Technical Education/Vocational Training Promotion
You asked us to summarize how technical education and vocational training programs use online advertising, social media, offline advertising, and PR efforts to grow awareness of their programs and recruit students. We found that Hostos Community College in the Bronx has utilized both social media and offline advertising. Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Michigan advertises online via YouTube and Pandora. A statewide campaign in West Virginia promoting vocational training for high school students is our example for PR efforts.
I could not find exact costs for any of these advertising efforts. When publicly available, advertising costs are discussed in broad terms. For example, both Facebook and YouTube state that businesses set their own budgets for advertising. Pandora charges $8-$12 for every thousand people that hear an audio ad.
The offline advertising campaign for Hostos Community College is more than 2 years old, but we included it as we were unable to find such comprehensive information on a more recent offline campaign. We found that print ads in magazines and newspapers have seen recent double digit decreases, which likely explains the lack of newer information on print ad campaigns.
Since social media has its own category in this request, I looked at online advertising efforts outside of Facebook and Twitter. The central campus for Kellogg Community College is in Battle Creek, Michigan. Overall, the school's five campuses have a combined annual enrollment of 10,500 students.
The community college's YouTube account has 2.2k subscribers, and within the last six months Kellogg has posted 15 videos to promote the college. One particular video, "KCC is about home," has had 6,900 views.
Aside from promotional videos posted on their own channel, we were unable to find any information on paid ads the college may have on YouTube. I was unable to find exact costs for advertising on YouTube, only that businesses set their own advertising budgets.
Kellogg has also aired a 30-second ad on Pandora. Webpage FX reports that Pandora charges $8-$12 for every thousand people that hear an audio ad. Pandora's website requires completing a registration process for pricing information.
Hostos Community College is in the Bronx and is a part of CUNY. Their Facebook page has 5,245 followers, and is updated regularly. As of February 10th, the page had 3 posts for the month. Besides using Facebook to promote the school and communicate about events such as job fairs, their page highlights the achievements of current and past students and faculty. For example, earlier this month Hostos posted that one of their students was crowned Miss New York USA.
Since a Facebook account is free, Hostos Community College does not have to pay anything to promote the college on their own page. I was unable to find any information on paid ads Hostos may have on Facebook. Searching Facebook ads broadly, I found that businesses create a budget and Facebook works within that budget, stating, “If you want to spend $5 a week, you can. If you want to spend $50,000 a week, you can do that too.”
In addition to being our social media example, Hostos Community College also has a robust example of offline advertising. Their "The Skills to Do the Job" print campaign included an ad in the NY Yankees' official magazine and direct mail. This campaign was aimed at adults seeking to upgrade their skills. Print ads prominently featured student Lina Cruz, who was interning with the NY Yankees at the time.
The total cost of "The Skills to Do the Job" ad campaign is not publicly available. We found that magazine ad prices vary, depending on the placement of the ad, the size of the ad, and the magazine's circulation. Since we were unable to find circulation numbers for the New York Yankees' official magazine, we could not estimate or triangulate what an ad in that magazine might cost. We found that the prices for direct mail campaigns vary, from 30 cents to more than $10 per person. Factors that affect the cost include whether the business is doing their own copywriting and graphic design, or if those tasks have been outsourced. We were unable to find the circulation numbers for the direct mail portion of campaign, so we were unable to estimate the costs.
While this ad campaign is older than two years old, we included it as it is a robust example of a print initiative for a community college. We were unable to find such comprehensive information on a more recent print campaign, likely due to the recent sharp decrease in print ads. In the second quarter of 2017, there was a 16% decline in magazine ad sales, and a 20% decline in newspaper ads. Meanwhile, social media ads increased by 55% in that time period.
It was difficult to find isolated examples of PR efforts that weren't part of a broader advertising campaign. For example, the Hostos Community College print campaign by Foundry appeared to be a full-service campaign that included everything from content creation to execution.
The most relevant example of PR efforts we could find is a statewide campaign in West Virginia to increase vocational training and "workplace simulation" amongst high school students. The Simulated Workplace Resource Guide discusses the program's initiatives as a whole, and is not tied to any one training program or school. We were unable to find information on who created this brochure.
Vocational training has been integrated into high school education in WV and is quickly becoming the norm, so any promotional efforts certainly appear to be successful. In 2016, 37% of high school seniors in WV had completed vocational training. This is up from just 18% in 2010. More than 24,000 students participate at 1,200 Simulated Workplace locations every year. These simulated workplaces provide vocational training in real-world settings.
To wrap it up, we found examples of community colleges and vocational training programs in the U.S. that use online advertising, social media, offline advertising and PR efforts to promote awareness of their programs. We were unable to find exact costs for any of these campaigns. When publicly available, we provided as much information as we could around advertising costs, such as Pandora ads and direct mail.