With the launch of every new website comes a fresh opportunity to update your digital marketing toolkit and rethink strategies for generating buzz around your brand. What are these best practices you might ask and how can I implement them with a small staff?
First things first: big things are possible—even with small teams.
Over the past few years, we’ve partnered with Eureka College, a small liberal arts institution in Eureka, Illinois. Together, we’ve defined their target audiences, designed a website, developed a blog content calendar and created over 100 pages of content for the school’s website and blog. For a small college with limited staff, these are huge accomplishments. By the end of the project, the marketing team could stand proudly behind their new website.
We recently transitioned into the post-launch polishing phase of our partnership and recognized a need for continued marketing and web support. During a recent visit, the client asked: “What do we need to do to keep our website fresh and growing?”
The guidance we provided is simple and manageable for small teams. Now that your site is live, you have three goals:
- Generate traffic.
- Drive demand for programs.
- Support ongoing updates.
Below, I’ve outlined a few simple (and affordable) steps you can implement today to begin marketing your website like a pro.
Step 1 – Create a content calendar.
This step will help you work towards all three of the three goals listed above. A content calendar targeting prospective students, current students and/or alumni will keep your team focused and consistent with publishing. Do a brainstorming session with staff members from admissions, student life and/or alumni and I’ll guarantee you they can come up with at least one idea per month to support the calendar. With one piece from each of those three groups per month and one general blog post, you’ve got one blog post per week that will help drive traffic to your site. Simple, right?
Step 2 – Organize a group of student workers.
With a team of four to six student workers you can produce at least four blog pieces per month. Start with student workers in admissions, student life and/or the alumni offices. These students will be the most plugged into what’s happening in each of those areas. If you can’t procure student workers in those offices, go to a relevant student organization such as communications, marketing or campus newspapers. The key is to find students that can write and/or produce photos or videos.
Step 3 – Build a publishing queue.
Trello is a great free tool to use for content planning and execution. If you haven’t used it before, I’d highly recommend checking it out. Each Trello board allows you to create columns that make the most sense for your system. I recommend creating columns for Planned, On Deck, In Progress, Under Review, Approved & Published. Create a Trello card for each piece of blog content on your calendar. Invite your team of student workers to the Trello board and assign them to the Trello card for the piece of content they’ll be producing. Use a standard checklist with dates to make sure there is a set schedule for content production and review.
Step 4 – Schedule regular meetings to keep things moving.
Meet each week to make sure everyone is on schedule. You can use this time to meet with your team of workers and discuss the upcoming posts and to discuss how previous posts have performed with a review of Google Analytics data. I also recommend meeting once per quarter to create the content calendar. Getting that meeting on the calendar early will help make sure all parties will be able to attend.
Effective Website Marketing for Higher Education
A good strategy and properly written content can help you generate web traffic and create demand for your institution. I hope these simple steps will help you begin marketing your website today. Have questions or comments on any of the points above? Get more information on web design best practices for higher education or message me directly to continue the discussion.