Crafting the ultimate back-to-school guide: boost traffic & engagement

11 min read
Ashley Grant

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 the content they want — and come late summer, what many people want is 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, and 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, in August 2017, I was trying to help an air freshener company sell its products by linking to them on Amazon through a blog post. However, the post was not directly about their products. What I did instead was 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 make money online through blogging & how much do bloggers make?

Tracing the journey: the evolution of back-to-school shopping

From the first day of school in early childhood education to the challenges of high school, the back-to-school shopping ritual has undergone significant transformations. In earlier times, parents would read through printed catalogs and visit multiple stores to ensure their children had everything they needed. Today, with the digital age and the trend of DIY, many parents and caregivers turn to online resources, seeking the best backpacks or DIY lunch boxes. The school supply list has expanded beyond pencils and notebooks to include tech gadgets and wellness products, especially with the reopening of schools post-pandemic and the emphasis on vaccination and mental health.

Crafting a comprehensive back-to-school guide: key elements

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, here are some ideas that might help you get your own brainstorming ball rolling:

Let’s say you’re a beauty and fashion agency 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 hairstyles for back to school or Must-have hair care items to keep in your locker.

Related: How to start a fashion blog, keep it going & even make money(!)

Another beauty niche is makeup. Ideas for the makeup niche might include:

  • Keeping your makeup flawless from the first bell to dismissal.
  • How to do your makeup before school/ in under 15 minutes.
  • The hottest lip gloss colors for back to school.
back to school guide makeup eye shadow pallette

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.

(2) Health and wellness: tips for a healthy school year

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 …

(3) Home and garden: preparing your space for study

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.

back to school guides supplies color pencils

Coupon bloggers can post about where the cheapest places to nab school supplies.

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.

(4) Finance: smart spending for the school season

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.

(5) Tailoring your guide: ideas for various niches

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.

Amplifying authenticity: the Power of user-generated content:

In today's digital landscape, the voices of young people, parents, and caregivers play a pivotal role in shaping purchasing decisions. Encouraging user-generated content, such as school lunch ideas shared by parents or DIY tips for bento boxes from creative teens, can add authenticity to your back-to-school guide. For instance, a parents' guide could feature real stories of managing back to school anxiety or strategies for supporting children with ADHD. By weaving in these genuine experiences, readers not only find valuable insights but also feel a deeper connection to the content, knowing it stems from real-life challenges and solutions.

Leveraging social media: strategies to promote your back-to-school guide

Social media has become an indispensable tool, especially during the school season. Platforms like Pinterest are flooded with DIY ideas for school lunches and creative bento boxes, while Instagram showcases the best backpacks and fashion trends for the first week. For students transitioning from early childhood education to secondary schools, platforms like TikTok offer relatable content on everything from back to school anxiety to English class hacks. As schools focus on reopening safely, discussions on vaccination, well-being, and mental health are prevalent. By leveraging these platforms and tapping into topics like daycare for younger children or addressing the concerns of caregivers about ADHD, your guide can resonate with a broader audience, ensuring it's not just informative but also timely and relevant.

Monetizing your guide: ethical strategies for profit

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. Crafting a compelling CTA: engage & convert

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.

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.

3. Strategic partnerships: collaborate for success

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.

Though these are common ways to make money via back to school guides, you will likely think of even more once you begin brainstorming.

back to school guides scrabble letter tiles

After creation: maximizing the lifespan of your back-to-school guide

Promote them of course! The places you can promote your guide include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Facebook and Facebook Live
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Instagram and Instagram TV
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Your email list
  • YouTube

Pro tip: If you post about your back to school guide on Twitter, 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 promotions for your business or blog than you ever thought possible.

Related: The don’ts and don’ts of social media marketing for SMBs

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!

The ultimate back-to-school guide summary

Crafting a compelling back-to-school guide is more than just listing school essentials. It's about understanding the evolution of school shopping, tailoring content to specific niches, and leveraging the power of user-generated content for authenticity. In today's digital age, social media plays a pivotal role in promoting these guides, ensuring they reach the right audience. But beyond creation and promotion, there's potential for monetization through ethical strategies like compelling CTAs, affiliate links, and strategic partnerships. As the school season approaches, it's crucial to not only create valuable content but also to maximize its lifespan and impact. Dive into the world of back-to-school content and harness its potential to boost traffic and engagement for your blog or website.

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