Generation Z Called: They Said You Should Probably Get It Together

Generation ZMy son is eight. If I allowed it, he would spend most of his waking life watching videos of other people playing Minecraft. Videos. Of other people playing.


So weird. But then I’m old, I don’t game and I prefer written content to video content. The kid isn’t alone: Meet Generation Z, your future freshmen. They’re technologically savvy and resistant to traditional marketing (my son already knows that Netflix beats network TV; he mutes commercials; he skips online ads). They haven’t known a time before YouTube. They’ve grown up with Google as the go-to source for information and online video as a requisite for entertainment. How they consume information will make an impact on how you market your school. Spoiler: They consume via video.

Visual storytelling should be the keystone in a successful digital marketing strategy. Why?

  • YouTube is the number two search engine in the world.
  • Video is cost-effective, increases CTRs and ranks well on search engines.
  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)
  • User-generated video like Vine and Instagram can be harnessed and shared in ways that amplify your voice hugely. (Who’s even using Vine? Princeton, University of Florida, Duke, Stanford Engineering, UCLA Health, Cornell—among others.)

How’s your video strategy? If seeing the words YouTube and Vine send you to the edge of anxiety, you’re not alone. Below I’ve compiled some practical ways to work on getting your video content in order.

1. Identify goals

What are you hoping to achieve with video? How will measure success? Every piece of your inbound marketing should be tied to a clear, measurable performance indicator. Looking for increased online applications? More alumni engagement? Increased giving? Name them. And in working toward those goals, don’t lose focus on the audience. If you don’t connect, your goal is moot.

2. Watch the big picture

Creating videos simply for the sake of creating videos is not a plan. The focus of any content strategy is fulfilling a promise or obligation to your audience. Do you have one? How does video support your inbound efforts? Strategy comes before creation (granted, I’m a strategist and am totally biased) when you’re looking to launch something that’s both sustainable and results in a strong brand and return on investment.

3. Optimize for search

Just like your website, video needs metadata. Ensure the first word of the title is strategic, that you have a keyword-specific description in place, and a full transcript. Use tags smartly—focusing on the topic, the keywords and the takeaway.

4. Encourage interaction

Share video through social channels, invite open dialogue and encourage subscriptions, shares and comments. A low view number is depressing, innit? If you take the time and spend the money to produce quality video, make sure you have the social network in place to get it in front of the right audience at the right time.

5. Organize your content

If there’s not a content plan in place, that’s priority. Have 15 videos targeted to prospective students but nothing for alumni? Rejigger your strategy. You can also organize your lists by keywords, which helps search engines detect your plan and users dig through your video.

6. Publish regularly

Content marketing (blogging, infographics, social media, video production, etc.) is a marathon, not a sprint. Plan your publication calendar in advance and stick to it. Fresh content is valued by Google, and valued by your users.

7. Measure

Metrics show you what’s working, what’s not and how to optimize going forward. Analytics should be measuring views, engagement, traffic, CTRs and conversion. At least.

Like all digital content, your videos will do best when they combine a meaningful message with brief and shareable delivery. How is your institution managing video storytelling now? How are you measuring success of your video efforts?

If you enjoyed this post, read more by Sara.

Sara Fraser – VP Content Strategy


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