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Where Marketers Go to Grow

January 31, 2017 // 7:00 AM

Why Design and Coding Academies Need to Get in on Inbound Marketing

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Supermodels may have ruled the world in the 1990s, but today it's the creatives. Everyone wants in on disruptive, viral, [insert your own buzz word here] intersecting worlds of design and technology. Especially the savvy students who are looking for challenging, fun, and economically rewarding professions.

Design and coding academies are rising to meet these opportunities, but there's a lot of noise swirling around. If you want your academy's message to shout out and reach your prospective students, you need to be using inbound and content marketing.

Fortunately, your creative natures and enterprises are great fits to achieve great results with content marketing and inbound.

You're Already Flush with Content

For a lot of marketing teams, creating quality content on a consistent basis is a big challenge. Not so for design and coding academies. Your faculty and students already create amazing content daily. Student projects, faculty lectures, and documented curricula are all content sources ready to be tapped.

You can video individual lectures from different courses and post clips online. You're naturals for developing some of the best visual content out there. Take some screenshots of the design or coding tools you teach students to use and add some eye-popping captions as a mini-tutorial. Share your faculty's expertise by publishing their work paired with a short back story or interview with that teacher.

Getting creative is your jam. Review the wealth of content your community is already creating through the lens of your content strategy to attract new students. You'll see your opportunities.

Improve Your SEO by Repurposing Your Content

The first step with the inbound methodology is attracting your target audience. This requires an SEO strategy based on relevant keywords and topics. A blog talking about things your personas don't care about isn't going to help your academy get found.

After you've done some SEO research, freshen up blog posts, newsletter articles, and other content you already have. Let's say your research tells you that prospective students are curious about mobile UX design best practices. Now you can add new a summary, keywords and tags to a lecture video or presentation you've posted on this topic that are more relevant. Instead of captioning it "Introductory Lecture on Mobile Design," you can change it to "Mobile UX Design: Learning Best Practices for Mobile Apps" (or whatever your research indicates).

Understanding what your SEO research is telling you will also help you select the most useful and on-point content to repurpose. Your academy does have a wealth of content, but that doesn't mean you want to throw all of it up to see what sticks. You want to make strategic selections of what content to look for, what to create, and how to optimize it for SEO so you make best use of your resources.

Your Content Will Build Your Reputation

The linchpin of finding success with inbound marketing is using your content to build trust with your target personas. Academies and bootcamps don't have the brand recognition that traditional schools enjoy. The waters are also muddied by the explosion in your direct competition.

The number of coding academies grew by nearly 50% in 2016 and is projected to continue growing rapidly. If you want to carve out a spot on the leader board, then you need to boost your brand recognition and make sure your brand connotes credibility and authority.

Prospective students won't trust putting their professional training in your hands if they don't see you as a go-to source on topics related to coding or design. Use your content to build up their confidence that your academy is at the front edge of your field and has the chops to make them employer-magnets after you graduate them.

You can share recent alumni stories that show how easily your graduates transition from students into lucrative careers. Quintupling your salary post-graduation? That's not a bad haul.

Build your reputation as masters of your field by regularly publishing content that addresses its most pressing issues and trends. Publish your academy's own insights on everything from your field's fundamentals to controversial issues. The phrase is cliché, but you need to become a thought leader, not just as an academic institution, but within the professions you're training students to enter.

Your prospective students are out there, dying for clear guidance and answers to their most pressing questions. If you can be resource that answers them, you'll be the academy they choose. 

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Topics: Education

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