How do I reach my University audience?

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.

What’s a persona? 

Personas are detailed pen profiles that represent the different types of prospective student you are talking to in your marketing. They help you to enter the world views of each segment of your audience, and consider the pains and ambitions that are front of mind for them.

What’s important to your audience will depend on their persona:

  • Studious Sophie: has predicted grade As, a mapped-out career path and has been researching universities since her GCSEs.
  • Panicky Peter: didn’t revise for his A Levels, didn’t get his first choice and is now about to start the clearing process.
  • International Ian: wants to study abroad and has started the process two years in advance, due to needing to arrange visas.
  • Mature Mandy: returning to study now her kids have grown, wants to train for a new career and is nervous about her abilities and about being the only ‘old’ person on the course.

and their stage in the decision-making process:

  • Still unsure about whether University is the right choice.
  • Definitely committed to attending University, but no idea which one.
  • Has a shortlist of Universities to pick from.
  • Almost certainly going to choose a certain University.
  • Decided on ‘the one’.
  • In a mad panic during clearing.

What is the journey for your prospective students and where does this piece of video content fit into that journey? How will your audience’s needs impact on your video?

An example – The International Student Recruiter

A University which gets a high percentage of international students wants to create a video that will provide a virtual ‘open event’ for those not able to visit the campus in person before enrolling. Their audience is prospective students from Europe and the Middle East all the way to China.

The bandwidth of these viewers may be slow, so low-res versions will be needed. As many of these viewers do not speak English as a first language, talking and on-screen text needs to be kept at a minimum, with captioning to aid understanding. Versions with translated captions will be created for the top three countries in terms of applicant volumes. Out of respect to cultural sensitivities, scenes of bare shoulders and students drinking alcohol will be minimized.

Other audiences

Of course, prospective students may not be the only audience you want to communicate with. Other decision-makers are involved, such as parents and career advisors, and some objectives may not be to do with student recruitment at all; video can also be used to attract a higher calibre of staff. Again, bear in mind that each additional audience you try to appeal to will dilute the impact for all audiences.


With a clear objective and specific audience in mind, the next stage is to consider the core message and call to action for your video.

Next up: Video Strategy for your University / Message and Call to Action