Blogging is one of the most important components of an effective digital marketing campaign. It's your first line resource for link building, educating and engaging your ideal prospects, and developing your SEO strategy. Your blog is an invaluable tool.
Of course, that's only the case if you use it correctly. Most schools don't. As a matter of fact, rather than working to get the most out of blogging, most schools make one or all of these three cardinal mistakes.
- They talk too much about themselves and too little about solutions to readers' problems.
- They fail to create content that is relatable and shareable for target readers.
- They don't create content that adds value to a reader's search.
The result is typically a blog that doesn't attract new prospects or engage students. If your goal is to use your blog to get more new students on your rosters or keep more of the old, here are the five things you need to start doing right now.
1. Offer value. I don't want to say "deflated," but in the information age a picture won't buy you what it used to. Today, words of wisdom are top currency. When someone commits to an online search, the purpose is to find something meaningful. If you want to advance your school by offering value, you need to know what prospects are looking for and why.
If you struggle with anticipating prospects' questions, start by getting into their shoes. What makes a family or a potential student start thinking about attending an institution like yours? What early questions might one have about advancing from their current situation to the future they want? When you've got it all figured out, start creating content that nurtures prospects through the decision journey from awareness to enrollment.
The Decision Journey is slightly different depending on what type of institution you run, but the gist is the same. Anticipate your prospects' needs at each stage and create content that adds value to their search.
Avoid the learning curve and download this free template now to start learning everything you need to know about how to reach your ideal student.
2. Offer entertainment. Uncertainty is stressful. Your prospective audience is trying to figure out how to invest in their children's future or where to start the beginning of their adult lives. Every source they turn to says something different, often contradictory. Family and friends have more advice than answers, and the pressure to meet expectations is tremendous.
Help your readers calm down. You can offer the information and perspective that empowers readers to make these difficult decisions in a fun or soothing way. Furthermore, you can make the search enjoyable. Infuse your blog with light humor. A little silliness goes a long way.
Besides, if your blog is boring, what will readers think of your school?
3. Offer catharsis. Navigating the options around education is daunting in itself. Add the inevitable pressures from judgmental family members and it's almost unbearable.
Nothing will build rapport with your audience faster than offering relief to the negativity around this stage in their lives. Step out on a limb, take a chance and really reach out. Draw out angst, anger, and even tears.
Tear down your prospects' walls, and use it to build a foundation for your relationship.
4. Offer resources. Your students want to network, volunteer, and find jobs. Your prospects want to learn how to qualify to be accepted to your school. Offering answers is great. Offering resources is even better.
Two things happen when you direct your audience to an outside source for other relevant content. First, you build credibility. Prospects (and search engines) can see that you're not an island, that you know what you're talking about and you can back it up. Second, you build trust. Readers learn that you are willing to go the extra mile to help them be successful even if it's not with you.
If you're willing to work hard for your readers before they're students, they're more inclined to believe you can help them be successful long term.
5. Call your readers to engage in specific, related action. When you do a great job delivering on your readers' needs, they want more. Don't make them try to figure out how to ask the right questions. Instead, continue guiding your audience by creating a call to action for the next step. Be sure the CTA is relevant. If your audience just read a post about how to study for the SAT, "Enroll Now" may not be the best next step.
Don't get ahead of yourself. Be nurturing and understanding, and your prospects will become cheerleaders for your school in no time.
Now you know what to do to attract more prospects, enroll more students, and engage more alumni with your blog. What about the rest of your marketing plan? Click the button below to read The Digital Marketing Handbook for Schools and Educators. It only takes a few minutes to ramp up your marketing campaign for compounding success.