If you have spent any time working in or on your school’s marketing plan, you know that it can feel like a constantly moving target. The platforms, tools, and best practices that are ideal for creating a successful outreach campaign can change frequently (and sometimes unexpectedly). And that is never more apparent than when you are trying to reach a young audience, often full of early-adopters and ever-shortening attention spans.
At the Imagine America Foundation, we know how frustrating it can be—but we also have recommendations for you if you feel lost or aren’t sure where to start when developing your marketing practices in order to get in touch with prospective students who will soon graduate from high school.
Creating content can feel overwhelming, but it does not have to be a chore. Between the programs you offer, the support you provide, the events you host, the instructors you feature, the students you help, the recognition you give (and receive!), there is a lot to leverage into engaging and relevant content. Think of all the things your school does every single day!
You may decide to highlight the goings-on and news about your school in a blog, a podcast, a newsletter, a video channel, or other platform. Each of these can allow you to successfully share your content, but you certainly do not have to keep up with all of them. Consider where your prospective students most like to engage with you—and where you already feel most comfortable—and focus on building that platform first.
Publish your content as consistently as you can and build an audience that responds. If you are putting out content every single day but you aren’t getting any responses, that is not a great use of your energy and resources. Meet your audience where they already are.
Once you have primary long-form content created, it becomes easier to repurpose and repackage that content into other media. Let’s say, for instance, that you have an 800-word blog post that you have published on your website. Now you can condense that into a bullet-point list to share on LinkedIn, write an introductory blurb to send via email, create a shareable image to post on Instagram, highlight a quote to Tweet, discuss it in your next podcast episode or YouTube video, and create a complementary poll to start on Facebook.
Each of these micro-shares takes a fraction of the time that it took to create your primary content, but it all ties back to your long-form post and offers a chance for engagement on seven different platforms to capture interest whether your prospective student spends most of their time on social media, in their inbox, or listening to podcasts.
An editorial calendar is often the simplest and most comprehensive way to plan, track, and execute your content marketing strategy. Especially once you have begun using multiple channels or platforms, an editorial calendar can help you plan what will be shared where and when—and then to follow up to ensure that it was published as planned. A calendar can also help you track your engagement numbers: How many people saw it? How many people opened it or clicked on it? How many people liked, favorited, shared, retweeted, reposted, commented, or otherwise engaged with your content? This is the data that can help you determine what is working and what is not, giving you an opportunity to adjust to create content that your audience most wants to see.
This, admittedly, can create some periods of trial and error, but the research is worth it in order to provide the most useful content to the high school guidance counselors and prospective students whose attention you seek!
Still feeling a little lost when it comes to marketing your school to high school seniors and recent graduates? The Imagine America Foundation is eager to partner with your school to get the word out about your career training programs. We have cultivated relationships with a robust network of high school guidance counselors, and we receive thousands of applications every year for the Imagine America High School Scholarship Program. We can’t wait to help these students discover all that your school has to offer!
Contact us today at 571.267.3015 or firstname.lastname@example.org