A school's website is a virtual front door, the place parents start before moving elsewhere. Social media accounts, review sites, email communications—they almost always follow on from a visit to your school's website.
This means it needs to make a great first impression. It needs to tell your school’s story in an impactful way to attract prospective students, parents, and staff. To achieve this, a school needs masterful copywriting.
Here at Digistorm, we've always suggested investing in a skilled copywriter with experience in education to write content for your school website. Now it's time to explore that advice in more detail, focusing specifically on what skills and experience to look for, where to find the right copywriter, and what you should provide them to ensure they do a top-notch job.
If you've never hired a copywriter before, you may be unsure what to look for. There are plenty of copywriters online with shiny portfolios, but is that enough? Here's what to look for to ensure you've found a writer that can bring your school story to life...
One of the first things to consider when hiring a copywriter for your school website is their educational background. While not mandatory, a copywriter with a degree or accreditation in education can bring a deeper understanding of your school's values and ethos. They'll be better equipped to communicate your school's unique features with personality and flair to get results.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial for ensuring your school website ranks well on search engines like Google. A copywriter well-versed in SEO practices can optimise your website's content with relevant keywords and phrases to help you reach a wider audience. This will help you get the top spot when parents kick off their hunt for a school!
Even though you're looking for a copywriter very specifically for the education space, a good copywriter should be versatile in their writing style. Ideally, you want them to have experience in a variety of industries to show they can use various tones of voice. Your school's website will also require different types of content, from informative articles and blog posts to engaging landing pages and admissions materials. Ensure the copywriter you're considering can adapt their tone and style to suit the purpose of each piece and the unique positioning of your school.
Prior experience in educational writing is a definite plus—and worth the extra time to search for. A copywriter who has worked with schools or educational organisations will have insights into industry-specific terminology and challenges, making their content more relatable to your audience. They'll also understand how to strike a chord with parents in a way that creates an emotional connection.
The ability to tell a compelling story is paramount when it comes to engaging your website visitors. Look for a copywriter who can craft narratives that resonate with prospective students and parents and go deeper than top layer facts.
Always request a copywriter's portfolio and ask for references that you can chat to. A well-established copywriter should have a collection of previous work and testimonials that demonstrate their skills and reliability. If calling references, be sure to ask about how they are to work with, specifically if they were able to stick to deadlines and follow guidelines.
Now you know what you're looking for in your school copywriter, the next challenge is finding them! Thankfully, the digital age makes it relatively easy to connect with copywriters with very specific skills and experience...
Freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr are great places to start your search for a school copywriter. You can browse profiles, read reviews, and directly communicate with potential candidates. Be sure to specify your requirements, such as educational background and experience in the K-12 education sector. Though these platforms are global, it's best to look for someone in your region who understands local language variations and will work in your timezone.
Your school may have used a marketing or design agency in the past. But did you know they probably have writers behind the scenes, too? Agencies often have a team of experienced writers with diverse skill sets and can match you with the most suitable candidate for your school's specific needs. If you can go through an agency you've already worked with, they will already understand your brand and vision.
There's no better candidate than the one you hear of via word of mouth. Networking within the education community can lead you to talented copywriters who are already familiar with the industry. Reach out to other K-12 private schools for recommendations, and you can't go wrong.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to connect with copywriters specialising in school-related content. Use LinkedIn as a search engine to see what copywriters are out there, or do a post and see if someone in your community can make a referral. You may even find someone in your school alumni who has gone on to be a talented copywriter! These platforms often feature professionals discussing their work and sharing their expertise, so you can get a good sense of who they are and whether they fit your needs.
So you've found your perfect school website copywriter, negotiated rates and made a plan to get the work done. Now it's time to set them up for success! Here's what to share with your copywriter before they get started...
Start by sharing comprehensive information about your school. This should include your school's history, mission statement, values, academic programs, extracurricular activities, and any unique features that set your institution apart from the comp. The more your copywriter knows about your school, the better they can showcase its strengths. A few quotes from important school figures or students can also help build your story and fill in pieces of content in a personable way.
If you don't have your target audience clearly defined and documented, now's the time to do so. Whether it's prospective students, parents, or staff, you want to share insights into their preferences, interests, and pain points. This information will guide the copywriter in tailoring the content to resonate with your audience.
Think your brand guidelines are only for designers and videographers? Think again! Visual elements can give your writer a strong sense of your brand identity, which they can weave into your copy. Brand guidelines typically include logo usage, colour schemes and fonts. Better yet, you may have a tone of voice document you can supply! Consistency is key in branding, and adherence to these guidelines will ensure a cohesive online presence.
To provide the right content, your copywriter will need to know the structure and goals of your website. Explain the purpose of each webpage, such as academics, extracurriculars, and contact information, and how the layout will be. You may even want to provide them with your new website's wireframes. Share any specific calls to action (CTAs) you want to include, like scheduling a campus tour or requesting more information.
Clearly communicate the key messages you want to convey through your website. These messages should align with your school's values and mission. Whether it's a commitment to academic excellence, a nurturing environment, or a vibrant community, your copywriter needs to know what the underlying message should be. They can then highlight these themes throughout your entire school website.
Though you don't want to risk replicating the competition, a good copywriter will be able to draw inspiration from industry leaders and the schools you look up to. Share insights about your competitors in the K-12 private school sector, as well as info on what makes your school stand out in comparison. Your copywriter can use this information to position your institution uniquely.
In today's digital landscape, a well-crafted school website is an invaluable asset. Finding the right copywriter may take some time and effort, but the investment will pay off in the form of a compelling online presence that attracts the right students, parents, and staff to your school.