Four years. The crazy thing is that I never meant to blog full-time, but blame it on my neurosis, I’ve managed to get over 5 million blog views since 2012.
5,000,000 page views when I wasn’t even trying. <screams>
In addition to the page views, I’ve managed to find some of the best teachers/writers to write about their experiences in the classroom. Several of them have been published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, wrote books, and even been interviewed by their local news on education related issues.
So this year it’s taken me a minute to figure out the question that’s been on my mind-what’s next for The Educator’s Room.
Simply speaking, we’re going to keep writing and keep talking about what’s going on in public education. However, this year I want to give some help to teachers who blog about how to increase their page views in 2016. (Note: I know it’s March and I should have wrote this article in January but I’ve been busy.)
Before you read further let me say this all of this advice is what I wish someone had told me back in 2012. These are things I learned while trying to balance being a full-time teacher (and now Instructional Coach), but there’s no better way to say this.
Maintaining a site like The Educator’s Room is hard work.
-I get up at 5:30 am and schedule all of our social media posts for the week.
-All of my extra money and time is spent trying to improve the site.
– I have had to defend my site to a former supervisor.
However, despite the “growing pains” I know that running this blog has totally put me where I need to be in this moment of time.
So here goes my advice.
1.Build your audience across Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. Starting off I really had no plan surrounding social media. I simply wrote a post and afterwards I’d haphazardly share it with all of my Facebook friends and that was it. However, looking back there are A LOT of teachers who use Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook so every teacher blogger should be intentional about having authentic engagement on all of these platforms. Think about it like this. You go into a jewelry store and as soon as you come in everyone says hello, but they never interact with you on a personal note. What if that one employee not only asks you how you’re doing, but engages in small talk with you to see what your needs are with the store. More than likely when you’re ready to purchase you will go back to that employee to make the sale.
Think about it like this. You go into a jewelry store and as soon as you come in everyone says hello, but they never interact with you on a personal note. What if that one employee not only asks you how you’re doing, but engages in small talk with you to see what your needs are with the store. More than likely when you’re ready to purchase you will go back to that employee to make the sale.
It’s the same thing with engagement of social media. While it’s important to share your content, it’s JUST AS important to engage (answer/ask questions, post resources, etc.) with your readers- likely other teachers. To be honest, teachers are likely the toughest readers in the world. Our time in the classroom has the ability to leave us sarcastic and we can see through “mess” in record time.
Another important point about engaging on social media is learning how to tailor your content via the different mediums. On Pinterest you get more views using longer, slender graphics, while on Facebook and Twitter it’s important to interact (comment, tag, use hashtags, etc.) with your followers.
2.Stay connected with your audiences through email. As teacher bloggers already know, social media is fickle and all it takes is one changed algorithm for your readers to no longer receive an update from you. So I advise all teachers to capture their reader’s email addresses within the first five seconds of being on the site. This can be a simple plugin through Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc., but this must be done to stay connected with your audience.
For us, once we have a teacher’s email address we never sell it and we use it to keep our readers abreast of giveaways, news updates, and just to get to know us as people and not just our stance on educational issues. Simply put, have a way to not only capture emails on your site, but also figure out a way to use them.
3. Diversify. Diversify. Diversify. Many teachers depend on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers to bring in a little more income and that’s fine, but as you can see TpT is flooded with products so unless you’re one of their top sellers you may find yourself penniless at the end of the month. I would recommend that teacher bloggers create resources (e-book, subscription service, etc.) and sell it directly on their site.
Selling to other teachers can be finicky so make sure your products are of quality. Write about your resources, show previews of them and give some of them out for free so teachers can trust you. As a teacher, I don’t buy anything from someone (or something) I do not trust.
4. Network with other teacher bloggers. In every school I’ve worked at I’ve had a “Work BFF” who helps me get through the day. This person has helped me get my job down with support in knowing what I was going through in my classroom. We’d have lunch dates (on professional learning days), work out together, and just try to have fun. The same concept as a “Work BFF” is what you need in this blogging world. You need other bloggers who will share your posts, listen to you complain about your page views, and tell you what to do when you get offered a campaign. In the four years that this site has been up the only bloggers who I’ve worked with are the teachers who write for us who also have blogs. However,
This year you should identify some teacher bloggers you admire and reach out to them to see if they’re interested in partnering up for some blog roundups or other collaborative opportunities. You need a tribe in 2016 and beyond.
5. SEO counts Have you ever written a great blog about interactive notebooks along with great graphics and (free) resources, but no one reads the article? One great way to get more people to see what you write is for you to pay attention to SEO or better known as Search Engine Optimization. While this can be a complex topic, SEO basically means how many times your content will show up in search engines like Google or Yahoo. If you don’t have a lot of time to optimize your site, download the plugin Yoast and begin to play around with keywords, meta descriptions, etc.
This year I’m going to take 1-2 times a month and just drop some knowledge that I learned for my other teacher bloggers. If you have a teacher blog, please drop your URL below and join our Facebook group for teacher bloggers.