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    Content marketing strategy

    A Quick-Step Guide to a Teen Summer Program Content Marketing Strategy

    Posted by Marie Schwartz
    Here are the 4 steps to develop a content marketing strategy that will increase your program’s online visibility, attendance, and revenue.

     

    “On the web, you are what you publish,” says best-selling author and marketer, David Meerman Scott. And he’s right; content marketing establishes organizations as masters of their domain. According to HubSpot, 40% of marketers say content marketing is a crucial part of their overall marketing strategy. By producing content that educates and resonates with your target audience, you will boost your organization’s online credibility and visibility to garner new leads.

    So now you know that creating content is important, but what does a content strategy look like for the busy marketer of a summer enrichment program? And how can you get started? In this article, we’re taking a look at the four steps to develop a content marketing strategy that will increase your summer program’s online visibility, in-person attendance, and revenue. 

    1. Know Who Your Content is For

    The first step in creating a content marketing strategy is to know who your buyer personas are. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal target audience. Typically, in the case of summer programs, your content marketing strategy will likely be geared toward educating parents, teens, and school administrators on the unique value your organization brings to their lives. 

    Each persona will be drawn to different content based on their own personal challenges, so take time to research and write bios of each. These stories should be based on facts (age, gender, job title, location, household income) and educated guesses (hobbies, values, goals, challenges, fears). Depending on your business model, your buyer personas may differ from other summer programs. For instance, “Gen Z Gennifer” could be a buyer persona encompassing high school students from ages 13-18, who are interested in acting and like to travel. This would be a great buyer persona for a summer enrichment program that focuses on theatre arts and is based abroad. 

    Knowing the types of people you’re creating for and why will make your content plan much more focused and effective as leads and prospects head down their buyer’s journey. Now, let’s take a look at what types of content are appropriate for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

    2. Map Content to the Buyer’s Journey 

    The next step to developing a killer content marketing strategy is to understand the buyer’s journey and to map content to each stage — awareness, consideration, and decision. Each of your personas has a special reason to look for your content, but all of us go through generally the same decision-making process:  

    • Awareness stage — I have a problem and know very little about it
    • Consideration stage — I’ve identified my problem and am researching my options
    • Decision stage — I’ve narrowed my options and need to choose one

    Let’s say a teenager in the awareness stage is searching for “east coast colleges for English literature majors.” This teen is not ready to apply to a program yet. So directing that teen to a signup page (adequate for a teen in the decision stage) on your website would be the wrong move.

    Instead, it’s more natural for the teen to check out a blog post about the benefits of attending a literature immersion program before they apply to college. And then perhaps the site can direct them to an interview with a literature major who went on to her dream college after attending your summer program. Have a YouTube video to go along with it? Even better!

    Here are just a few examples of content variety you can try in each stage of your personas’ decision-making journeys:

    Awareness:

    • How-to blog posts
    • “Why" posts
    • Interviews with educators
    • Commentary on published research/data

    Consideration:

    • Interviews with alumni
    • Case studies
    • Program comparisons (it’s OK to mention “competitors” — your readers will appreciate the honesty!)
    • Webinars
    • Ebooks

    Decision:

    • Open houses — live or recorded
    • Campus tours
    • Financial aid information
    • Housing information
    • Special offers

    Now that you know what type of content to create and when it’s time to turn your content marketing strategy into real marketing assets that will live on your website and serve as a 24/7 sales machine! 

    3. Distribute in the Right Places at the Right Times

    The next step to creating an effective content marketing strategy is to publish your content in the right place at the right time to attract the right audience. It’s critical that you take the time to acknowledge where each of your buyer personas spend their time. For instance, each of your personas will search for your program in a different way – parents might be on Facebook and Twitter, while their children are using Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. 

    Let’s say you write a blog called “The Top 3 Summer Programs All School Counselors Should Inform Their Students About.” To reach the right audience of school professionals, the best place to share this blog may be on LinkedIn. Keep in mind that no matter the persona you’re trying to reach, always provide a way for them to share it with their peers via social sharing links. 

    Timing is important, too. All your readers aren’t going to be on the same network at the same time, so use automation tools like Buffer or Hootsuite that allow you to pre-schedule social media posts of your hottest content throughout the day on various channels. 

    How can you determine what times of day your buyer personas are most active on social media or most responsive to emails? That’s easy — analytics.

    4. Analyze Your Data to Continuously Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

    What worked and what didn’t? Were they the right topics? Were your distribution channels effective? What about timing? Using analytics to understand the types of content that your target audience resonates with, when in the buyer’s journey they want to receive certain types of content, and what they do with the content is critical knowledge necessary to improve upon your content marketing strategy. 

    So where can you find these analytics? Typically, any email marketing software you use will provide you with insights into how many people opened, clicked through, and shared your email. Similarly, social media channels also have analytics that give you visibility into how your followers and network interacted with a specific post. When it comes to your website, Google Analytics is an awesome tool that will help you realize which web pages are garnering the most leads and which aren’t. 

    Based on all of these analytics, you can make data-driven decisions to refine your content marketing strategy. Some of — but not limited to — the marketing metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on include:

    • Website traffic
    • Number of visits per content piece
    • Number of social shares
    • Email click-through rates
    • Leads generated
    • Inbound links from authoritative sites
    • Performance by author, topic, format

    It would be silly to keep creating content if you didn’t know how well it was performing, wouldn’t it? So you’ll want to analyze your content across marketing channels on a frequent basis and keep refining your strategy based on the data. 

    Final Thoughts

    With 77% of organizations reporting that they have a content marketing strategy, your teen summer program cannot afford to ignore these four steps. And let’s be honest — what even is marketing without content? A blog without words or a website without information is useless. Thus, developing a content marketing strategy is crucial to the overall success of your organization.

    Let TeenLife get your organization on the right track to boosting your summer program attendance and revenue. 

    Contact us today to begin garnering high-quality leads.

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    Marie Schwartz

    Marie Schwartz

    Marie Schwartz is the CEO and Founder of TeenLife Media. Marie launched TeenLife in 2007 after moving to Boston with her husband and two middle school sons and discovering that there were no information resources for families with older children. Today, TeenLife's award-winning website lists thousands of summer and gap year programs, schools, college admission resources and volunteer opportunities for teens around the world.

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