To blog or not to blog

Blogging is one of the most effective ways of communicating announcements and news with parents through the website without needing to produce a weekly newsletter; however, trying to blog about everything that happens will turn into a time drain. The trick to blogging is knowing what to publish, when and how long to make the articles. That’s where this post comes in.

Blogging length

The length of each blog you post will depend on what you want each blog to do for your website. Most websites use blogs to drive traffic to their webpages and provide them with a level of authority in certain subjects. As a school, this isn’t what your blogs should be used for. Your school will be listed in numerous places as a local school and traffic will come from parents, prospective parents, staff, governors, other family members and those in your local community.

As the aim of your blog is not to drive traffic, then you might be wondering what the point of having a blog on your website is. Quite simply, your blog is there to inform people about events, triumphs and other worthy news stories that you may want to share with your wider school community. Because of this, the SEO ranking of your blogs isn’t necessarily the most important factor to consider. Yes, keywords and meta data is important to have as part of your blogs, as well as original content, but the focus of your blog is sharing news. This means that blogs between 250 and 500 words are more than enough to promote your school without taking up too much of your time.

Communication with the community

As we’ve already discussed, the purpose of any school blog is communication with your wider community. Whether this is the people living in your local area, the family and extended family of your pupils, the parents of prospective school students or the governors of your school, people like to be kept informed of good news, upcoming events, what happened on special event days and school trips.

They are not necessarily all going to be interested in a 500 word blog on the latest health and safety regulations that your school has implemented or how you have changed food suppliers to help improve the quality of school dinners. This information is, of course, important, but it is not sensational or engaging content for your wider community to read.

The things that parents, family members, governors and the local community are interested include the following:

  • Sports Day
  • Harvest Festival
  • Upcoming school fairs
  • Special guest visitors
  • Competition winners
  • School trips
  • Projects related to the curriculum
  • Book fairs

Content is key

So far we have an ideal length and the type of things that you should be writing about on your blog. Now we can focus on how the information should be presented.

Content is key is a popular phrase in the marketing world – it is something that is especially relevant to blogging and essential for your school website. You want to make sure that everything you put in your blogs is pertinent to the topic post. Not only do you have a limited word count to work with, but if you start going off at tangents in your blog posts, your audience will lose interest and most likely miss the news you were trying to share.

There are a few things that you should remember about creating content:

  • Keep it brief and to the point.

Blogging about the school trip to Ironbridge Power Station is all well and good, but you don’t need to record every second of the trip. The two hour coach ride that ended with Timmy throwing up over the back of the coach is a detail that you can easily leave out of your blog.

  • Organise your thoughts and prioritise what you want to share.

If by blogging about the Ironbridge Power Station school trip you’re trying to inform your audience about the project on power conservation that the class is starting, then you need to make that clear in the opening sentence. For example, “To launch our new power conservation project in Year 3, Miss Beach’s class went to Ironbridge Power Station to learn more about where our electricity comes from and why we need to conserve it.”

Anything that follows should then link back to the topic in the post. In this example, each paragraph about the activities during the day and how the information from the trip is going to be used in the project should be highlighted.

The best way to make sure that you are prioritising your thoughts is to put together a blog template sheet. With a box for the topic at the top, a box for your opening paragraph and three or four more paragraphs before a conclusion can help you lay out what you want to say and help you discover the best way to structure the blog.

  • Don’t forget the call to action

Though most call to actions are associated with sales, they are an important tool that you shouldn’t overlook on your school blog. If an event like the Harvest Festival needs volunteers to help with it, then put in a call to action for volunteers to contact the relevant person about being involved.

The most important times to include a call to action are on your upcoming events posts though. From Sports Day to the Summer Fete, your wider community not only needs to feel informed about the events they can attend, but openly invited and included in them.

A call to action is a very easy way to accomplish this.

Blogging is not as easy as it sounds, but by following these steps you’ll be able to put together and regularly update your own school website blog, keep your wider community informed and make sure that no events get overlooked or forgotten.

To find out more about how you can create not only a blog but an affordable website that is tailored to meet your school needs visit now and discover a new way to take control of your school website and your internet presence.

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