School leaders! Need to improve parental engagement? Or attract & retain new teachers or students?
Storytelling is the answer.
A compelling story is powerful. It differentiates your school. It impacts emotionally. It engages your audience at a deeper level…winning them over, influencing them, stealing their hearts. Stories resonate with peoples’ own memories and experiences and are remembered, shared and acted upon.
For these reasons, stories have enormous potential to address fundamental issues that your school faces. Telling stories – repeatedly and consistently – about the great things that your school does, will build trust and unity; it will build positive associations with your school; and it will engage your school’s community and create stronger relations. Below are just some of the benefits of telling your school’s story:
- Strengthen parent relations.When you tell a great story, it will be shared by parents and students within their circles. There is no greater marketing tool than Word of Mouth – it’s the most trusted and the most acted upon. This kind of endorsement is invaluable to a school in building parent relations and improving the school’s reputation.
- Boosting admissions.Stories inspire. They will get prospective parents and students excited about what your school offers and what it stands for.
- Differentiate from competitor schools.Stories provide real examples of the wonderful things happening in your school and will set you apart from other schools.
- Attract great teachers. Stories will communicate to prospective staff what’s great about your school and why it’s a fantastic place to work.
- Build staff morale.Sharing stories with staff will reinforce to them what’s great about your school and will build a strong school culture and create positive behaviours.
It all boils down to communicating what’s special about your school. Schools need to identify what this is, and then tell this story over and over again. Many schools are attempting this, yet are sounding like every other school with phrases such as “We nurture each and every pupil” or “We develop the whole child.” These phrases are fine but most schools are saying this stuff, and so don’t sound different to any other school. The key is finding your school’s unique essence and communicating this in a way that will stir the hearts and minds of your school’s community.
“It all boils down to communicating what’s special about your school.”
How to gather stories from your staff:
Schools have an enormous number of stories to tell and that’s hugely exciting. Here are a few tips for extracting those stories from key people e.g.
From Staff: ask for help at a staff meeting. Explain how you intend to use these stories to better represent the school and its successes and values in your marketing and communications. Start by sharing one of your own stories as a model to follow. Ask open-ended questions:
- “Tell me about a rewarding experience for a student in one of your latest classroom projects.”
- “Tell me about why you decided to work at this school.”
- “Share with me a memory about a time a teacher in our school had a positive impact on the life of a student or another staff member.”
Or try using props such as photos, images, music or audio to trigger memories or get people thinking.
From Students: ask them “What is it really like to be a student here?”. Consider running a competition where students record their favourite moments of being at school. Select the best stories and record the winners telling their story on video. This kind of content can be incredibly impactful and should be used on your website, blog and social media channels.
Schools have an enormous number of stories to tell and that’s hugely exciting.
Where can you use your school’s stories?
Everywhere is the answer!!
- School website
- Social media
- Staff meetings
- Press releases
- Staff interviews
- Professional development
- In the classroom
- Local media
Telling meaningful stories isn’t just a tool to use once in a while, finding and telling great stories is something your school needs to do regularly and consistently. Make story gathering an ongoing effort, and before long, you’ll have many wonderful examples of the special qualities and successes that reflect your school.
If you’d like to know more about telling YOUR school’s story, please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!