Content Marketing Strategy for Edtech & Universities
The Power of Inbound.
Yesterday, we connected an Ed-tech company from Austria to an Ed-tech company from Spain. Both our clients, both approached us after finding us online and neither knew of us before their first google search. Apart from that, our team just last week was working on a video for University of Liverpool, preparing a strategy pitch for a Cyber Security course giant based out of London, discussing strategy with a publishing company in Mumbai about their recently released book targeted towards mothers of toddlers. This is what a meticulously laid out content marketing strategy do for a company – generate quality leads even when the company doesn’t have the budget to spend on advertisement.
Agency Video we made for our newest partner
Since April 2020 we have lost over 40 school clients, with most schools in India hitting a rough patch, they were unable to pay us and we knew that it wasn’t there fault – we too had to lean our operations, cut down on all expenses and even though I hate to say this but cut down on the marketing budget. Over the last 6 months we as an agency have come to realize the true benefit of having a robust content marketing strategy in place. Look at some of the numbers below
Advertisement budget for last 30 days: 0
Outbound messages/mails sent to potential new clients in the last 30 days: 0 ( we don’t have time for an outreach program!)
No. of inbound enquiries received in the last 30 days: 16
Clients closed: 7
Active Pipeline: 3
Traffic on IOSIGNITE’s website in the last 30 days came from 87 countries with a bounce rate of 62% and avg. time spent on website of 2.30 mins.
“I have been following your LinkedIn posts and content for some time, can you send me a proposal for my school.”
Manav Singla, Director, Brookfield International School Chandigarh. (We joined hands to revamp Brookfield’s website earlier this month and are excited to launch the website by mid- December)
And that is the power of inbound.
We’ve been firm believers of the power of content & SEO, in fact, our own agency has only relied on organic leads for business in the last 6 months and we’ve been doing brilliantly considering we lost 50% of our clients in the first 3 months of the pandemic. Many question, the time and money we quote for developing valuable content and also the considerable amount of time we spend before selecting the topic for something as simple as a blog post or a webpage and today we thought we’ll give our prospective clients an overview of how we do things.
The simple answer to why content marketing is time consuming & expensive.
The simple answer to why people quote anywhere from 50 paisa per word for writing a blog to charging a few lakhs for developing content on a retainership basis is that – some content drive traffic and business and others do nothing. I can write a play but will that play become Merchant of Venus? If not, then what is the purpose of writing it? So, if you want a block buster play written you should go to Shakespeare rather than Sharmaji ka beta who won an essay competition in school. And Shakespeare, if he was alive and agreed, would probably charge a tad bit more and also take a bit more time.
Now for an in-depth analysis
(Continue reading if you want to learn more about developing content marketing strategy your own firm or a client the right way)
When an ed-tech company or a university approaches us for helping them with their content strategy – here’s what we do.
Ask what should they rank for?
The purpose of content whether it goes on the webpage or blog posts is straightforward – to get new business and drive money. Hence, having an understanding of which keywords and search terms can drive sales is imperative before selecting the topic.
Search for “top premium schools in India” and you will see IOISGNITE’s old blog post popping up on the first or second position. This blog drives significant traffic to the website but over the years has given us 0 clients, in fact not even a single lead. On the other hand, the keyword “how to improve nirf rank” has given us 18 leads in the past six months and 3 new clients and 1 partner. (We also pop up on the first or second spot for this keyword.) Both articles are great and pop up on the first page of google, both drive traffic but which one would you rather have for your business?
So, the first step is to define what keywords can drive relevant traffic that can convert. At IOSIGNITE we use Moz Pro, Google keyword planner and UberSuggest to come up with the list of keywords and potential of traffic that each can get us. We begin by searching for the keywords that deliver maximum traffic to the client’s competitors and then check the topics and pages that receive the traffic.
Find the ideal topic?
Once the keyword that is most valuable is shortlisted, we need to figure out what content can be built around it that will get us ranking. For one of our clients, we chose to build content around a keyword they were not ranking for
“Universities in Spain”
We first made a list of all the keywords similar to our parent keyword that have the potential to drive traffic. Once this was done, we found which articles come up on search for this keyword across different regions. We used Moz Pro for this (Buzzsumo is also great)
This formed the basis of the article our team would write. “Top Universities in Spain that feature on QS World University Rankings”
Even before writing the article we knew the sections the blog post will have.
Top Business Schools in Spain as per QS World Ranking
Top Business Schools in Spain that do not feature on the list
Similarly it would read for other streams. Making it a reliable comprehensive article on the subject and ranking for keywords like
Universities in Spain, QS World Ranking Spain, Esade Ranking and so on.
It is always better to tackle topics that you can provide insights on. Again, going back to “How to improve Nirf rank” this article by IOSIGNITE only looks at improving the NIRF rank by improving perception score. Because that is what we expertise in, we could have written about the 8 other parameters but then the article wouldn’t command the authority it commands today, as we are the subject matter expert.
Writing the actual article.
Writing for web is not the same as writing for an advertisement, texting or even writing a book. Regardless, of how good your writing skills are, writing blogs that feature on the first page of search is a skill that one needs to learn. You need to keep your sentences short, formatting immaculate, flesch reading ease score up and all this while making sure your article reads well for the actual reader and not just for search engines.
The facts need to be researched, references need to be made and the topic should be well explained to the audience. A good content writer will be able to effortlessly do all that while making sure the keywords find a place in the header, title, description and the first paragraph.
Content Distribution – What’s this?
Writing a great piece of content is only the first part of the battle. Making sure the article gets eyeballs is a bigger challenge. Here is a list of things we do for each one of our articles.
Email List – We send out an email to the relevant audience each time we publish.
Social Share – We share the article across social channels and at least in 15 Facebook and 15 LinkedIn groups.
Employee Notification – We share the article with all our employees. Every week when the team meets, they are expected to provide feedback to the author. (This makes sure they read the article)
Citations & Backlinks – As a thumb rule we give references of 3-5 subject matter experts. 2 – 3 folks who are extremely qualifies and have tons of following and 2 – 3 average ones. Once we publish a blog, we reach out to them via email to let them know we have quoted them or shared their view and if they like the article they can share it with their audience. This helps us reach out to potential new audience that we would otherwise not be able to reach.
Without a robust distribution mechanism, even the best of contents can get lost and never garner any eyeballs.
Content Updation & Recycling
Every piece of content written on your website should be reviewed periodically and updated. This helps it to continue ranking in the time to come. New content should be bundled together and interlinked. At IOSIGNITE we usually review our client’s top performing content once every six months.
The inspiration for the blog post is a conversation I recently had with one of our agency clients. IOSIGNITE has been doing back-end design and social media work for them and they wanted to explore us for content and SEO for one of their clients. I did an in-depth review of their client’s asset and got back to them with a quote. When clients who know little to nothing about SEO ask us why are we are so expensive, I understand but when someone who understands search and the value of content says, “I can get it done for Rs. 10,000” it’s just sad. Hence the longish blog post.
Content Marketing Strategy for Edtech & Universities
An indepth review about our own content marketing strategy and how it has helped us generate quality leads and drive business growth. An ideal read for any edtech startup or anyone trying to sell to the education sector.