July 2013 | Mindful Marketing | Blogging Basics

MindfulMarketingTrevised
By Megan Donahue

School owners, like anyone who owns a business that involves “face time,” understand the importance of good communication, and most of them put it at the top of their priority list. But if you’re like most school owners, you probably don’t have a chance to talk with every person who walks into the studio, and you might not have time to have a long conversation with each new parent. You certainly don’t get to chat with every person who clicks through your website. But there’s a work-around: blogging gives you the opportunity to have these conversations virtually.

If you’d like your blog to attract new customers and help retain current ones, it must be relevant, fun to read, and show the personality and life of your studio.

A blog can be a warm, informative, personal way to converse with everyone who clicks on your website. If you’d like the blog to attract new customers and help retain current ones, it must be relevant, fun to read, and show the personality and life of your studio. Here are some tips to make your blog shine.

Be yourself

Heather Fortier started her studio blog in January 2013, for her new studio, La Petite School of Dance, in Louisville, Kentucky. “It’s a great way to add a personal connection to our site,” she says. The majority of students at La Petite are very young, and Fortier uses the blog to educate their parents about the educational goals behind the fun activities the kids do in class. Even before they meet her, potential clients can read Fortier’s posts about the creative theme of the month and observe that she’s very child-focused. Fortier emphasizes her enjoyment of children on her website, Facebook page, and blog, and seems to have succeeded in conveying her studio’s mission across these platforms. “I have had people come in saying, ‘Your studio seems student-friendly,’ ” she says.

Update, update, update

Posting regularly can be a challenge, but doing so is important. Remember, you don’t have to write an essay each time. You can post pictures, videos, students’ questions with your answers, and quick recaps of the studio’s happenings. Frequent updates freshen your website, which may make it more prominent in internet searches. A blog that’s updated regularly will draw more traffic to your website.

Make it relevant to customers

A blog can be a convenient way to deliver news. “I try to use as many modes of information as I can,” says Shereen Daly of In Motion School of Dance in Watertown, New York. She uses a general studio blog to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on at the studio and has separate blogs for her Nutcracker production, recital costumes, and competition information. Instead of wading through numerous emails, parents can check the relevant blog. “When I don’t update something on the blog,” and parents call to ask for the information, Daly says, “that’s when I’m reminded that they do check it.”

Get students and parents involved

Sometimes what someone else has to say about your business is more interesting than what you say.

Tricia Bayer of Richard’s School of Dance in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, might not be able to provide each new parent with a “dance mom” mentor, but she’s given them one via her studio blog. At the beginning of the 2012–2013 season, she invited the mother of a longtime student to write a “Veteran Dance Mom 101” post, providing a parent’s perspective and a testimonial.

Showcasing your students is another way to draw their attention to your blog, and make them feel special. Collect funny quotes from your baby ballerinas, ask older students to write about their best dance experiences, or ask how adult students feel about coming back to class after all these years. Student posts can give potential clients an idea of what your studio’s community is like.

Social media works together

Make sure to advertise your blog via the rest of your social media. Every time you update your blog, link to it on your studio Facebook page and send out a tweet. You can use Facebook and Twitter to solicit topics for your blog, asking friends and followers for input about their experiences as school owners, dancers, students, or teachers.