How to use video to attract and retain pupils at your school

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Video is an amazing marketing tool,  immediately capturing your audience’s attention and delivering your message efficiently in a way that traditional copy cannot. A coherent video marketing strategy will identify why you are using video, where you are heading and how you can measure your success.

Follow these guidelines to help your school produce a successful video marketing campaign:

  1. Decide what you want your video content to accomplish.

Your video content should be in keeping with the brand of your school, it’s tone and guidelines. Identify your audience and their needs, consider what style of content would work best: educational, emotional, entertaining, practical or aspirational or a mix? You could consider researching the tone and style of other popular videos or perhaps undertake some qualitative research with current parents/pupils at the school to help decide?

Do identify your audience and their needs, are the parents or pupils driving the decision making process? Then, are they aware of your school (using short, branded commercial style content can work here); are they art the information gathering stage (here a more detailed insight into your ethos and what you have to offer can be communicated in a longer promotional video); are they at the point of decision making (case studies and testimonials will help to guide now). If you want your video to achieve a specific call to action, such as registering interest or booking an appointment, your video must prompt them and be clear about how to proceed. You could direct them to click through to a landing page, complete a details form or contact via a dedicated telephone number.

  1. What video topics in the school should the video cover?

A school encompasses many areas that can tell a story: academic, sport, creative, pastoral, boarding, alumni as well as internal content. Firstly find out what questions your potential students and their parents may be asking and brainstorm the types of videos that could work well with these topics to meet their needs. Consider a school culture video, testimonials from parents and pupils, documentary-like case studies, thought-leadership interviews, vlogs, explainer videos and support topic walkthroughs.

  1. Research

Market research lights the way for effective strategy, so wherever possible improve knowledge of your audience with credible research. This can be undertaken online, within your own school community or using specialist market research companies.

  1. How should you go about creating video content?

Should you use a professional video production company, produce the videos yourself, or a combination of both? Technology has advanced to the stage that people can make videos on their phones or tablets, but is this the right thing for your school? For certain uses this can be extremely useful and cost effective, such as for distributing internal information or for recording school events and you could get training to help you do this. You won’t, however, be able to produce high quality video content without any experience so consider getting some consultancy or training to support you as you get started. If you opt to work in partnership with a professional video production company, they can sit down with you to create your video strategy, even if you only plan on having a single film. Your video content can be used in so many ways, either internally or externally; shared via your website and social media or uploaded to a video hosting platform; played at shows and exhibitions – the sky’s the limit – you want to get it right.

  1. Where should you put your video content?

The most obvious answer is on your website, but make sure it is visible and not hidden away where it may not be found. It is worth considering creating a dedicated landing page and create a visual impact. You can use text and imagery to highlight your video content journey, working to build credibility and trust through improved engagement.

Other distribution channels, such as Youtube or Vimeo can provide valuable means to attract attention, but ultimately you need to direct your audience to your website.

To maximise the impact of your video you must also consider video optimisation, since video works differently to web pages in search engines. Search engines are not able to see what’s actually going on in your video, so once you have uploaded it you need to consider how to make it search engine friendly!

Look to optimise the metadata, that information that exists about the video that search engines use to determine what to display on search engine results pages (SERPs). Select your keywords and use them in the video title, its description and tags.

One other important tip, backed up by findings in our research, is that young people primarily use their phones to access information online, so make sure your video and website is responsive and optimised for mobile use.

  1. How will you measure your video’s performance?

We suggest you decide on two or three quantifiable objectives based on what you want your video to achieve. Examples may include measuring the number of enquiries you have received through the call to action or maintaining the attention span of your audience watching until the end of your video. You should track the analytics for your campaign on a daily basis for a set period of time (perhaps two weeks or longer). The majority of this data can be found on video marketing platforms and will help you to understand how your videos are performing. If your audience switches off early on then the introduction may need looking at again, for instance. The biggest of these video marketing platforms is of course Youtube, but also worth considering are Vimeo, Wistia and Vidyard. Looking for patterns in the data will give you valuable insights into how your video strategy is working.

We hope that you found this guide informative and useful. Obviously this is only an insight into best practice and if you would like us to help you review your school’s video marketing strategy or would like any advice about using video, do please contact us.