In this article by Matthew A. Gilbert, the author of edX E-Learning Course Development, we are going to learn various ways of marketing.
(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)
edX's marketing options
If you don't market your course, you might not get any new students to teach. Fortunately, edX provides you with an array of tools for this purpose, as follows:
- Creative Submission Tool: Submit the assets required for creating a page in your edX course using the Creative Submission Tool. You can also use those very materials in promoting the course.
Access the Creative Submission Tool at https://edx.projectrequest.net/index.php/request.
- Logo and the Media Kit: Although these are intended for members of the media, you can also use the edX Media Kit for your promotional purposes: you can download high-resolution photos, edX logo visual guidelines (in Adobe Illustrator and EPS versions), key facts about edX, and answers to frequently asked questions. You can also contact the press office for additional information.
You can find the edX Media Kit online at https://www.edx.org/media-kit.
- edX Learner Stories: Using stories of students who have succeeded with other edX courses is a compelling way to market the potential of your course. Using Tumblr, edX Learner Stories offers more than a dozen student profiles. You might want to use their stories directly or use them as a template for marketing materials of your own.
Read edX Learner Stories at http://edxstories.tumblr.com.
Social media marketing
Traditional marketing tools and the options available in the edX Marketing Portal are a fitting first step in promoting your course. However, social media gives you a tremendously enhanced toolkit you can use to attract, convert, and transform spectators into students.
When marketing your course with social media, you will also simultaneously create a digital footprint for yourself. This in turn helps establish your subject matter expertise far beyond one edX course. What's more, you won't be alone; there exists a large community of edX instructors and students, including those from other MOOC platforms already online.
Take, for example, the following screenshot from edX's Twitter account (@edxonline). edX has embraced social media as a means of marketing and to create a practicing virtual community for those creating and taking their courses.
Likewise, edX also actively maintains a page on Facebook, as follows:
You can also see how active edX's YouTube channel is in the following screenshot. Note that there are both educational and promotional videos.
To get you started in social media—if you're not already there—take a look at the list of 12 social media tools, as follows. Not all of these tools might be relevant to your needs, but consider the suggestions to decide how you might best use them, and give them a try:
- Facebook (https://www.facebook.com): Create a fan page for your edX course; you can re-use content from your course's About page such as your course intro video, course description, course image, and any other relevant materials. Be sure to include a link from the Facebook page for your course to its About page. Look for ways to share other content from your course (or related to your course) in a way that engages members of your fan page. Use your Facebook page to generate interest and answer questions from potential students. You might also consider creating a Facebook group. This can be more useful for current students to share knowledge during the class and to network once it's complete.
Visit edX on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/edX.
- Google+ (https://plus.google.com): Take the same approach as you did with your Facebook fan page. While this is not as engaging as Facebook, you might find that posting content on Google+ increases traffic to your course's About page due to the increased referrals you are likely to experience via Google search results.
Add edX to your circles on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+edXOnline/posts.
- Instagram (https://instagram.com): Share behind-the-scenes pictures of you and your staff for your course. Show your students what a day in your life is like, making sure to use a unique hashtag for your course.
Picture the possibilities with edX on Instagram at https://instagram.com/edxonline/.
- LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com): Share information about your course in relevant LinkedIn groups, and post public updates about it in your personal account. Again, make sure you include a unique hashtag for your course and a link to the About page.
Connect with edX on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/edx.
- Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com): Share photos as with Instagram, but also consider sharing infographics about your course's subject matter or share infographics or imagers you use in your actual course as well. You might consider creating pin boards for each course, or one per pin board per module in a course.
Pin edX onto your Pinterest pin board at https://www.pinterest.com/edxonline/.
- Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net): If you want to share your subject matter expertise and thought leadership with a wider audience, Slideshare is a great platform to use. You can easily post your PowerPoint presentations, class documents or scholarly papers, infographics, and videos from your course or another topic. All of these can then be shared across other social media platforms.
Review presentations from or about edX courses on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/search/slideshow?searchfrom=header&q=edx.
- SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com): With SoundCloud, you can share MP3 files of your course lectures or create podcasts related to your areas of expertise. Your work can be shared on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Foursquare, expanding your influence and audience exponentially.
Listen to some audio content from Harvard University at https://soundcloud.com/harvard.
- Tumblr (https://www.tumblr.com): Resembling what the child of WordPress and Twitter might be like, Tumblr provides a platform to share behind-the-scenes text, photos, quotes, links, chat, audios, and videos of your edX course and the people who make it possible. Share a "day in the life" or document in real time, an interactive history of each edX course you teach.
Read edX's learner stories at http://edxstories.tumblr.com.
- Twitter (https://twitter.com): Although messages on Twitter are limited to 140 characters, one tweet can have a big impact. For a faculty wanting to promote its edX course, it is an efficient and cost-effective option. Tweet course videos, samples of content, links to other curriculum, or promotional material. Engage with other educators who teach courses and retweet posts from academic institutions.
Follow edX on Twitter at https://twitter.com/edxonline. You might also consider subscribing to edX's Twitter list of edX instructors at https://twitter.com/edXOnline/lists/edx-professors, and explore the Twitter accounts of edX courses by subscribing to that list at https://twitter.com/edXOnline/lists/edx-courses.
- Vine (https://vine.co): A short-format video service owned by Twitter, Vine provides you with 6 seconds to share your creativity, either in a continuous stream or smaller segments linked together like stop motion. You might create a vine showing the inner working of the course faculty and staff, or maybe even ask short questions related to the course content and invite people to reply with answers.
Watch vines about MOOCs at https://vine.co/tags/MOOC.
- WordPress: WordPress gives you two options to manage and share content with students. With WordPress.com (https://wordpress.com), you're given a selection of standardized templates to use on a hosted platform. You have limited control but reasonable flexibility and limited, if any, expenses. With Wordpress.org (https://wordpress.org), you have more control but you need to host it on your own web server, which requires some technical know-how. The choice is yours.
Read posts on edX on the MIT Open Matters blog on Wordpress.com at https://mitopencourseware.wordpress.com/category/edx/.
- YouTube (https://www.youtube.com): YouTube is the heart of your edX course. It's the core of your curriculum and the anchor of engagement for your students. When promoting your course, use existing videos from your curriculum in your social media campaigns, but identify opportunities to record short videos specifically for promoting your course.
Watch course videos and promotional content on the edX YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/EdXOnline.
Personal branding basics
Additionally, whether the impact of your effort is immediately evident or not, your social media presence powers your personal brand as a professor. Why is that important? Read on to know.
With the possible exception of marketing professors, most educators likely tend to think more about creating and teaching their course than promoting it—or themselves. Traditionally, that made sense, but it isn't practical in today's digitally connected world. Social media opens an area of influence where all educators—especially those teaching an edX course—should be participating.
Unfortunately, many professors don't know where or how to start with social media. If you're teaching a course on edX, or even edX Edge, you will likely have some kind of marketing support from your university or edX. But if you are just in an organization using edX Code, or simply want to promote yourself and your edX course, you might be on your own.
One option to get you started with social media is the Babb Group, a provider of resources and consulting for online professors, business owners, and real-estate investors. Its founder and CEO, Dani Babb (PhD), says this:
"Social media helps you show that you are an expert in a given field. It is an important tool today to help you get hired, earn promotions, and increase your visibility."
The Babb Group offers five packages focused on different social media platforms: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Facebook, or Twitter with Facebook and LinkedIn.
You can view the Babb Group's social media marketing packages at http://www.thebabbgroup.com/social-media-profiles-for-professors.html. Connect with Dani Babb on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/drdanibabb or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/danibabb
In this article, we tackled traditional marketing tools, identified options available from edX, discussed social media marketing, and explored personal branding basics.