If you’d like to improve your school’s blog, or increase the frequency of your blogging, you need to consistently produce good quality content that will attract visitors. Or maybe you’ve written a few blog posts and are so excited to start getting engagement from them. You’ve put your heart and soul into every post; you’re sure parents will love to read the content you’ve so carefully crafted for them.
You wait for the likes, shares and comments to start coming in. You check your blog every day…and…nothing. Crickets. Nothing. Nada.
Has this happened to you? If so, don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are strategies you can use to pretty much ensure your blog posts will drive traffic right out of the gate – and then continue to attract visitors for months to come.
Here are 6 superior strategies that will help you write blog posts for your school that will drive traffic from social media, search engines and other websites.
1. Start with the right topic
Too often our topics are based on what we want to write about, not necessarily what our audience wants to read about. No matter how many other blog writing tactics you use, if you don’t write about something your audience really cares about you’re doomed to fail.
Here’s how to discover the most popular topics for your audience.
A. Make use of keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Wordstream’s Free Keyword tool. Look for phrases that are relatively popular (but not too popular as those may be too competitive.)
B. Track sentiment using monitoring tools that reveal topics that are popular with your audience. These tools can help you niche down with targeted topics.
C. Survey your audience using Facebook surveys or a tool like SurveyMonkey
E. Discover actual questions your audience is asking in browser searches about school enrollment using:
2. Refine your topic
Once you’ve identified a list of relevant topics, determine their saturation level. To find out how saturated a topic is, ask yourself how much the topic is already covered. If you can find many blogs and articles that already address the topics you’ve identified, consider refining the topic.
For example, for the topic “school bullying” I find 38,800,000 results, but when I search on the subtopic “how effective are school bullying intervention programs” there are 248,000 results. (I found that subtopic on AnswerThePublic, by the way.) As you can imagine, writing blog posts on topics of interest that are less saturated will give you added credibility and interest.
3. Include multiple subtopics
In today’s overloaded content marketplace, people are looking for blogs with substance. Gone are the days of 400 word “quick and dirty” posts that superficially cover a topic. In 2014, BuzzSumo analyzed over 100 million blog posts and found that “the longer the content, the more shares it gets, with 3,000-10,000 word pieces getting the most average shares.” (Huffington Post) l Based on their research, Buzzsumo recommends more than 2,000 words per post! Just make sure to include headings and subheadings to make it easy for your reader to scan your post to find what they are most interested in reading.
4. Keyword SEO strategy
Google’s algorithms have gotten so sophisticated that you don’t need to worry about keywords quite so much, but you still want to use them in your posts. Try to use keywords in your title, headings, subheadings, alt image tags and throughout your content as appropriate. Consider using a SEO plugin like Yoast SEO to help you keep on track with SEO on your blog.
5. Internal linking
It’s easy to not take the time to link to other pages on your website, but it’s vital that you do. Internal linking helps keep visitors on your site longer as well as boosting the rank of your posts and pages in search engines. And, in all your spare time, go to other posts on your site and link back to new posts you’ve just written to help visitors find your new posts and give that new post a boost in Google and other search engines.
6. Use visuals
At the expense of possibly sounding like a broken record, make sure you include a visual of some type in your blog posts. Remember that research that was conducted by BuzzSumo about what makes a blog post go viral? They also found that having at least one image on your post leads to more social sharing. Twice as many people share content when it has a visual, so take the time to find or create something. Want to know the best types of visuals for schools or where to find the best stock images? Look no further – we’ve got you covered with these epic posts.
Once you’ve written the perfect post for your audience, you will want to share it on your social channels to increase awareness and drive traffic to your blog. And, once your post gets out there, more and more people will want to read, share and link to it, increasing the amplification of your blog. And, the beauty of social media and blogging is how effective they are at boosting search engine rankings, which means even more traffic to your site over the long haul.
Blogging – and sharing your content on social media – are powerful tools for making a difference in the lives of your students, staff and parents as well as increasing the inbound traffic to your site. The time you invest in content creation, sharing and engagement is well-worth the effort.
What strategies are you using to find the best topics and subtopics for your school’s blog? What are your favorite keyword and listening tools? Please take a moment to share your knowledge and experience with other school marketers in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!