Ideas, insights and inspirations.

Great content is the lifeblood of successful brands. However, creating great content is a labor of love. It takes both an investigative mind (that discovers and uncovers brand evidence and proofs) and an imaginative mind (that infuses brand romance) to create persuasive content. Two quick reminders before I dive into the content ecosystem. First, the best college copywriters and storytellers uncover truths about an institution that it may not have even known about itself. They instinctively know that the real hero of their story is the student, the alum and the faculty member — not the institution. They tell the stories of the challenges the brand heroes faced and how they creatively overcame them to realize their personal destinies. As my colleague Todd Erkel would say, a college becomes the story it chooses to tell. Second, before you embark on your content journey, I would strongly encourage creation of a SEO Keyword Lexicon that’ll guide all future content creation. It’s comprised … Continue reading

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The primary goal of digital content marketing is to earn attention and grow brand reputation by providing valuable content – that informs, persuades, engages and delights prospects and customers. However, delivering on this goal has turned into an all-out arms race, with three distinct generations of content marketing.   First Generation: Core Content In the beginning, marketers equated content with website copy and photography. Copywriters and storytellers elevated the website copy – presenting the facts and persuading the prospects with engaging content; professional photographers were hired to lift the website experience with beautiful imagery that told visual stories. Core Content = Copy + Stories + Photographs + Press Releases.   Second Generation: Enhanced Content Once parity was achieved in basic content, marketers expanded the concept of content to include blogs and juiced up the copy, photographs and blog posts with keywords to secure page 1 rankings on Google. Enhanced Content = Core Content + Blog Posts + Social Media Posts … Continue reading

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  Today, there is a lot of advice around how to create high quality, student-centered content in the higher education space — from bringing student experiences to life through stories, photos and videos to creating content by involving passionate faculty, students and brand champions. However, far less is said regarding how to create an orchestrated effort around content publishing to ensure that your content receives the most visibility and positive engagement. Often, marketing teams get caught up in the demanding work of content creation and fall short when it comes to creating a well-thought-out content release plan. The result is limited exposure of a content piece that was incredibly time consuming to complete. At Elliance, for each piece of high-fidelity content — whether it’s an infographic, guide, video, blog post, story, etc. — we develop a content release plan to ensure maximum exposure among target audiences. While each piece of content demands unique considerations, here are a few recommendations that can … Continue reading

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I have this love for story — the hear and the tell — the feel that comes from being submersed in a good narrative. I believe that I was born with this hunger for story, driven by a native curiosity to know and see and feel the world around me. That, paired with an unshakable desire and urgency to share with others the stories I’ve discovered, led me to pursue my career as a writer. I’ve always loved the creative freedom that comes with writing — the instinctual aspect of the profession. Almost instantaneously after starting my job at Elliance I began blogging — a service we perform for many of our clients, most often those in higher education, to help them expand their reach and better connect with their target audience. As I began to write, I would find myself in the zone, really getting a good flow going in the copy and focusing on telling a brilliant story. … Continue reading

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One of the best gifts that I ever received was a copy of the book How to Take the Fog Out of Writing by Robert Gunning. At the time, I was just two years out of college with a tendency for verbosity, $10 dollar words and copy that often well exceeded my allotted word count, much to the dismay of our graphic designers. My writing lacked precision; I was indulging my whims as a writer at the expense of my readers. Two decades later, I’m still a work in progress, but that book transformed the way I wrote and made me a more effective copywriter in far fewer words than I ever thought possible. Sometimes less really is more. Today, writing clear, concise copy is more critical than ever, thanks to character limits, short attention spans and the limited screen size of our pervasive digital devices. Fortunately, there are tools to determine if your writing is clear of fog, readable … Continue reading

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You know how to blog and to use Twitter and Facebook to connect with customers. But do you know how to create the content that attracts and retains them? According to Joe Pulizzi, author of “Epic Content Marketing” and founder of the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” The keywords here are “valuable” and “compelling.” If your content doesn’t fulfill these two prerequisites, chances are it is not reaching too many people. Are you offering your customers something they wouldn’t get from another firm? Is your content compelling enough to be widely shared on social media? Take a look at these companies who are producing valuable and compelling content and think about how your content provides your customers value. Red Bull It’s fair to say that Red Bull will do anything, … Continue reading

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Unfortunately for higher education marketers, there is only so much program-specific information a University can espouse before its branding message becomes just another noisy, unrecognizable foghorn on the mist-cloaked, higher-ed seas. To differentiate your school’s programs, brand and message, consider marketing sideways. “Use a peripheral but more human and interesting component of your brand to tell a story that compels your customers and prospects more so than any product feature or benefit,” writes Marketing Keynote Speaker and Best-Selling Author Jay Baer. Baer’s article cites The King of Sideways” – Subway’s Jared Fogle. Subway’s campaign positioned Jared’s weight-loss story in front of customers who would hopefully relate and identify with Jared. The story appears to have worked. Jared is in his fifteenth year as a Subway spokesman with a net worth of $15 million. Sideways marketing is nothing new and certainly doesn’t begin or end with Jared. This marketing technique has been used by an uncountable number of brands – think … Continue reading

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