Higher Ed Content Marketing for Online Learning: 8 Innovative Blog Angles
Date posted: March 10, 2021
Blogger’s block: we’ve all experienced it. There will be instances when you feel like you’ve covered every topic under the sun—especially during times when your blog content revolves around specific topics like online learning, for instance.
But when you’re in this predicament, HEM is here to help education bloggers get back on their feet. With a dose of inspiration and a dash of creativity, you will be able to find blog topics that are optimally relevant to your prospective students.
Whether you’re searching for a topic for your next blog or want to gather ideas for your next content calendar, read on for a list of ideas to help your school promote online courses through its blog!
1. Highlight the Merits of Online Learning Using Higher Ed Content Marketing
Although students are excited about the prospect of being able to study in classrooms on campuses, online learning isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Even before the pandemic, the education industry was pivoting more towards online education—COVID-19 only expedited it—so the time you invest in promoting your online courses through higher ed content marketing is well worth it.
However, despite this trajectory, everyone has a different opinion about the merits and challenges of online learning. While there is no doubt many benefits to learning in person, online learning offers flexibility and convenience, which for many students are key selling points for a program.
With all that being said, how can your school best highlight the benefits of online courses to its prospective students?
If you thought about blogging, you guessed correctly. You have hundreds or thousands of words to explore the merits of online learning in a nuanced way.
These blogs will prove invaluable to those on the fence about your school’s online courses. Those contemplating a program are likely to search your school’s website for as many resources as they can find to help them make the most informed decision possible.
Example: A blog from Medix College showcasing the benefits of studying in the healthcare field online, with facts and figures to back up the school’s claim.
Additionally, your school can use blogging to introduce prospective students to online learning. While many people jumped on board the online learning train when the COVID-19 pandemic began, some stayed back, skeptical about either the value or practicality of studying online.
Through blogs, you can provide these prospects with a valuable introduction to online learning that will answer their questions and calm their concerns.
Example: UK College of English’s blog that details the school’s transition from in-person learning to online courses. The blog discusses the merits of online learning, as well as briefly highlights the online courses on offer.
When writing general online learning blogs, keep in mind that some schools have reopened, some are working towards a hybrid model of different course formats, while others are staying online. If you’re a school who is offering—or is planning to offer—multiple study modes, you may want to create blogs comparing and contrasting the different options for those who are interested in your school but haven’t yet planned their studies.
2. Explore Your School’s Unique Online Learning Approach in Your Blog
Once you have discussed online learning in general, the next logical step is to show what online learning looks like at your school.
Not every school does online learning the same way. For instance, some allow students to complete their program in their own time and at their own pace. Others conduct synchronous online classes over a video conferencing platform. You also have to consider the unique teaching strategies and platforms that schools use to conduct their online classes.
Fortunately, one of the benefits of content marketing for schools is that it allows you to explore aspects of your learning approaches in great depth. This means that you can create blogs that delve into your school’s world of online learning from various angles.
Example: This blog from Business School Lausanne (BSL) explores its face-to-face online learning approach through a human lens.
The above example from BSL offers a highly effective approach to this type of blog. By looking at online learning from the lens of students and faculty, and offering plenty of different quotes from those in the midst of it, those reading your blog are more likely to trust the opinions presented, and walk away feeling confident in your school’s online courses.
Along with highlighting student experience, it is also valuable to introduce the online courses themselves. This provides a great resource for prospective students who’ve decided on a particular study area, but want to learn more about the different course options available to them.
Since many schools rushed to introduce new online courses at the start of the pandemic, prospects that were already familiar with your school may not be familiar with your new course offerings.
Example: A Saskatoon Business School Blog that takes a deep dive into the online medical courses the school offers.
If you’re still stuck for ideas, you can showcase different elements of your online learning approach in your blog.
For instance, you could walk through a typical ‘day in the life’ of a student currently enrolled in one of your online courses, or you could walk through the different features of your Learning Management System. These blogs will help undecided prospective students feel more familiar with your school’s online courses before they even start.
3. Offer Online Learning Tips in Your Education Blog
Once you’ve highlighted the merits of online learning, and shown off your school’s particular online courses, another helpful blog angle is to show students how to make the most out of their studies.
One of the main objections that online course skeptics have is the difficulties of staying motivated without the presence of teachers and classmates—so your school’s blog provides the perfect opportunity to help students develop the skills they need to succeed online.
There are an endless number of angles you could take, from goal setting strategies to tips for staying motivated while studying at home. These blogs are not just interesting—the information can help your students maximize their experience at your school.
Example: This blog from the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Studies offers students practical tips for time management while studying remotely.
These blogs are, of course, a great recruitment tool. They position your school as a place which offers plenty of resources and cares about its students’ success, and help prospective students feel prepared to study remotely at your school.
However, this style of post can also be a particularly helpful student retention strategy. If your current students have had to transition from in-class instruction to remote learning, these blogs can serve a valuable guide to help them adjust.
Example: A blog from Oxford College which provides actionable study strategies for students in online courses.
From studying strategies to online classroom etiquette to strategizing for long-term success, there is no shortage of online learning tips that you can write about. You could also highlight different resources that students could use to stay ahead, such as free online platforms for practicing English, or business publications for MBA students.
By helping set them up for success, you will produce happier students that are more likely to recommend your school to their peers. In a world where word of mouth is invaluable to marketing, your school should strive to provide students with an experience that motivates them to spread the word.
4. Create Blogs Tailored to Those Interested in Your Online Programs
All schools are different, but there’s a high chance that prospective students interested in your school’s online courses differ from those interested in your in-person ones.
Think about it: while location used to be a big factor for many schools when considering their personas, online learning allows students from all over the world to get their dream degree without having to worry about travel logistics or visa documents.
As a result, the prospects interested in your online courses may have different interests than the personas you previously targeted. (Note: if you haven’t yet created blogs with personas in mind, check out this blog to get started.) This means that the types of blogs you create should be different, too.
For instance, many language schools have traditionally focused on highlighting their locations and the experiences international students can enjoy during their studies. But this kind of content will not be relevant to online students, who are likely to be more focused on the practical benefits of learning a new language.
Example: This timely post from ASC English offers tips for Business English students looking to navigate video job interviews.
Content marketing for higher education is a great way to provide insight and information into your school and its courses. However, it also provides an opportunity to create and share fun, entertaining content.
While these types of blogs aren’t aimed at pushing someone towards enrollment, they are highly valuable in their ability to engage and delight your target audience—which, as the inbound marketing methodology suggests, is the secret to increasing enrollments.
5. Content Marketing for Higher Education Can Help Highlight Virtual Community Initiatives and Activities
Even if someone enjoys the flexibility of an online program, having additional activities is always a bonus. Online clubs, study groups, and other activities enrich your school’s online courses to provide extra value to your students.
If your school offers such services, your blog is a great way to highlight them! If someone is on the fence about your online course, learning about the extracurricular opportunities your school offers could be the final push that student needs.
Example: EC English’s blog exploring the social activities available to online course students.
If you want to make these blogs extra impactful, consider taking screenshots of student activities, or requesting someone to screen record a session to include in your post.
6. Use Content Marketing for Schools to Explore Post-Online-Program Career Opportunities
For many students, the biggest selling point of a program—whether online or in person—is its ability to help them reach their career goals. From starting a successful career to gaining additional opportunities in their current job to switching fields, many prospects have a specific goal in mind when researching online programs.
With that being said, blogs that highlight the career benefits of obtaining a qualification will definitely be of interest to prospective students.
This is especially true when it comes to online courses. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the concerns that many students shared was whether or not employers would look at online degrees and in-person degrees the same way. Your blog provides a space where you can calm these concerns and highlight the opportunities available to these students after graduation.
Example: A Digital School blog that not only shows students the careers awaiting them after graduation, but helps them plan their future career paths.
Online courses also have the benefit of allowing students to study in the format that they will soon be working. In other words, having students study online is helpful when many jobs in the future will be carried out remotely.
Although many employees will transition back to in-person work after COVID-19 settles down, studies have shown that more and more companies will continue offering remote work jobs even when it’s safe to work in the office.
If students are hoping to work from home in the long-term, studying online may actually be extra beneficial, as they can be confident that the skills they’re learning from online study will be easily transferable in their careers.
Example: A blog from Rhodes Wellness College discussing the digitization of the counselling industry.
Online courses may seem like a niche topic, but with schools getting creative about engaging students online, and numerous studies surrounding online learning, there is always material for your content marketing efforts.