Effective Storytelling: Online Education

How do you appeal to a demographic with a wide age range, various backgrounds and tons of options literally available at their fingertips? Provide value.

Potential students – particularly those searching to obtain a degree online who wouldn't otherwise have access to a brick-and-mortar physical campus – want to see themselves and imagine their own future. And the power of good storytelling can sell the value of earning a degree on one's own terms.

This example from Southern New Hampshire University does a great job at capturing this in just 30 seconds. It's a beautiful story of a seemingly single dad who spends every moment he can – lunch breaks, late nights – studying to improve the quality of life for himself and his young son. The convenience of online classes makes this possible.

Earlier this year University of Phoenix produced a 60-second animated spot – shared with me by a colleague – tugged at my emotional heartstrings. It's a similar concept as the one above – this time a seemingly single mother who goes from laid-off factory worker to graduate in information technology after putting in the hard work to complete her degree online. She turns her devastation into great achievement, preparing herself for a technologically focused future.

Both spots tell stories about ambitious individuals – who overcame adversity using online education – in a way that many people will be able to connect with. I found these stories to be powerful in conveying the value, convenience and benefit of a non-traditional educational experience.