing?

In higher ed, we are fortunate to be working with strong top-level-domains (TLDs) that carry a certain value of trustworthiness and validity with the general public. Bloggers and webmasters always seem to be more inclined to publish content from .edu’s over other less trustworthy sources. With that said, high quality, well thought out content created by a .edu has the potential to generate a serious amount of links and social shares.

When you team that with the highly competitive niche that is higher ed, content marketing is crucial in generating the quality and volume of links needed to remain competitive in the organic search space. In the world of Higher Education SEO, a solid off-page SEO strategy coupled with the implementation of on-page best practices is essential for program success.

Josh Braaten

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image Josh Braaten 150x150Josh Braaten is the Associate Director of Inbound Marketing at Collegis Education, responsible for developing organic marketing strategies and leading a team of inbound marketers to meet and exceed student enrollment goals through content marketing as well as SEO, web analytics, CRO and social media efforts for higher education institutions.

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image Content Marketer Josh Braaten

As a higher education marketer, how have you planned to integrate content marketing into your efforts?

College enrollment is one of the longest and most complex buying choices consumers face. A college degree is a significant investment, statistics about the quality of a product (e.g., will a student be able to start a career as a result of the degree?) are often vague, and every prospective student has dozens of questions over the course of many months before they enroll. Content marketing helps answer students’ questions and guide their efforts over the course of their college research so they can feel confident enrolling in school and be successful in their academic pursuits once started.

Why do you think content marketing is so valuable in higher education marketing?

We’ve built a strong in-house content marketing team over the last two years to help guide potential new students to success and to demonstrate the support we give our students before they ever set foot on a campus or log into an online classroom.

Allison Furkey

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image AF headshot 150x150Allison Furkey is the New Media PR Liaison for the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She manages the school’s social media as well as other marketing and communications initiatives. Before coming to Isenberg, Allison was a graphic designer at publishing company Simon & Schuster in New York City.

An Interview With Higher Education Content Marketers image Content Marketer Allison Furkey

As a higher education marketer, how have you planned to integrate content marketing into your efforts?

We are in a big phase of change right now with our marketing initiatives and are planning on focusing much more on content. Currently we’re preparing for the beginning of the school year with an editorial calendar to highlight our strongest stories and content opportunities, which we will capture and share through videos, photography, and news pieces. Many of these will showcase alumni guest speakers and interesting events happening at the school. This content is ripe to be shared and repackaged to many of our audiences in different ways, including social media channels, alumni newsletters, and emails to prospective students. We’ve always had great stories, but integrating them into our marketing efforts is going to be a key piece in how we showcase the school moving forward.

Why do you think content marketing is so valuable in higher education marketing?

As an educational institution, we are in the perfect position to provide good content to all of our audiences (prospective and current students, alumni, and recruiters). We have great minds and great information to share, as well as really wonderful stories to highlight about our faculty, students, and alumni. It’s valuable to them and it’s also valuable to us to show our culture and community as a school, as well as our expertise in business and research. The more high-quality, pertinent content we can provide, the more Isenberg will be seen as a thought-leader in the business community and as an exciting, collaborative place to learn and prepare for a successful career.

How are you integrating content marketing in your industry and why do you feel it’s so valuable today?

Comments on this Article: 1

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  1. Victoria says:

    HubSpot is the pioneer of Inbound Marketing and helps over 10,000 customers world-wide achieve success. We started a Nonprofit/Edu program to address specifically the critical need for schools and institutions to maximize their resources, improve online visibility and attract more qualified applicants for their programs given the national trend of declining enrollment and federal aid. Happy to help any edu marketers learn more about Inbound Marketing and how HubSpot helps.

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