Every day there’s an increasing demand for engaging and authentic original content. Between Tiktok, Youtube, Instagram, and Snapchat, the pressure to be omnipresent on all platforms is palpable. Needless to say it’s a lot for content teams at Universities to stay on top of. With stretched resources and increasing popularity of video platforms, it’s no wonder why institutions are turning to student creators to generate content.
Throughout the past year I’ve heard several accounts and approaches of institutions working with students. In each instance the team has come away with plenty of learnings. With those experience in mind, here’s some tips to help navigate these discussions and maximise your partnerships with student creators.
Recruiting Student Creators
The first recommendation when recruiting a team of student creators is to hire more than you think you need. This is a basic precaution to ensure a broad range of ideas and creative throughout the year. Some students will inevitably drop out due to personal reasons or scheduling conflicts, while others will produce content that simply misses the mark. Set your program up for success by recruiting plenty of creators from the start.
In similar anticipation of student burnout, you should also plan out a year’s worth of content themes early in the process. This ensures you will receive a mix of content staggered throughout the entire year, with varying themes. Establishing a calendar also sets expectations of how much content you’re seeking from these partnerships.
The Briefing Process
Whether working with a designer on your team or at an agency, the process should always start with a brief. Why should things be any different when working with students? Set them up for success with a detailed brief outlining the fundamentals of what you’re trying to achieve. This should include the ideal tone of the content and length, as well as a list of general topics.
Don’t forget to include a copy of brand guidelines for good measure. The only callout is to avoid highly prescriptive requirements that restrict creativity. In short, brief your creators but provide enough space for them to play.
Training and Development of Student Creators
When putting together a team, the first step is training. This is natural for any organisation, but is often missed when working with students. The mistake administrators make is assuming students arrive as fully formed tech experts. While likely savvy on platforms from a user perspective, it’s another thing to create on behalf of a brand. A degree of training is required in order to get everyone up to speed on the process.
There should also be continual training available through rounds of feedback and reflection sessions. Doing so will save you time while providing growth opportunity for these creators.
Maximising Your Team of Student Creators
If there’s one take away from this post, it’s that student creators can provide a ton of value to your marketing mix, but only if harnessed properly. Treat them as part of your team, nurture them accordingly, and provide opportunities for growth. Follow these steps to get off on the right foot and establish a successful program for years to come. With the right planning and a bit of luck, your co-creator program can thrive.