Novel Marketing Agency St. Louis | Branding, Content,  Websites, Digital Strategy

Washington University Case Study

Washington University Case Study showing content strategy, personalized content and photography.


Washington university

University College at washU


the opportunity

University College is the professional and continuing education division of the College of Arts & Sciences within Washington University in St. Louis. Faced with declining enrollment trends, University College needed to increase its brand awareness in the St. Louis region.

WashU’s University College had a lot of potential to help professionals and degree-seekers reach the next level of their careers with online programs, affordable tuition and flexibility to increase one’s education while continuing to live one’s life.

Novel was enlisted to increase the brand awareness of University College and create custom content for the school’s individual programs. 


Our Work for WashU:

Research, Strategy & digital

First, we dug into WashU’s University College data and analytics. We did an audit of their digital presence to get a baseline for their SEO, conversion journey, social media and email. We did research to determine their top competitors for key programs and then audited their competitors in order to compare digital footprints and conversion journeys.

We also spent time with their current audience personas, led am empathy-driven session to understand what these personas want and then compared that to what we found in the data and analytics to make sure our findings were backed by historical data.

In short, we spent some time in the intersection of data and feelings to develop recommendations that tied to our key business goals.


Building A Campaign

We created Maximize Your Potential – a campaign that tapped into some of the main feelings and desires of these professional audiences.

“I feel stressed.”

“I feel busy.”

“I want more influence.”

We know these professionals are determined, driven and passionate but many of them feel overwhelmed with their current responsibilities. We used that information to prioritize the messaging of what WashU’s University College offers that helps make education accessible—online classes, easy application process, network of successful people, prestige of the Washington University brand, faculty who understands the demands of working students, scholarships and financial aid.



A Highly Customized Customer Journey

Because University College is made up of myriad programs each aimed at its own distinct audience, a singular content strategy doesn’t apply. Instead, we created personalized content for each program at the school. We collaborated with the University College team to identify the top-enrolling programs in the school and then did a deep dive to create customer journeys that reflect the lives and mind sets of each program’s potential students, from a Google search to applying, making sure each content touchpoint is speaking specifically to that student. 

As a creative and strategic partner, Novel has helped connect our stories with new audiences.

The Novel team took the time to understand how the adult audience education needs are different and then crafted a content marketing strategy to focus on compelling stories that uplifted students while driving new search engine traffic.

The Novel team is also a creative photography powerhouse shaping a visual image that resonates just as strong as the written word.

Most important of all, they listened and continued to offer strategy suggestions as marketing goals shifted with each academic year.
— Jon Hinderliter, Director of Marketing & Communications University College | Washington University in St. Louis