2020 ADMISSIONS LEADERS SURVEY: Inside Higher Ed and Gallup surveyed 433 senior admissions officials in August on a wide variety of topics. The survey revealed that a majority did not fill their classes by May 1 or even by July 1. Six in 10 survey respondents were “highly concerned” about meeting their institution’s fall enrollment goals and 30 percent said they were “concerned.” Only 40% of private colleges said they were well prepared or very well prepared for the pandemic while only 33% of public colleges gave that same score.
Why you should care: Many traditional student recruitment tactics were thrown out the window this year, including in-person events like open houses and recruitment fairs. Those schools who have invested in other student recruitment tactics to fill in gaps (like content strategies and high-quality virtual events) are likely finding greater success than their counterparts this fall.
WHEN TO USE LONG-FORM VS SHORT-FORM CONTENT: Short form content, like news articles, infographics, and social content is typically less than 1200 words. It’s goal is to quickly get across an easily consumable single message or idea. Long form content is typically greater than 1200 words and covers a topic in-depth. It includes not-so-quick-to-consume content like eBooks, guides and tutorials, and even webinars. Long form content often becomes the “backbone” of your SEO strategy.
Why you should care: Many search ranking factor studies, including one from Backlinko, show a correlation between the length of content and higher search rankings. In most cases, longer content produces higher rankings on search engines than short-form content. But there isn’t a blanket rule for content length; there's a time and place for each, and both are crucial to your student recruitment strategy. Short-form content helps communicate with those prospective students on social media (cue shorter attention spans) while long-form content can be used as a driving force to help prospective students find your program organically on Google.
IS JARGON HURTING YOUR CONTENT? A study from Ohio State gave one group of participants this jargon-filled sentence to read: “This system works because of AI integration through motion scale and tremor reduction.” In the same study, they gave another group of participants this non-jargon filled sentence to read: “This system works because of programming that makes the robot’s movements more precise and less shaky.” Despite the fact that those who read the jargon-filled sentence were given the definitions to the terms, they felt disengaged by the end of the passage. The jargon-free group felt engaged and empowered, wanting to learn more.
Why you should care: Prospective students likely don’t share the same knowledge about your program’s subject matter that you do. Specialized words and jargon may be unhelpful, especially at the beginning of the prospective student’s college search journey. Writing about complex programs/subject matter isn’t easy, but enrollment marketers who write clear and understandable descriptions about their programs and processes will see better results than those who rely on jargon.
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