While some schools have been multiplying student blogs, many educational institutions are still reluctant to let their students do their PR. Although they require stringent rules and a well thought out strategy (who writes? What? Who responds? etc…), student blogs can be powerful marketing tools. Here is why:
1. There is no such thing as too much info when choosing a school
As a former student, how many times did you make a decision regarding your schools based on brochures solely? Even before the Internet, reputation and former students’ experience weighed a lot more than PR. Prospective students want to hear from students who have walked in their shoes or are currently facing the same choices they are facing. This goes beyond programs and faculty. Life on campus, around campus, clubs, scholarships opportunities, etc… as long as your content is relevant to their needs, your prospects will want to know!
2. Happy students scream louder than any PR campaign
You already knew this. But where to start? One easy way is to focus on your institution’s specialty, which is probably what draws students to your school in the first place. Do not hesitate to have several blogs to represent the variety of your student body (different programs, years along in the program, gender, foreign students, etc.). For this part, branding and defining precisely what you want prospects to know about your school are crucial. If your students are reluctant writers, remind them that they will rip the most benefits. Blogging will enable them to hone invaluable professional skills such as writing and editing skills. It will also offer them peer-to-peer mentoring, fluency with text, multimedia, widgets, audio and images and will help them build confidence. Beyond the powerful educational tool, a student blog can also be turned into a great portfolio. A web design class could blog about their latest projects; an audio engineering student could blog about the technological edge he gets from his school. Everything is possible. Here are a few examples from abroad.
3. Student blogs are essential to community strengthening
Like any other social media platform, student blogs reinforce your online referencing and the sense of community around your institution. They are also a great way to leverage your students’ networks . After that, it is up to you to spread the good word! Do not forget to link all posts on other platforms and to continuously engage your students, alumni and prospects.
At Higher Education Marketing, we can help you tailor your social media strategy for specific targets. Click here to learn more about our process.