Video Strategy for your University / Message and Call to Action

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.

  • Direct: If you are seeking a perception change about the location of your University, perhaps the call to action could be to view an interactive map of the local area, showing all the facilities nearby, or to leave a comment on the video.
  • Indirect: If you have very specialized facilities that are unique to your University, your call to action could be to ‘Study at the only University in the UK that can help you become a …’.
  • Direct: If the video aims to get prospective students to register for an open event, then the call to action should be to find out more about the event, or to access the registration form, perhaps with a prizedraw incentive to encourage prospective students to submit their details.
  • Indirect: If you are seeking to encourage mature applicants that they wouldn’t regret choosing to return to study, the call to action could be to ‘change your life for the better’.
  • Direct: If your video is about clearing, the call to action could be to visit your webpage showing latest course availability information, or to ring your call centre.

Whatever you choose, leave viewers with a clear instruction as to what to do next. Make it as easy as possible for them to continue their journey towards enrolment, even if that means subscribing to your YouTube channel or providing an email address. Don’t lead your audience into a content cul-de-sac.

Calls to Action that convert

Typically, calls to action are featured at the very end of a video, but it’s worth considering an earlier one too, to encourage people who don’t want to watch the full video to still take your next step.

Calls to action can be:

  • Shown as text on-screen.
  • Said verbally in a voiceover.
  • Said verbally by a ‘talking head’.
  • Provided as links within the video.
  • Through links placed in the text around the video.

To increase conversions, have more than one option for your call to action. For example, ‘visit the website or call us’, ‘click here or visit www.url.com’. ‘register here or find out more at www.url.com’. People have different preferences, so providing options increases the chance your viewers will proceed to the next step.

Keep links, forms and share buttons within easy reach and if you are asking people to navigate to URLs, set up shortened ones that are easy to remember.

An example – The Specialist University

A University that offers specialized courses uncovers insights from their research with prospective students that suggested people who would be interested in their courses didn’t understand how the qualification fitted into the current employment market.

They decide to create an educational animation that addresses this, giving a wide view of the sector and showing the different kinds of roles that qualifications in this curriculum area opened up for students. The University branding is subtle, seeking to demonstrate that this is educational content rather than a hard sell.

The takeaway is that there are far more career opportunities in this sector than most people realize, and that the sector is growing.

The calls to action are to read career stories by previous alumni and visit the websites of professional organizations in the sector to find out more.


So now, you’ve clarified your objective, what the measure of success will be, who you are targeting, what the key message is and the call to action. Next comes the ‘where’.

Next up: Video Strategy for your University / Distribution and Promotion