Launching a Blogger Program: Part 1

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Technology | Posted on 09-11-2007

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We are currently in the process of launching our Butler Bloggers, and it’s definitely been more work than I thought it would be. For part 1, we’ll go over 2 main areas: content and selection of the bloggers.

Coming from UIS, we are entering our 4th or 5th year of having student bloggers. I have a very unique background on using student bloggers for recruitment; I was a student blogger at UIS during my senior year [broken links and all, but it's still here!], and then when I took the position as Marketing/Recruitment Specialist at UIS I oversaw the UIS Bloggers during my time there.

Both as a student blogger and as an advisor, I have run into the same problem: content. Walking the fine line between posting on a personal level and talking about what’s going on at the University. Finding meaningful topics to blog about. Getting a reader base, and engaging a reader to comment and discuss the posts. Keep the readers coming back. [Sounds like what we're doing at SquaredPeg right now!].

You’ve heard it before, and I’ll tell you again. The success (or failure) of the blogger initiative comes down to the quality of students you find, and the level of diversity they are able to show the readers. Not diversity in the sense of color of students, prospectives will see through that in a heartbeat. It is very obvious if you are trying to push a ‘diverse’ student as a blogger, and today’s Millennials are smarter than that. Think diversity in the sense of majors, age, involvement levels, where the student lives, internships, and things along those lines. The more areas you can hit, the better the content will be as a whole. When your bloggers all paint a different picture about the University, but it comes together to show the campus as a whole, you have successfully showcased your school. Through the student, to the student.

Yes, finding the right students is difficult. When looking for students, find them on their ground. I put an ad in 2 places: BLUE, the student employment database on campus, and Facebook, using their flyers. BLUE yielded 8 applications in 10 days, Facebook gave me nearly 40. Total cost for the Facebook ad? $50. We ran the flyer to the right for 10 days at 2,500 impressions per day (25,000 total) for a cost of $5/day. I targeted both genders, age 18-24, undergrads only, in the Butler network. By doing this I was able to reach and get a response from 1% of the entire student body. I’d consider that a success.

Then the tough part came, narrowing nearly 50 applications down to 8 bloggers. To do that, we had students fill out an application [which included a trick question and a Rorschach test to get an idea of the personality of the student] , and asked the top 15 to do a sample blog post. Then we took all of that and narrowed it down to our 8 students, so we are ready to roll. These 8 students, who make up 1/5 of 1% of the student body at Butler, are given the opportunity to speak to 20,000+ prospective students. Talk about a responsibility that will help you in the real world. Let’s hope they use their power wisely. :)
What problems are you running into with your Bloggers? Feel free to leave a comment.

Comments posted (3)

Brad, great post on Student blogging.. Shows the reach and power of facebook..

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