Student vlogs as part of your content marketing strategy

By Posted in - Content Marketing & Video on November 22nd, 2017 0 Comments

Making a decision about which university to study at is a complex process for a 17 year old (or a prospective student of any age!).

Content that appeals to the emotional needs of students – and offers them support, guidance and insight into the experience – can really help them decide whether a university is right for them or not. 

We’ve previously blogged about the rise of student vloggers and our favourite student blogs, and at Pickle Jar we love supporting clients to produce empathy-led content that appeals to students needs. We also wanted to get an inside perspective on recruiting and managing student vloggers.

Tom Wright is Director of Digital Student Life at the University of Lincoln and previously worked at the University of Nottingham as Head of Digital.

The University of Lincoln has a YouTube channel dedicated to student life video content. The most popular videos on the channel currently are:

–   Campus tour

–   Making friends at Uni

–   5 tips for my first year self

We asked Tom to tell us what he thinks makes successful student video content:

“It’s about maintaining a balance. The authenticity of student content can easily be lost if it feels like the content is too corporate. So, you need to work closely with the students, learning what works best from them, trusting their judgement but also steering them away from anything too off-message.”

Tom and his team also embraced student vlogs at the University of Nottingham back in 2013, when he was their Head of Digital. The University has continued to do so since his departure.

One of their most popular vlogs is a Q&A with two Nottingham alumni, The Anna Edit and Mark Newton. Anna is an established YouTuber who started her blog in her second year of university, and took it full-time two years after graduating. Anna’s established audience has no doubt contributed to the success of this video.

Another of their more popular videos features a vlogger’s favourite places in Nottingham. This has been viewed over 23,000 times.

So what inspired Tom to start looking at student-created content back in 2013?

“It was really driven by the introduction of £9k fees in 2012. We wanted to provide more support for new undergraduate students paying the increased fees, so we set up a Freshers blog and social media using content developed by my team. Overall numbers were good, but we wanted to do even better so we changed our approach the following year, hiring student content creators to work with us, and engagement levels improved considerably.”

If you’re thinking about how to make use of students in your video marketing efforts, here are Tom’s top five tips to help your planning.

1. Pay your students. They are much more likely to meet deadlines if you pay them – and, as well as giving them some additional income, it also enhances their CVs.

2. Trust them. In my experience, students rarely create problematic content, so don’t be afraid to let them be creative and develop their own ideas.

3. Listen and learn. They understand what it’s like to be a student better than you do, so take the opportunity to learn from them and adapt your marketing campaigns accordingly.

4. Follow an editorial process. Treat them like professional video producers – commission work using briefs, feedback on drafts and, if necessary, ask them to re-edit before publishing.

5. Encourage collaboration. Getting students to work together encourages creativity, new ideas and innovation, which means better content and more engagement.

If you want more advice on how to incorporate student-led content into your content marketing strategy, or if you would like some research to help you identify potential online influencers who could support your marketing efforts, get in touch with us by emailing


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