Spring break is over, and for many schools that doesn’t necessarily mean students are coming back refreshed and eager to learn. On the contrary, students (and parents) are even more antsy for the school year to come to an end so they can get on with summer break. Afterall, there’s nothing better than being able to sleep in, pull all-nighters and make s’mores by the campfire. So if you can’t beat ‘em… might as well join ‘em.
BUT! That doesn’t mean all motivation is lost! There’s still plenty of school left to do, which means you need a comprehensive guide on how to connect with students and parents in a more engaging way than before. And what do teens and schools have in common? The internet!
So without further ado, let us introduce to you the best way to connect with parents, students and other community members prospective or current: website content!
What is Website Content?
Website content refers to the images, audio, writing and information on your website! Think of things like blogs, videos, ebooks, webinars, so on and so forth. Web content is one of the most practical ways to grow your audience naturally. If you have a really great blog for example, that’s showcased on your website, then users will be able to then connect with you on a deeper level, and decide if they like what you have to say. They then will either follow you, engage with your content, or even better, contact you about your products or services!
Website content is crucial to every website, even school district ones! So how can you cash in on this great tactic, and connect with students and parents school-wide?
#1: Write from the Student’s Perspective
Students know best. They’re the ones attending the school daily and seeing it from a perspective that no administrator can. Sometimes website content can be seen as inauthentic if it’s coming from someone who isn’t down in the so-called trenches with them. If you want to learn the most about your students, and your school, then it’s important to listen to your community. Listen to how they talk about you and what they say. Then and only then are you able to craft content that is aimed towards them, and for them. Here’s how:
- Read and share testimonials. Even the bad ones have something to learn from.
- Conduct small interviews. Ask questions about your community and allow for a safe, honest space.
- Use social media for comments, reviews, tagged photos and more.
And if you don’t already have a student testimonials page on your website, consider adding one with honest reviews from the students themselves. This provides a sense of individuality for all the students at your school, and lets prospective parents get to know what kind of the culture the school has.
#2: Write Value Proposition Titles
Value propositions are essential, especially for schools. Everyone wants to know the value they get out of something, and it’s important that yours are clear. A value proposition is a statement that identifies what your school has to offer. It’s recommended that these are placed somewhere on your website that a user will be able to see every time they visit. A great example of this is by a client of ours, Garden Grove Unified School District:
“Why Choose GGUSD?” is simple but answers the question everyone wants to know: Why is this school better than another? It’s in bold, and offers several reasons with links so a user can learn more. It also provides several large statistics. An infographic is a great way to present information for prospective families to read easily and learn a lot within a short period of time.
Here’s some tips when crafting your value proposition:
- Focus on outcome messaging: What will a student achieve in life because he or she attended your school versus another?
- Highlight a pain point or question your prospective visitor may have
- Focus on the 5% that makes you special. Ask yourself what you offer that no one else does?
- Make it the page’s H2 for emphasis and to draw attention back to it
#3: Integrate Some SEO
This isn’t required, but SEO will take your website to the next level. SEO Marketing will influence where your school and its content falls in the search engine results pages, based on the keywords a user is searching for. A hot tip is to use Google Analytics for finding your keywords, and then implementing them into your website copy. For example, if you want to rank for being the best middle school in Salt Lake City, then your keywords might look like “Salt Lake middle school” or “middle schools Utah.”
#4: Think About Placement
Placement is everything when it comes to user experience on a website. Research shows that when users are scrolling through a website, they follow what’s called an “F-Pattern.” The F-Pattern describes a user’s eye-scanning patterns when it comes to blocks of content. ‘F’ means fast. That’s how users read your content on the web. In a few seconds, users’ eyes move at amazing speeds across the page… which means your content and placement needs to be keeping up with them.
Here are a few things to keep in mind with placement:
- Have your CTA buttons as close to your content as possible.
- Have your CTA buttons be a part of secondary navigation.
- Make your CTA’s easy to read and short and sweet.
- Don’t put content where it doesn’t belong– have a separate page for your blog.
- Have your social media links be at the top or side of your home page.
#5: Have Engaging Content to Read
Lastly, and probably the most important, is to have engaging content on your website! Remember tip #1, “Write from a Student’s Perspective”? This is your time to shine! When it comes to writing engaging content, there’s a couple things you want to include:
- Know your audience, and now that you’ve listened to them, you can talk to them.
- What are your goals with the content you’re writing? Is it to increase community engagement, share news or an event, or is it just a friendly reminder?
- Get creative! Have your students write an article and send it out, or promote a fun event like school dances. Include something fresh and exciting.
- Post consistently, but not obsessively. 1 new blog or piece of content a week is more than enough.
Now it’s your time to shine! Implement these 5 tips into your school websites today and watch your web presence flourish while also bringing in new community members, parents, students and other eyes!
Target River is the marketing agency of school districts! We work with dozens of districts in and out of state, and are always looking to help more! We love helping schools foster the next generation of America with care. Interested in our services and what we can bring to the lunch table? Contact us today at 858-886-6763 or view our website at www.targetriver.com!