A Bullied Bus Monitor & Your School’s Marketing

A Bullied Bus Monitor & Your Private School's Marketing

Karen Klein’s terrible harassment at the hands of some teenagers made world news this summer.  Viral videos with millions of hits and over $600,000 raised on her behalf through social media made this one of the summer’s hottest topics.

The problem:  it’s summer – and no one is at your school to talk about it.

While I’m certain some administrators may react with “that doesn’t happen at our school” or “families often misuse that term“, the reality is that it is an issue on the minds of families.  And news stories like Klein’s only make parents feel more concerned for their children while at school (and the target of this bullying was an adult).

This is why bullying is a marketing issue.  Families are exploring where they can send their children for a quality education in a safe environment.  In terms of “bullying”, here are 5 things your marketing team should address as school begins next month: (more…)

Angry Words: Why Your School Needs Reviews Today!

Angry Parents:  Your Christian School Needs Reviews

You get an angry parent who not only lashes out to your Headmaster in person, but he takes it online.  Ouch.  It’s one thing for an exchange to happen behind closed doors on campus, but it’s a bigger deal when prospective families get to read about it online!

That’s why your school needs reviews today – right now – don’t delay!

I would encourage you to ASK your satisfied families to review you on 2 different places online:

  1. Your School’s Google Place Local Page – because Google is Google, if a prospective family is searching online using the most popular search engine, they will likely see a map listing alongside Place Local Pages for various area school’s matching the search person’s search terms.  The sheer prominence of Google reviews makes it a strong reason to have reviews there.
  2. GreatSchools.org is the other review site where you must have reviews.  Formerly integrated into the entirety of reviews on your Google Place Local Page (but now separated under an obscure link to “more reviews around the web”), families who know about GreatSchools may come here first to check out various things about the schools in the area.  Even the Today Show recommends this website for families to review schools. As well, GreatSchools got some national recognition in a recent article on Education Week.

Keeping a consistent flow of positive reviews is the very best solution for deflating the sting of an occasional negative review.  But they are not as easy to get as you might think – asking 10 families might generated 1-2 reviews.  Families are busy and they forget to do it – keep following up and asking.


No More Boring Marketing: Use Your Students’ Work

During the holiday season, there are countless opportunities for students in your school to draw, sing, or perform to celebrate the Christmas season.  But when the video is done or the curtain falls, what will come of such rich student-generated content? (more…)

VIDEO: Student-Generated Content

I love user-generated content – especially those done by students of your school (of course, this STAFF-produced video from a school in Texas is pretty cool, too!)  A few reasons why this is such high-quality content:

  • “Word of mouse” (borrowed term based on how easily such content is shared online) is widely popular because you get raw, non-slick productions that usually score big on the “authenticity” scale.  Friends share friend’s stuff (as do parents and grandparents!)
  • Whether it is a video, a blog post or an online review for your school, the passion of the student comes through loud and clear to your audience ensuring a strong connection.  Even the most well-written brochure often falls flat because the reader assumes it is typical promotional propaganda which is often ignored.

The idea for this post stems from a recent article by Brendan Schneider, Director of Admission & Financial Aid at Sewickley Academy in Pennsylvania.  Brendan gave a student this assignment with a simple guidelines and the result is pretty phenomenal.  Read Brendan’s post and watch the results for yourself!

PS – Here’s a student-created video from a local student at a private Christian school in Colleyville, Texas – pretty impressive!  This was not intended as “school marketing” content, but the word-of-mouth buzz happens because they school gets to showcase the creative talent of one of their students.  I found it posted on the school’s Facebook page.

What is Your School’s Brand Reputation Online?

Met with a great Christian school for the first of our 6-month engagement together.  When we do this, we always customize our marketing strategy planning to each school.  There is no such thing as a cookie-cutter marketing strategy.  It’s got to be focused on their unique location, situation, challenges, opportunities and where they are headed.

But one of the first areas we always tackle is obtaining online reviews.  While this is only a sliver of what comprises your social media system (see graphic above), we often go into quick attack mode because there are ALWAYS prospective families searching and investigating your school.

They may be:

  • following up on a postcard in the mail or a ad they saw in a magazine about your school – now it’s time for them to start their investigative process to determine if your current “customers” (your current families) are as excited about your school as you say they are in your printed piece
  • frustrated with the public schools and “just looking” into what other choices they might have
  • moving to the area and needing to find out what are the best schools in the area (watch this video where GreatSchools.org gets national attention)

Whatever the case, trust that there are always people investigating your school – so what is your school’s brand reputation online?

Here’s your 3-phase approach to making sure your positive brand reputation online: (more…)

GreatSchools Website – The Premier Place for Your School’s Online Review

Online reputation is critical to your school’s brand.  Ignoring it (like so many do, usually out of sheer ignorance of its influence) is no longer an option.

Your school, along with hundreds and thousands of other competition schools, are rated by students and parents on several review sites, such as Private School Review, but most families will visit GreatSchools.org.

It takes great intention and deliberate effort to get online reviews – while you will naturally (organically) get reviews from students and parents, you cannot also count on them being 5-star reviews!  It is not uncommon to think that the negative reviewers rant and rave a whole lot more than positive people give out compliments.  It’s just human nature.  So you have to be persistent, systematic, and diligent – make online reviews your friend!

Watch this video from NBC Today Show – where the real estate expert tells people where to get information about local schools when moving to the area – guess where she sends them?

Click on the video below:


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