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09.26.19

How Storytelling Delivers Results in College Recruitment Marketing

Andrew Helland

Marketing to students is becoming more and more of a challenge for colleges and universities. Admissions and fees continue to rise to accommodate expenses and enrollment declines in many cases, and they don’t seem to be slowing down. Students have a variety of post-high-school options from which to choose, and some see college as less advantageous than ever. So what does this mean for attracting prospective students?

Storytelling is a significant tool that advertisers and marketers use to deliver their message. It’s important… and it’s everywhere. But with such different approaches to take, how can you deliver positive results through storytelling?

Be Memorable

Stories grab people’s attentions. We simply remember stories more effectively than other types of information. Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner suggests that telling stories can be as much as 22 times more memorable than simply reading facts. We tend to remember stories more clearly, because they are descriptive. Whether you’re advertising on billboards, in television spots or on social mediums, be sure to take your audience on a journey. In marketing, having memorable content is half the battle.

Be Trustworthy

People find truth in stories. Shared experiences and values are easily identifiable through storytelling. You might ask yourself these questions when recruiting:

  • What kind of students do we want to attract?
  • What kind of persona do we want to project?
  • What fields of study do we want to promote?

Testimonial marketing is a great way of answering those questions. Focusing on former or current students in your marketing can produce familiarity and authenticity. These people can share their ideas, talents and lists of achievements they gained at your school. This can add credibility to not only your programs, but also your marketing. 

Forge a Connection

Storytelling has the ability to connect to people on a personal, emotional level. People love to hear a great story. Unlike reading facts, which engages the language region of your brain, hearing stories actually engages the parts of your brain that you would use if you were experiencing the events in the story. Connecting your message to prospective students is easier when people are emotionally invested.


Storytelling can showcase and strengthen your brand, making your college an easy choice for prospective students.  We tell stories to offer insights into life experiences, promote values and ideas. Give students a reason to fall in love with your school before the first day of class with storytelling marketing.

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