Content Is King

 

 The changes in the way companies present themselves on the web continued to develop through 2014.  Websites are moving from product lead content to consumer lead content.  Websites are often telling stories, look at Coca Cola goes one step further with its Coke Journey campaign focusing on customers stories, stories telling stories.  How many univerisites websites have vidoes of their students stories? This is the type of content that future students want.

90% of website traffic comes from just 10% of the content and more than 50% of the traffic is from just 0.5% of the content (InboundWriter) good content gets the traffic, the issue with content is that it has been tied to SEO and therefore is often relevant to tthe university but not the potential student.

The webmarketing associations  web awards 2014 went to Stevensons University, the About Stevensons Page ensures that students get access to all the important decision making information, the content is presented in short succinct sentences and all supported by a short video.

ContentKing 

The question now is what content should be on the site? What information do students require? H.E Coms has the answer to this, after extensive research the company has been able to identify the information requirements of students.  Interestingly, the information requirements are the same the world over but the priority of the information changes for different regions.  We are able to undertake a comprehensive audit on your website to make sure you are providing students with the infromation to make an informed decsion and to engage with your university.   Contact Joanna for details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0044 797 342 9617.

Content Marketing - Instagram the Ultimate Challenge

For someone who is passionate about content marketer Instagram is the ultimate tool.  Instagram gives us the opportunity to provoke emotion and action with one photo and one comment.  The goal of content marketing although rarely acheived without a paragraph of text.  Instagram is loved by the millenniums, 90% of instagram users are under 35, they engage readily with images that provoke interest.  With so many users, 150 million active users a month, (reached this figure two years quicker than  Facebook), Instagram is a must have for todays universities competing for students. 

Instagram

92% of prestige brands are active on instagram, posting on average 6 images a week, have a look at Costa Coffee http://instagram.com/costacoffee.  Really engaging images that make me want to go there.

Instagram doesn't let you link posts to your website, posts can only link to your Instagram profile page which in turn will have a link to your website. The profile page on Instagram offers many opportunities to engage students with images that rotate, company logo, location, business description and website.

The challenge for users of Instagram is engaging images with captive messages, it is in the same school as content marketing. Universities seem to struggle to fit into Instagram with many postings of photos of campus buildings and happy students.  Yet, universities have the most wonderful images to post on Instagram they are beyond the buildings, we have to delve into to the labs, studios, workshops and look beyond the campus to the field trips and internships.  For Instagram to work for universities all the doors have to be open, emotion will be provoked by what the professors and students are up to.


Talk to Joanna at HE Coms about managing your Instagram campaign: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How are institutions making your potential students feel?

 

This week I have been transfixed with the communications experience, I have been carefully monitoring how I feel following communications.  For instance, I have been talking to a university and I have found that their communications have been very short and abrupt, lacked information and because of this have had to send repeated emails.  My reaction? I am thinking do I want to work with the university ?  As a business  can we afford to chose between clients as we don’t like the way they communicate with me? No….

I proceed to the next stage a face to face meeting, all the time thinking if I was a student with choice I would not have attended the open day.  The meeting is interesting, I am not introduced to staff straight away, the layout means when talking I have to turn my back to someone and the questions are unclear and muddled.  I definitely do not want to apply here. Student lost and moves on.  

I have seen this at student fairs, the empty stand with two staff members sitting behind a desk on computers, students won’t go near them, let alone enquire or apply.  How an institution makes a student feel with the first communications is crucial in getting an application.

I am now so aware of how other peoples words and actions have made me feel that I am questioning everything I write and say something. Does it sound aggressive? am I showing interest in the person I am communicating with? I wonder if I am just returning to good old fashioned customer service:

Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.”

I think it goes beyond this, before we get to customer service and customer satisfaction we have to engage with the student and then customer service and sales can take place:

Customer engagement is showing a genuine interest in the student and having the knowledge to back this up, making a student feel that you are interested in them as a person, providing them with the knowledge to make them want to start exploring your product.

 


1303 engagement infographic 750


User Experience (UX ) driving students away?

There are some websites where my user experience has been so bad that I now shudder if I have to visit that site.  Not only that but I will avoid these sites at all costs trying every other option… Not good for a universities potential recruitment!  

Recent research is stating that the a students user experience on a university website has equal influence over the college  rankings! Wow, when you think how much money is invested into increasing university rankings and how much is (or in some cases isn’t) into the user experience on the website.  

Today’s student is judging their potential experience at a university on their user experience on the university website.  

How do we establish what the UX is?

Planning is the key to the user experience;

Why - Is this information required

Who - is the information for?

What - Is the message

When - at what point is this information required

Where - Is the information accessible at required times

How - Is the information presented 

With each page we have to know the answer to these questions.  Its a very helpful exercise to  apply each of the above planning criteria to each page on your site.


What makes a good UX?

  • A website that provides a good UX is one that effectively weaves together a combination of required text, graphics, layout and interactive elements to ensure users have an experience, not just an informational view.
  • It is s not the information itself that is important, but the impact and emotional effect, and if it engages your audience.
  • Todays audiences do not read text, they scan through text and stop and read when engaged.  Scanable text is therefore preferred to block text.
  • Page length is more accessible than new pages, is is easier to scrawl than load a new page. 
  • The key to page length is relevance make sure it flows - tell a story.
  • Consistent design makes it easier to users as they do not need to rethink if components, colour, layout are the same on each page. 
  • Design to capture and engage above the fold rather than get everything above the fold.




Joanna Turner

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.hecoms.co.uk 

HE Coms provides website content audits and content writing for universities and colleges around the world.


When Less is More in Student Recruitment

Less is More……

I recently presented a seminar on how to use content in websites and email to communicate with todays students.  On completing my presentation I asked the participates of 100 or so who had had a content audit on their website 5 said yes.  I then asked if since the audit and the implementation of any changes if it had made a difference to the traffic to the site.  The answer was positive those who had made changes to the site following a content audit had big increases in traffic and time on the site.

The key to website content is ensuring that you have the information that students require on the site, it is accessible and is written in an engaging format.  This may well mean more information but  not necessarily more content.

The skill is fewer words, concise and succinct writing, images and info graphics, information that students can glance over and it will be absorbed.  The is not the case with block text, when you learn that the average attention span of people today is 5 seconds whereas 10 years ago it was 12 minutes, you realise the importance of content in engaging students.

For instance look at the following sentences:

1. The universities degrees are some of the best in the world, the university is in the  international rankings, and is  academically renowned and are therefore recognised as one of the leading universities in the world.

2. We are one of the worlds leading internationally ranked universities, our degrees are the best in the world 

Is the changed shorter version giving a different message to the original? I don’t think so but it is easier to read and provides a clearer message. 

Now lets count 5 seconds, the average attention span of todays students, how much information do you retain from the following paragraph?

Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia's leading research and teaching universities. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement. 

In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do. 

Now try it again with the new format:

  • Welcome to UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), one of Australia's leading research and teaching universities
  • We take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. 
  • Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and strong regional and global engagement. 
  • In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. 
  • Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. 
  • UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. 
  • We encourage you to explore the UNSW website so you can find out more about what we do

Now lets look at another way of getting the message across using info graphics try the 5 second test. 

Monash infographic


The message is  content writing for websites and e communications is certainly less is more.

Joanna Turner

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.hecoms.co.uk