The dramatic upswing in social media popularity means several things to schools. One of the most important ramifications is the importance of blogging. If your school has an online presence, it should also have a supporting blog. Blogging is one of the most effective ways of reaching many people on a personal level. They are typically less formal, more open, and more accessible to students.
Four Ways that Blogging Can Help Your School’s Online Presence
- Creating a Student Forum: It’s a fact that students are going to congregate online whether or not you, as a school administrator or student relations officer, know about it or not. By creating a blog, you can monitor their comments and be aware of the general sentiment they have for their classes, teachers, and college experience. This can lead to invaluable clues as to how to improve student retention rates and where there are problems that must be fixed. Additionally, comments can be moderated before they are posted to avoid PR problems.
- Easy Information Syndication: A blog is a perfect place to post updates, white papers, monthly or weekly newsletters, event notifications and much more. Even though these materials may also be posted on the website, students are probably less likely to check the formal corporate website than visit the less imposing blog. The added bonus to using a blog for this purpose is that most of this type of material already exists in some form or another so it doesn’t have to be generated specifically for the blog.
- Additional SERP Real Estate: A blog, by it’s nature, garners inbound links from other websites far easier than a formal school website. This means that it is inordinately easy to optimize for the search engines. Schools are often surprised by the alacrity with which their blog shoots through the rankings for the schools name or location. The blog can be an ideal secondary or tertiary result in the search engine response pages, pushing competing domains further down the list.
- A forum for professors: Professors at post secondary schools and colleges are often quite active in their communities. The school blog can be a great forum for them to talk about their efforts in the community and classroom. It makes the professors look good, and the school look great.
Good Examples of Blogs in the Education Industry:
Harvard has several blogs, but the one that caught my attention was their publicity blog. This site contains a wealth of interesting information that would be out of place on their website which is basically a student resource.
University Of Pittsburgh
What I liked most about the University of Pittsburgh’s Dean’s blog is that it presents information in a very non-formal, honest and approachable way. This attitude encourages perspective students as well as current students and makes a seemingly imposing professor more personable.
Penn State, which just happens to be my Alma Mater, takes a very liberal view of blogging. They have created a platform for students and faculty to publish their own blogs about any facet of Penn State life they wish to. It’s a great way to get the brand out online across a broad range of searches, and allows students and faculty a structured forum to express their views about the school, campus life, etc.
The Pros and Cons of School and College Blogs
On one hand, blogs are a great way for students to express themselves. On the other hand, blogs are a great way for students to express themselves.
If every student was pleased with the quality of their education and their post secondary school experience, then everything would be fine. The fact is, however, that there is never a case where everyone will be pleased all the time.
Many schools fear giving students a formal outlet for their discontent. What they don’t realize is that those students are going to complain whether there is a place provided to do it or not. Nothing is gained by hiding from the fact that things are not always perfect. It is far better to be aware of problems as they happen or possibly even before they happen.
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