Did you know that marketers who make blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to see a return on their investment according to HubSpot? This means that your higher institution has it in its favor to see increased enrollment compared to your neighbor when you have a solid content marketing strategy in place. The question is, how does content work to increase enrollment for your college or university?
Benefits of Blogging for Higher EDU
Having a higher EDU blog can increase student applications in a handful of ways. When you contribute the right content to your blog, you reap the benefits from all angles. Let’s take a look at a few of the most worthwhile benefits to higher EDU blogging.
Increased Organic Traffic
In order to get a steady flow of organic traffic to your school’s website, you need to be bringing in potential students. How are you going to do that if nothing on your website changes?
By adding fresh, relevant content to your blog, you can drive more traffic to your site. Be sure to use good keywords so that the right prospects are finding your material.
Additionally, Google gives better rankings to websites that have active blogs. Google loves to see new content being added regularly, so they reward sites that do this well. The higher your website ranks, the easier it will be found by prospective students.
Increased Inbound Links
The more content that is added to your blog, the more inbound links you get back to your website. Google also likes this and looks at it as a sign of trust and authority. As a reward, it tends to bump up sites with more inbound links in the search engines so that people can find them easier.
Create compelling copy that is backed with research and statistics to make your pieces more informative. This way, more sites may link back to you.
Having a blog that contains helpful, relevant content for college students helps you build a following. The more that is added to your blog, the more prospects will share the information on social media with their own followers, driving more traffic to your site.
As prospective students see others liking, sharing and commenting on your content, they will learn to trust your brand. Even if they don’t choose your college or university for their journey, they will have a positive attitude toward your school and might even recommend you to a friend or family member.
Don’t forget that your community should include more than just prospective students. Alumni, professors, current students and local businesses should also be included in your following base. It takes a village, after all.
Growing Your Database
As you begin to build a following and collecting the names and email addresses from prospects, you can enter them into a central database that can be shared with your marketing and admissions departments.
Your next mission will be to segment your lists based on various criteria, such as intended major, projected graduation year or need for financial aid. By segmenting your lists, you can send personalized information to your contacts and further nurture your relationship to increase enrollment.
As you see, maintaining a school blog gives you more control over how you interact with potential students and the goals you hope to achieve from the interactions. You can also influence how prospective students view your school instead of relying on others to do it for you. It might even be possible that people out there are telling a story that you don’t want them to! You can change that through content.
Choosing the Right Content
If your blog could use an updated look and feel, you might be wondering how you can choose the right content to start this process. How do you know that what you find interesting will be interesting to your prospects?
Keep in mind that the whole point of contributing to your school’s blog is to educate readers about the things that matter to them. If you’re reaching out to prospective college students, think about the issues that pertain to them, such as studying for the SATs, secrets for getting accepted into a school or how many schools to apply at. The posts aren’t meant to directly flaunt and promote your school.
Another way to select worthwhile content is to put your target audience first. Define what a potential student reading your content is like. Are they a high school junior or senior trying to figure out what they want to pursue? Or maybe they are a full-time parent returning to school. When you define your target personas, you can craft the content to speak to them directly.
Deciding Where the Content Comes From
Some of the content that is posted onto your blog should come from your school and might even be repurposed content from brochures, flyers and magazine inserts. But potential college students love to hear from all types of people, and that includes alumni, professors, current students and professionals in their respective fields.
As you fine tune your content marketing strategy for higher EDU, think about where you can get content from other than your school. People typically don’t mind contributing a blog post that details their experience with your program and what others can gain from it. Don’t forget to add a call-to-action onto each blog post so that readers know what to do next (i.e., subscribe to your blog, download a campus ebook).
Promoting Your Content
Your content will only be effective if you get it into the right hands. There is no need to create great material if it’s going to sit there with very little traffic. That’s why your higher institution also needs a solid content distribution strategy. In other words, how do you plan to drive traffic to your content?
There are many ways to get your content in front of the right eyes, such as posting content on social media and featuring blog posts on your homepage or newsletter. You will have to pay to get visibility on social media, so be prepared for that.
Fortunately, Facebook has economically friendly advertising options that help get your posts seen by the right audience (say, 16-and-17-year-old high school students interested in astronomy). You can read more about promoting your content in this post.
Each prospective student has their own unique journey to selecting a college. At one time, it was nearly impossible to tap into this journey, but today’s advancements in technology have changed this for higher institutions. By creating thoughtful, meaningful content based around the right topics and keywords, plus getting it into the right hands, you can be a part of each student’s journey.