This post was originally published on Aug. 3, 2018, and was updated on Aug. 9, 2022.
What’s the key to making more sales with an online business or blog? Getting more traffic to your website so you have the opportunity to make the sale, of course. But, how do you get more traffic to your site to make that money? Give the people content they want — and come late summer, what many people want are back-to-school guides. Let’s explore how you can create one of your very own, even if your business or blog seemingly has nothing to do with going back to school.
Unlike gift guides, back-to-school guides feature more than just products.
They should be filled with advice, ideas, even hacks that may help parents and students for the new school year. Yes, you ultimately want to sell something with back-to-school guides, but the main focus should be the educational content. It’s about what the reader needs.
For example, several years ago, I was trying to help an air freshener company sell their products by linking to them on Amazon within a blog post. However, the post was not directly about their products. What I did instead was I wrote a list of must haves for your college dorm room, and one of the items on the list was air fresheners from the company I was promoting. The post was informative, but not salesy. Therein lies the not so secret recipe for successful back-to-school guides.
You want to help the reader learn something.
With any luck, they will reward you for giving them that information with a sale. So, now that you know your guide should not be a full-blown sales pitch, what can you include in yours to gain traffic for your website?
Related: How to start a blog in 7 steps
What to put in your back-to-school guides
Consider your business or blog, and what you sell or write about. Then, brainstorm ways you can tie in your niche with students going back to school. Think about all of the different things a student needs for their school year, and what makes sense for you to offer them.
If you’re at a loss, below are some ideas that might help you get your own brainstorming ball rolling. However, before we get to that, let’s address the elephant in the room — the 2019 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on virtual schooling over the last few years.
While 2022 saw many students already back in school full time, some schools actually still offered virtual schooling options. In fact, Newsweek reported that as of August 2021, 38 states were setting up permanent virtual schools.
And, college students that got a taste of online classes during the pandemic realized that e-learning can take 40-60 percent less time when compared with conventional learning according to Guru 99.
The New York Times said, “Online schools are here to stay, even after the pandemic.” They went onto say that a study by RAND corporation revealed that roughly 20 percent of grade school administrators “had already started an online school, was planning to start one or was considering doing so as a postpandemic offering.”
Now that students and their families are aware of the benefits of virtual schooling, we can’t put the proverbial genie back in the bottle. So, what does this mean for your content? Effectively, when writing back-to-school guides it means that you should consider the implications of virtual schooling and what parents and students need to know to thrive throughout the school year.
With that in mind, in the content examples below, I’ll share e-learning content ideas too.
Beauty and fashion niche ideas
Let’s say you’re a salon owner or a blogger who writes about hair care. Your content could be about hairstyles that are quick to do for busy school mornings. Another idea could be hair care essentials to create a look that is popular right now. Include a tutorial and/or pictures and you’ve got the makings of a fabulous post.
Can you see the potential headlines? The perfect hair styles for back-to-school or Must-have hair care items to keep in your locker.
Related: How to write a great blog post
Another beauty niche is makeup. Ideas for the makeup niche might include:
- Keeping your makeup flawless from first bell to dismissal.
- How to do your makeup before school/ in under 15 minutes.
- The hottest lip gloss colors for back-to-school.
E-learning content ideas for beauty and fashion niches: Does hairstyle matter when attending virtual school?, How dressing for success can help you with virtual classes, Beauty staples to keep at your desk for Zoom calls or How to hide blemishes on camera for virtual classes.
Get fashionable by discussing the latest trends in clothes for school. You could include a back-to-school fashion post about mixing and matching pieces to create several outfits for the year, or write about the essentials every back-to-school wardrobe needs.
Health and wellness niche ideas
Perhaps you’re in the physical fitness space. Your content could include quick workouts for before and after school, equipment essentials for staying fit, or a breakdown of how often a student should be working out to be healthy.
What about a nutritionist? You could write about the best snacks to keep you going all day at school, or fast breakfast ideas to get you out the door.
Let’s not forget about skin care. This is part beauty and part health and wellness, but skin care for all students is an important topic. And, it’s something that those dealing with adolescent acne will be searching for. Your content could include tips for flawless skin, the importance of moisturizing and wearing sunscreen, and the best products for skin care.
Doctors can get in on back-to-school guides, too. A general practitioner can write about why you need an annual physical, or things to keep on hand to avoid getting sick. Pain management doctors and chiropractors can speak to avoiding injuries during extracurricular activities like sports.
Eye doctors can write back-to-school guides on the importance of a vision exam before school starts, and why not getting glasses/contacts can do more harm over time. Dentists can discuss best practices for good dental hygiene. Psychologists can write about staying calm during a stressful school year. You get the idea …
E-learning content ideas for health and wellness niches: Why physical fitness shouldn’t stop when attending virtual classes, The importance of staying hydrated at your desk, Ergonomics in eLearning – Choosing the best computer set up.
Related: How wellness blogs can bring you more customers
Home and garden niche ideas
Mommy bloggers could write about creating the perfect homework space, and what to include in the area. Another idea could be a guide to quick and easy school lunches.
Coupon bloggers can post about where the cheapest places to nab school supplies are. If your state has a sales tax holiday for back to school, you could also write about when it is, and what is included.
Interior decorators can speak to dorm room decor ideas. Another idea would be decorating ideas that promote studying, or help you get the best sleep to stay focused during the school year.
Organization specialists can write about keeping your room organized all year. You could even discuss why it’s important to stay organized and its correlation to getting good grades.
E-learning content ideas for home and garden niches: Getting your room virtual school ready, Creating a virtual school study area, Best deals on computer equipment for virtual classes, or How to create a camera-ready backdrop for your virtual class
Finance niche ideas
People in the personal finance space can write the ultimate guide to saving for college. Or, what about advice for staying out of debt while in college? You could write a post about how to invest while still in school as well.
E-learning content ideas for finance niches: Cost benefits of attending class online, How to save money when taking virtual classes, or Remote jobs to earn money between classes.
Insert your niche here
I know I’ve only covered a handful of niches here, but odds are the wheels in your brain are already starting to spin with ideas for yours. Once you start thinking about going back to school from the perspective of your business or blog, you’ll be more likely to find a connection that will inspire one, two or more back-to-school guides. Who knows? You might come up with several guides that you can create to generate loads of traffic.
Related: How to target back-to-school shoppers on your eCommerce site
A Word on SEO
It’s more important now than ever to keep SEO in mind when creating content for your back-to-school guides. As Forbes explained, “Investing in search engine optimization (SEO) for your brand in 2022 is more than a necessity—it’s a priority. SEO increases your chances of ranking on the first page of search engine results and optimizes your website’s visibility.”
There were roughly two billion internet users worldwide in 2010 Hubspot reported. By 2021, “there were over 4.6 billion.” With all of these users coming online, also came an influx of websites. As of 2021 Hubspot said there were nearly two billion websites compared with around two million in 2010.
A lot more websites are clamoring for the attention of the same people you’re trying to attract. That is why it’s so critical to get into the mind of your user and write content that they want to read.
Here are just a few posts on the Godaddy Blog that will help you up your SEO game so you can get your slice of the internet pie of traffic:
How can you make money with back-to-school guides without being salesy?
Notice that up to this point you really haven’t done any hard selling in your back-to-school guides. As a result, you might be wondering how you can actually make any money with them. I’ve got you covered. Here are a few ways to turn these guides into money making opportunities:
1. Include a compelling CTA
Include a call-to-action for your business, or for a product that you want to promote at the end of the post. For example, the salon owner can end with “book your hair appointment now,” or the beauty blogger could direct the reader to a sales page for the products mentioned within the post.
Related: 8 costly call-to-action mistakes you’re making on your website
2. Add affiliate links
Weave links for products you’re an affiliate for into the post. The fitness content should not simply mention the best fitness equipment to keep on hand, it should offer a shopping link for each of the pieces that are listed in the back-to-school guide.
Related: How to make money blogging
3. Form strategic partnerships
Partner with local businesses to sponsor your guide. For example, a home decor blog could collaborate with a home and garden store to promote the store. You charge the store an advertising fee, and then include a blurb and a link to them somewhere within the post. Depending on how large your back-to-school guide is, you could partner with several businesses to have many partners sponsoring it. Perhaps you could even host a local sponsored event before school starts, and promote the event in your guide.
Related: How to market a local business through strategic collaboration
Though these are common ways to make money via back-to-school guides, you will likely think of even more once you begin brainstorming.
What do you do with your back-to-school guides after they are written?
Promote them of course! The places you can promote your guide include, but aren’t limited to:
- Facebook and Facebook Live
- Instagram and Instagram Reels
- Your email list
Pro tip: If you post about your back-to-school guide on social media, be sure to include a trending hashtag such as #backtoschool.
If you mention any specific products, or have a sponsor for your back-to-school guides, ask for assistance in promoting your guide. For example, let’s say your guide is sponsored by a local bakery. Ask them to share your guide on their social channels and with their email list.
Remember, the more exposure you can get on your guide, the more likely you are to make a sale.
In fact, you could even share it with the local media and ask them to have you on as an expert for their back-to-school programming. Who knows? You could get more promotion for your business or blog than you ever thought possible.
Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business
That’s enough schooling from me for now I think. Time for some homework: Take the information from today’s lesson and create a back-to-school guide of your own. And yes, this will be on the test!