At this stage, the majority of recruitment professionals are probably well aware of the importance of content marketing to their overall digital marketing strategy. Content has long been arguably the single most important factor in improving SEO, brand awareness and conversions on the web, with Hubspot’s The State of Inbound 2016 report revealing that marketers who focus on blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI.
Unfortunately, content is also the most labour intensive part of an inbound marketing initiative. Schools looking to maximise their visibility on the web need to ensure they post frequently on their own site, create unique content for different social media channels, and promote everything they post to ensure they generate views, all of which can put them under a lot of time pressure, particularly in smaller institutions without dedicated content creation staff.
Repurposing can provide schools with a way to get more out of their best content. By updating and reformatting old posts, schools can reach new audiences, save on time and effort, and still create content that feels fresh, new, and unique.
If you feel that you haven’t gotten the most out of some of your better posts in the past, read on to find out how to recycle them in new formats to attract more leads.
1. Update Your ‘Evergreen Content’ to Connect With New Leads
Quality content doesn’t need to have a limited shelf-life. While striving to create topical, newsworthy posts should be an important part of any higher education content marketing strategy, content with more universal appeal can continue to generate interest long after it has been published. Marketing professionals refer to these kinds of posts as ‘evergreen content.’
‘Evergreen’ topics tend to have a fairly broad appeal. A good example in the student recruitment sector would be general information about admissions deadlines, financing, or accommodation, which prove useful to students year after year. Blog posts, videos, and other content built around these sorts of areas can be reused again and again, each time helping generate a new group of perspective students.
However, simply reposting the original content offer should be avoided where possible. Duplicated content can harm your SEO, so tweaking the post in some way is necessary. One option is to update the post to take into account any new developments in the area. This will ensure that your content is up to date and correct for prospective students, while also creating a unique page for SEO purposes.
Example: The University of Michigan reposted this blog, originally written for applicants on their 2015 waitlist, earlier this year. However, the post has been updated to reflect the 2016 enrollment cycle so that it provides students with the correct information.
This strategy can be extremely valuable and applied to a number of different types of recruitment content, such as introductory posts about courses and programs, study tips, and even posts about campus social activities. Nonetheless, it should be approached with caution. Reposting old content frequently won’t reflect well on your school, while you should also choose what you reuse carefully, picking only posts which attracted a high amount of engagement when they were first published.
2. Give Your Real-Time Recruitment Content a Second Life on Video
Social media content has become increasingly disposable in recent years, with platforms like Snapchat and Periscope using time-limited, disappearing content as a unique selling point. While millennials have bought into a more real-time social experience, it can be frustrating for marketers, who often find that their best work reaches the end of its cycle without reaching half as many people as it might be capable of.
Fortunately, these sort of ‘self-destructing’ posts can be a given a second life, and in one of the most engaging and desirable formats around. Many schools have found considerable success repurposing content like Snapchat Stories on YouTube, allowing prospective students to catch up on what they’ve missed while ensuring the content lasts.
Example: The University of Florida regularly posts videos of its Snapchat Stories on YouTube, like this one featuring a takeover from a graduating student. This tactic can attract more potential and current students to both platforms.
Live streaming has also become very popular over the past year, with the use of features like Facebook Live and Periscope on Twitter becoming more widespread among users. Many schools have made use of the technology by broadcasting special events, webinars and live Q&As over social media. This can be a great way of attracting and engaging new students, providing them with a unique content offer and giving a valuable short-term boost your school. However, when the event is over, you’re left with great content that many not have reached every student it potentially could. Preserving your live streams on YouTube can be a great way of maximising their reach.
Example: This online Q&A with a University of Washington student originally aired live on the school’s Periscope channel, but they reposted on YouTube afterwards to make it available for anyone who had missed it.
If you’re turning content like this into a video, it’s a good idea to edit it where possible, trimming out any unnecessary delays, mistakes, or footage that isn’t useful or interesting. If you have a particularly long clip, you might consider producing a shortened version, highlighting the best parts and providing a more streamlined video that will hold the user’s attention.
3. Making Slideshares from Popular Recruitment Content Can Provide a Valuable SEO Boost
Repurposing blog posts and articles into different formats can also prove beneficial. While long-form content ranks well with search engines, and can be very appealing to some prospective students, others favour shorter, more digestible information with visuals to long, text-heavy articles. Reformatting your posts can allow you to have the best of both worlds.
One of the most underrated tools for this is Slideshare. Dubbed ‘the quiet giant of content marketing’ by Forbes, the presentation sharing site, which is owned by LinkedIn, attracts around 70 million unique monthly visitors. 80% of those come through targeted search, as Google tends to rank Slideshare content highly in results, due to its unique combination of heavily visual content with lots of indexable text.
While Slideshare is generally more prevalent in B2B marketing, recruiters can easily make use of it to generate more student inquiries. Blog content can be turned into slides by breaking down the key points of your articles, and can be done using basic software like Powerpoint. Many schools are already present on the site, often using it to post presentations relating to academic content.
However, given the SEO advantages the site offers, it perhaps more effective for more recruitment-focused content, which can allow you to take full advantage of Slideshare’s lead generation potential to gain more visibility in strategic searches.
Example: The University of Southern Queensland focuses heavily on recruitment in their Slideshares. Since search engines favour Slideshare content, presentations like this stand a great chance of increasing the school’s organic reach.
4. Make Your Recruitment Content More Accessible By Creating Infographics
Another way of turning blogs into a more visual format is to create infographics. Infographics also tend to rank well with search engines, and their easily scannable, visually attractive format is highly popular among web readers.
Turning a blog into an infographic can be more challenging than creating a Slideshare, as there is far less room for text. Nonetheless, if you’ve produced an informative article that can be easily broken down into some more pertinent points- particularly if it involves statistics- an infographic could definitely be an option.
Example: The University of Delaware repurposed this blog about the growth of their Spring Break Service volunteering initiative into an infographic, making use of the most important statistics to ensure the visual was neat and uncluttered.
Presenting your content as Infographics can also lead to increased engagement on social media, with studies showing that infographics are three times more likely to be liked and shared than any other content, making them a vital part of your overall education lead generation strategy.
Although it is still important for schools to produce a steady supply of brand new content, repurposing material can be a valuable extra to throw into your marketing mix, increasing the frequency of your posts and helping you stay top of mind among prospective leads. Not only that, but producing content in different formats can increase the diversity of your content offers, helping you engage and appeal to a broader audience. And considering all the material already exists in the form of previous posts, it’s a win-win situation for schools looking to increase their content output.
What other ways does your school reuse content? What do you find is the most useful format to repurpose your existing posts? Join the conversation in the comments below!