Blogs are an excellent way to keep your school community updated, while also providing informative and helpful content that engages prospective parents. A pillar of the inbound marketing methodology, blogs are one of the best ways to build a body of content that will accumulate and benefit your school for years to come. 

If your school is new to blogging, or if you're looking to drive more traffic to your existing posts, we’ve put together this guide to help you optimize your blog posts.

Start with a clear purpose for writing

Did you know that around two billion blog posts are published around the world every year? That's a whole lot of content — and I'd be willing to guess, a good chunk of it never needed to be written in the first place

It's no wonder the term 'content fatigue' has entered our lexicon. There is simply too much information to consume, and not enough time to consume it. This means every blog post that your school publishes must have a clear purpose that provides valuable content to your readers. You’ll find that providing readers with your objective up front and sticking to it throughout the piece will reduce your bounce rate and increase your session time.

One thing that you can do that will go a long way to ensuring all of your blog posts have a clear purpose is writing a content vision. A content vision can be described as your 'higher' purpose — your 'why' to your 'what'. Put simply, if a piece of content (including a blog post!) doesn't align with your content vision, it can be quickly rejected. On the other hand, it can also help you to provide extra clarity and purpose to your content creators to ensure that every piece they pitch will be purposeful.

Consider your SEO

Your blog can be an excellent way to improve and increase your search engine optimization (SEO). Blogs provide schools with the opportunity to rank in search engines for queries related to your school, and to encourage backlinks from other reputable websites. Because of this, constantly adding engaging and fresh content to your blog can have positive effects on your school websites' overall traffic.

Once you've decided on the purpose of your post, research related keywords that you can target in the title, meta description and/or body of your blog post. Make sure that they're relevant to your objective, and the body content of your post. Even if your post starts to rank for an unrelated or loosely-related keyword, you will soon notice your bounce rate spike as readers find that the content is not what they're looking for. This disappointing experience erodes trust in your school brand, and you may also find your readership dropping off.

Another reason that choosing the right keyword for your blog post is important, is because Google has a history of penalizing blogs that stuff unnecessary and unrelated keywords into their text. So just don't do it!

Write an engaging headline

Your blog post headline is the number one factor that helps readers decide whether or not they wish to click on your post. Did we mention there are over two billion blog posts being published this year? That's why yours needs to stand out — by being engaging, relevant to their search query, and also a little bit intriguing. 

The good news is, there is one big tip that will encourage readers to click on your blog post title: include the benefit to your readers. That's it! This tip, once again, links back to the overall objective of your blog post. Your objective should provide value to your readers, and therefore it should be fairly easy to single out the big benefit that they will gain by reading your post. 

After you've determined the benefit, there are a number of headline formulas that just work. That's because they keep your headlines brief, punch, and — you guessed it! — include the benefit to the reader.

Introduce your subject matter

At the very top of your post, write a brief introductory paragraph (known as 'the lede' in journalism). This is the section where you should clearly outline your post's objective, and give a brief overview of the information that you will cover. Don't leave it up to the reader to make it to the end of the post to understand the point! Instead, use the inverted pyramid method — a structure used by journalists where the most important information sits up the top.

Doing this indicates to your readers what your post is all about (and whether or not they should bother reading on). It should also provide a good basis for structuring your post and may even include a 'hook': a provocative quote or question that encourages your readers to commit to scrolling to the bottom.

Structure your content 

After the introduction, your content should flow in a way that makes sense to the reader. If you're thinking of your post as a story, you have already introduced the situation. Now it's time to provide the crucial information: the argument, evidence, background, details, etc. that support your premise. 

It's a good idea to format your blog post correctly so that skimmers can get the information they need easily. This includes using headers to break up your text, leveraging bulleted or numbered lists, bolding or italicizing keywords or phrases so that they stand out, and adding context to your words by incorporating relevant, high-quality images or diagrams.

Add a direct call to action

If you've stuck by your post objective right to the end, your readers will hopefully be thinking, 'Now what?' There's no need to leave them in the dark! You can conclude your blog post with the information that they need to either continue learning about what they've read or do something about it by adding a call to action (or CTA).

Your CTA might encourage readers to book a school tour if you have been blogging about enrolments. It might ask them to subscribe to your mailing list so they can be automatically updated the next time you post. It might also encourage them to read more blog posts that you've written on the same subject, by providing links in list form at the bottom of your post.

Devise a plan for distribution

Once your blog post is published, don’t forget to share it far and wide. Share the link in social media posts, add links to your posts into relevant emails and encourage visits to your blog for updates about the school on a regular basis. 

If you believe your post will continue to be relevant in the coming years, you can also earmark it to be repurposed and re-shared well into the future. Creating evergreen content is a great strategy for savvy schools who are looking to make their hard work perform double duty. Could your post be repackaged as a webinar, informational video, infographic, or social series? Or, if it relies heavily on statistics, could you update it every year with new information? There are a whole host of ways that you can repurpose your content to reach new audiences.

Published November 12 2021