When it comes to influencing parents and students to enroll in a college or independent school, there is no question about the importance of the institution’s website and its online content.  In March 2014, Noel-Levitz, OmniUpdate, CollegeWeekLive, and NRCCUA polled 1,000 college-bound seniors and more than 500 parents to study their attitudes, expectations, and behaviors using online recruitment.

The poll found that 62% of students and 51% parents said that they preferred web-based resources for learning about colleges rather than other methods such as direct phone calls and mailed brochures.  Not surprisingly, 67% of students and 59% of parents also said that a campus website affects their perception of an institution.  These numbers show that colleges need to create meaningful and impactful web content or they will lose out on the majority of their prospective students.

Specifically, both students and parents in the report said that “academic program content” and “testimonials from current students, alumni, and faculty” were two of the best ways of demonstrating educational value on college websites.  So what would be the best way to represent a college’s academic program and hear from its students, alumni and faculty?

Most people would agree that video content is more engaging, informative and powerful than text when it comes to communicating a message.  More and more statistics proving this point are piling up each year (see below for our favorite current info-graphic from Syndacast, or this US Digital Future 2014 Report from Comscore).  However, even without the statistics, one can imagine how a video would have a deeper effect on a viewer than words.

We recently created a series of videos for Shipley, an independent Pre-k through-12 school in Bryn Mawr, PA.  The videos highlight Shipley’s Lower School program (Pre-k through-5) and include testimonials from teachers and faculty.  Each video provides a glimpse of the school for the viewer – its campus, its programs, its people and their interactions, its philosophies, and its uniqueness – all in just 2-3 minutes.

Another example is in Shipley’s Upper School, where we made a collection of video testimonials from students.  Each video explores a characteristic of the Shipley school through the eyes of real and current students. By capturing these testimonials on video, Shipley and its students are able to connect with the viewer in a way that is more personable (which also happens to be one of the unique qualities that describes the school.)

For more information about video marketing for independent schools, please read this valuable article by Geoff Campbell at NAIS.