Running a university blog can be hard work, but when done right, it’s a powerful university marketing tool that’s well worth the effort. What you post will of course be unique to your university; however, there are a few best practices that all successful university blogs employ.
1 – Post about campus/area news
Unlike other more ‘evergreen’ parts of your university website, your blog should not be static. It can, and should, be updated regularly (daily if possible), and is the first place many students will look to find out information about what’s happening at the university. This could include details of university events, campus news or information about what’s going on in the local area. The more informative and up-to-date your university blog is, the more reason your students will have to visit on a regular basis.
2 – Utilise the student voice
Many successful university blogs encourage students and alumni to post articles and content. Institutions such as Harvard University, the University of Warwick and Cornell University have specific blogs dedicated to student-created content. These boast an uncensored and unbiased view of student life at the university, and are a great opportunity to give prospective students a real insider’s view.
This is a great outlet for students who run societies or organise events. It’s a widely accessed resource that lets them promote their club or event to the student body, while at the same time creating positive, purposeful content that portrays the authentic side of student life at your university. The power of this kind of student-led content really can’t be underestimated as part of your university marketing strategy.
3 – Show blogger profiles with information and photos
Showing blogger profiles immediately makes the information appear more personable and trustworthy. Rather than reading information from a faceless university marketing team, current and prospective students will be able to see whose opinion they are reading, whether it’s a post on a student blog or the official university blog.
4 – Promote your blog posts
Once you’ve posted all this great original content, it’s important to make sure that students actually see it. You will need to promote your university blog posts across all the channels that your university marketing team utilises. This could include posting links across social media, such as on your university Facebook page and your university Twitter account. If you have multiple accounts or pages on these channels it’s important to post in the most relevant one; you can always retweet, comment or like from your other accounts to promote your posts further.
Email marketing campaigns also remain effective, and the unique and interesting content that you are posting on your blog is ideal to include in a weekly/monthly/annual newsletter to your various mailing lists. Be selective when choosing what to send out and make sure it’s relevant to the recipients, in order to add value and make the readers want to click through to read more.
5 – Post regular and relevant content
The key to a successful university blog, or any blog for that matter, is to regularly post fresh and relevant content. Inactive blogs look unprofessional and unengaging as the content will be out of date and often irrelevant. This is where having different people writing for your university blog will help a great deal. Professors and lecturers can contribute content by posting introductions to some of their latest research or links to articles and resources that students might find useful.
6 – Embed your university blog on your university website
In order to take full advantage of the benefits of your university blog, especially for smaller universities or those newer to blogging, incorporate your university blog directly into your university website. This will boost your website’s SEO, as you will be updating it more regularly and be able to fill your posts with target keywords. When your university blog starts to thrive and takes on a life of its own, you may consider moving it to an external site or microsite, so as not to slow down or over-crowd your main university website.