Is it possible to recruit students to a college by blogging? I think it is, at least if the people blogging are current students.
I’ve been thinking about launching a student blogging project for the past three years. So far, it’s still just a few ideas somewhere in my mind.
I know there are many student blogging projects as parts of their education, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m looking for the marketing effect, where people enroll at the college because of the blogging.
In order for this to happen, the blogs should be consistent over time. There should be many interesting blog posts about interesting topics, and the thoughts and ideas should be worth spreading.
At first, I thought that the blog posts should be about life as a student; what’s happening on campus, parties, and studying in general. I’m not so sure anymore. I was really impressed by Students 2.0, three High School students sharing their ideas. I think it’s important to focus on students writing whatever comes to their mind. Too bad the blog is not active anymore. Karlstad University in Sweden launched a similar blogging project (sorry, the blogs are only in Swedish) a while ago, and they’re doing almost exactly what I was thinking about. Students blogging about their life and whatever comes to their mind.
The blog should be consistent, people should be able to follow the conversations for a while before they get involved. I’m thinking that the blog should be active for at least six months before we can experience any effect. I’m just guessing.
The blogs should be active all year around. We would probably see the best effect if the students were blogging for many years, and not just for six months, and then never again. This type of blogging is not just a short term project.
I think that they need to publish at least two posts a week. There are several reasons why I think two posts would be it, like writer burnout, reader burnout, reader participation, search engine and rss referrals. Take a look at Problogger for more on this topic. Being a student and writing quality blog posts, two a week should be enough.
How many students?
At our college there are six faculties. I think it’s important that we have one student per faculty blogging. This way, they’ll cover the faculties and the various topics when it comes to the different programs, and life at the faculty. It can be a lot different from the other faculties.
Obviously, it’s important that they like to write and it’s important that they have something to write about. We wouldn’t want straight A students, not doing anything other than reading and attending their lectures.
Should they get paid?
Yes, they should earn money from blogging or they could earn credits. I think that they should have a monthly salary, not be paid per post or by the words they write. If they earn a monthly salary, I think that they will write more quality posts and think of it as a job, where they have to work in order to get paid.
Teach them well
It’s important to teach them how to blog, and tell them what you expect them to do. How many blog posts, what topics, the length of posts and so on.
Why would it help recruit new students?
In the end, it’s not about focusing on marketing and recruiting new students. It’s about focusing on sharing ideas, and being who they are – students. If prospective students continue to read the blogs, and understand life at the college, and what it means to be a college student, they might find it tempting and start to identify themselves with the students.
Photo: Kristina B