Video Production: Authenticity in Your Student Recruitment Strategy

Authenticity in your student recruitment strategy

Why Use Video Production In Your Student Recruitment Strategy?


Put simply, your student recruitment video must contain compelling content that ignites the interest of potential pre-applicants and motivates them to become committed students, excited to continue their learning journey with your institute. Authenticity is the key to achieving this goal, as it enables prospective students to envision themselves at your university and to feel a genuine connection. Your campaign plays a critical role in creating this vision and making it a reality. In this post, we will explore ways to help you use honest and authentic content to establish trust and engagement as part of your recruitment strategy.

Why Authenticity, Honesty And Relatability Is Important In The Student Recruitment Process


Nobody likes to be misled or sold a product or service that doesn’t match their expectations. Even if the product or service is excellent, if it doesn’t align with what they were promised, there’s bound to be disappointment. When developing your student recruitment strategy, it’s essential to consider how you can build trust with your audience.

Authenticity: Does your recruitment material accurately reflect the student experience? Your marketing materials should eliminate any obstacles to engagement and mirror the authentic campus experience.

Honesty: As tempting as it may be to focus only on the positives of higher education, it’s important to be upfront about potential challenges. This also provides an opportunity to highlight the support services available.

Relatability: Consider how students communicate and engage. A conversational and natural tone is more effective than a formal corporate presentation.

Using Video Production To Build A Representative Relationship With Your Audience


While the ultimate goal of your campaign is to recruit students, driving engagement is a crucial aspect. As an educational marketing agency, we can advise on the structure of your videos to ensure that your content maximizes opportunities to showcase the diversity within university life. It’s essential to recognize that students come from a range of cultures, interests, social indicators, and inclusive needs. Video production allows you to communicate the diversity and inclusivity of your institution to your audience through nonverbal cues, such as visual information, transcriptions, and accessible alternative text.

Styling your Video Campaign: Non-contrived Scenarios vs Documentary-Style


Using non-contrived scenarios and documentary-style video content can be a powerful part of your student recruitment strategy. Let’s examine the key differences and how they can enhance your campaign’s success.

Non-contrived scenarios

Non-contrived scenarios, or situations that occur naturally without being staged for any specific purpose, can be a powerful tool in your student recruitment strategy. They reflect real-life situations and can spark, create, and maintain interest with your audience. By repeating key snippets of information, an authentic view of your institute can be built without the feel of a hard sell. Consider using non-contrived scenarios to create reactive videos and promotional material based on your social events calendar.

Non-contrived scenarios are great for:

  • Conveying short key messages
    Sparking initial interest in your university
  • Maintaining engagement following a larger campaign
  • Capturing typical experiences of your students
  • Promoting common “wanted” experiences such as university events, graduation, and extracurricular activities
  • Linking A-level results day with confirming a place at university
  • Promoting important information or events that require little explanation

For example, we worked with the University of Leeds to create a promotional video for the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, where our team put the students and staff at ease, allowing their passion and enthusiasm to shine through.

Documentary-Style Production


Although similar in some respects to a non-contrived scenario, documentary-style videos are designed with a specific objective in mind: to inform and educate viewers about a particular topic or issue.

Use documentary-style videos to add detail and create honest and immersive content in a ‘warts and all’ style of delivery. This allows potential students to create a link between themselves and the course experience. As more details can be captured in a longer video, you need to consider the structure and the path you want the viewer to take. This type of video can be used to solidify the interest of potential students who have already expressed interest in the course.

They are great for:

  • Providing in-depth information after initial interest has been captured
  • Departmental and course promotion videos – ‘what to expect’
  • Field trips and industrial gap year experiences
  • Maintaining the momentum of interest in studying at higher education
  • Providing instructional information that can be used before, or as part of the induction

The journey of your content requires regular contact with your key messages to maintain interest and momentum. Edit each section to be informative but to the point and build links and bridges to the following sections. If everything is loaded at the start, your content might lose viewer engagement.

Here’s an example of a documentary-style video we produced with the University of Hull. We spent a week with the students, digging deeper into their experiences to give a ‘warts and all’ view of what to expect.

Tips To Avoid Appearing Too “Corporate”


Maintain authenticity through honest and relaxed communication.

Keep in mind the core values of your institute and ensure they shine through. This creates an honest representation of who you are. We can support your students and staff to relax during production to keep the tone engaging and personable.

Create a story with your marketing campaign.

However tempting it is to tell your entire story in one go, it can result in some key messages getting lost. Video production is an ideal medium for story-telling, but whether you are creating short snippets or a longer feature, keep the individual stories to a few key points which link together to create flow.

Use real case studies or examples

Real student experiences are a powerful means of reaching your target audience. Your successful students are your ideal candidates. These case studies will include the voices of both current students and departmental staff. Video can create a perceived dialogue between both students and staff which promotes a positive experience for potential applicants.

Capitalise on this year’s events to generate content for next year’s campaign.

Unlike corporate projects, which can have varying timelines or unexpected start/end dates, education has more rigidity. This also creates a routine that allows for content generation through an annual or course cycle. This content will be relatable to events and can be reviewed regularly. Real events also remove the corporate edge that some video productions have.


Here is an example of how we helped capture the annual event of A-Level results day at Birmingham Metropolitan College and linked it to a future in higher education.

For more information on how we can help your Higher Education marketing strategy, get in touch or visit our HE video marketing services page on the website.

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