Clearhead have won two 2019 telly awards for our work in Higher Education for clients Durham University and the University of Bedfordshire.

As a university marketer, you are catering for many students with different informational needs. Creating something for everyone can become very challenging.

The Hero Help Hub Framework: Video content strategy for colleges and universities

The Hero Help Hub Framework helps you create an effective video content strategy for your college or university.

It explains the very different roles played by the three types of video content, and how they each fit into prospective students’ decision-making process.

The framework helps guide many of the decisions that you face when creating video.

If you are ever unsure of answers to questions like…

  • What type of video should I be creating?
  • What’s the best way to distribute and promote my video content?
  • How long should this video be?

…then applying the framework will help you understand the purpose of each video you are creating, and stay on the right track. read more

Why do you need a video distribution plan?

Smart universities and colleges have been embracing video as part of their content strategies for the last five years. They are looking to use video to strengthen their brand and achieve challenging enrolment targets.

After all, content is king, right? Well, it is and isn’t. The multichannel environment presents a number of challenges to HE and FE marketers.

YouTube is overflowing with great content commissioned by the HE and FE sector. Some of this content is watched by no-one. read more

Are you thinking about throwing out your printed prospectus and taking everything digital? We’ve got eight questions (and some surprising data) for you to ponder first…

1. Do prospective students prefer printed prospectuses?

According to a study featured in the Guardian in 2013, 62% of 16 to 24-year-olds would rather read a printed book than a digital one. 51% of the 16-24 year olds who prefer printed books said that they like to hold them, while others mentioned liking the smell. The original study was based on a sample of 1,420 young adults. Later, when the newspaper ran their own online poll, the ratio rose to 79% in favour of print over digital for people of all ages. read more

Having a University Video Strategy ensures that your film content has a specific purpose. Without this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of creating videos just for the sake of it – and missing out on its full potential.

Any video content is good, right?

Statistics comparing the effectiveness of video to other formats are striking. Text and images are mere sparklers compared to video’s fireworks. You want to get attention? Generate engagement? Motivate shares and conversions? Video outperforms other formats on all of these. read more

Timings are the last thing to think through before getting stuck into the creative messaging of your video. Consider how long you want your video content to last, when you’ll need the finished piece by and how often you plan to create new video content.

This is step 5 of 6 in our video strategy guide (click here for the overview page).

Growing old gracefully

Look back at your prospectus from a few years ago and it will seem dated now. The same is true of video – it has a limited lifespan, just like any other form of content. After about two years, standard video content really starts to show its age. read more

Creating your video is only the start. Without a planned distribution and promotion strategy, your video will languish unwatched and you might be tempted to write off video content as ineffective. Instead, set aside time to think through your distribution and promotion strategy.

Although the same video can be published across a number of channels, the end use will shape a lot of its characteristics, so will need to be taken into consideration early in the process. If you plan to have multiple edits (e.g. shorter ‘trailer’ versions to build excitement and anticipation on social media), knowing this before you start production will ensure you capture the footage you need so that each piece works as standalone content as well as part of the bigger piece. read more

Knowing what the main message of your video is, and the action you want viewers to take next, will start defining what viewers will see in the video. Keep your notes from the steps covered beforehand to ensure that your decisions relate to the objectives, metrics and target audience you have already defined.

This is step 3 of 6 in our video strategy guide (click here for the overview page).

What’s your takeaway?

  • After a prospective student watches the video, what do you want them to tell their friends about your University? This is your ‘takeaway’, the core message you want to convey.
  • It could be that your graduates are the most desirable to employers (based on progression data), so attending your University increases your chance of getting that crucial first job.
  • Perhaps you specialize in helping mature students change their careers thanks to support that helps them adjust quickly to University life and intense two-year courses that save time and money.
  • Maybe your University has specialized equipment and staff that make it the only place in the country to study for a specific, in-demand career.
  • Whatever it is, it needs to relate to your objective and be of importance to the specific audience segment or persona you are targeting, at their stage in the decision-making process.

What happens next?

This core message also needs to be tied to the Call to Action; the action you want viewers to move closer to after watching the video. Calls to Action can either be direct or indirect. read more

When developing written content, marketers know how to tailor it to a specific audience. Yet, when it comes to video strategy, often the approach taken is one-size-fits-all. However, the same rules apply: the more targeted the content, the more of an impact it will have.

This is step 2 of 6 in our video strategy guide (click here for the overview page).

Get personal

Ask exactly who you’re targeting with each project in your video strategy. If you don’t already work from personas, this is a great time to start. read more

To get started on your University video strategy, consider Why video is the right tool for your University Marketing and for the objective you want to achieve. Then, you can decide on the best metric for measuring success against that objective.

This is step 1 of 6 in our video strategy guide (click here for the overview page).

The wider ‘why’

Why is video a necessary communication tool for your university?

Video content requires an investment of time and money, so providing internal stakeholders with the rationale justifying the need for it will make everything else easier. Budget approvals, staff support during filming and willingness of those staff to help promote the final piece all depend on securing buy-in in the first place. read more

Six Steps for Your University

At each stage of the decision-making process – attention, engagement, sharing and conversion – video leads the way. Yet, with so many choices and options, it can be difficult to know how to get started. Our six steps for putting together an effective video strategy for your university will take you through the Why, Who, What, Where, When and How of video strategy.

STEP 1: WHY – YOUR OBJECTIVES AND METRICS

  • Getting internal buy-in by creating a strong rationale for using video as a communication tool.
  • Deciding which of your marketing objectives is best served by video.
  • Deciding how you’ll measure performance against that objective.

STEP 2: WHO – YOUR AUDIENCE

  • Identifying the exact audience you are targeting (ideally using personas).
  • Identifying at what point in the decision-making process your audience is.

STEP 3: WHAT – MESSAGE AND CALL TO ACTION

  • Deciding on the ‘takeaway’ of the video (the core message you want to convey).
  • Choosing which calls to action to include.

STEP 4: WHERE – DISTRIBUTION AND PROMOTION read more