Strong, engaging content should be the foundation of your school’s social media strategy, and an editorial calendar can help accelerate your school’s online presence. Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman‘s book Content Rules provides a descriptive manual to put businesses on the right track, and I’ve specifically tailored it to help the education industry find their guiding light. Be sure to join edSocialMedia on May 3 for a Content Rules seminar at Babson College and hear directly from Handley and Chapman as the headline speakers.
Handley and Chapman suggest creating a publishing schedule concurrent with your yearly calendar, using the numbers 1-7-30-4-2-1. Be sure to read my first post of this series where I outlined a publishing strategy for your daily (1) and weekly (7) schedule. There are so many intriguing content ideas within the book that I’ve customized this post to contain only the monthly (30) publishing schedule. In a final post later this week, I’ll outline schools’ social media needs on a quarterly (4), semi-annually (2) and yearly (1) schedule. The following notes are content ideas that you should strive to implement on a monthly basis:
30 = Monthly
Write a meatier blog post or article: spend some time writing an in-depth article about a personality within the school. Is there a teacher who has a little-known hobby? Which students excel at activities beyond the school doors? These narrative articles can bring an intimate perspective to your school’s image and enhance a person’s credibility.
Send an email newsletter: Continue to use your data management systems to send monthly or weekly emails to your internal constituents and add intriguing content to each one to increase the readers’ interest. You might also consider sending an additional email newsletter to engage an indirect audience. Do community members or businesses in your area consistently support your school’s initiatives? Share with them the best news stories, photos, videos and blogs. Hopefully, the content will be so compelling that they will want to share it with their friends and neighbors, resulting in a wider web of interest and support in your school.
Produce a two-to-three-minute video: find a plot line that your constituents might be interested in and outline a script. Cue your directing skills, and create a mini film. In contrast to your weekly videos, you’ll want to spend time creating a plotline. Shoot from different perspectives and capture B-roll to give the video a professional finish. In the future, these videos can be “reimagined” for future events during fundraisers or gatherings. According to a recent Forrester study, Handley and Chapman said, optimized YouTube video is 50 times more likely to get on the first page of Google search results. Additionally, once a plotline is written, use it as an outline to guide slideshows and articles in other online mediums, such as an in-depth article on your blog.
Produce a podcast: A no-brainer might be to post an audio podcast of the choir or band concert, but think about including other sneak peeks into your school. What about a coach’s pre-game speech that led to a conference win? Allow outsiders (and insiders!) to envision what makes your school tick. This also might work well as a message from the Head of School or a video of a faculty member presenting at a conference. Podcasts are a good way to explain missions or goals with vibrant anecdotes.
Create a slideshow and post it to a sharing sites (such as SlideShare): Put together slideshows about major programs at your school. For example, if the skiing program functions on an incredibly unique schedule, then the community should learn more about its functionality. Ask your directors to compile slides that will benefit internal constituents as well as an external audience. Another way to increase your presence as an educational authority is to have your teachers share their most compelling lessons or encourage students to share engaging projects.
Contribute a guest post or article to another blog or publication: Become an authority in your respective niches, and encourage your faculty members to do the same. The more people talking about Ed over at the School of Social Media, then the more people might wonder what else the school is doing well.
Produce a webinar: This carries the same benefits as guest writing for other publications. If anyone in your school is an authority in a subject, think about hosting a webinar to help other schools in the industry. The online chatter encourages constituents to investigate the school more in depth.
Publish a parent testimonial: At Stratton Mountain School, a father of an Olympian alumna shared a kind-hearted email to me after his daughter became successful. He wasn’t intentionally sending me the note to be published, but I thought other potential parents would be interested in why SMS was a good fit for his daughter. Other readers might sense the parent’s authenticity and empathize with their feelings. Many of us receive positive feedback about the great things our schools are doing, so share the ones that particularly resonate with you.
My addition: add a photo album to Flickr at least every month. The photos, tags, sharing and online profile will create another medium for search engines to crawl and increase your online presence. If you’re new to Flickr, read this guide.
Handley and Chapman’s editorial calendar strongly promotes an approach to social media that is manageable and consistent, making it easily applicable to so many schools. On May 3 at Babson College, Handley and Chapman will headline an edSocialMedia seminar that will ignite your school’s social media strategies and present your school with the best path towards creating great content. Register today to guarantee a reserved spot!
Photo courtesy of http://joannapenabickley.typepad.com/on/2010/11/on-social-media-icons.html.