June 1

Quality Content Creation: Make the Prospective Student the Hero


by | Jun 1, 2023 | Featured, Strategies, Podcast

The technology landscape is experiencing massive changes, and quality content creation will be key to staying relevant among AI powered content marketers.

With artificial intelligence platforms like ChatGPT, education marketers will be able to craft more content than ever before.

So how can you break through all the noise generated by these AI enabled creators?

Ann Handley shows us how everyone can write quality content creation and make content marketing work. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and best-selling author of Everybody Writes, believes it’s writing that inspires your reader and makes them the hero of the story.

In this episode of The Higher Ed Marketer podcast, Ann shares insights from the latest edition of her book and tells us why, with practice, anyone is capable of quality content creation that engages audiences.

Rise of AI in Content Creation

Seth Godin said once, “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” 

Especially in the world of ChatGPT and Google, where is content marketing going to go?

Despite the arrival of the robots, the world will still need new content creation from marketers.

Ann also takes an optimistic approach to our AI powered future.

[Content creation] is the cornerstone of what so many of us do in marketing, whether you’re in higher ed marketing, or whether you’re in technology. 

ChatGPT is going to be increasingly—or I should say AI platforms and tools—are going to be increasingly part of what we need to think about in marketing. 

But I will say that as an aside to that, there is one thing I love about the buzz around ChatGPT, and around AI writing tools in general, [and it] is that suddenly, we’re all [talking about] writing, aren’t we?

So whether you agree that AI writing tools and platforms are going to be a game changer or not, it doesn’t matter. 

What is key is that content is so central to everything that we do because we are literally communicators. 

How do we communicate? Through writing and through content creation more generally.

While AI is changing how we might organize or find information, it isn’t going to change who we are as humans.

We are communicators, and marketing is a subset of the greater human conversations we’re having each and every day. 

For me, this places content creation in a secure place in the education marketer’s arsenal. 

The Goal of Content Creation 

We are a culture of “scanners.” 

Every day, we hunt for the information we’re looking for, watching videos at one and a half speed, listening to podcasts at times two speed. 

But the idea is that when we find what we’re looking for, when we zone in on the answer to that question that sent us out on the search in the first place, that’s when we stop searching and slow down to consume the content.

And that’s the best type of marketing!

Your goal as a marketer is to stop the scroll. You want to stop the scrollers. 

Your goal is to stop people who are just coming onto your site and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, looking for the information that they want. 

When we can stop the scroll, your audience, or your prospective student, is going to engage with that content. 

The key, of course, is when you have stopped the scroll because you’ve answered a question, what then are they going to find there? 

[Will they find] a really good answer? Or is it kind of mediocre? Is it written in a way that is engaging? 

Is it written in a way that is going to create what I call a “That’s me!” moment in the mind of your prospect or in the mind of your visitor when they come to your website or your social channels? 

Do they recognize themselves? Are they seeing themselves reflected back both in the images that you use, as well as in the words that you’re using?

What Ann is describing is critical to engaging your audience because in a way, it makes them the hero of the story your marketing is telling.

Making your prospective student the hero is the difference between mediocre and quality content creation.

Making the Student the Hero

So how can we make the student the hero of our content marketing? 

Ann explains that it’s all about the mindset we have while we are writing.

When we talk about making our prospective students [the hero], it’s imperative to think about what is in their mind.

What or who is their number one [concern]? What do they care about? What are their pain points? 

Often in marketing, we tend to think about those categories of people as personas, right? 

We think about, “Oh, this is our alumni group over here, and this is our prospective student list over here.”

But if we really want to make the student the hero of our story, it’s much more useful to think about one person, [that one person whose] heart and mind [you’re trying to touch] in marketing.

We get caught up in the segmentation of personas. 

I feel like all of that language of “segmentation” and “personas” just takes us further and further away from our real superpower—the ability to communicate directly with one person at one time. 

Sounds so elemental, right? It sounds so basic, but at the same time, we don’t do it often enough. 

Go to any website, and you’ll see it. When you see that someone is communicating directly with you, it just makes such a difference. 

Are you creating those “That’s me!” moments? Are you really thinking about that one person at a time? 

I think about this obsessively. As a marketer, as a writer, I think about that one person.

Even when I’m posting on LinkedIn, which seems like I’m posting to this whole community of people who are following me, I don’t care about that. 

I care about one person.

I fix them in my mind’s eye. I hot glue them. They’re not moving! 

I’m thinking about that one person who I want to help, who I want to affect. 

And then I write the social posts, the email, newsletter—whatever it is—to that one person. 

I really embrace that opportunity to think about the customer as a hero. 

Having this kind of empathy and regard for our audiences is key to the content creation that is going to cut through the noise in the future. 

AI is not personal. It can’t truly think of an emotional connection with one person.

So take Ann’s advice! Write like a human being to stand out in a new era of robot-enhanced content creation.

Discover more when you listen to the podcast!

Like all of our blog post reviews of The Higher Ed Marketer podcasts, there’s so much more to learn in the podcasts themselves.

Listen to our interview with Ann Handley to get even more insights into:

  • The importance of content marketing in the age of AI (3:07)
  • Making your reader the hero of the story with personal moments (11:00)
  • Why everyone has the potential to find their writing voice (22:32)

Want to Improve Your Digital Marketing Results?

Then you’ve got to know how to write for the web. That’s why we want to send you our popular ebook: Writing for the Web: 7 Secrets to Content Marketing Success for Education Marketers!

With this helpful resource, you’ll learn how to: writing for the web ebook

  • Grab your reader’s attention immediately
  • Pull your reader’s attention deeper into your content
  • Write so that Google (and other search engines) find you easily
  • Increase your website’s conversion rates

In short, you’ll be able to write the copy that makes your digital marketing strategy work for you. Download your copy today!

Featured image by Prostock-Studio via Adobe Stock

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