Higher Ed Marketers: Reach More Prospects With Streamlined Web Content Production
As colleges and universities face white-hot competition for decreasing enrollments, creating a powerful web and social media presence has never been more important. In our recently published higher ed content guide, we explain why expectations are high for content that is relevant, timely, and optimized across all marketing touchpoints.
If you’ve worked in higher education marketing for any length of time, you’ve encountered teams and budgets stretched to the max to cover everything from recruiting to student affairs, public relations, special events, alumni outreach, and more.
And you’re also aware of the factors that make creating effective digital content for all the things a constant universal challenge:
- Team members who report to different department heads with differing and sometimes conflicting priorities and opinions.
- Teams that were left shorthanded and fractured after the COVID pandemic, with members who transition in and out frequently, sometimes in temporary interim roles.
- A near-constant need for fresh posts, news articles, stories, press releases, and overall content updates that catch the attention of key audiences like prospective students, parents, and donors — and spur them to action.
This “perfect storm” of factors can leave the content creation process feeling like an endless slog of deadlines and dead ends. With so many stakeholders involved and a constant surge of demands, it can be challenging to keep content tasks organized and team vision consolidated. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline content production tasks that will make your job easier and boost your team’s productivity.
Start With a Sound Plan
One of the main challenges in higher ed content production is developing a cohesive strategy that aligns with your institution’s goals while also meeting the needs of everyone from faculty to department heads and high-level administrators.
In a university setting, multiple stakeholders may want to review and approve content, many of which are not actively involved in the overall content strategy, which can lead to lengthy delays and revisions. This can be frustrating for marketing teams trying to meet tight content and campaign deadlines.
You can use a RACI matrix like the one below to determine which team members need which level of involvement in your content projects (that is, do they just need to know about the initiatives, or do they actually need to approve pieces before they go live?).
Your plan should also cover any other website governance policies and processes that ensure proper site management, including guidelines for complying with brand standards and ensuring QA for items like outdated content, broken links, 401 errors, incorrect citations, and so on.
The goal is to maintain consistency and quality site-wide, ensuring that your content strategy stays aligned with your institution’s goals and values over time — especially throughout transitional periods, leadership changes, and major school initiatives.
Develop an Editorial Calendar — and Stick to It
If you don’t already have an editorial calendar, now is the time to create one. Here, you can create a 6- or 12-month schedule for content that will be produced, by whom, and when it should be published. Share this calendar with the appropriate roles so that the necessary parties are informed of what’s coming up.
Consider setting a weekly or biweekly check-in with your content stakeholders to discuss priorities, dates, and needs, and ensure that everyone remains accountable for their tasks and deadlines.
Get the Right Tools for the Job
Technology plays a pivotal role in simplifying content production and site governance. In addition to choosing the right content management system (CMS) to enable easy creation, editing, and publishing of content, you may want to consider collaborative tools like Airtable, GatherContent, and Trello, which provide a centralized platform for team collaboration. These solutions can help you easily set and track deadlines, assign roles and responsibilities, implement efficient workflows, track document progress, and organize related visual assets.
How We Can Help
If you need help making the jump from overcomplicated content production to a more effective content strategy, schedule a free consultation with our team. In the meantime, check out our free guide for more tips: The Higher Ed Marketing Playbook: 5 Steps to Build a Content Strategy that Converts.