Learning is winning, and the benefits of blogging for education are HUGE! Let's just say, they go well together...
Do you run a charter or private school, college, or university? Perhaps you manage the marketing strategy and are planning on updating your program to attract fresh students, parents, and donors. Although you know deep down it's valuable, the true purpose of blogging eludes you.
Good news, because I have a list of 10 reasons why blogging is your new best friend and how to get started incorporating it into your institution's marketing strategy.
IT'S YOUR STORY
Every good marketing campaign, inbound or outbound, starts with a compelling story, and education has some of the best. Blogging with purpose means executing powerful content with a specific end-goal in mind. For more on how to develop blog ideas based on your organic marketing strategy, check out our free ebook or latest blog on the subject.
Reason #1 - Your story is the most interesting thing about you
Being in education, your story isn't really yours; it's your students'. And if there's one thing donors, parents, and prospective students want to hear about, it's the story of how you touched the lives of kids who needed your help.
Your story has already touched the lives of so many people. Celebrate it by writing about those who have benefited from knowing you. Make it out about them, and watch how easily your target audiences can relate.
Reason #2 - Search engines love blogs
This is a big deal, actually. The best search engine marketing & optimization techniques focus on content first, and the more you put out, the better. In addition, SEO's foundation is based on keywords, and your blog is the best chance you have at repeating those keywords naturally. I suggest you create a list of keywords and blog around those. Your stories will come naturally.
More blogs = more pages & more keywords. It's a formidable strategy.
Reason #3 - They're portals to your website
Although your individual blogs won't show up on your site map, they are typically indexed by Google, and if you pepper in relevant links and CTAs (calls-to-action - more on that HERE), people will springboard off of your blog to your content offers, and who knows?... maybe your donations and application pages.
Reason #4 - They educate your target audiences
You can finally stop cold calling, because the people who subscribe to your blogs and later exchange more of their contact information for your premium content will have a solid working knowledge about what you do, and best of all, they're already fans of it.
Piece off your knowledge through compelling real-life stories, and educate them bit by bit. No overloading them, no alienating them with esoteric jargon, and no missing out on opportunities that would otherwise pass you by.
Reason #5 - They're easy to share
Blogs are everywhere. If you're on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+, you probably read shared blogs all the time. By embedding share buttons on your blog, you make it simple for your readers to spread your gospel for you.
In addition, even if they're not on social media, simple Google searches often pull blog posts to the front page. Again, as we mentioned before, ranking higher in search queries is often driven by blogging, and even Yahoo, Bing, and Google want to share your story.
Reason #6 - Blogs work for you 24/7/365
Once it's out there, it's out there. Each blog post will continue to charm the search engines, and with each additional one, their power and reach will be amplified. Best of all, people will continue to find blogs of yours years down the line as long as they are relevant. And what about bettering the lives of our kids isn't going to be relevant in 5 years from now?
Make sure that the majority of your blogs have evergreen status, meaning, don't spend too much time writing about sensationalist news stories, because although they may draw an audience today, they'll lose steam as soon as those stories do.
Reason #7 - Blogs are social conduits
They give you the chance to proliferate your message on many platforms as well as connect with people who prefer communicating online. They'll be able to comment and share their thoughts, making them apart of the continuously-evolving storyline. This is great news for you, because every year you churn out another class of brand promoters for your organization. By blogging and being active and visible in social media, you make it easy for them to spread your gospel.
Reason #8 - They keep you fresh
Websites are static by their very nature. Sure, you can add smart content that changes based on your visitor's geographical location and even what they've downloaded from you in the past, but they don't really change much beyond that. Doing so is likely cost-prohibitive for you. However, with blogs, you add new pages every week, which means new content and keywords, but best of all, a fresh, and inspiring addition to your growing storyline.
This means you should blog often: once or twice a week if you can.
Reason #9 - You learn about your audiences
Blogging allows you to experiment with marketing, content, and tonality. You learn about what your audience likes because they'll like and share what excites them, and even comment or message you directly. Don't wait for that impersonal survey to learn about your students, parents, or donors.
Reason #10 - You find people who didn't know you existed
Have you ever searched for a problem you didn't fully understand yet? I know I've had several folks find my company by typing phrases into search queries like, "why social media," or "what are good blog topics for my business?" When they find me it's typically through a blog I posted about these subjects. The first step in any buyer's journey, after all, is awareness, so if you blog around large concepts that fit your organization, you're going to help them diagnose their challenges in addition to solving them.
So, think about what you might type in a search query if you were trying to resolve your city's education crisis. Maybe you have kids about to enter a school you aren't happy with. Or maybe you've overcome huge obsticals in your life and unknowingly want to help others in your situation... Finding direction here will be quite helpful to ALL of them, and of course, YOUR school!
And you'll find people who didn't even know they were looking for you.
If you're struggling with what to blog about, look within & know your audience:
If you've never done it before, it may take a few iterations before you find your voice, and that's okay. Your blogging strategy and individual posts can be edited and deleted, and because it's an ever-flowing source of information, it doesn't have to be permanent if you don't like what you publish a week later.
That said, you still want to deploy best practices in marketing, so you aren't sticking your foot in your mouth. And you really out to have a way to convert your visitors into leads, which means deploying a robust marketing strategy that includes website conversion forms, content offers, social media management, email nurturing, and a way to score your leads to know when to call.
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