The Head of School as Chief Marketer and Storyteller
Marketing begins at the top. Current parents and prospective parents want to hear from the head of school. Not only do they want to hear news, they want to hear stories about your school.
The Head of School is the chief storyteller for your school.
“The leader’s role in the organization can be that of primary storyteller. The leader creates the story, lives the story, keeps the story alive, and coaches everyone in the organization to tell the story” (Jantsch, The Referral Engine, page 78). (By the way, this is a must read for every school marketer!)
When I was head of school, I tried to communicate stories whenever and wherever I could. Back then, I used snail mail to send out a “Direct Line” communication to parents once a month. I wanted my parents to hear from me some of the important stories and my “big picture” perspective of the school.
Today, with the explosion of technology, there are many ways for the head of school to communicate to parents. Besides the typical letter, email and small group meetings, I encourage school leaders to use blogs and videos to communicate to parents.
A head of school blog can be an effective tool to connect with parents and other constituent groups. One of the best ways for a school head to use a blog is to tell stories about faculty, students and alumni that connect back to the school’s mission and vision. Recently I asked Lorrie Jackson, Communications Manager at FinalSite, to recommend a few head of school blogs. Here are three to consider:
- Harbor Currents (Harbor Country Day School) – http://www.harborcurrents.org/page.cfm?p=504
- Peak Experiences (Summit School) – http://summitschool1.blogspot.com/
- 21K12Blog (St. Gregory School) – http://21k12blog.net/
Video messages are a way to bring the message to life. Don Mayes, Superintendent of Indian Rocks Christian School in Largo, FL, recently sent out his second video message to parents: http://www.experienceircs.org/SuperintendentMayesVideos.php.
This is a great tool to communicate news and stories in a personal and visual way. Not only can video messages be emailed, they can be posted to your website or to a YouTube channel. Prospective parents can find and view these videos and gain additional insight into your school.
The most important thing to remember is that the head of school is the chief marketer and storyteller at the school. The head of school must use every available tool, including videos and blogs, to tell stories. In turn, this will help to fuel word-of-mouth marketing for your school.