1. Blog

Content writing for a school or college website

Content marketing: Old friend of Disquiet Dog, Adrian Hemsley, sums up what's important when you're tasked with content writing for a school or college website. Some great pointers here which will be quick to adopt.

a photo of the interior upper-floor landing of a modern school building. To the left is a staircase rising up to the floor, the walls are redbrick and the colours muted.
©Photo by Azzedine Rouichi on Unsplash

Most educational institutions just list the courses and give details of each of their programs. While this can be okay, an uninspiring website does not elicit interest from the target audience. An educational website should follow the combined principles of marketing, eCommerce, UX (user experience) and search engine optimisation-driven sites to excite prospects and elicit a response. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when creating content for a school website.

Consider writing from a student perspective

When all the marketing comes straight from the educational establishment, it can sound dreary, dull and inauthentic. Past students can give honest, first-person and grounded accounts of their experiences at that institution. Therefore, it is important that you add their voices to your content.

How do you do this? Consider doing one or several of these actions.

  • Interview past students and include the same on the website; using video or social media.
  • Post and share positive testimonials from verified students.

You can get this content by visiting student forums and reading social media testimonials, on Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat for comments and reviews of your school, or through checking what current students are saying on video platforms such as TikTok. Content from students is likely to be more engaging, believable and will attract more attention from prospective students than content created by a marketing team. Remember students will primarily wish to attend an establishment expecting a positive experience rather than educational excellence, which is likely to be the parents’ priority. Read our blog on why case studies are a crucial part of your marketing as well.

Use action words and calls to action

You need to persuade your website visitors to act by explaining exactly what they need to do. Avoid the reported speech type and instead use active words that have impact. Here is an example: Instead of saying, "You can inquire about our courses by..." you can say, "Contact us today to inquire about the intake dates."

Talk to your visitors directly by cutting the corporate language in your content. On your blog page, provide actionable advice on various aspects of school life and education in general. This way, you will create interest and enlist action.

Write value propositions as your page headlines

Think from a customer’s perspective. Customers only buy when they believe the product offers value that can’t be found elsewhere. In the same way, you need to include statements that identify the Unique Selling Point (USP) of the establishment and the value that students will get from choosing this institution over others. Go for the unique strengths that you possess, for example, these could be location, demographics, religion, focus on science, arts or humanities, formal or informal culture.

Here are other guidelines when presenting a value proposition.

  • Tell them about the outcome: Tell prospective students what they stand to achieve by studying at your school over others.
  • Highlight a question or pain point prospective students may have and how to handle it.
  • Include information about your competitive advantage. (What is it that you offer that no other school offers?)
  • Include a few value proposition statements on your headings to create emphasis and get them recognized.

Get smarter by including infographics

Website visitors are always in a hurry and may not read all the information on the website. You can tell your school’s story visually using infographics. Your infographics should include stats and appealing graphics. Infographics can be made interactive and animated using html5 or using programmes such as Adobe Animate or After Effects, simple static ones in Adobe Photoshop. Your infographics should tell a story rather than just facts and figures so visitors can get a feel for the establishment. A good way to structure projects for infographics is using Agile methodology to create the types of prospects, personas and journeys that would result in a conversion, be that signing up to a newsletter, a phone call or whatever marketing goal you have determined.

You may include the available facilities, activities that students can participate in, the size and history of the school, as well as any achievements it has made in the past. Include a few action statements or a call-to-action for them to learn more about the institution, linking through to video interviews with students, social media or even podcasts created by the teachers.

Avoid jargon

Do not assume that everyone understands institution-specific words, phrases and terms that your visitors may not know. Many visitors will not continue reading your content if they are not sure what certain words mean. Instead, use easy-to-understand language that does not require a dictionary to decipher. You can use the jargon and other institution-specific phrases on the student portal, intranets or within the school community.

Be mindful of search engine optimisation

When writing content for an education institution it’s important to perform keyword research to determine how people are finding your website.

Keyword research is performed using tools such as ahrefs or SEMrush. These tools help you to determine the ‘search volume’; how many people are typing in a certain phrase into a search engine. Once you have all of these terms relevant to your website, with the highest search volume, then you can run these tools through a rank checker, such as wincher or Moz.

These will let you see where your website is ranking in Google, Bing or Yahoo. If you are ranking in the top 10 for high volume search terms then you should start creating content around these search terms. For example, there may be more people searching for ‘Sussex Christian schools’ than ‘best catholic school in Brighton’ and consequently it would be a good idea to create content, headings and URL structures around ‘sussex christian schools’ instead of ‘catholic school Brighton’.

SEO (search engine optimization) enables you to be found online when users type in words that are related to the services that your institution offers. It involves various techniques, some of which involve your content. By using tools such as Google Analytics, you should find the exact keywords that describe your services. Google Analytics helps you find the terms and the volume of searches for each.

Use these keywords in your content and distribute them well across it. Be sure to include other technical SEO techniques such as pagespeed insights to enhance the website speed and optimise it for use with mobile devices.

Find out more about our SEO Audits, or ask us directly for a quote, if you're looking for a specialist education marketing agency to do this work for you.