At Auburn University, Be Well is an online blogazine written by students, for students, and about all things health and wellness.
Leanne Greene, the assistant director of marketing for campus recreation at Auburn, described the beginning of Be Well as a way for a team of extremely creative and dedicated student marketers to provide relevant, entertaining, and educational health and wellness information to Auburn University students.
“We needed to challenge them and thought blogging might be a way to put many of the skills they would eventually need into practice,” said Greene. “Typically, we hire undergraduates majoring in public relations, marketing, graphic design, media studies and journalism.”
Primary topics of the blogazine include fitness, outdoor recreation, recipes, sports and wellness, in addition to a campus life and around Auburn section to prevent the high volume of fitness and wellness content from becoming monotonous. “Readers find tips, how-to guides, recipes, technology reviews, and a variety of resources to read, share and use in everyday life,” described Greene.
To market the blogazine and make the campus community aware, Greene finds most of their engagement comes from social media platforms. These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, with 76% often coming from Facebook and 10,000-plus followers on Instagram.
While social media is a main marketing technique, the blogazine also emails subscribers every Monday with a summary of new content for the week. “It is quite deceiving, because our subscriber base is very small compared to our readership,” said Greene. “We learned students may not subscribe, but they will certainly make the effort to seek out quality content.”
Greene also learned much of their traffic was transitioning to direct, or non-referred clicks. “We deduced traffic was coming from bookmarks, direct browser entries or from a link on our digital app,” explained Greene. “This was encouraging, as it indicated students were becoming aware of the brand and were pro-actively committing to engaging with us.”
Another technique that made a difference in traffic is re-promoting the previous year’s top stories. The blogazine reserves two days a week on their social media planning calendar to promote previous stories and gain more mileage from top-performing posts.
When considering a similar wellness marketing project on your campus, Greene emphasized to make sure you can sustain it for the long- haul. “As a team, we always make it a priority to consider the potential lifespan of any project we take on,” she said. “Because students matriculate, it is important to build a team that can easily transition and take on the roles of those that move on.”
Additionally, utilizing the right software for planning, scheduling and communicating with the team is imperative. “Creating a process or workflow that supports and documents each step will ensure the team remains accountable, informed, organized and motivated to do their best work,” said Greene.