Tech Corner: 4 Ways to Create and Distribute Content Students Actually Want to Read
4 Ways to Create and Distribute Content Students Actually Want to Read
EACE Blog contribution by Evan Rose, Founder and CEO of eCruit
Students are notoriously difficult to get a hold of and even more difficult to keep engaged. The question of how to systematically engage with them to deliver valuable content is asked across all of our organizations. I encourage everyone (including myself) to take the time to review the voice your organization has had over the past year. What is your most viewed blog post? Which tweets/facebook posts got the most engagement?
Is my content boring?
If it’s not. kudos to you and your team for putting together great resources and getting them to the people who need them!
However, if you even suspect your content is boring/not hitting its intended audience, now is the time to perk up, take a sip of your coffee and keep reading, I’m about to share the 5 best ways to digitally engage with your student audience.
4 Steps to Engaging Students With Your Content
- Bite Sized Content: Are you producing multi-page documents for your students to read? If so, the likely response is TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read). After enough time producing content that students lose interest in, students begin to ignore your emails and gloss over your posts. This is the opposite of what you want. Keep your posts to 300-500 words. Seriously. If you think the topic at hand requires more, split it into multiple articles and throw a “Click here for Part 2” link at the bottom.
- Attention-Worthy Titles and Headlines: When you’re packaging your content, the title is of the utmost importance. Just like an email subject line, the title will determine whether anyone reads your content. There is an art to crafting excellent blog post titles. Some common templates include X Ways you can Improve your Y (See the title of this post…), How to Stop Making X Mistake, and (Case Study) Learn How Joe Student Achieved Z. There are dozens of proven title formats that you can use, reach out and I can provide you with a number of resources. Having blogged using engaging titles and not using engaging titles, title crafting works.
- Choose Your Distribution Channels Wisely: Are you just sharing your content on your Twitter and Facebook? Most people are. The problem with this is you only hit your current audience. If people aren’t sharing, your audience does not increase in size and may even stagnate. The big question is, where are your students spending their time online? One channel I’ve found to be incredibly helpful is Reddit. If you can search Reddit for your college’s subreddit, you will often find students asking each other questions about job search, what courses to take etc. A good deal of the time, these forums devolve into the blind leading the blind. You can choose to post in these forums to engage with curious students or you can even use these channels to craft your next blog post based on the questions students are actually asking.
- Pepper your Content with Resources: Showing is better than telling. The best performing blog article at eCruit is a cover letter how to. The blog post walks through a successful cover letter and at the end of it, students are able to download the cover letter template for free. Use the content you create to build trust and share information then provide it to them for free. In return, I’ve found that students are willing to share, engage and return to the site when they are looking for other types of information.
None of this is easy to master. It took me over a year to get the eCruit blog to a point where it was generating traffic on its own because of shares/reader engagement. Getting the attention of a very busy audience is and always will be difficult. However, with the right preparation and execution, you can start to see the traffic to your blog and the engagement with your social media accounts begin to increase. Engagement along these channels will create a dialog between students, employers and career services offices that will lead to transparency, better events and ultimately more students finding their dream job!
Evan Rose is the founder and CEO of eCruit (http://tryecruit.com), a Manhattan-based startup that helps students figure out what skills they have and what skills they need to be hired before connecting them to top recruiters/employers via Google Hangouts. Prior to founding eCruit, Evan worked at JP Morgan Chase on their Community Giving Facebook campaign and developed mobile/web applications as a technology consultant during his down time. He graduated in 2009 from Harvard with a degree in Social Anthropology. You can connect with Evan via Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/evanmrose Twitter: http://twitter.com/evanmrose or via email: email@example.com