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Content Strategy For Higher Education Websites

Sharon Smith, Director of Product Management
#Content Strategy | Posted

Content is in the spotlight these days, and as I mentioned in my last post, content is still king! When creating a content strategy, it’s important to know your users, how they use your site, and what content they value most.  Recently I worked with Penn State University to refine their digital content strategy. Learning about the higher education audience expectations helped lead my thinking on this project and I would like to share some great resources on content strategy and targeting content for a higher education audiences.

Jon Goldberg, a content strategist at Ceros.com, has written a great piece on quality targeted content in an article called “Why (Quality) Content is King.” He points out that beyond SEO, and what algorithms Google uses to determine quality, all content really needs to be created with a specific audience in mind.

Lisa Maria, a former speaker at ConFab writes specifically about her experience working on content strategy in a higher-ed setting in her post “A Higher Ed Content Strategist Survival Guide.” Her first piece of advice is “meet your real audience.” We can’t just guess at personas anymore, the data is out there and we need to utilize it to create quality content.

Noel-Levitz has published a fascinating study about college student’s digital expectations. Through their study we can begin to understand the behaviors and preferences of a college student.

We used the Noel-Levitz findings and created an infographic to display this important data:

College-bound digital expectations infographic

All of this data should be taken into account when creating a content strategy for higher education websites. Once you understand your users, you also have to consider your own publishing resources and capabilities.  It’s clear from the data that a student’s positive content experience is integral to their perception of the college or university.  Students are looking for quality content that they can access anywhere on any device.

HERE ARE 3 QUESTIONS I ASK WHEN CREATING A CONTENT STRATEGY:
  1. What value does the content have for my targeted audience?
  2. Do I have the resources to create this content of value?
  3. Am I publishing this quality content where my targeted audience can find it?

 To learn about how Phase2 worked with Penn state to build a higher education web strategy, check out the story behind Penn State’s recently redesigned web platform!

Sharon Smith

Director of Product Management