Higher Education’s Not So Secret Weapon

Higher Education’s Not So Secret Weapon

What is higher education’s not so secret weapon? Video!

What’s the single most important thing to know about utilizing video as a marketing tool in higher education? You don’t create a video just because you can. Putting a video on YouTube or Vimeo is just one step. Yes, the numbers indicate that video is king: 88% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI. In fact, Gen Z’s preferred way to consume content is video. But like any tool, if you don’t know how to properly wield it then what purpose does it serve? It’s ineffective. It’s a waste of your time and money.

So how do you make your video stand out? How do you attract new students to your institution? How do you educate your current student population about new opportunities? How do you reach alumni about capital campaigns?

This isn’t a case of one size video fits all. How you communicate with a potential student is different than how you would communicate with a major donor. Video is a tool that has the power to create connections, engage an audience, and attract new students to your institution, but you have to develop a well-thought-out strategy. Our goal at Freestyle is always to help you work smarter, not harder.


Figuring out this strategy can be a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. At Freestyle, we like to ask a few basic questions to determine strengths and weaknesses as well as likes and dislikes.

  1. What do you think you’re doing well?
  2. What are the areas that you think you need to improve?
  3. What are competing institutions doing that you like or dislike?
  4. What are other industries doing that you like?
  5. What’s something you’ve always wanted to try?


Next, we like to take a look at your video and social media analytics because oftentimes what your gut is telling you is vastly different from the data. For example, maybe you don’t need to create the 3:00 and 1:00 versions about your program because your :30 version is outperforming both. You could instead use that budget to produce more short-form videos throughout the year. 

It’s important to ask questions such as these to gauge your digital presence and get the most out of your videos:

  1. What’s the most searched content on your website?
  2. What content is engaged with the most on social media?
  3. Who is your audience on each social platform and website?
  4. What type of videos perform best and where? 
  5. How long are viewers watching each video?
  6. How do the numbers differentiate between departments, colleges, degree programs, etc.?


After we get this basic discovery completed, it’s important to figure out your goals. So how do you define success? If your video has 500,000 views, but people are only viewing 25% of the total 2:00 runtime, is that success? Answering these questions can help you determine the scope of your video. 

  1. What are your marketing goals?
  2. Are these goals measurable?
  3. What are your key performance indicators (KPI)?
  4. What are you trying to improve or build?
  5. What do you want to communicate?
  6. What channel or digital platform will help you achieve your goals?

You may have a variety of end goals, and different video content can be tailored to each. Here is a broad range of videos with potentially compelling content that you can employ to reach your institution’s strategic marketing, recruiting, and fundraising goals.


  • Accomplishments/By the Numbers 
  • Ask Me Anything featuring alumni
  • Culture 
  • ABCs – financial aid, applying for a job, changing majors, etc
  • The Future
  • Testimonials
  • Live Streaming
  • Q&A
  • Campus/Degree Tours
  • Capital Campaigns
  • Student Influencers/Student Vlogs Series

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