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Use your website to invite students into your school’s story

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How does your website invite students into your school's story?

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Use your website to invite students into your school’s story

  1. 1. USE YOUR WEBSITE TO INVITE STUDENTS INTO YOUR SCHOOL’S STORY Presented by: Higher Education Marketing
  2. 2. 1.  Storytelling: Setting Institutions Apart 2.  Communicating a Distinctive Brand Identity 3.  How do Students Fit into Your Story 4.  Embracing Your School’s Niche 5.  Living the Story You Tell Overview
  3. 3. Storytelling is a pillar of content marketing and a powerful means of crafting strong higher education branding. „ It can be an influential factor in a prospect’s post-secondary decision. „ It cuts through bland, murky marketing (like multiple schools advertising similar qualities/claims to fame, & confusing students) Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story? Storytelling: Setting Institutions Apart
  4. 4. „ Recent studies show this tact is often underused. „ Across dozens of prospective student focus groups, higher ed analysts repeatedly heard: “How am I supposed to choose when they all look the same?” „ Bland branding that seeks to stand for everything to everyone risks standing for nothing. Storytelling: Setting Institutions Apart Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  5. 5. „ A distinctive brand identity is essential for attracting and guiding a sustainable community. „ Try to align your brand with your community’s: •  purpose •  reputation •  culture „ This connects your branding to the actual people on campus – promoting strong/consistent brand identity. Communicating a Distinctive Brand Identity Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  6. 6. „ A school’s website is its most prominent window to the world. „ Visitors intuitively understand the school through its web content. „ Communicate a distinctive brand identity by using content in your school’s “About Us” section to portray: •  the school’s mission •  history •  values + vision •  what makes them unique Communicating a Distinctive Brand Identity Why not convey these facts through a good story? Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  7. 7. Example „ The University of Rochester’s ‘About Us’ page features: •  stats •  vision statements •  rankings data •  pictures + videos They all illustrate the school’s proud symbols and traditions. Communicating a Distinctive Brand Identity UofR website content tells the story of a vibrant, engaged community. Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  8. 8. „ Effective higher education branding helps prospective students picture their lives on campus. „ Tell rather than sell with memorable content that features values they share. „ Authentic, relatable stories encourage students to establish more meaningful connections with a school. How do Students Fit Into Your Story? Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  9. 9. „ For a school, using original content (stories) elicits emotion and empathy. „ It persuades by letting readers reach their own conclusions. How do Students Fit Into Your Story? - Annette Simmons “A story is more respectful than telling someone what he or she ought to think. Respect connects.” Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  10. 10. „ Stories told with music, voices, & images have great potential for higher education branding. „ They’re easily memorable & shareable on social media. How do Students Fit Into Your Story? Example: This video of Greg McFall, California Teacher of the Year, shows the power of video storytelling: Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07kp540hkMA
  11. 11. „ Many schools have used storytelling to carve out a sustainable niche, by: •  identifying/targeting a subsection of prospective students •  understanding who they can ‘serve exceptionally’ •  earning a distinctive reputation •  cultivating a devoted social media following „ The most effective niches tap into the idea of ‘brand mythology.’ Embracing Your School’s Niche Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  12. 12. Embracing Your School’s Niche „ Brand mythology is about making the most of stories that an organization already has, by: •  stylizing •  dramatizing •  elevating stories to new heights „ Mythologies are most compelling when they involve overcoming struggle/making meaningful life changes – but it’s most important that they’re true to a school’s branding promise. Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  13. 13. Example: „ Shimer College’s small campus & unique learning style is ideal for a particular student niche. „ Its “Our Story” pages feature content that fits this niche, like profiles of creative alumni. (Pictured - electronic musician/ Shimer alumnus Laurie Spiegel) Embracing Your School’s Niche Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?
  14. 14. Living the Story You Tell „ An effective brand position in higher education is a logical extension of how your community already perceives your school. „ To be truly accepted & influential, you must live the story you tell. Example „ University of Northern BC’s ‘Green’ branding is backed by: •  a ‘Green Grant’ program •  proof of energy efficiency •  support from ecological leaders, & more: Source: HEM – How Does Your Website Invite Students into Your School’s Story?

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