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10 Must-Haves for Creating Compelling Video

Heather Sumperl |Feb 16, 2021

Video content remains the best way to connect with Gen-Z audiences in 2021, but how institutions use video to influence these digital natives can have greater implications on overall yield.

When done correctly, 97% of public institutions say video embedded on the college website is an effective strategy for recruiting/marketing.1

And, with 86% of students unable to physically visit their schools of interest, engaging this powerful demographic through video storytelling provides them with a true sense of your school, campus and community.

So, what do students really want to see?

Make it Memorable

Students retain 80% of what they see vs. only 20% of what they read.2

Make it Relevant

Prospects only seriously consider 2-3 schools — give your admits the most relevant information to break through the noise.

Make it Quick

The average attention span of the Gen-Z student is only 8 seconds and they’re looking at up to 5 screens at once.3

Make it Resonate

Your content shouldn’t make your prospects feel like you’re sending a one-size-fits-all message.

Make it Meaningful

This generation values individuality and authenticity — they can smell a hard sales pitch from a mile away.

We’ve pulled from some of the top-viewed campus video categories to bring you 10 ways to appeal to your target audience and take your content to the next level.

Day-in-the Life Video

Frame the college experience through the eyes of a student ambassador by allowing them to show prospects a typical day on campus in an exclusive behind-the-scenes look.

Make it resonate and don’t try to script out this style of video — after all, life is unscripted.

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Authentic Video

The Gen-Z audience knows what they want and how they want it. Unlike millennials, this generation doesn’t remember a time without being connected. And, as a result, they have specific ideas with how they want to absorb content.

Keep in mind that 82% of your target audience admits to placing higher value and trust in companies that show authenticity. Additionally, they are the first generation to prioritize purpose and passion over money.4

So, make sure your content comes across as meaningful by choosing your video talent carefully and pulling from several different perspectives — student, faculty, staff and parent.

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Walk-Around Video

72% of seniors unable to visit schools will rely on a virtual tour to get a feel for life on campus.5 Get comfortable with giving your student ambassadors control of the camera.

No place on campus should be off-limits, after all, current students know what prospects want to see. And, what better way to show off the best of your campus than by tapping into the source.

Charisma counts here and enthusiasm is contagious. Choose ambassadors capable of showing off the best of your campus in a way that resonates with your target audience.

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Video with Purpose

Knowing that Gen-Z values purpose above all else, give them what they want through real and honest content.

Your most valuable asset is the story of your school, your faculty and students. Seek out compelling student stories and utilize staff who understand, and have made an impact on, the student body.

And, partner with student ambassadors of similar age and interests to create meaningful connections and camaraderie that foster excitement around your institution. Uncensored roundtable discussions can be a great way to get students talking!

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Short Video that Drives Action

You have a significantly higher chance of your target audience watching your video over reading content on your .edu website. But, once you cross the 1:30 video length mark, students start to drop off.

Short video is ideal for use on social media where a pause in the scroll is a premium. More is less here if you can tackle the art of the tease. Don’t give away your content, rather get your target audience intrigued enough to click.

And finally, knowledge is power. Give students quick facts that drive action. Local, affordable, with "xx" number of degree programs? Say it. Period.

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Contact us today to see how we can help you showcase the best of your programs through authentic video.

© 2018 Ruffalo Noel Levitz | 2018 Marketing and Student Recruitment Report of Effective Practices

TechSmith, 21 Reasons Videos Increase Engagement, 2021

Forbes, 5 D​ifferences ​Between ​Marketing ​To​ M​illennials V​s​. ​Gen Z, 2017

WeSpire, 15 Critical Insights into Gen Z, Purpose and the Future of Work. 2021. Available at wespire.com

Jaschik, Scott. “What Rising High School Seniors Think.” Inside Higher Ed. July 6, 2020 https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2020/07/06/survey-rising-high-school-seniors-college-application-process

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