Telling Your School’s Story IS your Main Marketing Strategy

I believe that the best way to market your school is through stories.

Think about it. All of life is a series of continuous stories that build upon one another.

We live in a story. We relate to stories. We love to listen to stories. And, we can see ourselves in a story.

Everyone loves a good  story. Whether it is a story about what happened in the last few minutes of a football game or a life-changing story about your spouse, career or children, we all have stories to tell.

Last week I was in Hawaii (this week I am in Minneapolis!). While I would have been nice to be on vacation last week, I was there to work with Hanalani Schools in Mililani, a preK to 12th grade school of 735 students, to develop their school’s enrollment and marketing plan. (I should have worn an Aloha shirt since this is the typical dress for their administration!)

When I walked into their head of school’s office, I saw a white board with a diagram on it. Their leadership team had listened to my edSocialMedia webinar last week — Using the WEB to inspire WOM (click on the link to listen to this webinar). After the webinar, their head of school, Mark Sugimoto, led them in a discussion of the process of creating a sustainable story telling model to market their school.

This discussion should take place at every school.

You certainly have many stories to tell about your school—your people, your programs and the difference your school makes in students’ lives.

The key for you and your school is to create a system for collecting and sharing your stories. I believe the problem is not in your lack of stories, but the lack of a coordinated effort to tell your story online. You need a process to collect and distribute stories.

During my webinar, I shared examples of how private schools use the web to tell their story online to help inspire word of mouth.

A good story can inspire word of mouth. This is why storytelling is essential for your website and social media channels.

In my review of school websites, I believe that storytelling is one of the most common areas of weakness. After a while all of the school websites begin to look the same. Instead of engaging an audience and drawing them into a compelling story, we opt for the dry, boring and typical school presentation that doesn’t work.

What if your website and social media channels focused on telling stories? What would that look like for your school?

It should look different.

Take a minute and quickly review your school’s website. How many stories did you find?

How many stories of your students, parents, faculty and alumni did you find?

What methods did you use to tell your stories? Pictures? Video vignettes? Blog Posts? E-Books? Pins?

Your website should be the home for your stories. Your social media channels should be used to distribute your stories and drive traffic back to your website.

Your school’s marketing effort should look different when it is focused on telling stories.

How do you tell your school’s story online?

What do you need to do to enhance your marketing effort to tell stories?

How can we help?