by Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree
By now, you’ve read, heard, or watched videos on how to improve your school’s SEO digital marketing strategy. Tactics like
Use relevant keywords in your copy.
Don’t forget the sitemap.
Make sure your site is fast and mobile-friendly.
These tactics are not secrets. Every school ranking on page 4 or better is using them.
Whether your private school is sitting pretty on page 1 or your charter school is languishing on page 10, improving and maintaining your ranking is a daily grind.
You read that right: a DAILY grind.
And marketing your school via SEO will not yield results overnight. And even if you get to page one (congrats!), there’s no guarantee that you’ll stay there.
So, if you want your school’s website to be SERP #1 come September when parents kick their searching into high gear, you need to start today.
To get you there, you will need some next-level digital marketing.
Enter Digital PR.
What is Digital PR?
Don’t think of it as old-school PR, i.e., sending a press release to the local paper about your debate team’s triumphs or writing a guest blog for the local parent website.
In short, Digital PR is having a link to your website or one of your social platforms in a blogger’s article. It is about demonstrating thought leadership through compelling content. So when online writers want to use hyperlinked sources to enrich their content, you want them to link to your content.
But Trevor, why would someone site my content as a source in their blog? You’re asking the right question.
The simple answer is that your content is relevant, demonstrates authority (e.g., heavily researched data analysis), and you are deemed by the blogger as a reliable source or, dare I say, an expert on the subject.
So, if I were to do a blog on astrophysics, I wouldn’t think twice about hyperlinking to content created by Stephen Hawking.
Let’s look at a case study that’s more relevant to your work.
Digital PR in Action (a case study)
There are close to 91 million Google results for “Montessori education.” The first result is the American Montessori Society (AMS) website.
You might expect them to be #1 and a big reason is digital PR. According to Ahrefs, they currently have 912,273 backlinks and a 76 domain rating, which means the backlinks are high quality. (You can add one more backlink to that tally since I linked to their site above.)
AMS has so many backlinks because they produce data-driven, meticulously-researched, and expertly-produced content. So when a college education major is writing a paper on Montessori education or a Montessori school wants to show parents, Why Montessori is, they are likely to link to AMS’s website.
If you are a Google Docs user, you know it’s made it easier by suggesting links when you highlight content.
But AMS didn’t just default to the go-to website for Montessori education content. It had to prove itself to search engines, and so will you.
Activate Your Digital PR
Now that you’ve written the definitive blog about _________________, it’s time to pitch your content to those who can help you get those juicy backlinks.
Create a list of bloggers, journalists, experts, website owners, and social influencers who write on topics similar to yours.
Research their past blogs to see if there are opportunities for them to update an article with information from your blog.
Pitch your content with your credentials, a short summary of the article, and how it will enhance an existing or future blog. Contact a journalist or blogger who covers topics in your area of expertise and see if they will link to your content if they choose to update an older piece.
Be persistent. I emailed the communication director at the American Montessori Society three times requesting the answers to questions that would help enrich this blog. Even though I didn’t hear back, the blog must go on.
Don’t be spammy. Every time you write a blog, don’t send off our PR pitch to your list of contacts. Make sure what you are sending them is very relevant and easy to plug into something they’ve written.
If you’re ready to make digital PR a part of your SEO strategy but don’t have the bandwidth, we’d love to help. Our content marketing service is powered by members of our team who write on all sorts of education and independent school-specific topics. Reach out today to learn more.