How Universities use Content Management Systems to Innovate

Higher education ranked amongst the top five fastest growing industry sectors last financial year according to business analysts IBISWorld, with income increasing by more than A$1 billion.

Driven by a discerning global audience and a steady rise in domestic enrolments, even the most traditional universities now operate in very commercialised ways. Behind the scenes, we’re seeing universities invest significantly in digital strategies to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Ensuring that online delivery is seamless and cost-effective requires a flexible content management system (CMS) to bring everything together. Here we’ll look at how Universities are using a CMS to innovate within their faculties and businesses.

1. Brand marketing

Take a quick tour around a few University websites and you’ll notice one thing; Branding is everything. Universities are competing both locally and internationally to attract and retain students, staff, researchers, industry partners and financial supporters. It’s a buyers’ market and Universities need to stand out. Having a strong brand helps to build an engaged and loyal audience. This in turn, relies on having a robust CMS that makes content marketing and other digital communications as easy as possible.

2. Growing an engaged and loyal audience

These days there are many ways for Universities to connect with their target audiences; and for audiences to engage in return. Marketing teams are often managing multiple websites, intranets, social networks and media channels; while individual faculties, schools or research teams may also manage their own sites. Regardless of who’s behind it, any content that drives traffic and helps build an audience is worth its weight in gold.

This of course presents several challenges for Universities. For example, how to keep up with the rapidly-changing technology behind these tools; and how to keep up with the constant demand for content required to reap the benefits of improved SEO and audience engagement. The good news is that all this different content can be – and should be – managed easily within one integrated CMS.

3. Enhanced mileage out of content marketing efforts

We all know the major downside of content creation is the time it takes to create it. Sites like the Content Marketing Institute are packed with ideas about how to create new content more efficiently (10 Content Marketing Best Practices for Greater Efficiency has some great suggestions) – but it’s still a major issue. Fortunately for time poor content marketers (who usually don’t have, and don’t need technical coding knowledge), there is a solution at hand.

Instead of consistently creating new content, ‘repurposing of content’ is a new trend that focuses on how to get the content you already have in front of more people. Buffer Social has written a great article on the benefits of repurposing your content inclusive of tips for making repurposing of content much easier at the Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write.

Previously we’ve discussed how the new breed of CMS’ like Squiz Matrix really come into their own in this area. Our article 10 Reasons why your SME can't survive without a CMS provides an excellent summary of the benefits of a CMS for content marketing, which naturally apply to Universities. Interacting across different formats (desktop, tablet, mobile) and tools (like blogs, vlogs, videos, infographics and webinars) requires tools to update content on a regular basis. A CMS like Squiz Matrix, which has these tools built in, makes the repurposing of content a breeze!

4. Rapid publication capabilities

Similarly, a CMS designed to enable rapid content publication across several different departments without high levels of technical expertise is a must for Universities. CMS’s such as Squiz Matrix include a flexible workflow designed around content authoring and publication, making it an excellent choice for Universities that have numerous teams publishing content on a regular basis. Systems such as this make it easy to build new widgets to repurpose and automate content sharing across multiple sites, apps and via other third-party services such as email marketing, blogs, and social media without extensive coding knowledge.

5. Extension of social media conversations

Promoting content via social networks is a great way to reach new audiences and engage with stakeholders across the globe. Repurposing content from external sources via a CMS is an easy and efficient way to keep the conversation going.

At OSE, we’ve worked with Universities to connect their CMS-based content to their social media feeds via a public use application programming interface (API) which is a major benefit of using a CMS that most organisations take advantage of these days.

6. Running multiple sites at low cost

More Universities are catching on to the benefits of running multiple sites from the same server using a single CMS. This solution involves installing the CMS on a cloud-based service (such as Amazon Web Services), which requires virtually zero IT intervention and helps keep costs down.

For this type of online development, we recommend working with a specialist to ensure the system is set up to run as smoothly as possible and to ensure the entire process costs the least amount to run and maintain (see How to Save Money Outsourcing your Online Development for more on this).