Telling Compelling Stories - Content Marketing for Education PR

Telling Compelling Stories: Content Marketing for Education PR

With the global market in education projected to surge to US$10.71bn by 2027, educational institutions are facing stronger competition when it comes to establishing their reputation and attracting students. 

That is why crafting impactful PR strategies becomes the key to setting schools apart and to capturing the attention of youths, parents, and the wider community. 

 Education PR comes into play – leveraging compelling storytelling across various content formats to showcase an institution’s values, achievements, and unique offerings is the best thing to do in our world where everyone is online and everything is content. 

What Is Education PR?

Education PR is a communication strategy for educational institutions that shapes public perception through strategic messaging. It is a part of education marketing aimed at promoting educational offerings. Key audiences include educators, administrators, parents, students, and community members.

This communication highlights stories related to achievements, innovations, and positive impact. It uses media relations, community outreach, event planning, crisis management, and more tactics to build and maintain a strong reputation, foster relationships, and ultimately drive enrollment and support for academic programs and initiatives.

The Role of Content Marketing in Education PR

PR builds trust and credibility. Content marketing supports PR. It involves creating and distributing valuable and relevant content that attracts and engages leads. Together, they help enhance brand visibility and shape public image.

Embracing Content Marketing for Education PR

In 2024, digital marketing will reign supreme, making it crucial for educational institutions to embrace content marketing strategies for effective PR. 

Tailor Your Stories

A one-size-fits-all content approach won’t cut it and here’s why you need to segment your audiences. You need to tailor your storytelling approach so that it speaks directly to each  group’s specific interests and pain points.

  1. For prospective students: Focus on stories that showcase campus life, academic programs, and post-graduation opportunities. Share student testimonials, campus event highlights, and insights into your institution’s unique learning experiences.
  2. When targeting parents: Your content should address their primary concerns: safety, academic excellence, and opportunities for personal growth. Highlight your institution’s supportive resources, student success stories, and commitment to fostering a nurturing environment.
  3. Educators and policymakers: They may be more interested in your institution’s teaching methodologies, research initiatives, and educational contributions. Share thought leadership content, faculty spotlights, and insights into your institution’s role in shaping educational policies and practices.

Authenticity is Everything, and Social Comes First

Today’s audiences and especially GenZ are craving genuine connections. They spend the majority of their time on social media channels. Sharing raw, unfiltered narratives from your campus or classroom on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube means giving what is expected the most! 

Create your social media strategy around the relatable experiences of students, the passion of faculty members, the behind-the-scenes dedication of administrators, and the thought leadership of teachers. This is the winning approach. Prioritize short videos from the available formats – Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, and YouTube Shorts. 

Seek for micro-influencer partnerships, which have emerged as another powerful PR approach in recent years. Identify and collaborate with students and teachers who are already content creators and local influencers to ensure targeted reach and build trust.

Leveraging Different Content Formats: A Multimedia Storytelling Approach

To truly captivate audiences and stand out in a crowded online space, institutions have to learn how to leverage a diverse range of content formats to bring their stories to life:

  1. Blog posts and case studies: These long-form pieces allow you to give deeper insights on topics of interest, showcase faculty expertise, and share in-depth student success stories. 
  2. Videos: From campus tours and student testimonials to faculty interviews and event highlights, video content offers an immersive and engaging way to showcase your institution’s culture and offerings. 
  3. Live streaming and virtual events: They have redefined how institutions connect with their audiences. Virtual open houses, alumni panels, and teacher Q&A sessions not only expand reach but also enhance accessibility, particularly for geographically diverse audiences.
  4. Infographics and reports: Educational institutions often deal with complex data and statistics. Reports, white papers, and especially infographics are an appealing way to communicate such information. Use them to highlight research findings and program outcomes. 
  5. Social media content: Social media gives opportunities for bite-sized, shareable content that can help you connect with prospective students, and parents and build brand awareness. Share campus snapshots, student takeovers, and behind-the-scenes glimpses to give audiences a genuine feel for your institution’s vibrant community.

Examples of Education PR Campaigns:

  1. The University XYZ  “Overachievers” video series, which showcases  the diverse achievements and passions of its students, has the potential to gather millions of views and help drive enrollment.
  2. The XYZ College “Slice of XYZ” blog, featuring candid stories and perspectives from students, faculty, and alumni, can become a go-to resource for prospective students seeking an authentic look into campus life.
  3. A virtual tour of the university and Q&A sessions allow candidates from around the world to explore the campus and engage with admissions staff, fostering a sense of connection and community.

Ensuring Your Stories Are Seen and Heard

Creating compelling content is only half the battle. To truly maximize the impact of your PR efforts, you must prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) and strategic content distribution. In short – this is the way to be seen online. 

By optimizing your content with relevant keywords you increase the likelihood of appearing in search results when people are researching educational topics related to your offerings.

Key SEO Tactics:

  1. Conduct keyword research to identify high-value search terms.
  2. Optimize titles, headings, and body content with relevant keywords.
  3. Utilize alt text and descriptive file names for images and videos.
  4. Build an internal linking structure to improve site navigation.

However, SEO alone is not enough. Effective content distribution is crucial for reaching your target audiences across various channels. This includes:

  1. Publishing content on your institution’s website and program-specific landing pages.
  2. Sharing content across social media platforms.
  3. Incorporating content into email newsletters and communications with prospective students.
  4. Repurposing successful content for use in promotional materials or event handouts.
  5. Collaborating with industry publications or influencers to amplify reach.

Quantifying the Impact of Your Stories

By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and data-driven insights, you can refine your strategies, optimize content performance, and demonstrate the tangible impact of your initiatives.

KPIs to follow: 

  1. Social media engagement (likes, shares, comments).
  2. Website traffic and bounce rates.
  3. Time on page and scroll depth.
  4. Video views and watch time.

Conversion Metrics:

  1. Form submissions and email list signups.
  2. Event registrations.
  3. Inquiries and applications received.

Brand Awareness and Sentiment:

  1. Brand mentions and mentions of branded hashtags.
  2. Share of voice and online presence.
  3. Sentiment analysis of social media conversations.

Remember, compelling stories resonate with your audience and strengthen your brand’s position in the education industry! By consistently measuring and analyzing these KPIs, you gain valuable insights into what resonates most with your target audiences, enabling you to refine your content strategies and maximize the impact of your campaigns.

The data-driven approach to digital PR in education underscores its pivotal role in fostering engagement, expanding accessibility, and building meaningful connections in the digital landscape.

Choosing the Right Education PR Agency

Partnering with the right education PR agency can be very beneficial for your educational institution. An experienced and knowledgeable team can provide invaluable expertise, fresh perspectives, and a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by schools.

When selecting a PR agency, look for:

  1. Specialized experience in the education sector. 
  2. A strong portfolio of successful campaigns for schools, universities, or related organizations.
  3. Diverse content creation capabilities.
  4. Proven strategies for media relations, crisis communication, and stakeholder engagement.
  5. A data-driven approach to measuring and optimizing campaign performance.

A Few Words on Crisis Communication

When issues or controversies arise, having a well-defined crisis communication plan in place is essential for protecting an institution’s reputation, maintaining trust, and mitigating potential damages. 

The key is being prepared, acting swiftly and decisively, and prioritizing open and compassionate communication to maintain trust and deal with reputational damage.

  1. Create pre-approved statements and messaging frameworks for various scenarios.
  2. Identify key spokespersons and ensure they receive media training.
  3. Maintain updated contact lists for media outlets and community leaders.
  4. Use social media monitoring tools to track online conversations and respond quickly.

Wrap Up

Strategic content marketing is crucial for effective education PR to build brand reputation, and stakeholder trust, and drive enrollment. It is a big part of education marketing efforts that can position educational institutions for long-term success in an increasingly competitive landscape.

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