The concept behind inbound marketing is that customers (or, for you, parents and guardians) are looking online for the solution to their problem of where to send their child to school.
Unlike traditional outbound marketing — like billboards and advertisements — inbound marketing focuses on providing solutions (in your case, content that appeals to prospective parents) that will attract these customers to you.
Inbound marketing is more effective at generating leads — and, most importantly to a cash-strapped school, is considerably cheaper to execute.
The first step to implementing an inbound marketing strategy for your school is to ensure that the images, copy, and content of your website appeals to prospective parents when they check you out online.
This digital curb appeal is incredibly important because this is your only chance to make a first impression on these families.
However, once you have built an amazing homepage that makes families yearn for more, your job isn’t done. In fact, your job isn’t ever really done. Your website should be constantly evolving and growing with the addition of new content.
To do this, you really need to have a principal or an all-school blog.
Why Do You Need a School Blog?
One of the principles of inbound marketing is to establish yourself as a trusted expert so visitors are more likely to want what you have to offer. A blog is a great way to support your school’s brand by demonstrating your expertise in educating and raising amazing kids.
But don’t worry about using your blog to keep current families up to date with events at your school. You have many other ways to convey information to them.
The goal of your school blog is to consistently post on topics prospective families are interested in.
If you do it well, you will find that your current families are also interested in what you’re posting as well. However, while it is great to share your blog with current families, never lose sight of the fact that you are creating a vehicle to attract NEW families.
By consistently posting on topics related to your school and education in general, you’ll provide prospective families with more ways to find you through Google searches.
Why is appearing high in search rankings important for your school? As your blog posts become more popular, the Google search algorithm will take notice, bumping up your school in their search rankings.
Of course, the prospect of creating and constantly updating a blog can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.
With a little planning and some help from your school community, your school blog can become something your school is proud of — and something that will attract new families to your school.
A School Blog Is a Community Effort
Like any ongoing project, a school blog needs a point person in charge. This individual should provide the overall editorial direction, ensure the quality of the posts, and oversee the entire operation.
Often this job falls to the principal who, as the leader of the school, is in a great position to inject their personality and vision into the blog.
However, if you want to update your blog consistently, it can be a job that’s too big for one person. Fortunately, not only is your school full of people with a variety of interests and expertise, but a plethora of voices can make your blog more interesting.
Who should post on your school blog? In short, anybody with something interesting to say.
Teachers and coaches. They are obviously experts in their fields, and they frequently have outside interests that go beyond what they teach in the classroom or gym. For example, a science teacher obsessed with astronomy can give tips on the best stargazing spots in your area. A gym coach who does yoga can give advice on helping kids exercise at home.
Students and their parents and guardians. They are why your school exists in the first place. Not only do they have a variety of experiences to pull from but it’s also easy for prospective families to relate to them.
Alumni. They know your school well and also have real-world experience outside of your school that adds to their credibility.
Keep Your School Blog Current with “Evergreen” Topics
While it’s okay to post topical content from time to time, the vast majority of your posts should be evergreen.
Remember, you’re writing for an audience of prospective families who will be coming to your website months or years in the future.
You want your posts to be just as useful to these future families as it is to families today.
The good news is you already have a good idea of what these prospective families are interested in.
If they’re checking out your school website, they’re presumably interested in topics relating to children and education — two things that you and your school community are experts in!
However, it’s sometimes hard to take the first step.
So, to help get the ball rolling on your school blog, here are 20 evergreen topics that you can begin writing about today.
The Importance of STEM at Your School
5 Tips on Managing Kids’ Screen Time
Your School’s Philosophy on Using Technology as a Teaching Tool
A Peek Inside Your School’s Admissions Process
7 Ways to Make School Mornings Easier for Everyone
How to Get the Most Out of Your School Tour
How to Write a Strong Application Essay
4 Educational Day Trips in [Your City] Kids Will Actually Enjoy
How to Raise an Avid Reader: 5 Ways to Create a Love of Reading
10 Books Your Kids Won’t Want to Put Down
If Your Kids Must Watch TV, Watch These 3 Shows
The Important of Playtime and Unplugging
How Much Sleep Do Kids Need? Advice for Ages 4 to 18
Volunteer Opportunities in [Your City] for You and Your Kids
Fun and Safe Local Bike Rides for Families
Keeping Kids’ Skills Sharp Over the Summer
6 Fun Board Games for Parents and Kids
How to Talk to Your Teenager About Money
How to Help with Homework in a Way That’s Actually Helpful
How to Pack a Lunch Your Kid Will Love
Putting It All Together
To get your blog up and running quickly, here are some tips:
Share this list with your teachers at your next faculty meeting.
Ask for volunteers to write on any of these topics, or ask them to come up with their own.
Organize a schedule. Assign deadlines on it. Students are not the only ones who tend to do their work at the last minute!
When assigning blog posts, ask for approximately 1,000–1,500 words, which is usually around three pages in Word. For sake of comparison, this post is around 1,300 words.
Once the articles start rolling in, post them to your website and promote them on Facebook and Twitter.
As you expand the ranks of your blog contributors to the rest of your school community, you will find that you will soon have a stockpile of posts ready to go months in advance.
You will also be creating a great resource for prospective parents and guardians.
Not only will those families look to you as a trusted partner in raising kids — they will also look to your school as a great place to provide them with an education.