Many schools have decided to host a school blog and become more involved in social media in order to enhance their online presence. With this comes the realization that blogs require close monitoring, constant up-keep, and interesting content. People often ask us about the ways school bloggers (be it a student, alumnus, or faculty member) can feed their blog and social media profiles on a regular basis. Admittedly, this can be difficult at the beginning, but with the right tools and practices, the entire blog experience can be easy and really enjoyable. So here are 6 easy ways to find and create relevant content for your school. 1. Curate content that interests you:
Identify blogs or sites that explore topics that matter to your students and affiliate organizations. As you land on interesting webpages, be sure to register to their RSS feed in order to receive all the updates. A great way to centralize your favorite RSS feeds is by using a news aggregator, like Google Reader, where you can view all your target news or blogs in one single spot. All of us here really enjoy Google Reader, mostly because of its user-friendly organizational structure, but there are many more aggregators out there for you to choose from. Once you set up your aggregator account, all you’ll have to do is scan through your customized scroll of posts regularly to find articles to share or to spark ideas for future blog posts. On an individual level, Twitter and other social media platforms are fairly easy to maintain. But when you’re tweeting on behalf of an entire school (plus organizing events, plus monitoring other campaigns, plus plus plus…) time quickly becomes a luxury. There is a variety of free tools out there to manage your social media accounts and share content throughout your different profiles. One of the reasons we like Hootsuite is that it allows you to download a bookmarklet and to schedule the post directly from the article page you are reading (no more copying, pasting and link reducing necessary!). It also includes an AutoSchedule feature to send out your social media updates at peak times for your audience. Talk about a time-saver!
2. Use curation sites:
Similar to RSS feeds, curation sites allow you to gather all of the interesting bits you find online. The difference is that curation sites allow you to showcase your collection of favorites. Pinterest, Scoop.it, Feedly are all examples of such sites. They are great to discover new topics or trends associated with your interests and find new resources. Pinterest can also inspire you for visuals to be associated with your content marketing.
3. Look for trending topics:
Twitter is the perfect tool to see what’s hot in a particular industry or category. Thanks to your social media management platform, you can follow industry keywords, such as nursing, business management and many others. Identify relevant hashtags to follow conversations about topics you care about. For example, #edchat, #pse and #highered are very popular hashtags for higher education in North America.
4. Use student-created content:
Student-created content often brings a degree of authenticity and a peer worldview to your social media marketing message. Many colleges and universities have set up Student Social Media Ambassador teams and rely on their students for blogging and/or updating their social media profiles. See what St. Michael’s college in Vermont has done. Student-created content can also be as simple as hosting photo-contests or essay contests, or you can ask students to post questions on Twitter or Facebook, and post your response on your blog.
Take the stress out of your week by deciding preparing a monthly calendar of what you will be discussing on your blog and in social media. Planning will allow you to highlight events and on- and off-campus activities without feeling rushed at the last minute. It will also enable you to run weekly or monthly themes to strengthen your messages. Be as precise as possible about the links and images that will be associated with the content you will be posting to save time when publishing.
6. Leverage data:
Data is essential to track all marketingefforts. One of the best ways to know what your students are interested in is to track and measure the performance of your various social media accounts. This requires that you keep a close look on your site’s Google Analytics, which shows you which of your blog posts are the most popular. You can also use the social media platform analytics tool to track which posts garnered the most engagement.
What are your tips to find ideas for your blog and social media profiles?