There are more than 496 million blogs on Tumblr alone. Although this statistic may feel intimidating and evoke a sense of shouting into the void, business schools should actively try and engage with blogging. But why?
Well, beyond your website, a blog is a fantastic tool to keep your audience in the loop about your school. And while a website might be more practical in content and straightforward in tone, a blog offers more flexibility to connect with your potential students, to share updates in a way that shows who you are, not just what you do.
Think of your blog as your direct communication channel. It’s a space to talk in depth about your courses, your inspirational students and alumni, and comment on relevant industry trends in a way that lets your business school’s personality shine.
Schools should be aiming to post new information frequently, whether this be regarding new faculty, student diaries or exciting changes within the department. In this digital age, blogging should become an integral part of your marketing plan as it can help you to gain prominence in your field and set you apart from your fellow business school competitors.
Search Engine Optimization
Not only this, blogging is going to significantly enhance your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This is a process of increasing your visibility in search engine rankings and obtaining a higher placement, therefore attracting organic traffic to your website and extending your reach. Without a blog can be very difficult to earn these valuable links.
To increase this further, you should be aiming to update content frequently and make sure to include keywords in your blog as this will increase the likelihood of it being ranked highly by search engine algorithms. By doing this, this will attract more traffic to your website and therefore help to set you apart from your competitors.
As a result, if you are regularly updating new, interesting content, your target audience are much more likely to return to your page again. You should share your blog on your social media accounts – whether that be Facebook, Twitter, etc. – which has the benefit of feeding your social stream, as well as generating more traffic to your website. If you are serious about increasing your organic reach and traffic, which you should be, blogging is a must. Give people highly quality content to link to and watch as the inbound links start adding up. In fact, it has been found that businesses – and indeed business schools - who blog, receive 93% more traffic to their websites.
One of the biggest barriers to success can be a lack of industry credibility. Older, more established competitors typically have an advantage because they are known in the industry and their expertise has been proven. However, for newer business schools, blogging can help to remove this barrier and give your school the credibility it needs to compete to be the best. If you are creating engaging content, this offers the opportunity to be seen as a ‘thought leader’ in your industry, especially if you are outlining new research and trends in the business sector. This will help to establish your school and faculty as experts with clout once again setting you apart from your competitors.
Thirty years ago, the conversation between businesses and their customers was rather one-sided, with businesses dominating the conversation. Luckily a lot has changed since then. The introduction of the internet, and then social media, has led to a massive shift in customer expectations. Now people expect to be able to interact directly with businesses, often in real-time.
When a company blogs, people agree that it makes them seem more approachable. A blog is a perfect place to not only talk to your current and potential students, but with them. By encouraging interaction through comments, business schools are able to build trusting, long-term relationships. If you are looking for student and alumni advocates that will gladly help you encourage others to study at your institutions, they might be lurking in your comment section. Do not ignore them. Empower them!
My advice would be don’t think like a service or product business when marketing through your blog. Think more like what you are - an academic institution that can offer valuable posts that answer your readers’ questions and provide solutions to their problems.
Many get nervous about “giving information away for free.” This shouldn’t be a worry; your top competitors are surely already doing it. One Google search will easily show that. As would their bottom line.
Originally posted in Jun 2018, updated July 2021