The Current State of Video in Education
Many colleges and universities understand this transformation and have developed reasonably effective video programs, especially to present a broad picture of the institution for admissions purposes, reinforce their brands, or provide testimonials from students. Schools have been slower to adopt the medium, but are now making good progress in similar approaches, increasingly on areas such as "Why" pages that convey the school's unique characteristics. In all institutions, from K - 8 schools to universities, videos created by professional videographers easily exceed those produced by "amateurs" such as students, parents, and faculty/teachers. The logical inference here is that larger institutions have higher budgets and more marketing/tech-savvy staff to envision video opportunities and pay for experts to develop them.
Opportunities in Video Management and Marketing
What is the next step for private educators to fully capitalize on this most crucial medium? As with most marketing scenarios, the answer starts with strategy. Have you created a marketing plan (if not, see our marketing planning page pronto!)? Video must be considered as part of your larger strategy. How do you plan to convey your brand and value proposition? Admissions program? Daily campus life? For these and other major points of interest, video may be a powerful storytelling option. Your plan will ideally include where video can fulfill your content needs and what style of video does it - polished, informal, funny, or rough and tumble.
Professional vs. "amateur" video
In a research study created by William Bullard and published by Finalsite, we studied
over 70 schools to learn more about the use of video in independent schools. This
eBook was the source for our finding that 70% percent of video on school websites was
chiefly created by professionals. There are many cases where only professional work will
do, and the often-crude and homey videos made by students or faculty members are rarely
a substitute. The bigger question is whether these amateur videos can tell different stories
and offer unique perspectives on "a day in the life" that escape a formal photo shoot. In
addition, amateur video has the significant advantages of being cost-free and potentially
engaging many key constituents in the mission. Why, then, doesn't amateur video play a
bigger role in schools, colleges, and universities when virtually everyone on campus is a
potential content contributor? The answers vary somewhat: schools have justified concerns
about a lack of management control, resources, and privacy, while higher ed administrators don't have the frequent interchanges with students and parents common in tight-knit school communities. What is common in most of these institutions is the lack of a strategic framework to actively pursue amateur contributions for websites alongside the fast-growing use of that content on social media sites.
Use of YouTube Tools
Another area with enormous potential improvement for schools is more effective use of YouTube. In our study, we confirmed that YouTube is easily the dominant platform in schools, with far higher use there than on Vimeo. Still, most schools and many higher ed institutions fail to capitalize on YouTube's features. The most notable weaknesses again stem from a lack of strategic thinking and organization: many institutions don't have a channel set up, and even of those that do, effective use of playlists is low. These desultory presentations create a poor experience for many viewers and miss a major opportunity to effectively convey the many exciting and educational programs on your campus.
Need help or just want to discuss some options? William Bullard has extensive experience in video marketing strategy and execution in education and business, as well as with the American Marketing Association - Boston. We're not videographers but we
Video has become a nearly universal sociological phenomenon and it is now beginning to galvanize education marketing. Gen Y and Gen Z members have grown up on or rapidly adopted social media and YouTube, and these groups live in a visual world with constant sharing and a short attention span. The convergence of high-capacity wireless networks with reasonable pricing plans (well, almost!), stunning advances in mobile device photography, and magical, addictive social networks has revolutionized communications and storytelling.
Image from Hawai'i Preparatory Academy student-produced video (referenced in Finalsite eBook at left)
Dig into the use of video in private education in this eBook published by education website leader Finalsite!