With over a billion users worldwide, YouTube is clearly a powerful channel for communication. But how can you use YouTube to strengthen your higher education admissions marketing strategy? Sure, you can upload a commercial or two to your school’s YouTube page and call it a day, but today’s prospective students want more. They have more options than ever before when it comes to higher education, and even more access to information.
It’s no secret that high school students today are extremely savvy when it comes to the Internet. The extent of their college research is no longer limited to your school’s website and campus tour. In fact, according to a Zinch study, 42% of teens now use YouTube for researching potential colleges. And what’s more, 38% of those surveyed said it played a critical role in making their final school selection. However, schools just aren’t creating enough content for Youtube, as evidenced by a recent StoriedU survey in which 24% of high-school seniors agreed that colleges and universities aren’t paying enough attention to YouTube.
Creating quality YouTube content that stands out to prospective students is no easy feat. It requires you to address any questions these students may have in a way that is both visually appealing and informative. So how can you create videos that are guaranteed to make your school look awesome? Not to worry. Here are 5 content ideas for your school’s YouTube channel that will show prospective students what they really want to see.
A Day in the Life
Give prospective students an inside look at what life would be like if they attended your school. ‘Day in the Life’ videos are a great way to showcase your school’s unique location, campus, and student body. Pick a student to follow around for a day, and let them act as an ambassador for what daily life is like at your school. Be sure to include shots of campus transportation, classrooms, and even the cafeteria. What better way for prospective students to picture themselves at your school than for them to take a walk in the shoes of a current student? NYU does a stellar job capturing the essence of urban campus life by highlighting everything from the morning commute to networking events with the stunning New York City skyline as the backdrop.
Nearly every college campus tour features a stop at the dormitories. It’s the thing incoming freshman are their parents are often most curious about. Where will they be living for the next year? But what about prospective students who can’t make a trip to see the dorms in person? A YouTube video featuring a dorm tour is a great way to give students from all over the country, and even the world, an opportunity to see where they’d been spending a large portion of their time if they were to attend your school. Choose a student to profile in your dorm tour video, and don’t forget to highlight key features such as the location, furniture, and other amenities like the gym or lounge area. The University of Chicago’s dorm tour videos are a prime example of content that is informative and entertaining for prospective students.
Research Project Recap
While fun videos about campus life are important, so is content that showcases the more academic side of your school. A great way to do this is to create videos that highlight the exciting research projects happening at your institution. Don’t just tell prospective students about the impressive things your student body and faulty have been up to – show them. Grab a faculty member and sit them down to talk about their groundbreaking research. Stanford University hits the nail on the head with their video featuring their latest research project – a humanoid robot who allows human pilots to explore the depths of the oceans like never before. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Commencement Speech with a Twist
Posting a video of your school’s commencement speech seems like a great way to show off the talented speakers who have shared their insight and advice with your graduating seniors. However, these speeches can be lengthy, and not everyone has 15-30 minutes to dedicate to watching them. A great alternative is to break up the speeches into more easily digestible bite-sized nuggets of information. Do this by posting a series of ‘Life Lesson’ videos that highlight key takeaways from your school’s commencement speeches, such as The University of Texas at Austin has done. The nice thing about these videos is that they appeal to a wide audience, and make for great social sharing pieces.
Alumni Success Story
Students researching colleges and universities want to see the impact your school could potentially have on their lives. Where will they be in 5, or even 10 years if they attend school there? Featuring alumni success stories is a great way to show prospective students the true value of receiving an education at your institution. Choose an alum who is doing big things, and show how they used your school’s resources to get where they are today. Temple University’s World Without Temple video series does an excellent job showcasing the connection alumni feel to Temple because of the opportunities it provided them and how deeply it impacted their lives.
Video is a key component of any strong higher education marketing strategy, and with YouTube being the most popular video platform on the web, it is vital that your school establishes a strong presence there. When creating content for YouTube, it is most important to remember who your audience is and what questions they need answered. With the content ideas we’ve just provided, you should be well on your way to creating engaging YouTube videos that are sure to delight prospective students.