How to Make Your Website Your Top Recruiting Tool

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Content Management

How to Make Your Website Your Top Recruiting Tool

students around laptopCapturing the attention of prospective students is no small feat. It’s a 24/7 endeavor to find fresh and creative ways to convince high schoolers, potential transfers, or working adults to consider your college or university, then guide them through the process of discovery, application, and enrollment.

You’re out there on billboards, TV, radio, and social media; at school visits and college fairs; in direct mail, email, and digital ads. But where do all these ultimately lead? Your website.

Students say the web is the only resource they use consistently at every stage of the marketing funnel. A content management system (CMS) leverages this visibility and completes your site’s transformation into your top recruitment tool.

An Experience that Engages

Does your content for prospective students go beyond program listings, available scholarships, and process info? It should. Prospects want to know what makes your institution special, to get a sense of your distinctive culture and community.

Your site should be an online window into your school’s spirit, reputation, values, and benefits. It should invite visitors to linger, interact, and explore.

If your CMS doesn’t let you offer a rich, engaging, up-to-the-minute visitor experience, you could be losing prospects within just a few clicks. Legacy CMSs tend to produce sites that look and feel like glorified brochures. Students expect sites that are as digitally savvy as they are.

You can bring a static site to life and provide a much truer sense of who you are. Virtual tours, podcasts, live chats, short videos, and student-driven blogs can capture and hold attention. Content of all kinds can highlight authentic points of distinction—trailblazing programs, green initiatives, one-of-a-kind clubs, service traditions, real-world experience, and so on.

All Stages and Students 

Students research schools the way we all shop online, looking for an authentic brand experience that just feels right. Content should inspire a sense of belonging and kinship, speaking to each student’s situation, interests, and needs.

Prospects often visit a school’s site more than once before taking the first step toward becoming students. They might first compare a specific major to another institution’s, then return to check out student organizations or athletics, then come back again to learn about careers in a particular field.

Content should target different stages of the discovery process and key types of prospects: traditional, working adult, in-state, out-of-state, underrepresented, international, and so forth. Each segment has distinct motivations for furthering their education—the right messaging can help them decide whether your school is the perfect fit for them.

A flexible and powerful CMS lets you develop and refresh the diverse content you need, in part by empowering your campus constituents to assist. Systems like OU Campus expand your web team far beyond your marketing and admissions offices, pulling in staff, students, and faculty alike.

Your CMS should help content contributors easily post images, videos, articles, calendar updates, and news items using intuitive templates, brand guidelines, and permissions you manage. It should make it possible for your whole campus to speak with a common online voice.

Your website can become the work of an online welcoming committee that offers a genuine sense of place and culture, while meeting individual students where they’re at. It can help you build the relationships that are key to every new enrollment.

Fact is, your site already is your top recruiting tool, but you may not be using it to your utmost advantage. A contemporary, full-featured CMS like OU Campus can help you realize your site’s potential and hit your enrollment goals.

See OU Campus features in action

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Sara Arnold

Web Communications Manager

Starting her career in academic publishing, Sara is a stickler for grammar and makes sure that every "i" is dotted and every "t" crossed in all OmniUpdate marketing communications that go out the door. A Camarillo native, Sara enjoys spending time with family, camping, doing anything crafty, and rooting for her ASU Sun Devils.

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