Reaching prospective college students and getting them to apply and enroll requires speaking to them and their parents, who are more involved than ever.

College Student with Parents

Higher Education Content Strategy: Are You Writing Web Content for Parents?

Fri Feb 28, 2014

College admissions offices and marketing departments spend lots of time and money creating college marketing plans and trying to connect with prospective students. Anyone who recently has tried recruiting students knows that the parents of Millennials are highly involved in the admissions process and overall college experience. They are both influencers and co-decision makers when a student is choosing a college, and more than before, they expect to be listened and spoken to.

Millennial parents are also more likely to be comfortable with, and using, the same technology as their children, and can be effectively reached through digital media—as long as colleges target them with the right content strategy.

Addressing Parents and Students Means Your College Admissions Office is Speaking to Different Expectations

Many colleges and universities have embraced social media in their marketing plan as a way to connecting with prospective students on their digital turf and trying to make their institutional brands feel more accessible, but most are still missing opportunities to reach the folks who will actually pay for tuition.

While high school students have an opaque sense of college life and just want to be happy at whatever college they choose, parents are more concerned with outcomes and other criteria.

Google’s quarterly education search report identified important trends in online education search, including a focus on career-specific programs, establishing credibility, and providing demonstrable value. The full report for 2013 was recently released, underscoring growing ad competition and cost per click, a dramatic increase in career-focused programs, and finding an education that will pay off.

What College Websites Can Do for Parents

An effective college website should perform well on computers and mobile devices—parents have smart phones too—and offer a wealth of informative and narrative content to help students and parents understand the application process, the expectations of college life, and the true value of investing in a college education.

Students understand the importance of earning a college degree and planning for their future, but are strongly influenced by real and virtual campus tours and content that creates a sense of place and personality.

Content for parents can answer questions they’re likely to have about cost, safety, rankings, student health, and other factors that can assure them their child will be in good hands for the next four years. Whereas the attention of a teenager needs to be grabbed quickly and can be equally fleeting, engaging parents opens the door for more thoughtful, detailed content that is connected to other relevant content they can explore at their leisure.

Effective content marketing requires understanding the audience you’re trying to reach. When you’re speaking to prospective students, their parents are the second primary audience and need to be included in your college’s content marketing plan.

Karo Kilfeather, content marketing manager at Percussion Software
Karo Kilfeather
Content Marketing Manager | Percussion Software

Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.