We recently reported about how UK universities were enjoying some of their biggest student marketing film successes with short films which offer a really quick-fire intro to a quirky, interesting topic – such as building a supercomputer out of Lego or dropping in an iPhone in water and it still continuing to function.

And it’s an approach that has shown few signs of running out of steam over the last three months.

Leading the charge, aptly enough, is the UK’s leading university, Cambridge; it’s simple-as-anything Polymer Opals video has been seen 30,000 times…

…and its slightly creepy talking head has been seen 147,000 times.

The University of Sheffield, meanwhile, has exhibited similar appeal with its Robot Swarm video, racking up 28,000 views in three months.

The videos are all short in duration, provide a simple overview of their subject matter, and they aren’t about the academic or the university – just the topic.

Said topics are all offbeat and genuinely interesting, perfectly harnessing that ‘distract factor’: ideal viewing for A-Level or GCSE students taking a five-minute break from their revision.

This accessibility, in turn, has triggered coverage from influential outlets, undoubtedly helping to ramp up the views (Polymer Opals was featured by Wired, the Talking Head was covered by Gizmodo and Tecmundo, and the Robot Swarm was covered by Wired and the Telegraph, the latter of which ripped the video and put it in its own player – naughty!).

Now, some might argue that these videos are effective at attracting a general viewership, without necessarily drawing the eyeballs of those who will go on to have a meaningful interaction with the university.

However, by offering content that a broad audience actually wants to buy into and be a part of, what these videos are actually delivering is branding, of the kind you might more readily associate with the commercial sector.

The real trick, mind, is to not just produce one or two videos that hook in a wide viewership, but to keep that viewership coming back time after time. It’s an objective which appears readily achievable for just about every UK university, given how each is home to a raft of fascinating research stories and projects.

Blazing a trail in this regard over the last five years has been the Test Tube channel on YouTube, which is overseen by the University of Nottingham and features many of its scientists.

Having racked up millions of views and thousands of subscribers, the channel is now in the enviable position where every video it places online is guaranteed tens of thousands of views.

Take a look at Spectrecom’s range of student recruitment video production services here.

About the author

Danielle Wilmot

Danielle Wilmot

Head of Creative

Dani is our Head of Creative. She oversees the creative team and works her magic on coming up with creative ideas and scriptwriting.

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