In our last post, we discussed why creating a student blog is a great way to stand out from your competition. We showed how the theme and format of this blog is closely intertwined with your global social media strategy and how you wish to position this new blog. Now that you have a theme for a student blog, how do you make it a reality?
Here are the first 3 steps to take to create an effective student blog:
1. Choose the right Ambassador
The answer to “Who should write for our school’s student blog?” should be found when defining the type of student you want to reach. A student interested in your most popular program? A student going back to school after years spent working? You will need to identify your school’s personas (link) to answer these questions precisely. Once you have defined the target you wish to reach, ask professors about students who fit the description and who would be interested in a mutually beneficial relationship with the school. These students should be personable, have strong written skills, enjoy telling stories but most importantly, they should be willing to tell things the way they are.
2. Create Editorial Guidelines
Once you have chosen your Ambassador, have him/her sit down with the head of the Communication Department to present your school’s general social media strategy and the part played by the student blog in it. Together, they should go over privacy and legal limits (signing an agreement about what is acceptable and unacceptable on the blog is recommended), post formats, responses and monitoring of comments. They should also draft a list of subjects to cover in the blog. Such subjects may include: *what the student loves about your school, what disappoints him/her, what has been a great surprise *general life as a student *problems with juggling personal life, sometimes a professional life and school *views on the industry *more trivial reports about life on campus or even the weather (as it gives also an idea of life on campus) *community events and community news *open houses and seminars *announcements, graduations, student awards, etc. Keep in mind that these editorial guidelines are just that. The student should be responsible for all the content and there should be no pre-screening of his/her posts. After the launch, these meetings should occur on a regular basis to give the student an opportunity to voice concerns or difficulties.
The last key to making this student blog a success is to commit to delivering good quality posts on a regular basis, at least once a week. This is a team effort. Your school will have to make sure your Ambassador has everything he/she needs to do his/her work well. This will include helping him/her build an audience by publicizing the blog: add a button on the homepage of your website, link the blog to your profiles on all the social media platforms.
What have you tried to make your student blog a success?