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Blogging For Student Enrollment

by Leah Peters | Jan 03, 2017

 |  inbound marketing, social media recruiting strategy

 | 0 comments

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For a while now, we’ve been hearing pundits proclaim that blogs are dead. People’s attention spans are shorter!

Social media not loyalty to a particularly blog, drives content sharing! We’ve looked at the data, though, and we just don’t buy the line that blogging is dead. Sure, blogging has changed a lot over the years, but the basic format of a blog: essentially, a frequently updated page on your website is a winner for search engine rankings—not to mention an excellent way to share valuable content and communicate effectively with your prospective students. The data on blogging is pretty convincing, too: studies have shown that organizations that blog receive greater than 50% more web traffic than organizations who do not blog!

Social media, not loyalty to a particularl blog, drives content sharing! We’ve looked at the data, though, and we just don’t buy the line that blogging is dead. Sure, blogging has changed a lot over the years, but the basic format of a blog: essentially, a frequently updated page on your website is a winner for search engine rankings—not to mention an excellent way to share valuable content and communicate effectively with your prospective students. The data on blogging is pretty convincing, too: studies have shown that organizations that blog receive greater than 50% more web traffic than organizations who do not blog!

Off to a Great Start

Starting a blog takes advance planning. We’ve seen more than a few blogs tossed up on the web quickly—only to quickly fade away.

There are lots of things to consider when you’re planning a blog launch: where you’ll host the blog, what the blog’s focus will be, how frequently you’ll post, where you’ll get your images, how you’ll promote your posts, and more. There’s a lot to know, and always more to learn, but we’ll walk you through the basics.

Beautiful, Responsive Design

It should go without saying, of course, but your design has got to be stunning—and it’s got to include high-quality images. Social media platforms like Facebook tend to be driven by image over text, and other platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram, are based entirely around images. So it’s vital that you ensure that every post has a visual element that’s keyed to the subject matter.

Even better? Create at least one image for each blog post that has some kind of text overlay (a quote from the post, a nugget of wisdom, or simply the name of your institution). Why? Because on sites like Pinterest and Instagram, people usually see just the image (at least at first), so by including a short line of text indicating the significance of that image, you’ll greatly increase the chance that people will actually click through and see what it’s all about!

But be very careful when sourcing images: it’s definitely not okay to just pull photos from a Google image search and use them in your posts—such indiscriminate pulling is not only unprofessional, it’s a violation of copyright law. Sites like Flickr Creative Commons allow you to search for and use photos that users have made available for free, as long as you give the user credit. Many bloggers subscribe to a stock photo service that lets you choose from an enormous database of photos. Ideally, your posts should also include original photography whenever possible—photography that doesn’t feel ‘stock’ and that reflects the spaces, sights, landscapes, and people that make your institution unique.

Additionally, great blog posts sometimes take the form of infographics—you know, a sort of digital poster that sums up a lot of information in an easy-to-absorb, appealing visual format. Infographics play very well on social media sites like Pinterest, and are highly shareable. Create them by sketching out the elements you want to explain (for example, 10 Tips for an Unforgettable College Admissions Essay) and brainstorming ways to represent each tip visually. Enlist the services of your go-to designers and make sure the images, color, and text pop—and play well on mobile devices.

Which reminds us: you’ve always got to keep in mind that a blog post that looks great on a laptop might look pretty bad on a smartphone or tablet—which is where, chances are, most people will be seeing it. It’s crucial that your design be responsive, meaning that it adapts automatically to the size of the screen upon which it’s being viewed. You want prospective students to be able to easily navigate your site using their phones—not for them to click away in frustration when your site is difficult to use from a mobile device.

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