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What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

April 30, 2018
What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Once an institution has decided to hire a content marketing service to provide quality content,  many administrators find themselves faced with questions regarding pricing, qualifications, and services. What should you look for in content marketing services? Follow these guidelines to be sure your institution is receiving the right services when it comes to content creation and publishing.

A content marketing service should provide the following:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Editorial content calendar
  • Quality blogs that include well-incorporated SEO through content, images, and

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Relevant keyword analysis

To attract the right customers or clients, content development agencies begin with a relevant keyword analysis. This analysis is based on many factors, including the client’s current rankings for relevant keywords and rankings in comparison to competitors.

These keywords should be organically incorporated into the website content, including the content itself, URLs, title tags, meta tags, meta descriptors, and images.

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

A clearly defined editorial calendar

A client should have the final say in an editorial calendar and at all times know what has been published and what is scheduled to be. Make sure that your web content/digital marketing agency provides you with a clearly defined, well organized editorial calendar (and that you are given plenty of time to request changes before the scheduled posts are published).

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Well designed, quality blogs

Quality blogs will have the following:

Correctly formatted URLs

A correctly formatted URL should be keyword rich to improve its visibility with search engines and its readability: URLs are shown in search results and are one of the key factors when readers determine whether or not to click on your article. Other factors determine a URLs strength, such as the use of characters (or spaces, which are converted to “%” symbols by search engines and which are impossibly confusing).

A URL should also:

  • Avoid “stop” words (such as prepositions)
  • Have roughly 50-60 characters
  • Be carefully organized with the site’s folders

Digital marketing companies will often run checks of your present site to test URL lengths and viability (and will make suggestions for URL rewrites and web organization based upon this analysis).

Keyword-rich titles

The titles of articles, blog posts, and web pages must be highly optimized for search engines by naturally using the carefully selected target keywords. Keywords should be placed at the beginning of the title to further improve optimization; for example:

  • [YOUR SCHOOL] Named School with the Highest UC Berkeley Transfer Rate
  • Highest UC Berkeley Transfer Rate Award Given to [YOUR SCHOOL]

Assuming the words “Highest UC Berkeley Transfer Rate” are the keywords, the second option is the most viable for a post title.

A professional digital marketing company will take the time to incorporate your school’s keywords into the title in a natural and effective way.

Well hidden “advertising”

Any online content from your institution is a possible marketing and advertising tool: Facebook posts, blog posts, brochures, newsletters . . . everything should be branded and used as an opportunity to attract clients and agents. However, this must be executed subtly, and without the glare of flashy advertising. An experienced digital marketing company will use all online content to your school’s advantage while also creating engaging, useful content for the reader.

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Rich snippets

This catchy (yet odd) phrase is best remembered as “the little things” that improve SEO. Examples of rich snippets include how the images are labeled and titled, the words selected for the page/post/article description (which appears underneath the title in search engine results), and Google reviews.

One rich snippet that is well known is schema markup. Schema markup is basically coding placed in a website that “talks” to search engines: it tells the search engine what is on the site and what to display in the search results.

A knowledgeable digital marketing company will take care of all “behind the scenes” rich snippets (such as correctly labeling all images) and schema markup and will advise you on ways that your school can improve SEO through these snippets (such as encouraging Google reviews, one of the growing factors in SEO results).

Lengthy content

A common misconception is that articles should be roughly 300 words. Today, search engines are placing more focus on finding results that are the “authority” on the subject a reader searched for. One of the factors that establishes authority is post length: several SEO studies have proved that longer content tends to rank higher in search results; in fact, posts of approximately 2,000 words are now considered ideal in many markets.

The international education sector, however, is unique: readers are language learners, and 2,000 word articles can actually deter a reader or potential agent. An effective digital marketing agency will produce content of varying lengths, with some posts written to “go viral” and other (shorter) articles published to attract potential students and entertain current students.

Detailed analytics reports

How well is the content you paid for performing? A content marketing service should provide detailed Q1, Q2, Q3, and yearly reports on the following:

  • Overall traffic by country
  • Audience behavior
  • Pages visited (top performing pages)

The digital marketing agency should also provide customized, detailed reports when requested.

To learn more about the services of a quality digital marketing agency with content writing services, contact Lastarria Media, LLC.

Google Reviews Marketing SEO

How to Get Google Reviews for Your IEP

April 4, 2018
How to Get Google Reviews for Your IEP

You do not have to be an SEO guru to understand the importance of Google Reviews to an institution’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In fact, the relationship between Google reviews and Google performance is quite logical:

  • Google creates algorithms to determine a website’s ranking
  • Many factors contribute to this algorithm: the website content, word choice, blog, social media posts and videos, and images all play factors.
  • Another factor is Google itself: how many reviews does this institution have on Google Reviews? This will boost your rankings.

Asking for Google Reviews can be awkward for any company, but particularly uncomfortable for IEPs. We develop a relationship with our students that is based on education, not business, so it seems out of place to ask students for reviews. For this reason, many IEP Google rankings suffer.

Asking graduates for Google Reviews can be made easier by providing students with a handout. Download the handout below, which can be customized with your institution’s logo, and provide students with these simple instructions.

Google Reviews Flyer for IEPs

How is your institution performing online? Contact Lastarria Media for a free consultation on your school’s web presence and website performance.

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YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

April 4, 2018
YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

YouTube is a valuable marketing tool for higher education and allows institutions to send a message about the voice of their campus. Is your school using YouTube effectively? Follow these tips to ensure your higher ed institution is creating useful content, engaging with users and providing a pleasant user experience, and getting the most out of the content that is created.

YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

Creating valuable content

What types of videos should you make? With higher education, there are many options.

  • Guided tours of your campus and/or department
  • Guided tours of housing accommodations
  • Testimonials: students, alumni, staff
  • Student services interviews
  • Tips for incoming students
  • Facebook Live events
  • FAQs video

YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

Tips when filming

Remember that a user will subliminally connect the quality of a school’s video to the quality of its programs. Be sure to create videos that are clear to see and hear, and choose backgrounds and shooting locations wisely.

  • Choose well-lit locations
  • Record videos with a minimum of 1080p resolution
  • Make sure the camerawork is steady: use a tripod
  • Beware of background noise that can distort
  • Test the sound and lighting before filming all of the testimonials
  • Get plenty of b-roll footage (footage of the campus, buildings, etc. to play while a person is narrating or providing a testimonial)
  • Brand when possible: have people giving testimonials wear a shirt with the school logo, or place students near a sign with the campus name.

YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

Tips when posting

Posting content is an opportunity to improve your school’s SEO. Don’t miss this opportunity.

  • Video title should be within 70 characters
  • Use keywords in the title if possible to improve SEO
  • Use proper tags: YouTube provides suggestions when uploading
  • Make sure the video description is clear in the first 100 characters: this is what is shown when sharing on social media.
  • Feel free to use the rest of YouTube’s allotted 1,000 characters for the description: this is a good place to use keywords and link to the other sites and social media accounts


More tips for producing quality video content

  • Include closed caption for a better user experience: YouTube makes this process simple
  • Always include a call-to-action (Book Now! Learn More!)
  • Remember that call-to-actions can now be included throughout the video using YouTube’s “cards” (this helps catch the attention of users who do not watch the entire video)
  • Create YouTube playlists for an easier user experience. For example, make one video focusing on each program you offer and then make a playlist called “Our Programs.”
  • Get mileage out of your content: share on several platforms! Embed on your institution’s website, share links on PDF versions of flyers, include the link in email signatures, and share on social media.

For more information about producing quality content for your higher education institution, contact Lastarria Media.


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Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

April 4, 2018
Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

Instagram has become a valuable marketing tool for many industries, including higher education. Yet many institutions are unsure how to utilize Instagram (or remain unconvinced of its influence on consumers). Is your institution profiting from this beneficial form of social media?

Why use IG for marketing?

  • Reach potential students: 80% of IG users live outside of the U.S.
  • Target international student demographic: ​​59% of users are ages 18-29
  • 80% of IG users follow a business
  • 71% of businesses use IG, double from 2016
  • Influencers overwhelmingly prefer IG for brand collaboration: consider scholarships for international influencers*

Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

Tips for posting school photos on Instagram

  • Develop/use branded hashtags (7 out of 10 hashtags on IG are branded!)
  • Always use a location (posts with a location  receive almost 80% more engagement)
  • Post on weekdays: this is when engagement is highest
  • Photos receive 36% more engagement than videos.
  • Post photos of students and staff: photos with faces receive 38% more likes
  • Consider the overall look of the gallery (vertical vs. horizontal photos; consistent filters and borders)
  • Use logos (naturally) in photos when possible
  • Create a gallery that is a mix of campus activities, academics, and social outings
  • Use photos to illustrate your school’s diversity
  • Make use of Instagram stories for content that is relevant but not necessary for your gallery (posts disappear within 24 hours)
  • Don’t be afraid to promote programs and specials: 65% of top performing IG posts feature a product
  • Host IG contests with your students: user-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate.
  • Don’t be afraid of emojis: 50% of content on IG has at least one emoticon

Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

Need more tips on marketing your educational institution online? Contact Lastarria Media.

* be sure to develop a clear agreement regarding the content that must be posted in exchange for an influencer’s scholarship

Statistics source.

Copyright 2018, Lastarria Media, LLC.

Blogging for IEPs Marketing SEO Web Content

10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

March 7, 2017
10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

With IEPs working hard to place emphasis on academic excellence, effective curriculum, and student success, administrators are often left wondering: what is the value of a having a blog? In addition to showcasing content and visuals that don’t have a “home” on traditional college webpages, blogs provide a direct line of communication between the institution and its current (and potential) students, and play a key role in Search Engine Optimization. Here are 10 of the reasons universities need blogs for both current and potential students.

#1: Direct communication with potential and current students

In a world where brochures, PDF flyers, and websites seem to repeat the same, tired content, universities need blogs to provide students a “live” aspect to the school: an online platform where the institution can communicate directly with their current and potential student base and highlight research advancements, academics, student life, and university successes. Blogs provide a direct line of communication between the academic institution and the current and potential student and breathe life into the materials that are seen as stagnant by younger generations.

10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

#2: High (and easily tracked) ROI

Blog content can be produced and published quickly and–with the implementation of carefully selected keywords and content written for high search engine optimization–can result in higher ROI than traditional paper campaigns. Tracking the blog’s success is also a simple process: Google Analytics reports make it easy for clients to track their readership, including the regions/countries most often searching for the blog’s content.
10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

#3: Universities need blogs for PR

Scientific breakthrough? New research grants? Press releases are rarely read by current or potential students. Blogs provide a fresh platform for promoting the university’s academic achievements.

Blogs allow the school to highlight activities, students, and programs that are not always given proper attention in brochures and on websites, and allow this content to be shared “in real time” when a content specialist is on-hand to produce the necessary materials. Furthermore, blogs allow for expansion of PR materials: newsletters, brochures, and web pages are limited in space, and these restraints require selectivity which leads to vital information not being shared with the public.

#4: Contact with potential students

Blogs are a vital resource for potential students and provide students with honest insight into life at the school. What better way to provide potential students with a look into their future as a student than to highlight the campus events, social activities, and regional tourist draws?  Universities need blogs as another form of advertisement. (Remember: potential students do not read press releases!)

10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

#5: Visual AND content marketing

Blogs allow an appealing visual aspect, allowing for visual marketing in addition to content marketing. Brochures, pamphlets, webpages, and other materials are limited in their ability to share the professional images taken by hired photographers; blogs allow a “recycling” of this expense. Blogs allow for further use of professional videos and photos, ensuring that these materials are seen by a broader audience. 

#6: Blogs provide an additional (and vital) student service

By working together with staff, faculty, and students, it is possible to create a blog that serves all parties. Blogs can be used as an additional resource for teachers, a method for staff to provide extra information to current students, and an excellent reference for agents. Consider recycling content into a newsletter for students or agents: this is a cost-effective way to get more mileage out of blog content. 

10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

#7: Ease of integration into marketing plans

Blogs easily work into larger-scale marketing campaigns for the school, including events, newsletters, Facebook or email campaigns, or more for any programs the school would like to promote. A competent Blog Editor will work closely with the school’s internal marketing to stay informed of–and prepare content related to–upcoming events or important concepts the school would like to showcase.

10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

#8: Platform for testimonials

What better way to showcase your school than through the experiences of happy and successful current and former students? Blogs allow this in an uninhibited manner and allow for constant updates, rather than waiting for brochures to undergo copy editing, proofing, and publishing. In this way, blogs serve as an immeasurably important marketing tool for universities.

#9: Blogs significantly improve SEO

Proper site indexing, incorporation of keywords into posts, and SEO integration ensures that the blog will attract students via Google searches. In fact, in many cases, Blogs provide the majority of the web traffic for schools. 

As blogs are more adaptable, the keywords implemented are more flexible and can change with time. Additionally, the more casual language often used in blogs make it easier to organically implement long-form keywords, which are quickly becoming an important factor in publishing and in SEO.

#10: Blogs reflect a school’s “personality”

The widespread acceptance of varying blog content allows the school to design a blog that reflects the school’s needs and the institution’s personality.


Lastarria Media produces viral blog content for IEPs. For more information on how to create a blog for your IEP, contact Lastarria Media

Blogging for IEPs Marketing Web Content

How IEPs Can Use a Website to Attract International Students

March 7, 2017
10 Reasons IEPs Need Blogs

With the international student market increasing for U.S. colleges and universities each year, institutions are finding it more difficult to differentiate their programs from their competitors. Most schools are unaware of how to attract students on the web, but copy writing geared for international students is an effective way to establish a program as different from–and better than–the others in the eyes of an international student or potential agency. Read on to learn more about how to use copy writing with the aim of attracting international students.

Copy writing for international students: how to attract students on the web

Quality web content should include the following:

A well constructed, easy-to-read website. Design and simplicity are key, especially in the case of web pages aimed at non-native speakers.

A blog that breathes life into the school. Standard web pages provide the basic information necessary for the customer to make an informed decision on his or her academic future, but these pages lack the vivacity needed to attract and retain students.

Active social media posts to share blog posts and reflect the atmosphere of the school. Make the most of your investment into a blog and be sure that all posts are shared on social media. Each post provides an opportunity to market the ideal student life and academic atmosphere to a potential student.

Suggested post content

When creating a blog aimed at attracting international students, consider the following:

SEO. Written content is of no worth if it is not read. Be sure that your webpage, blog, and all posts are highly optimized to receive the best ROI. Furthermore, to establish an online presence and a stable readership (while improving SEO), it is vital that posts are published on a regular basis.

Readership/Attraction. Ultimately, all content should be centered on things students want to read!The content should always been reader-driven and focus on topics that are of use to the current or potential students.

Honesty. Content should always honestly portray the school, its programs, its staff and faculty, and student life. Additionally, content should not be veiled advertisements, but rather an opportunity to showcase programs and the school using a fresh approach.

An emphasis on education. The reader is either a potential student, agent, or current student; therefore, emphasis on the school’s ultimate goal–education–is key. Make sure to incorporate an aspect of learning into each post, so that each article is both informative and educational.

Potential for social media success. Will this post translate to an engaging Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post? Consider the viability of each post on social media before approving content to be written.

For more information on blog success for the international education sector, contact Lastarria Media.