From researching scholarships to job interview tips, there are plenty of topics you can cover in your undergraduate or graduate admissions blog. The ones that will attract the most qualified leads, however, are the ones that are the most specific to your institution. Writing about the particular subject areas in which your institution excels will help prospective students find you.
These topics, of course, are more difficult to write about for enrollment managers, who don’t spend every day immersed in them. So where can you find the content for a post about physical therapy?
Your faculty members can be a great resource for your inbound marketing content — not only are they experts on the subjects they teach, but they are also knowledgeable about the industry they prepare students to enter. It would be great if they could write the blog posts themselves (and maybe some are even willing to!). More likely, however, they’re just as busy as you are, so it’s in both of your interests to make getting content from them as quick and painless as possible.
Here are three strategies for getting great content from your institution’s faculty:
1. Ask for Content They’ve Already Written
Many faculty members are quite prolific. While an academic paper in its entirety is not appropriate for your admissions blog, you may be able to repurpose pieces of one for a post or eBook. Tell them what goals you have for your blog, and ask them if there’s anything they can think of that would fit your purposes. You’ll never know what they have until you ask!
Ask your faculty members if they have been published in any mainstream publications, as well; you may be able to re-publish those articles on your blog. Many online publications allow other sites to pick up their articles, as long as it’s made clear where the article originally appeared.
2. Conduct Interviews via Phone or Email
Before you approach a faculty member for help writing a blog post, do some homework yourself. Conceive the idea as fully as you can with your knowledge of the topic and write interview questions that will draw out informative answers. (In fact, you may find that a frequently-asked-questions format is an effective one for a post!)
Some professors may want to speak to you on the phone or in person, and others will prefer to answer these questions by email. Either way: you’ve got your answers, and now you can put together a post.
3. Write an Outline and Ask Them to Fill in What You Don’t Know
Maybe you have an idea for an eBook and you’ve even done some research on it. Go ahead — start outlining and writing and get as far with it as you can.
When you’ve exhausted your research and resources, send it to a faculty member and ask them to fill in the gaps in your knowledge, highlighting the areas where you need some help with specific questions for them. We recommend using a collaborative document like Google Docs so you can see changes in real time, instead of passing iterations of the same Word document back and forth via email.
It’s important to keep in mind that you are NOT asking your faculty to write traditional marketing content that essentially “sells” your institution’s programs. Instead, you are looking for content that displays thought leadership such as the following:
- information about their academic field in general
- job/career-related information
- comparative info about different types of methods to achieving a degree (e.g. online vs. on-campus, or accelerated vs. standard)
- industry-specific reports or trends that relate to their field
As you solicit help for your blog and premium content, make sure your faculty members know that it will ultimately help their programs, too. As your inbound marketing strategy continues to attract more students, their programs will also grow: everyone wins!