by Linnie S. Carter, Ph.D., APR and Megan Hoose
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
Do you know what arc voltage means? Do you know the responsibilities of a certified nurse practitioner versus a certified nurse’s aide?
Colleges’ marketing and communication departments cannot be the keeper of all knowledge – or know every single detail about all of the college’s programs. We need content experts to help us by laying the foundation.
The integrated marketing communications (IMC) department at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, isn’t the expert in more than 100 academic programs at the college. Instead, the department is the expert in marketing the programs once the content is provided by the program experts.
How does IMC get the content to produce a flyer for the welding program or a brochure for the scholarships offered through the HACC Foundation? We ask the right questions to guide our peers. We ask these questions in short consultation meetings and share them in a program marketing flyer guide for reference.
By asking the right questions of your content experts, you can help them develop the key points that need to be addressed in the brochure or flyer. From there, your peers can elaborate on the content or provide enough information to you – the marketing expert – to turn the key points into a marketing piece.
What are the right questions to ask your content experts – in their language?
Remember, in the marketing world, it’s important to avoid marketing jargon when speaking with your peers.
- Who needs to learn more about your program? Encourage the person to describe the “target audience” to you. For example, what type of interests do these future students have? Is the future student female or male? In what age range does the student fall?
- How do you describe your program when you’re meeting with a student?
- What are three-to-five things that are unique about your program?
- How does your program differ from other colleges that offer this program?
- What type of technology do you use in the classroom?
- What are some of the achievements of faculty or alumni from this program?
- What do your current students and alumni say about the program?
- What can a person do in the workforce once he or she completes the program?
- What will a student accomplish or learn if he or she enrolls in the program?
Since you aren’t the content expert, you have an advantage. You’re able to say, “I don’t understand” – and that’s a good thing. If you don’t understand the information, your target audience isn’t going to either. They’re not the experts in the field – yet.
Remind your peers that they live and breathe their programs every day. They know them best, and that’s why they are the content experts.
For a copy of HACC’s program marketing flyer guide, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linnie S. Carter, Ph.D., APR, is vice president of college advancement at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, and executive director of the HACC Foundation.
Megan Hoose is the integrated marketing communications coordinator for student recruitment at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College.