How to generate content ideas for your school's blog

Marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive results - this is because search engines love a constant stream of fresh engaging content and prospects love reading them. Blogs are a great way of presenting your school values, ethos and curriculum as well as showcasing how your school is unique. However don’t be intimidated - filling your blog with relevant and interesting content doesn’t have to be as time consuming as you think! Here are four ways to generate content for your school’s blog.

Answer questions, solve problems

At the awareness stage of the enrollment process, blogging can have a significant impact. Although people won’t sign up to attend your school from a blog post, they will remember that you wrote something which made their journey to finding the right school easier. Blogging allows your school to become a resource, increasing your authority and therefore opening the door for prospects to come back to your blog again and again. By providing this information, and answering key questions, your school is a lot more likely to be considered when it comes to shortlisting potential schools, as the prospect will see that you clearly know your stuff

Focus on your personas

In order to keep your blogs interesting for your audience, it is important to know them well, and anticipate what kind of questions or problems they will have. The best way to do this is to work on your personas before building any kind of content strategy for your blog. You can use our free persona template to help you discover your top three personas, their interests and the challenges they face. Once you have done this, you will know exactly what kind of content to produce in order to keep your blog interesting, and keep those prospects engaged and coming back.

Utilise what you have

You can get lots of interesting content out of the material you already have, so you don’t have to be a creator all the time. Each subject has its own syllabus, programme descriptions and even internal productions like newsletters. Review all of this content, as well as any others you may have created for admissions purposes. Your students are also a great resource - you could look to the student newspaper, or even publish something written by a student. However, one thing to bear in mind is that when you are repurposing content, you shouldn’t just copy and paste, but rewrite it so that you are answering the questions your prospects have. 

Pro tip: Look at blogs already live on your website and see which ones get the most traction - this will give you an idea of what your prospects are most interested in. With this information, you can brainstorm new ideas related to your most visited blogs!

Explore comments about your content

Another great tool to keep your blog interesting is to hone in on the conversations around the content you are posting. Often, people will ask questions and make comments inspired by your content. Some prospects may send emails to admission officers or course administrators, leave comments at the bottom of your blog, or raise questions on social media. Try to make it a habit to check and respond to these and you'll discover a wealth of topics to address in your blogs.

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content to engage prospective students and parents

5 types of content you can use to engage prospective students and parents

The majority of people visiting websites are usually just looking for more information and not ready to take the big leap yet. Whether your goal is to get more attendees to an open day or increase applications for a place at your school, content marketing has a huge role to play in helping you engage prospects and getting the conversions you want. We’ve rounded up 5 types of content to engage prospective students and parents which you can easily create and publish online.

1. Guides and templates

A great way to get email addresses is to create career guides or CV templates which students have to provide their email addresses in order to access. You can create downloadable guides or templates to help guide students’ futures. If parents and students see that you as a school are knowledgeable in this field, then this pushes them further along the funnel, and they will definitely want to hear more from you. Why not create specific guides or CVs depending on the career or subjects they are interested in? This is also a way to segment your email data, and depending on what subject areas they are interested in, you can then later create email content around this.

2. Testimonials

The number one way to give prospects a sense of what it would be like to attend your school is through current student/parent testimonials. Not only does it offer insight into the real student experience, but it can also help your school stand out amongst the competition, especially at a time where people make the majority of decisions based on reviews. Make it easy for people to leave their thoughts and comments - create your own hashtag or an email account where people can easily submit what they have to say. You can then share these on your social media and other channels.

3. School news

Showcasing your school's news and achievements is a good way to keep your school at the top of mind. A newsletter is usually the best format for this, and you can create a few different types to send to your email list segments, depending on what they are interested in. For example, you can create newsletters by age group - one for your prep school and one for your senior school. You can include the latest updates such as sports team wins, school productions, academic achievements and more. Or you can create newsletters for developments and news in specific subjects such as an arts newsletter, or a sports newsletter - the possibilities are endless. To figure out what you should do, analyse your email data to see what kind of contacts you have and what they interact with most. This will give you a good idea of what content you should create for them.

4. Alumni achievements

Future pathways are very important for prospective families. They want to know how an education at your school will increase the chances of  finding a job or getting into a good university. By providing stories of your successful alumni, segmented by industry, you can connect prospective students with those that have graduated and gone on to build admirable careers. Reach out to your alumni office and gather these stories for your blog and social campaigns on an annual basis. You could even create LinkedIn groups for your alumni and invite prospective students to join them so they can connect directly with graduates

5. Video content 

The use of video content is increasing exponentially every year and people engage with it more than any other type of content out there - 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day. And it’s not just humans that prefer video content - a website is 53 times more likely to reach the front page of Google if it includes a video. Therefore if you really want to appeal to students and parents then video is the way forward! You probably already have so much written content you can use and easily turn into an engaging video. Repurposing already existing content is a good place to start - for example the career guide you created previously can be made into a step by step video guide to finding the right career for you. Video projects can also be an opportunity to bring current students into the project too - imagine how impressive it would be to prospects if your video content is produced by your own students!

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paid

How to Reach Your Audience With Paid Advertising

There are several different forms of paid advertising, including display advertising, sponsored ads (such as those on Google and Facebook), and of course, search ads - just to name a few of the main ones.

So where do you start? Whilst there are many options to choose from, reaching your desired audience does require a little bit of work. Fortunately, using paid advertising to get your business across to relevant consumers is easier than you think.

Pick the right platform

In 2008, only 24 percent of the UK had a social media account. Today that number has skyrocketed to 81%. Whilst many traditional methods of advertising, such as television and print publications, still have their place, companies are now turning to digital advertising for the majority of their needs.

Tech titans, Google and Facebook are said to command nearly 65% of UK online ad market by 2021. Furthermore, this year, the overall digital advertising market will grow by more than 11% to hit £14.73bn, with Google taking a 38.8% share, valued at about £5.72bn and Facebook will grow its share from 22.7% in 2018 to 24.5% in 2019, worth around £3.62bn (campaign live). So why would you settle for anything but the best? Pick the right digital platforms and go where you’ll be seen.

Know your audience

Knowing your exact target audience is undeniably the most beneficial tool in your advertising toolbox. Not only does it give you a leg up for reaching your most likely consumers, but it also helps to pick the appropriate platform and technology to deliver your products and services. However, once you have their attention, there’s still plenty of work to do!

To make sure you are pushing all the correct buttons, you need to know exactly what to say. Well thought and engaging content moves people and will consequently move your products! It creates loyalty, trust and brand awareness, meaning your customers will keep coming back for more!

Be interactive

As the internet continues to advance, media is consumed differently by all groups of people. More and more people are getting their entertainment and news from streaming options such as Netflix and YouTube. So what does this mean for paid advertising....interaction! Interactive ads get a higher clickthrough rate of around 6 percent, whereas most digital ads remain at just under half of one percent.

Interesting advertisements tell a story that engages the audience. If you’re a restaurant owner, enticing future customers with a snappy ad no longer works as well as it used to. You need to intrigue potential buyers with an eye catching video, and a captivating call to action. Don’t tell customers what to think, but instead show them why buying your product is the best decision for them.

Keep it short and sweet

Don’t say too much. Short, effective messages that include interesting and engaging content go a long way in the paid advertising world. Hook your audience with a smart pun, a fun image or simple one liner.

Pull at their heartstrings

Whether your message is sensitive, funny or serious, it should come across as authentic at its core.

Nowadays, audiences are smarter and expect a lot more than basic pandering. They need and want to see engaging content that scratches beneath the surface of a product and that relates to them on a personal level.

That’s why today’s most memorable campaigns reject tradition in exchange for something more sincere. We understand that traditional word of mouth will forever impact a local business and the trick with this is to give them something positive to talk about! The most important thing about your digital advertising campaign should be about connecting with your audience. A little passion goes a long way.

Successful paid advertising plucks at your viewers’ heartstrings and entices them with good, relevant content. Most importantly, whatever your approach, be sure to make a connection with your audience - leave them engaged and interested. Make your digital ad is memorable and appealing, and therefore your brand will be too.

More: How to reach your audience with print advertising.

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