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school marketing news

How to implement storytelling in school marketing

Posted by Brock Ashton

How to implement storytelling in school marketingOne of the best lessons I’ve learnt in my career to date, is this: facts tell; stories sell.

A throwback to my days as a retail manager, this adage was something I lived by, and is something I still remember when crafting the next marketing message for my client.

Facts tell; stories sell.

People remember stories. They won’t necessarily remember how many of your students graduated Year 12 in the top 1% of the state, but you can bet they’ll remember the students that overcame adversity to succeed; the students that were encouraged by inspirational teachers, that participated in every extra-curricular activity they could, that grew up with deeply rooted values and beliefs that were ingrained throughout their education.

If you want an example, check out the story of Deng Thiak Adut and you’ll see the power of storytelling.

We recently sat down with Gabrielle Dolan who discussed the need for storytelling in businesses and schools. If you haven’t already listened to this podcast I strongly recommend it.

So for many marketers, the question now becomes: How do I implement storytelling into my school’s marketing? Well, like any good story, yours should have three key parts: a beginning, middle and end.

Start with context – the beginning

You need to provide readers with context, or else you’ll end up confusing your audience.

  • Where and when the story takes place?
  • Who is the main character?
  • What do they want?
  • What obstacles are in the way?

Remember to be authentic – people can tell when someone is disingenuous from a mile off, so don’t go making up details to add flair.

Key takeaway: map out your journey from start to finish. Planning will help you identify sticking points, and can also show you how to frame your story.

Add in action – the middle

Every story has something the protagonist needs to overcome. Perhaps your top graduating student finished Year 7 at the bottom of the class? Obstacles create tension and help you connect with your audience – especially so if it is something they can relate to (such as moody teenagers).

Key takeaway: Everyone has their own barriers. Be open and genuine about yours. The connection with your audience will be a lot stronger because of it.

Happily ever after – the ending

Conclude your story with the outcome – whether it was good or bad. Show how the protagonist overcame their obstacles, how they learnt from the mistakes, and how they grew because of it.

Key takeaway: Let the audience come to their own conclusions. Give them enough so they can work it out for themselves. Never finish with ‘so the moral of the story is’, or ‘from now on do this’.

Now, go back and watch Deng’s story againwith each of these steps in mind and you’ll see how these three simple steps, when properly planned and executed, can come together to create something magical.

To learn more about how to implement storytelling in school marketing, contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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This blog was written by Brock Ashton

When he isn't writing blogs or providing marketing communications support to clients, Brock spends his time reading fiction novels or chasing oval shaped footballs around a paddock. You may occasionally find him in your local Japanese restaurant, fuelling his passion for unique cuisine and culture.


Topics: Education, imageseven, Communication, Marcom, School marketing strategy, School marketing, Storytelling