With the future of online content predicted to be overwhelmingly video-based, on the ball universities are already alert to the power of vlogging as a way to reach vast young audiences and promote their institutions.
The trend of YouTubers verbally diarising their lives and offering honest and candid advice is soaring but this doesn’t need to be a case of creating new content. Current students and alumni are often producing great footage so it’s often more a case of seeking it out. Search “my university experience” on YouTube and you’ll find a plethora of conversations about people’s experiences, with universities frequently name dropped.
Jamie Ped, studying at Bath University, branded himself as “The Vlog Student”. His video Moving in to University has received over 45K views while University Freshers FAQ is sitting at over 74K. Lucy Moon’s video on her experience at SOAS, which she regularly sings praises about online, is approaching a quarter of a million views.
This type of content presents a goldmine of promotional material and content for universities and offers collaborative opportunities with channels, many of which boast subscriber bases far eclipsing most universities’ own. Of course, with YouTubers striving to present an authentic, honest and relatable voice to their audiences, there is a risk factor in revealing negatives as well as positives. Our advice is simply to enter any type of partnership with your eyes wide open.
And even if you can’t find any vloggers out there from your university, why not try creating them? Think about running initiatives such as camera and equipment loans, or help to launch aspiring YouTube careers by running competitions for things like a ‘Best Tour of Campus’ video, boosting the winner’s YouTube profile by featuring the video on your university home page and commissioning content from them. Glasgow University has tried precisely this, while Sheffield took to social channels last year to help them search out vloggers.
Vlogs and video content are a fantastic medium through which to highlight your university experience. They can also be a highly effective way to showcase issues that may get less attention. As a final example check out these students discussing their experience of being BME at Warwick and Cambridge respectively.