3 Ways Universities Can Blog Their Way to Recruiting Success
Sure, the U.S. News & World Report rankings are an important source of buzz for your university, but rankings alone won’t attract and retain today’s best and brightest. In the same way that they’ve transformed the fast food, retail and entertainment industries, the millennial generation — those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, who currently make up the majority of today’s college students — have also reshaped the college experience.
While academic reputation continues to be one of the driving factors behind a student’s decision to attend a particular institution, millennials also crave a personalized college experience that goes beyond the books. Here are three ways to help your university’s blog attract this diverse and dynamic generation of students.
1. Be relevant
Higher education is a hot topic in today’s cultural discourse. From student loans to online courses, keeping up with the latest trends in higher education is important for attracting prospective students. Highlighting your institution’s accomplishments regarding these trends, from social responsibility to initiatives to reduce student loan debt — one of the top concerns for millennials — is an important way to help your university stand out from the rest.
Rather than writing anonymous blog posts about broad topics, craft stories about specific issues and trends that are relevant to prospective students. From a story about a student’s study-abroad experience to a special Q&A with the university president, creating relevant, engaging content that shows your interest in timely issues is crucial for attracting millennial students to your campus.
2. Tap into school spirit to attract the right students
Although today’s students may not know what they want to do with the rest of their lives, they do know who they are. If Instagram and internet memes are any indication, millennials love to project their individual identities out into the world.
Universities can follow their lead by promoting the school’s unique identity. In so doing, you’ll be attracting students who will be a great fit and will have a great experience at the school. From sports to Greek life to extracurricular activities, prospective students want to attend a university where the school’s culture reflects their values, interests, and goals. So use your blog content to focus on the things that make your school what it is and that make it stand out. That way, you’re more likely to attract the kinds of students who will get the most out of their four years with you.
3. The written word is still champ
In today’s world of shortened attention spans, it can be smart to complement your written blog with design elements that will help it stand out. Adding visual images is one way to easily and reliably enhance your blog content. Photos, videos and infographics can spice up your blog copy and even help it get shared more often. Likewise, infusing your blog posts with well-vetted statistical tidbits is a great way to give prospective students a snapshot of what your university offers and to boast about its credentials — whether it’s a low average-debt-burden five years post-graduation or a higher-than-average number of students who go on to graduate school or obtain prestigious fellowships.
But don’t forget that your copy still needs to do the heavy lifting. It’s easy to overlook the importance of high-quality written content in favor of visual glitz and glam, or a stream of stats that may or may not be accurate. The key is balance. And as an institution of higher learning, achieving this balance with your blog content is especially important, because although you want to seem hip and exciting to appeal to the younger audience you’re trying to recruit, you also want to project a sense of professionalism and a concern for accuracy.
Your university’s blog is a great way to reach potential students, most of whom have grown up in the age of digital content and social media. As with any marketing campaign, you have to reach your audience members where they are. And because most millennials are already online, a blog is a fantastic place to start.
If you’re not sure how to begin, Prose Media is here to help. Our education experts can craft content that balances the light and catchy tone you need to attract a youthful audience with the seriousness you want to convey as an institution of higher learning. Class is always in session at Prose, so sign up for free, no obligation access to our platform. We would love to see what you have in mind.