Starting a school blog can seem overwhelming — and in fact, “Where do I start?” is the most common question I receive from new school clients.
While there are many factors that make creating a blog for your school a little complicated, there are only a few things you actually need to get started. (Other than the actual platform of course!)
The first thing your school blog needs — even before you write any blog posts! — is a vision. More specifically, a blog vision statement. As we’ve previously discussed:
A blog vision statement is one compelling statement of worth — the unique perspective that sets your blog apart from the millions of other blogs out there on the internet.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to be clear, specific and true:
A blog vision statement is extremely powerful because not only does it inform your readers, but it also informs your content. It keeps you on track as you develop new stories, and it keeps you motivated to serve a larger goal.
Learn more about what it takes to craft a blog vision statement here.
I added the word “basic” here because “strategy” alone really freaks people out. And trust me, it doesn’t have to! When you’re starting your school blog, it’s okay if you don’t have all the details figured out. But you do need to have a general plan.
Think of it this way: if you’re going for a hike up a mountain, you want to have a map that highlights the main trail lines. Using that map doesn’t mean you have to stay on those trails — but having those markers as a guide keeps you moving in a safe direction.
We’ve written a lot about deep strategy on this site, but to learn more about how to create a basic, kickoff strategy for your school blog, read:
Everybody blogs. Everybody shares on social. Everybody creates online content. So if you’re going to add something to the already over-saturated internet, you better try your best to make it really good.
This starts with adding your own flavor — infusing your content with your school’s voice, tone and personality. Having confidence in your message. Putting a stake in the ground.
It also means not accepting status-quo storytelling, and striving for something bigger than you’re already achieving with your traditional communications.
Because blogging is an ever-evolving continuum, it takes some time to get right. Your school blog is not going to achieve overnight success. Your first article won’t increase your admissions.
This means you have to 1) believe in it, and 2) be willing to wait it out. And this is easier said than done. So how can you ensure that you, and your boss, continue to wholeheartedly believe in the initiative?
The worst thing you can do on your school blog: start off strong, and then fade to a fizzle. So don’t kick off with plans of posting five times a week if that’s simply not realistic. Consistency with quality is way more important than constantly with quantity.
This means you need to develop a doable plan and stick to that plan. That’s why we created The Essential Editorial Calendar for Schools — which you can access for free here:
Finally, if you want your blog to REALLY work for you, you have to do more than just blog. That’s right — a blog isn’t enough on its own. So you want to use that blog to create a dedicated AUDIENCE. And you do that by offering additional value. As we’ve said:
A trusted relationship doesn’t need to be one-sided: if you are providing your audience with true value, you can ask for something in return.
This is theory behind gated content, or content that is only available once a user submits requested information, such as a name and email address.
If you can create even one piece of valuable gated content for your blog, you’ll make your content work much harder for your school. Here’s how to do it:
If you have these 6 things, your school blogging efforts will be off to a super solid start. Want more blogging and content marketing advice? Get the full story in The School Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.