By now, you know all the benefits to blogging for your higher education institution. No one has to convince you. No siree. You’ve read countless articles on how a higher ed blog can drive targeted traffic to your site, establish connections with prospective students and help separate you from other colleges and universities. The problem you’re having is that you don’t know what in the world to write about.
Perhaps you’ve been contributing to your blog for quite some time and you’ve exhausted all your options. Or maybe you’re looking for fresh ideas that will set your blog apart from all the other schools out there. Whatever the case, you don’t have to feel lost for ideas. Rather than starting from scratch, you can find valuable content that can be repurposed for your own blog.
A Few Things Before You Start Writing
The first step in finding the right content is choosing which types you want to create. Do you want your content to inform? Inspire? Get readers to act on something? You must then identify who you’re trying to reach. Is it the typical junior or senior high school student looking to further their education? Or is it an older adult interested in returning to school?
Remember, you can run different campaigns based on your audiences. You may have an international program that interests young students as well as a strong transfer program. You can create content for these different audiences and then market it accordingly. The key is to define your school’s personas so that the content is written specifically to them.
Finally, don’t forget that your content should appeal to current students and alumni. Though prospective students are your target audience, you want to keep current relationships strong as well. Luckily, there are many ways to bring past and current students into your content marketing strategy.
Here are eight resources that can be used to find content for your higher ed blog.
1. Current Students
Here is where you can work your magic when it comes to creating content that is interesting for current and prospective students. The students living and learning on your campus as we speak are the most helpful resource you have. In fact, they know things about your school that you don’t. And this is the type of stuff that prospective students want to know about.
Current students understand your students’ pain points and wishes because it wasn’t long ago that they were in the same shoes. They can use this perspective to construct content that answers common questions such as, “How Can I Adjust to Life as a Freshman?” and “What are Some Tips for Balancing Homework and Work?”
Alumni have also stood in the same shoes as prospective students so they, too, have a unique perspective to share. What separates them from current students is that they have graduated from your institution. They can share their experiences, but they are also a testament for what your school offers in the long run.
Alumni enjoy being recognized for their contributions because it makes them feel connected to your school. Where people graduate from is a strong part of their identity. In addition to requesting pieces of content from alumni, also consider featuring them in “Where Are They Now” columns.
Professors have a unique angle that they view your college or university from because they are the ones in charge of presenting academic material, facilitating classroom discussions and listening to student feedback. They already have tons of information available on projects, presentations, class lectures, department overviews and research that can be repurposed in a blog. This information helps prospects get a better understanding of your curriculum and how it’s executed.
4. Admissions Department
Don’t underestimate the awareness of your admissions department. They have all the juicy responses under their wing because it’s what they do all day long! The admissions department hears all kinds of questions, so they can fill you in on some of the things that prospects ask when applying to the school.
When creating content from this viewpoint, think about how you can educate families that haven’t gone through the application process before or won’t have the opportunity to visit your school. Topics like “How to Write a College Essay That Will Get You Admitted” or “Questions You Should Ask During a College Interview” are relevant and informative.
5. ResLife Students
For the vast majority of students who live on campus, this is their first time away from home. They’re in charge of themselves now, which is liberating but also overwhelming. Understandably, this freedom can scare both young students and their parents. That’s where your current ResLife students can offer some assurance.
In your blog, share an inside peek at life in the dorms along with high-quality images. What do the dorms look like? How do freshman dorms differ from senior dorms? Sharing this information can ease a lot of worries for incoming students.
You can also have fun posts such as, “The 10 Best Decorated Dorm Rooms.” Not only does this get current students involved in something fun, but it sets the stage for the type of environment you want to create in your dorms.
6. Athletics Department
Even though you probably aren’t a Big 10 school, you still have a vibrant athletics program to be proud of. Students who are thinking about joining one of your teams will enjoy getting a firsthand peek at your athletics department and how it’s run. Even students who don’t care to join a team can still benefit from this content. They may want to support your school by attending the events, so reach out to your athletics department for content centered around student athletes, marching band members and more.
7. Campus Career Office
Prospective students know that in four or so years, they will be out of college and pursuing their dreams. They want to know that the school they choose will not just provide them with a degree but also set them up for success in their field. Your campus career office can shed light on how to be successful after completing a degree program. Ideas for content include, “10 Tips for Interning While in School” and “How to Draft a Resume People Want to Read.” This content will appeal to current students while also showing prospective students that your institution is a wise investment.
It’s a smart idea to build partnerships with regional associations and institutions because you get free content and they get exposure to thousands of young people. Look at your community first, such as local museums, volunteer groups, nonprofit organizations, tourism boards and other institutions. They will be more helpful in supplying you with information, and it can give prospective students a closer look at the community they will be living in.
If ideas for your higher ed blog start to run dry, take a look at one of these eight resources. A fresh perspective will give your blog the new, interesting content that is needed to make it come to life again.