How to Create Content When You’re Overbooked and Understaffed

Nothing engages your audience with your school like a good story, informative post or fun video. And your campus is bursting with great stories. 

Content is king in business and in the business of enrollment management. Regularly publishing relevant content that resonates with your prospects and current audiences can help drive enrollment and retention and bolster word of mouth. In fact, high-quality content is one of the best ways to strengthen your school’s brand.

Trouble is, nearly every school communications staff struggles to find the time, staff and budget to create the regular, engaging content needed for effective, enticing messaging.

There are several ways to craft new content or repurpose great content that you’ve already published.

Know your prospects’ pain points.

First, your content should answer the questions people have about your school. Dig deep into the exit interview data for those students who have left your school for another and for those families who were accepted but chose another school. Why did they go elsewhere? What questions did they not get answered?

Consider asking first-year families about their recruitment experience. What did they wish they knew when they applied? What were their top concerns when looking for a school? Why did they choose your school? You could do a survey and give a gift card to the school store to each respondent or some spirit swag.

The answers you receive should shape where you focus your content-creation efforts. Did families wish they knew more about college counseling at your school? Do a Q&A with your college counseling staff (or better yet, a video interview). Or perhaps host an “ask me anything” style live event on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn with your head of school, dean or financial aid officer.

Maybe there is a document that the college counselors already use with families that could be modified into a blog post or downloadable PDF to demystify the process. Posting an interesting and informative infographic on your Facebook page is a great way to repurpose data that already exists. This process could be used over and again for a variety of topics: financial aid; Kindergarten readiness; STEM opportunities; how to balance academics and co-curriculars, etc.

Tap your ambassadors.

The best people to talk about your school are only a question away. Ask a group of people – faculty, seniors, the coaching staff, the 10th reunion class– a single question, such as:

  •  What do you love about [YOUR SCHOOL]?
  • What’s your favorite school tradition and why?
  • What does the school motto mean to you?
  • To ask your faculty: What’s your favorite book and why?

The answers you get become your post. You can double-dip and promote an event with this format. When tickets go on sale for the school musical, ask the cast and crew what they love most about the show and why. Put their answers in a post with a video of a rehearsal clip and a link to purchase tickets.

You also will gather great pull quotes for the website. Create social media posts with some of the answers and ask followers to respond to the same question. 

Mine the podium.

Your students, faculty, school head, alumni and parents already have said what you need to tell prospects. Look no further than speech transcripts from recent Convocation, alumni and donor events, graduation, opening of school – even candidates’ speeches for class offices. Pull a few sentences from each that address what is unique or special about your school.

Compile these nuggets (with the name, title and photo of who said it and what the occasion was) into a single post. You can group them thematically under the title of “The [SCHOOL NAME or MASCOT] Spirit.” Using Canva or another design program, create social media posts of single quotes. It’s a great tool to use for making quick, branded content that can be posted across channels in a creative and compelling way. 

If you have video from these events, edit a compilation video of clips of people talking about how much they value the sense of community, love of learning, etc. at your school.

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.

You have separate YouTube videos of the homecoming game, the Senior Skits, Spirit Week and graduation. Re-edit clips of your school’s traditions into a single “Our Favorite Things” video. Add a few graphics that explain each clip – “Faculty/Student Basketball Game, Beloved Since 1985” – and your viewers will feel like they are part of the fun. 

Watch your existing videos for other content that can be re-edited into new content and used on other platforms. Breaking up your collection of videos into Reels for Instagram or TikTok videos will allow you to show up across a variety of channels.

Check out our post on tips for embracing TikTok for school marketing. 

If there are great alumni profiles in your magazine, ask the magazine designer to create a PDF of the article or single profile and post it to your social media sites or offer as downloadable content on your website. A page of “Meet our Alumni” with their profiles (already nicely designed and written in recent magazines) can be effective and evergreen (at least for a few years). These types of profiles can also be repurposed on social media channels like LinkedIn for further engagement.

Have you written about a specific student program you want prospects to learn about in your magazine or recent web news article? Write a short recap about the program, include a pull quote from what’s been written and compile previous content in a single post (link to download full magazine article, existing video on the program, link to web news, photo gallery, etc.). 

On-demand is on point.

Make it easy for your audiences to stream your content. Compile all your video and digital content (podcasts, etc.) in one, easy-to-find place for prospects. Host it on your admissions page and share the link with prospects, alumni and current families in e-newsletters and as part of your email signature. 

During the pandemic and virtual admissions, Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, NJ gathered all its content and created an on-demand content website page.

Consult your experts. 

Your colleagues are a treasure trove of information. Schedule times to do phone recording or Zoom recording on any number of topics. Keep it short (three questions), brand it with a title slide and add a little intro music (copyright free). Publish them on social sites, on your blog and in a newsletter sent to prospects and your current audience and as a series. 

These “point of view” video nuggets are an engaging way to put your thought-leaders’ voices and expertise in front of your prospects about parenting and educational topics. 

Possible topics include Q&As with:

  • Head of admissions on steps parents should take to find the right school for their child
  • Reading specialist on Kindergarten reading readiness
  • School nurse for advice on how to keep children healthy throughout the year at school and at home (this can turn into an easy-to-read check off-list)
  • School counselor or teachers on helping students to follow through with homework 
  • Athletic director on playing college athletics and recruiting process
  • Food service manager on healthy/enjoyable food to pack in childrens’ lunches and make available for snacks

If you are hosting an alumni panel on medicine, public policy, etc. for Reunion Weekend or another campus event, capture that alumni expertise to show outcomes and engage viewers. If the panel is virtual, be sure to record it and re-edit into a shorter clip (with lower-third graphics to list name, graduation year, title and organization). In-person, video the event or capture quick clips post-event. 

You could start these clips with a title card — How do you define success? What do you feel is most important to the future of medicine/public service/filmmaking/etc.? — to organize the clips.

Choose a theme. 

The same idea of short video nuggets can be adapted to showcase your school’s distinctive programs. Canvas the STEM faculty, for example, to find out when they are teaching great hands-on projects. Make a plan to visit a few classes and record some footage of students and a quick interview with the teacher about the lesson. Spread the content out over a few weeks to create an engaging series that will keep prospective students and families coming back for more. 

Depending on how many you have (or how many grades/divisions you need to showcase), these can be individual videos or one video simply titled, “STEM at [YOUR SCHOOL]. While you’re in the classes, be sure to snap a few still photos for print and social media use, too. This can work for the arts, a stellar internship program (have students take and narrate what they do at their internship or mentorship), etc. 

Or simply choose a time of day, say, the start of your school day. Does your head of school or division head open car doors and shake hands in the carpool line? Take a short video with a quote from him/her. Ask students and teachers as they are coming into the school (at their locker, getting ready in their classroom) what they are most excited about for the day ahead. Edit the footage into a fun “How We Start Our Day” video. Parents and prospects will love and share it.

Creating authentic, on-brand content that perfectly captures your school’s distinctions — and captures the interest of your audiences — takes some time and effort, but the low-hanging fruit is there for the plucking. 

How can we help you with content creation or digital marketing strategies? Contact us today.

President’s Notes
Jonathan Oleisky

Jonathan Oleisky

Read the latest post from Kalix President Jonathan Oleisky.
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