There was a question recently posted to an international student recruiting list serve about the use of podcasting with international alumni as an effective tool for prospective international students and educational advisers. It made me think a little bit about how schools can use podcasts effectively to recruit international students.
Here are the two questions posed with my thoughts underneath:
1. Do you think this is a good idea?
I think that creating social media (video, blog, podcast, twitter, etc.) is a great idea but only if done with respect to one’s overall social media marketing strategy. For example, creating a podcast is great but a few things should be considered:
First, what is your intention of creating these podcasts? Is it to entice prospective students to become interested in your school? Is it for students who already know about your school and are merely looking for additional information? Is your intention to create some sort of buzz around your school so students who haven’t heard of you are now learning about your school? A clear understanding of the intended use of social media development is very important.
Second, to go along with why you are creating this content, clearly define who is your intended target market to hear these podcasts? If your intended market is prospective students, have you considered if your podcasts are compelling enough to create a word of mouth buzz? I have found through my experience that creating any type of social media merely to create it is no longer compelling enough for students to help spread content virally. I have gone into more detail on the idea of creating compelling/wow type content in this blog post… http://tinyurl.com/bm3w9l
Third, consider how you’re distributing this content through the Internet. The beauty of social media is that it can be easily ‘shared’ through various platforms. For example, the podcasts that we have created are distributed through a newsletter, integrated across our other outreach on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, Blog, Website, etc. where we not only allow prospective students to listen to it but to also easily ‘share’ the content through their favorite mediums.
2. Is your institution doing this already? If so, do you have any feedback to share?
We have found that the most successful podcasts are on the hottest topics like getting a visa, jobs after school, finding scholarships, tips for the SAT, etc. While students are interested in learning what it is like to live on a school’s campus, the issues that are the hardest to overcome for a student are the ones that students tend listen to in droves. Plus it is this ‘controversial’ content that tends to be shared the most virally, so definitely keep that in mind if your intention is to create viral buzz with your podcasts.