In working with families, often from the time of their initial inquiry to the day of graduation, admissions offices gain a unique and important insight on their school community. A blog managed by the admission director can be a great way to tell stories about your school, capturing its authentic spirit.
Blogging provides the opportunity to share fun anecdotes about the students’ team spirit at a recent game, give a more serious glimpse into your school’s mission, and update prospective families on the next steps of their admission process. As you look to achieve Mission-Harmony, utilizing your blog can show how your school community – from faculty and staff to students and families – delivers on those values each and every day. It will serve as an admissions marketing tool with a truly personal touch.
Content creation: a team effort
While admission directors will likely be responsible for overall management of the blog, they can and should reach out for help with content creation to maximize the variety of subject matter and perspectives. Maybe a 1st grader shares his class’s Flat Stanley project, or a Physics teacher details the success of her flipped classroom. Perhaps an athletic director is excited about an upcoming rally, or a division director wants to recap a service learning day. Think about topics interesting to potential future students and parents/guardians similar to those you identified when you created Prospecting Family Personas, as well as current members of your community.
Creating excitement around your blog leads to genuine ideas and input from all members of your school. It gives your content depth and meaning, and offers those exploring your program the chance to learn about curriculum, co-curriculars and culture – without feeling as though they are being “sold” your school with empty jargon or buzz words.
More than words: the importance of using photos
Not only do photos of your students or campus add nice visual interest to your story telling, studies show that images significantly increase the total number of views per article, perhaps up to 94%! A great deal of information can be found online about how best to use photos, including data-driven tips for placement; reasons to consider using Instagram; and ways to take better photos with your cell phone.
2 tips to getting started
Generate a publishing calendar, and stick to it. Decide how often you want to post and work backward to build a calendar. Choose your deadlines for writing a draft and submitting it for review by your head of school or communications department. Secure interviews, if needed, and think of how you will find photos related to your topic. Adhere to your schedule, whether you are publishing new posts on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
Keep a running list of topic ideas. Rather than brainstorming in the moment, maintaining this list will help you plan your posts ahead of time. You should intentionally include thoughts both big and small, general and specific. These may be relevant seasonal topics (such as admissions information or an upcoming annual event), a profile of the lead in a school musical, or a teacher getting awarded a summer grant.
One story, many ways to share
Think of each blog post as something you write once but leverage multiple times. See if you can have a permanent spot on your website’s homepage that directly connects to the blog. Share your post via your school’s social networks, like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Include a brief summary in an e-newsletter, with a small photo. Expand your reach to as many constituents as you can so they can learn about and celebrate the great happenings around campus.