Marketing a college by maintaining a blog should be simple. After all, blogging is about answering questions, and current and prospective students will always have questions about admissions, financial aid, programs, campus events and so on.
But the problem with education blogging isn’t finding topics to write about. The problem is finding the time and resources to publish quality posts once or twice per week.
Unfortunately, short articles on generic topics aren’t going to cut it. If you want to build your school’s authority and truly engage visitors, your blog needs well-written, insightful posts.
So what are some quick and easy ways to produce quality blog posts? Here are some tactics I’ve had success with over the past couple of years.
Balance long and short posts. Long posts are not always better than short posts. Although some of your posts should be longer and more detailed (500-600 words), feel free to write brief ones (250-350 words) as well. This can help you target a wider audience while saving time and energy.
Create lists of resources. Everyone knows that lists always make for popular content, but lists need substance to provide value. Including links to resources, applications and tools in your bullet points is more practical than listing ideas.
Conduct interviews. Interviewing is easier – and quicker – than you might think. If you use a Q&A format, all you have to do is send a brief list of questions to the person you’re interviewing and ask them to type up their answers. This way, you just have to add an introduction and edit the interview to finalize the post.
Faculty, alumni, current students, guest speakers, and financial aid representatives all make good interview candidates. If you want to get faculty or staff input on a topic without conducting a full interview, contact them and ask if they can provide you with a quote, which is an easy way to add credibility to a post.
Tip: Try to avoid phone interviews. Taking frantic notes is difficult and recording/replaying the conversation wastes time. Plus, the interviewee’s answers won’t necessarily be as organized or thoughtful.
Find people who are excited to write. If you’re pressed for time, find others on campus who would love to contribute to the blog. See if you can find people who want to promote an upcoming event, spread the word about a new class, or simply share their first day of class as a new student. If they’re hesitant to write, assure them that you’d be happy to edit their work.
Rely on students. Students have huge potential as blog contributors – especially those in English or creative writing programs who would love to get the experience. If you have trouble finding volunteers, see if faculty will offer extra credit for blog posts or even include it as a class assignment. You’ll have to collect and monitor the content they submit, but it can save you a lot of writing time.
Hire an agency. If you need help marketing a college through blogging, digital marketing firms can offer the resources and expertise you need. Look for one with an excellent reputation for content marketing and experience in the education industry. The writers will know how to leverage your school’s voice and brand and choose topics that appeal to your audience.
Most of these tactics require your management, editing and formatting skills, but they can help you collect a lot of fresh material to work with. Just avoid getting caught going back and forth with your contributors about feedback, edits, topics, etc. Your contributors should make things easier, not harder, so recognize when it’s time to leave a project behind.
Have you had success with any of these blog post tactics? Share your feedback and other ideas below.
Image courtesy of patpitchaya / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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