Boosting Student Enrollment in Higher Education With Public Relations

Boosting Student Enrollment in Higher Education With Public Relations

Higher education marketplace competition is exceedingly competitive and crowded. It’s no longer enough for institutions to offer programs and degrees to attract applicants. Your higher education institution has to show the characteristics and assets – tangible and intangible – that set it apart from the rest.

Higher education institutions that build mutually beneficial relationships with their target audiences position themselves to differentiate from the crowded field. Partnering with an experienced and proven public relations agency that can strategically craft messaging, work with media and lift branding, will give institutions an edge in attracting students and increasing enrollment. However, not just any PR strategy will help your institution build a positive image and relationship with its key stakeholders. Higher education institutions have unique PR needs compared to businesses or other organizations.

Here is how a well-crafted public relations campaign can boost student enrollment in higher education.

How To Boost Student Enrollment With PR Campaigns

Before crafting a PR campaign, it’s crucial to understand the target audience for higher education institutions – students, prospective students, parents, faculty and staff, and alumni. Knowing your target audience helps you create clear goals, messages, and methods to reach them.

Here are some steps you can follow to boost student enrollment with a PR campaign.

Upgrade And Update Your Website

Prospective students visit college websites during their college search to learn about programs, campus life, and admissions. According to Statista, 95% of high school juniors and seniors look for information on programs and majors on college websites, while a further 93% look for information on the cost of attendance.

Based on these statistics, having a website goes a long way in attracting new students. But not just any website will do the trick. You need an upgraded, updated, user-friendly, and visually appealing website with easily accessible information.

So how do you achieve this? Let’s give an example:

When Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) introduced a new four-year medical degree and on-campus housing for students, they needed to raise awareness of this opportunity. They approached our experts at The Hoyt Organization to help them reach this goal.

Check out our comprehensive PR plan, whose strategic action plan included upgrading and updating their website. This plan resulted in easy access to resources provided by the university and a solid earned media effort with 85 pieces of coverage and an estimated 4.72 billion views online.

Create Impactful Stories

The human innate affinity for narratives makes compelling stories potent motivators that touch those they reach. Your institution stands a better chance of fostering connection, engagement, and inspiration through storytelling than traditional sales-driven marketing tactics.

In higher education, engaging narratives are all around us. However, it takes creativity to identify and craft compelling and authentic stories. Here are some tips to help you create impactful stories:

  • Get To Know Your Institution On A Deeper Level: Understanding What Makes Your Institution Unique Will Provide You With Excellent Content To Build Your Story. Learn More About The Different Programs, Scholarships, Extracurricular Activities, And Other Opportunities That Set Your Higher Education Organization Apart.
  • Highlight The Human Element: Stories Are Meaningful Because They Connect With The Audience On An Emotional Level. Highlight The Human Element By Featuring Students, Faculty, And Alumni Who Have A Personal Connection To Your Institution.
  • Use Various Mediums: Share Stories Through Different Mediums Such As Videos, Articles, Social Media Posts, Or Even Podcasts To Reach A Broader Audience And Keep Them Engaged.
  • Collaborate With Current Students And Alumni: Current Students And Alumni Have Personal Experiences With Your Institution That Can Help Create Authentic Stories To Attract Prospective Students.
  • Share Success Stories: Highlighting The Achievements Of Your Students, Faculty, And Alumni Is An Excellent Way To Showcase The Impact Of Your Institution. Share Success Stories Through Your Public Relations Campaigns To Demonstrate The Value And Potential Of Attending Your Higher Education Institution.

Adopt A Multi-channel Strategy

To ensure maximum visibility, it is crucial to leverage various communication channels. This includes traditional outlets like newspapers and magazines, broadcast media such as radio and TV, and digital platforms like blogs and online news sites.

Utilizing a diverse spread of channels widens your reach and helps effectively propagate your message.

Craft A Personalized Approach

In today’s competitive market, most consumers (71%) expect brands to provide personalized experiences, while 76% get frustrated when brands don’t deliver. Today, the readiness to switch to other brands is at an all-time high.

Consider these facts when creating your higher education marketing strategy. Emphasize how your institution accommodates individual learning styles, schedules, goals, and preferences. Doing so can assure prospective students that your service is uniquely tailored to suit their specific circumstances.

This assurance can encourage them to take the decisive step of enrolling, effectively boosting your student enrollment rates.

Final Thoughts

Boosting student enrollment in higher education institutions requires innovative and tailored public relations strategies. You can effectively attract and retain prospective students by:

  • Showcasing Your Institution’s Impact
  • Adopting A Multi-Channel Communication Approach
  • And Providing Personalized Experiences

Remember, the goal is to reassure prospective students that your institution is the perfect fit for their unique academic journey.

Need help to boost student enrollment this year? Choose The Hoyt Organization, your ideal partner for innovative and tailored higher education PR strategies.

Leeza Hoyt

~Leeza Hoyt