Are you utilising User Generated Content in your higher education marketing?
We’ve often professed the power of authenticity in your marketing. No where is that more important than at universities and colleges.
Young people trust User Generated Content
User Generated Content is significantly impactful on decision making and brand recognition. Check out these stats from Trend.io:
86% of millennials say that User Generated Content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.
70% of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy.
Universities across the world are effectively utilising their students as content creators. They’re digital natives who are more than happy to create impressive and creative content in a range of mediums.
Students as content creators
If you don’t engage your student content creators, your students are still creating content anyway! “A Day in the Life of a Harvard Student”, an independently created student vlog, is the most viewed university life video on YouTube, with 6.9 million views. Prospective students are looking for this content, and your students will create it – your university should engage with that!
Newcastle University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences decided to start utilising student-created content in their marketing efforts.
Each month, the faculty gives their ambassadors a topic to write about (based on their content calendar for the year). They also provide a template to help them write their blog.
As Valentina Terrinoni, Marketing and Student Recruitment Officer, said: “We really wanted relevant information we can use to support prospective students from shortlisting to making their final choice.”
To date, their students have written over 600 blogs on a range of topics!
Example topics and ideas for your university blog
Titles of recent blogs by Newcastle include:
- The 5 best things about studying politics at Newcastle University
- 6 reasons to study Linguistics and Japanese at Newcastle
- Writing a personal statement for Journalism, Media and Culture
- How I chose the right university for me
- Where I think my Archaeology MA will take me
- Studying Language and Business in the North East
- How to Prepare for Studying Classics & Ancient History at Newcastle University
- What to Expect From Your First Week Studying Geography
The impact of User Generated Content for Higher Education
The impact was huge!
They have received 12,000 unique views and also high conversion from reading a blog to starting a chat. After viewing the blogs page, students were 3x more likely to start a Unibuddy chat than those who hadn’t viewed the blogs page.
Katrina Savage, Head of Student Recruitment and Marketing, for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “We know the power that a credible voice has, and all of the research and our experience shows that authenticity and authentic content works, this is why Unibuddy blog content is so important to us.
“Our student ambassadors are so in tune with the university. We don’t tell them what to say, but they’re saying wonderful things anyway.
“They know the university and are sharing the great experience they are having at Newcastle, as well as really useful advice and tips.
“It’s a fabulous platform to engage with prospects and applicants, and I’ve seen that value of Unibuddy and the credible voice through the impact it has on engagement.’’