At The Wall Street Journal, we have never been more invested in driving our student audience to create lifelong readers. Building out our student marketing 18 months ago, we were laser focused on understanding the value the Journal could bring to a student’s life and what the barriers were stopping them from becoming WSJ members.

Here are the three pillars of that initiative:

The Wall Street Journal’s campaign focused on its ability to address the needs of all academic majors.
The Wall Street Journal’s campaign focused on its ability to address the needs of all academic majors.

1. A student-focused campaign: “We Are All Business Majors”

One of the biggest misconceptions we found through our research is college students think The Wall Street Journal is only relevant for those seeking degrees in business and finance, with no areas of interest for others.

As one of the biggest brands in business, this was no surprise to hear. But instead of trying to flex our core values, we flipped this proposition around. The economy drives every part of our lives, and you go to college to land a fulfilling job — in fact, 76% of students know what occupation they would like to work in — so whatever way you look at it, ultimately students today are all business majors, regardless of their focus of study.

With this in mind, we put together a new marketing campaign, with the end goal being to break through this preconception of the Journal.

2. A unified platform for student content

Wanting this to be a campaign that provided a solution for students, we created our students hub to be a destination leveraging the Journal’s best management, career, and finance advice. The overarching theme or mission is to help students turn what they love into careers. The Journal’s expert insight and advice is the key to do just that.

The role of this page is two-fold: to curate and house the most student-friendly content in one easy-to-find place and also get students to engage with the WSJ in a way that shows we are very relevant to their lives. The most read article from the page is “The mistakes you make in a meeting’s first milliseconds,” showing students want tangible information they can apply in their real-world workplace experiences.

Another way we surface content for students is through our monthly newsletter, Campus Perspectives, where we leverage both the most read articles by students as well as ask for submissions from our student brand ambassadors who work for the Journal across a number of college campuses across the country.

The Picture Your Future campaign provided the news media company with data while offering students headshots, regardless of their field of study.
The Picture Your Future campaign provided the news media company with data while offering students headshots, regardless of their field of study.

3. Increasing on-campus activations

In addition to the digital campaign, we felt strongly we wanted to be present on campus but in a relevant and meaningful way.

To highlight the fact the Journal is the tool you need to be successful as you enter your career, we created Picture Your Future. This is a touring installation that provided students with professional headshots in return for them activating their WSJ membership. We personalised the photos, again acknowledging not everyone wants a corporate job and there are many angles in which you can build a successful career.

Students filled out cards before using the photo booth, and they told us if they were hoping to go into finance, marketing, engineering, or some other field, and their photo style was choreographed with that information in mind.

We also aligned with key career fairs at WSJ schools to capitalise on the footfall and ambitious mindset of students in attendance. An exit survey after their pictures were taken showed that 95% would recommend WSJ to a friend after having experienced Picture Your Future.

We currently have the biggest student programme we’ve ever had at The Wall Street Journal. These are three examples of a wider strategy that is long term in vision. We recently announced new roles in the newsroom, which will focus on young audiences and will only strengthen this growth we have seen. Getting this right now means we are future-proofing the business. In doing so, we’re building a pool of savvy, informed, and passionate business leaders — whatever their major.