How to keep your blog interesting to prospective students
By now you know the importance of keeping a blog for your higher institution. The question is, how do you keep it interesting?
At first, it’s fun to meet with the various departments from your school. Together, you brainstorm the different topics you can address in your blog based on questions and feedback from prospects.
After a while, though, it’s normal to run out of ideas and ways to keep readers engaged. This is where many schools simply fall out of love with blogging. Finding topics and reaching new prospects becomes more challenging, and without a well-defined content marketing strategy, it’s hard to know which direction to go in.
Of course, you’re reading this because you care about your blog and don’t want to see this happen! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, so let’s talk about some of the things you can do to keep your higher EDU blog interesting.
Attract Prospects with an Informative Blog
The awareness stage is the first stage in the enrollment journey. It refers to the time when a prospect becomes aware of your college or university. Maybe they heard about it from a friend or family member or saw an online ad when they were browsing for other schools. It might have even been offline advertising – a radio ad or TV commercial – that prompted them to be aware of your school. Either way, you’re on the radar.
Blogging has the biggest impact on this particular stage because this is when prospects want to learn more about your school. What programs are you known for? Do you have classes for adults returning to college? Do you offer financial aid packages?
When you address these initial questions for prospective students and their parents, you become a trusted and reliable source that they will return to. You may not win them all, but remember that the purpose of your blog is to be there with prospects on their entire journey. Don’t make your content hard to find.
Put Your Readers First, Not Your School
Your blog needs to be interesting to prospective students – not you, your mom or your school. You will need to define your target personas so that you can develop a voice that speaks to your readers. If your college mostly caters to high school juniors and seniors, you need to write in a way that appeals to them.
For example, most high school students don’t know what $30,000 looks like. Many don’t know what it means to take out a loan. Use a section of your blog to explain the different types of loans available, the differences between subsidized and unsubsidized loans and how to apply for financial aid. Save the specifics for the parents.
On the other hand, if you’re writing to adults returning to college, you have a very different audience to appeal to. This age group tends to be most concerned with obtaining a degree or credentials in a cost- and time-efficient manner. They aren’t interested in football games, homecoming dances or cafeteria food. Their priority is to get in and out with a degree that will help them move up the corporate ladder.
Ultimately, don’t lose sight of who you are writing to. If you hit a roadblock, reconnect with your audience and ask them what types of content they’d like to see more of or if there are questions they would like you to address. Unless you’re out there looking for a college education, it’s hard to know what your audience wants unless you ask.
Be Resourceful With Your Content
Even though you may feel like you’re out of ideas from time to time, it’s never really true. Sometimes all you need is a new perspective, and then the cookie jar of content ideas comes spilling out again.
Aside from asking your prospects directly about their questions and concerns, you can get fresh blog ideas – and the content to go with it – from people on campus: professors, students on the newspaper, aspiring writers in your English program and more. Check out the various publications that already come from your school as well, including syllabi, an alumni magazine, internal newsletters and faculty bios.
It’s possible that you can use some of this material to fill out existing blogs, but at the very least, the materials should spark new ideas that will keep your blog interesting. For instance, if you have a dusty brochure of the Top 10 Reasons to Choose “X” School sitting in your admissions office, turn it into a lively interactive infographic that can be posted on your blog.
Check Out the Discussions that are Happening
It’s always important that you follow through with your content, and this is done in a couple of ways. First, you need a strong content distribution strategy that gets your content in front of the right eyes. Second, you must be monitoring the conversations that are happening around your content. What types of questions do readers have? Are they sharing their own experiences? Do they agree or disagree with what you have written? Are they still confused or unsure of what to do next?