The Internet has become ground zero for independent schools looking to boost enrollment and increase retention. It’s common knowledge these days that keeping a website and SEO rich blog is the best way to consistently book more tours, leading to more students.
But let’s face it: The Internet is a popularity contest. Whatever you do, no matter your intentions, if your work isn’t attractive, it won’t help you reach your marketing goals.
If you want prospective students and their families to be able to find you online, you’re going to have to win the popularity contest. Just like in middle school, there are rules for the popularity game. No one knows for sure what they are or who decides, but there are a few tried and tested strategies that seem to work every time.
Write for Your Audience
You’re great and all, but a parent considering enrolling her child in an independent school isn’t actually as interested in you as you might think. So, what does she really want?
The key to a successful blog is delivery. Your prospects have questions, and finding the answers is important to them. Draw out your readers’ interests and values, understand what motivates them and demonstrate your shared views. You’ll make your audience feel understood, a feeling they’ll likely come back for again and again.
Share Your Articles Where Your Readers Live
Once you’ve created something valuable and relatable for your intended reader, it won’t do you any good to just sit back and hope they find it. You have to take your new content to them where they live online.
These days, everyone has their favorite websites and social media platforms. It’s where your audience “lives” online. Leveraging your content in these places helps your audience find you, and relate to you.
Create Urgency Around Reading Your Article
I can’t begin to count the number of time I’ve stumbled upon an article I thought would be great to read later, bookmarked it, and then forgot it existed. I can’t even work up the courage to open up my article graveyard just to take a look.
This is not what you want to happen to your articles.
Getting your intended reader’s attention is only half the battle. You want your prospect to follow the link and read your article right away.
Timeliness can create a sense of urgency. Relating your article to a current event or deadline can make your intended feel they need to read the article now to get the most benefit from it. While you can’t always predict what may seem timely to your prospective readers, the more you know about them, the more effective your guess will be.
Encourage and Reward Engagement
Remember, your final goal is greater than attracting readers to a single blog article. Ultimately, you want readers to engage with your content and eventually directly with your school.
Just as everyone has their favorite online hangouts, so they also have preferences when it comes to responding to your articles. Some may prefer leaving a message in the comments section on your blog, while others feel more at home sharing their impressions as a reply on your Facebook page.
The more options you offer, the greater your chances of getting a conversation going.
In many cases, viewers may read comments on a social media post to determine the value of the article before reading it. Building conversation around your article adds proof of the value of your message.
Building excitement around your blog articles improves your domain authority, making it easier for prospective readers to find your content when they need it. It proves the value of your content, helping you rank higher in search engine queries. And it all begins with understanding your audience well enough to create content for them, content that meet their needs.