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School Marketing Blog

The professional school marketing manager needs to be up-to-date with the latest school marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the school marketing plan. This school marketing blog enables school marketing professionals to engage in blog discussions relating to the school marketing issues of today. The 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

Monday, April 02, 2012

Free or Inexpensive

A successful school marketing plan and budget will need to incorporate most of the top ten free school marketing strategies if it is to be successful. The top 10 strategies can be free, or at least relatively inexpensive, depending on the school’s present arrangements.

By effectively using the media and the school website, there should be little expense activating these top 10 strategies, especially when the digital option is the primary method used, instead of hardcopies. If it can assumed that the school has a website, which can be managed by the school, as well as a school signboard and a good digital camera, then these strategies can be implemented for free or little expense.

The first strategy is in itself free, yet is also reliant upon a number of other key strategies to be implemented successfully – ‘Word of Mouth’.

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

1.    Word of Mouth - School's Reputation
2.    Quality Teaching and Opportunities for Students – Curricula and Extra Curricula Activities
3.    Professionalism of staff in action and appearance
4.    School Website
5.    Use of the Media - both traditional and contemporary – including editorial, images  and advertising
6.    Information Sessions - night and day times – including observation of the school in action (a transparent approach), parent nights, entertainment by students, school boards and parent associations, open days, etc.
7.    Newsletters and Flyers - digital (and hardcopy where needed)
8.    Front Signboard
9.    Social Networking Sites e.g. Facebook and Twitter
10.  Cross Information (within the region’s schools or parish)

The number 1 strategy, ‘Word of Mouth’, is dependent on those espousing various views about the school being well informed. To do this, the next 9 strategies have an important role to play.

The school needs:

•    to have a high quality curriculum,
•    an easy to use professional website,
•    the ability to engage the local media so that the good stories are told to the whole community, and even the negative stories being told with the school’s professional approach for solutions being seen in a positive light,
•    openness to various visits to the school and
•    the acceptance of the place of the digital flyers and newsletters

•    acknowledgement of the place of social media in today’s digital world.

Conclusion

Free key strategies are often the best approaches to marketing your school. When the school has set up a professional website and the school community has a positive attitude toward the school and what it offers, along with what the digital age can offer, then a free, or relatively inexpensive, school marketing plan is possible. This approach can also work when the attitude of the community is not as high – however, there may need to be a need for various forms of paid advertising to counteract such negativity. The best school marketing plan would incorporate most of the free top 10 strategies for marketing your school.

The 'Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com



Television Advertizing for Schools - Beware the Challenges

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Schools may gain considerably from television advertising but there are a number of challenges to initially overcome if this advertizing pathway is selected. Is television advertizing a part of your school marketing plan?

It’s cool!” Even more cool than radio - A commonly held view by many in the school community. Televsion is one such form of media advertizing for schools.

Television advertising is an expensive form of advertizing. It is difficult to justify the expense / success ratio! Television is most likely seen as the coolest main-line commercial medium.

Beware: the challenges!
  • Quality

Television advertising is fraught with various levels of the ‘cringe factor’ if not produced and presented in a very professional manner.

Quality is paramount, as all weaknesses are multiplied when shown on air.

  • Large Cities
Capital city advertising is very expensive. Similar to radio, there remains the question as to whether there is any benefit in advertizing over a large area for a specific school in one location.

System level advertising would often be of benefit for those schools within the region. There is also the flow-on effect of like schools e.g. other Catholic Schools being seen as equivalent to the advertised ones.
  • Smaller Cities and Towns

Smaller cities and towns also have the question mark over the effectiveness of this form of advertising against the cost involved. Quality of production may also be questionable.

The local television channels usually only produce a nightly news program. All other shows are normally direct feeds from the main networks. The advertizing is added from the local station and interspersed with the major companies’ adverts.

The major question here is - how many people watch the local station when they could be watching the main networked station?

Hence, how successful would placing local adverts through the local station be?

Television Station Advertising List – Learn from…
  • The best way to decide on this is to see the local channel’s list of advertisers.
This is easily obtained from the station’s advertising consultants. Once you have the list, check the businesses, schools and community groups, etc, which advertise.
  • Does this advertising list inspire you to also advertise with this channel?
It may become apparent that no really significant local or larger business accounts exist and hence there is probably little reason for you to use this form.

If the major businesses and community groups don’t use it, there is usually a good reason why. This reason is most likely that the number of viewers is limited.

A case could be made for regional or system level advertising in these smaller places.
Once again, check who are the present advertisers and decide whether this suits your SMP.

Other topics and strategies covered in the School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed) 2011 are:

Creating a Television Advertisement for schools:
  • The Proposal
  • Professional Quote / Professional Proposal
  • School Marketing Manager and Advertizement Preparations
  • School Personnel and Facilities
  • SMM's Role in Production
The 'Television Advertizing for Schools - Beware the Challenges' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com

Branding for School Marketing

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Branding is often a person’s first contact with the school. It is usually a visual image seen. It may also be a verbal input. This should be a key aspect of your school marketing plan.


Branding’s importance must not be underestimated.

First impressions do count!



First Impressions

The first impression may be gained from the following:

•   Reputations of school as espoused from someone within the community or other family member, friend or work asscoiate

•   Website design

•   Welcome by office staff  / office decor, etc

•   Prospectus / Information Pack - cover, pages and inclusions

•   Uniform of students and office staff

•   Stationery received

•   e/i-Newsletter, newsletter or newsletter design and front page content

•   Telephone call response by office staff / voicemail response / telephone transfer instructions / dedicated line for upcoming events recording, etc

•   White and Yellow pages listings

•   Advertisement in newspaper or magazine, radio, etc

•   e/i Flyer or Flyer

•   Student or staff at school

The branding of the school needs to be well considered and representative of the school’s vision and mission.
It needs to show how the school is to be seen within the community.


Uniformity

Branding needs uniformity to be a powerful, positive tool.

Mixing and matching branding causes a weak and disjointed image to be apparent. This is to the disadvantage of the school in a number of ways. The confusing images distract and hence do not leave the desired impact. The school may be seen itself as disjointed and ‘not together’ and hence causing various follow-up difficulties.

Other sections covered in the school marketing manual include:
  • Key Branding Areas - Primary, Secondary and Tertiary
  • Branding Changes
  • Creativity of Design

The 'Branding for School Marketing' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com


Photojournalists - Essential for Schools

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photojournalists are essential for a schools success. They get the 'every picture tells a thousand words' to the general population.

Photojournalists are responsible for getting the best photos they can for their particular media outlets. Photos, like pictures, tell a thousand words - hence you need the best photo possible for your circumstances. Photojournalists will most likely have good ideas to best represent the image you or they want covered.

Photo sessions are usually enjoyable times for all involved. It is not often that people appear in the media.

The photojournalist usually works with the journalist who is covering the story. Yet it is often the photojournalist who decides which photos will be used.

There will be times when the media outlet only wants a photo and just sends a photojournalist. At other times you will need to arrange for interviews and photos at the same or similar times. However, at other times, the interview may happen over the telephone and the photo taken at a separate time. Even though most stories require a photo, sometimes it is not required.

Own Professional or Business Photos

There may also be times when the media outlet is quite happy for you to send your own photos by email instead of having the photojournalist come out.

This usually happens after the outlet appreciates the quality and content of your professional or business photos and the professionalism of your photographers.

This is more common with the smaller publications, or for photos accompanying editorial in special features and for advertising.

Rest assured that the outlets will invariably send out a photographer if you feel you need one.

Marketing Manager and the Photojournalist

The Marketing Manager, or selected well informed staff member, needs to attend all photo sessions. The Marketing Manager should treat it as an enjoyable time and it most likely will end up being so.

You are free to offer suggestions, though the final decision does rest with the photojournalist. Their employer is their media outlet (and not your business) and hence the photo taken is what they want. However, in most cases, the photojournalist is working with you and for the profession or business to be seen in the best light.

It is in their best interests to work with you for many reasons, including the media outlet's need for a good standing in the community. They will also possibly want photos, reactions or stories from your profession, business or field down the track. However, if you are being unfairly obstructive, then follow-up photos for other stories at other times may be few and far between.

For specific details of the unique school situation for dealing with photojournalists see Photojournalists and Schools - Duty of Care.


The 'Photojournalists - Essential for Schools' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com


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