Curated Stories of 6 Universities Worldwide Acing their Online Content Strategy
Best practices adopted by top universities for creating a brand presence
As digital technologies continue to disrupt and transform the world as we know it, online visibility takes precedence for any brand’s efforts in engaging and attracting their audiences. Universities are no exception—effective online strategies and marketing efforts are critical in gaining a global competitive edge and attracting the right talent and resources. In a time where university reputation matters more than ever, how can institutes break the barriers of traditional publicity methods like paper advertising or referral, in order to emerge as an authentic and valuable place of learning?
Understanding the importance of online media credibility for universities around the globe will help to not only answer this question but also direct leaders in adopting the modern approach of innovative information dissemination and building a strong digital presence.
Take for example universities conducting research activities that are focused on innovation, technology, sustainability, and tackling global issues with an aim to prepare students for a competitive future. Without effectively conveying the intrinsic value that a university can offer to relevant and appropriate audiences, can these efforts really transpire into prosperity for institutes or any related stakeholders?
Over the years we have seen many universities grow at a tremendous pace due to effective communication and credibility perceived not only from within but due to media exposure on digital platforms from international audiences. Whether this feat is achieved due to prestigious alumni, renowned faculty, or ground-breaking research advances, communication and accurate representation of the same in global markets, was key.
To further understand the kind of initiatives and advances universities around the globe are taking for authentic brand development as well as building their reputation, we made a list of 6 universities around the world that have incorporated inspiring content strategies and emerged as some of the most influential higher education entities online.
Since its founding in 1884, Temple University (TU) has slowly and steadily established itself as a global educational powerhouse and a sought-after top-tier research institution in the world. Temple University has created a strong brand personality online that interests and appeals to the younger generation. With regular activity on all popular social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, TU creates interesting and engaging content that helps the student community connect easily. They also have a Snapchat account that gives an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into life at the university and multiple accounts on twitter for a variety of purposes – admissions, sports, alumni, and even their campus in Japan!
In a podcast, Hashtag Higher Ed, Gina Benigno, a Video Production Manager at Temple University talks about how TU’s social media presence has also been a gateway for engaging audiences with relatable and authentic video content, which in turn, has also helped increase their overall web traffic. With university students blogging about their college life and experiences at TU, these videos are extremely cost-effective and attract thousands of viewers!
University of Leeds
One of the top 100 universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2021, the University of Leeds is positioning themselves to be student-focused, nurturing, altruistic, and innovative. Their Global Collaborations page supports international partnerships and research collaboration, providing a myriad of opportunities for their staff to connect with organizations like British Council, UK Science, and Innovation Network, as well as to secure funding for research from international funding agencies, fostering international research networks, and opening up new avenues in collaborative research for their faculty.
The University of Leeds also ensures that they stand out to create a unique space of their own in the digital sphere: be it on social media, where they celebrate “what makes Leeds special”i, or their online display ads which highlight how their high education standards, training quality, and exclusive programs set them apart. They also have a webpage dedicated to students’ personal and professional development, and another in which they partner with businesses to supply talent from their pool of graduates, and offer consultancy and collaborative research services. Their vibrant and interactive Spotlight Archive reflects their unique approach to education with a focus on research at the University of Leeds giving their students’ work visibility, and letting prospects know all about their exciting breakthroughs in science.
One of the best global business schools to provide higher education studies on Marketing and Management with a range of top-notch academic programs and the use of unique techniques to highlight their superior quality of education, Hautes Études Commercialesn, Paris popularly referred to as HEC Paris is a formidable force among universities that have created a strong brand reputation. Not only do they leverage their corporate connections that offer industry experience to staff and students, but also welcome prospects to their website homepage with impressive and inviting facts and figures that lead students to explore other pages.
In addition to sections like academic programs, the latest news, and write-ups on their homepage, HEC Paris also focuses on their faculty and the quality training they provide students with by hosting a series of open access live webinars where professors share their insights and expertise, making it a very thoughtful addition to their regular activities, with the aim to support students who are home-bound in the current global crisis. One of their most successful campaigns “Tomorrow is our business” with almost 200,000 views on their brand video, and professional and bold shareable and downloadable portraits of the most influential graduates of HEC Paris focuses on excellence and building leaders of tomorrow making for a spectacular display of their global standing.
Tokyo University of Science
Established in 1881, the Tokyo University of Science (TUS) is a leading private university of science and technology in Japan and is the top contributor of science development in the country. TUS produces a significant amount of quality research and ensures that they generate interest among media and the public about their most significant research innovations. The Tokyo University of Sciences Public Relations Division is a dedicated group that is responsible for issuing press releases, promoting research, facilitating media coverage of TUS, and assisting faculties and students to interact with the media.
It is imperative to effectively communicate research findings with the world to attract funders, collaborators, partners, and students to your university. Collaborating with Impact Science, TUS created a number of press releases, including attractive and shareable visual press releases. One visual press note in particular, which was created for the discovery of a large DNA virus called Medusavirus and was shared in multiple content formats—text note, infographics and a video, caused a significant spike in the Altmetric Score of the research paper in a short while after the press note was issued.2
A visual press release shared as text note, infographics, and a video
Within weeks of collaborating with Impact Science, we helped distribute several press releases for TUS through our curated media list of journalists and publications. TUS received encouraging results: several calls for collaboration, including one from a leading chemicals giant, an improvement in Altmetric scores, improved visibility among wider audiences on social media and discussion forums like Reddit.
The Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) is a Korean research institute that aims to combine research and education to foster innovation in a rapidly changing world. DGIST ensures that its community is regularly informed about all latest developments, including partnerships, research discoveries, and interviews with professors using social media sites like LinkedIn.
DGIST is one of the few Korean Universities that has taken a great leap on LinkedIn to make its mark in the international, predominantly English-speaking world. Through content promotion to targeted demographics, they have increased their scope of engagement as well as reach to relevant audiences through engaging content about research, campus life, support services, global partnerships and more. The University also has dedicated pages or microsites for different departments presenting curated information relevant to specific subject areas. Microsites help categorize content and are also optimized for keywords, ensuring that the website ranks on search engines, in turn increasing the university’s visibility to attract students interested in specific courses.3
University College Dublin
As one of the largest and most reputed universities in Ireland, University College Dublin’s (UCD) continued efforts in engaging a community of 30,000 students is quite noteworthy. Not only do they have a well-structured and usable website for their large student community, UCD also ensures that they display the most important information for students and leverage attractive accolades like the fact that UCD is no.1 in Ireland in the QS Graduate Employability rankings, on the main banner of their website homepage to make a lasting impression on even those users who will only spend enough time to glance at a webpage.4
University College Dublin also uses social media channels like YouTube to generate a wide range of video content—student vlogs, discussions, interviews, debates, podcasts, and promotional campaigns, which is updated regularly. Moreover, with vivid images and engaging posts on Facebook and Twitter, that are often interacted with through comments, shares, tags, and retweets, UCD is able to maintain a constantly great online presence.
3 steps to build a great university brand
1. Define your purpose
Understand what you would like to achieve from your branding efforts. Would you like to create a large online community? Or do you wish to provide support and vocational training for your students? Or do you want to boost international collaborations? Make sure that you incorporate your goals in your vision and develop a strategy that focuses on your strengths to increase the appeal of the benefits you offer to your target audiences. For instance, creating a webpage that highlights your past collaborations with research institutes is a great way to influence prospective students and increase your university rankings.
2. Proceed with a plan
Once your goals are in place, create a roadmap of what you need to get done to succeed. What kind of content should you create and where will you disseminate it? Start with your website, blog posts, and social media. You can also create videos, shareable infographics, microsites, press releases, and explore other communication strategies to highlight your university’s value and give your university visibility among your stakeholders and students.
3. Evolve consistently
Building your brand and carving a special place for your university online is a work in progress. The world changes at the speed of thought, and its worth keeping up with transformations that may affect you. For instance, HEC Paris has introduced a whole new section on their homepage to help students learn from home, and the Tokyo University of Science used an innovative new visual format for their research press release as opposed to regular text-only press notes, which were carried by several renowned publishers online, gaining notable media reputation as an Innovator University.
Did this list of universities inspire you to kick start your efforts in building a strong brand for your university? Let us know in the comments!
Visit https://www.impact.science/universities/ to know how we, at Impact Science, combine our understanding and love for research, with our expert knowledge of media formats and platforms to deliver comprehensive content marketing support for your university’s unique brand development requirements.