Writing to appeal to a younger audience can be difficult. You know that blogs can help you drive recruitment, but how can you write them in a way that will attract high school students while still maintaining your college or university brand? Here's a hint—there's no secret formula to college recruitment, but there are some things you can do to get high-school-age students interested in your institution.
Check out our field guide for blogging to boost college recruitment.
When people first start thinking about marketing to younger generations, they often try too hard to fit in, which results in their brand messages being stale, out of touch and unoriginal. Not everyone can be as "hip" as the Wendy's Twitter account, and you shouldn't try to be. You don't always have to use the latest "youth jargon" to promote your blog post to Gen-Z, and you definitely shouldn't use it if you don't completely understand what it means. You are representing an institution of higher education. Own your title, stay confident and stay modern—without getting in over your head.
Today's high-school-age students are smart. They've been on the internet most of their lives and can see through fabricated brand messages in an instant. In fact, according to an article from AdWeek, 50 percent of surveyed Gen-Z-ers reported that they "couldn't live without YouTube." Teens are quick to spot the ads that target them. Appeal to these students through authenticity and a genuine interest in their aspirations. If you are helping them get ready for college, you might just end up being the one they choose.
Younger generations have grown up in a world surrounded by ads and ad blockers. No matter how good your content is or how good you are at pushing it out, they are better at blocking and ignoring your outbound messages. So, how do you get to them? The short answer is, you don't. You bring them to you through inbound marketing.
Generate content on your college's or university's website that appeals to these students and is genuinely helpful. Provide them strategies on obtaining scholarships, information on how to ace their SATs and key considerations for picking a school that's right for them. Then put this information in a place they can find it if they're looking. If your content is appealing to them, they'll come to your site, and, once they're on your site, you'll have their complete attention.
The high school students of today use the internet to solve their problems and answer questions. If you can provide them with answers to these questions, you set yourself apart from other schools they may be considering. There is no "secret" to winning the trust of high school students, but if you're confident, genuine and inbound, they will take notice.