You have a school blog. You’re creating consistent content. All is going well … except, you have a nagging feeling that it could be going better.
You often share posts and hear crickets. Your page views are stagnant. Your comments area is empty. What should you do?
First: don’t quit.
Getting your blog up and running with consistent content creation is the hard part. Don’t waste all that time, energy and resources by deciding blogging doesn’t work for your school and letting your efforts slide.
Now is the time to make some minor tweaks that can result in serious improvements to your blog content and audience engagement.
Here are 5 ways to make your school blog work harder as a marketing and communications tool:
#1: Write Stronger Headlines.
The most important part of each blog post is its headline. It has to cut through the clutter, entice people to click, and then convince them to continue reading. And that’s the key, because on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.*
Are you putting enough time and effort into your blog article headlines? If you saw one of your existing blog headlines pop up on social media, would you click through?
Quick Improvement: An easy way to breathe new life into old blog posts is to improve their headlines. Get started with some of my favorite tips for writing irresistible headlines for your school blog or website:
- Create a swipe file to keep track of headlines you like, and refer back to it for inspiration.
- Spend half of your time writing on the headline.
- Be specific. No vague language. Promote the facts.
- Make an audacious promise of something valuable.
- Make sure it stands alone, and can be understood out of context.
- Avoid crafting titles at the expense of clarity. Don’t try too hard to be clever or cute.
- Try different styles that have proven to be successful, such as the list headline (“Top 10…), the why headline (“Why Our School?…), the “How To…” headline, etc.
#2: Fix the Formatting.
Do your blog posts read like dense essays? Are there long paragraphs, no imagery, and straight text with no visual breaks?
Quick Improvement: Make sure that every blog post is formatted for the web. That means:
- Engaging headline
- Short paragraphs
- Subheads to break up sections
- Bulleted information, where possible
- Strong main image
- White space
#3: Make It Easier to Share.
Your blog post could be the best article written on a topic in the history of the world … but none of your readers will share it unless you make it super simple for them to do so.
The majority of people who share posts (94%!) do it because they think others will find the information helpful. Help these sharers out by giving them to tools to be your blog ambassadors.
Quick Improvement: Make each post more shareable by:
- Adding pinnable images to each post (this means an image that is the optimal size for Pinterest, and that also includes your blog’s title and your school’s logo on the image.)
- Adding Click-to-Tweet functionality to your post’s most shareable lines of content.
- Making sure each blog post has a unique URL, and the URL includes your post’s keywords.
- Adding social sharing buttons to each post. (This can usually be done through your blogging platform by adding a widget like this one.)
#4: Keep Your Audience Reading
Once you’ve captured your audience’s attention with your amazing blog post, you want to keep them on your blog for as long as possible. If not, you’ll see that bounce rate continue to bounce higher.
Quick Improvement: There are a variety of ways to entice people to stay on your blog once they finish reading the article they came for, such as:
- Linking to other related blog posts within the text of each blog post.
- Including a “Related Posts” feature at the bottom of each post. Many platforms include plugins that will automatically populate with posts on similar topics.
- Adding “Next/Previous” functionality, so that readers can easily access the next or last post published.
- Making use of your sidebar: Add a “Popular Posts” plugin that automatically pulls in your most-read articles, or provide easy access to your Archives.
#5: Add a Call-to-Action
We’ve talked a lot about calls-to-action here at Blackbaud K12, but remember that they’re not only for website pages. A strong call-to-action is what can transform your blog article from passive information to content marketing gold.
So what kind of calls-to-action are effective on blog posts? What will your audience want to do after they finish reading?
Quick Improvement: Depending on your post’s content, here are some ideas for simple calls-to-action to add:
- Ask readers to comment in the comments section.
- Prompt them to join the conversation about the topic on social media.
- Tell them to learn more about a certain topic on a different page or in a different post.
- Provide them with a way to contact you for more information.
Making sure each and every article on your blog has a strong headline, the right formatting, easy sharing capabilities, and brings readers down the right path with access to more content and strong calls-to-action are surefire ways to improve your school blog’s marketing outcomes.
About the Author
Emily Cretella is a marketing strategist and copywriter who helps her clients create and share stories that make audiences take action. As owner of Cursive Content Marketing, Emily provides consulting, copywriting services and workshops to independent schools and higher education. Read her stories at cursivecontent.com.Follow on Twitter More Content by Emily Cretella