It is high recruitment season. Prospective students are looking high and low, hither and yon, for information to help them make decisions about where to attend graduate school. They are thirsting for a feel, for a vibe, for a resonance, for a calling.
Of course they are. They are about to spend a LOT of money, and perhaps move far away from home. They want to hear the voices of the people who are at these schools. They want to hear those voices to help them make decisions about which schools to visit, where to apply.
One of the key ways prospective students listen for those voices is through the blogs they read, by leadership, faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
Here are some stats for you:
- In the past month, 4 of the top 7 pages that visitors to the SWC website viewed were blog posts.
- “Information for Prospective Students” was the 12th most visited page; Financial Aid was 11th. People read our blogs before they read about the Counseling Program. (It was 8th.)
- Here are some numbers for the 6 or so years of this SWC web site:
- A Blog about the Myers Briggs has had 86,177 views, and it is PEPPERED with links to other SWC pages
- By comparison, our Art Therapy/Counseling page has 52,744 views—-over 33,000 FEWER
- “Financial Aid” has 23,753 views—Money. Big stuff. 6th most popular page
- “The Difference Between Counseling & Counseling Psychology” has 14,862 views, and “11 Things You Need to Know About Being a Therapist” has 14,307 views
- The New Earth Institute has 14,926, only a few more than those last two blogs
- 9,612 views for “Information for Prospective Students”
- Deborah Schroder is ALWAYS the most popular faculty member that people look up—she had 2,392 views over the years, about 1/7th the number that look up “11 Things You Need to Know About Being a Therapist”
What a Blog Is, and What It is NOT
- A blog post is not “War and Peace”, for length or depth
- A blog post is not the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, for beauty and turn of phrase
- A blog post is more like an intelligent, or clever, or fun, or funny, or informative, or insightful conversation taped on an iPhone. It is not perfect, and does not HAVE to be perfect. Younger people, ESPECIALLY, are not looking for perfect, or polished, and definitely not slick—they are looking for “Real”
- A blog post is timely. You would not see a concert tonight, and write the most gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing review ever written, and publish it 3 years from now—You get it out tonight, tomorrow at the latest. It is NOT a work of art, and is not MEANT to be
- If you are a good writer, and you know if you are or you are not, then you do not agonize over a blog—it is not MEANT to be agonized over, and does not WANT to be agonized over—You write it from the heart, proof it, and then whoever publishes it on the website proofs it, and guess what—if there are STILL errors—you can edit them. Boom. (Professional and Published writers have the damnedest times blogging….)
- It is not about you and your great wondrousness of expression—it is about connecting with a reader, with a prospective student. It is less like a graduation speech and more like speed dating. OK, I am being glib. But you get the point…Somebody will be offended by that comment–the risk you take in blogging….
- Some of our most articulate, charming, charismatic, and compelling instructors do not write one word for or about Southwestern College or the New Earth Institute, and prospective students have no idea that they teach at this school—it’s a damn shame
- In my private practice, I would say my blogs bring more clients than anything—they read them, they get a sense of who I am, they call me (by the dozen), and they tell me they read stuff I wrote, and it resonated with them…People resonate to authentic, to real…(And I have not doubt (SEE–I caught that grammatical error two days after I published this, and I can just fix it….) that OTHERS read my blogs and think “Holy crap, I would NEVER go see THAT guy!!!)
- Dru introduces a LOT of prospective students to me, and I cannot tell you how many mention that they have been reading my blogs, and they feel like they already know me. It is a cool feeling, and it used to surprise me, but no longer does, it happens so often…
- Are all of my blogs Great Events of Wonder? No. I have also had people tell me that this or that blog was too long (thanks, Claudia), or that other one was culturally insensitive, or that latest one was just a freaking rant. OK, thanks. I have written more than 500—I am SURE some of them suck. But the ones listed in the stats above were all ones I have written, and they obviously got people’s attention. My blogging is a work in progress…
OK, Jim, So What?
So what is that I am inviting you to make a contribution to the College, NOT in the form of a check, but in the form of a reflection on the school, or a story about an experience you had here, or about an instructor that really changed your life, or about a class you taught that was awesome, and moved your spirit.
That is what prospective students want to hear about. The numbers speak. They read this stuff. They WANT to read this stuff. They want to hear from you.
Thanks for reading this. Think about maybe writing. And remember—you do NOT have to write Ulysses, or King Lear, or Slouching Toward Bethlehem. It’s just a conversation. It’s talk over a beer, or a latte, or on a walk in the woods…
It’s one powerful way we get prospective students to know about Southwestern College…Please let that sink in…
(This blog was WAY too long, and I bet Claudia tuned out a long time ago….Still sharpening those skills…..)