Latest eNewsletter

Issue 694 - 23-jul-2017

Take people behind the scenes of your school musical

St Philip's Christian College Newcastle created a 15 second television advertisement for their musical production of Mary Poppins as part of their promotions. They also created a Behind the Scenes video to give some insights into how complicated the show was to stage. This is an opportunity to hear from, and see, students which also means it is more likely to be watched and shared by school families.

As well as sharing the video on facebook the College uploaded it to their Vimeo. This strategy of sharing videos in two platforms is wise. Facebook is easy for your school community to share with their network. Vimeo, or YouTube, is generally easier to embed and feature in your website or school newsletters.

Well done St Philips. 

Mary Poppins TVC 15Sec from St Philip's Christian College on Vimeo.

Mary Poppins Behind the Scenes from St Philip's Christian College on Vimeo.

Issue 696 - 6-aug-2017

Is your school canteen menu worth media attention?

Does your school canteen and menu form part of your marketing mix in setting your school apart from others in the area? The canteen menu at Northern Beaches Christian School has raised the benchmark among schools and the news was picked up by several media outlets including TV and radio. See  > “No more devon and tomato sauce sandwiches! High school CANTEEN menu featuring turmeric lattes, smashed avo on artisan bread and vegan salted caramel”  The gourmet menu includes “artisian fruit loaf, tapioca pudding, Vietnamese rice paper rolls, 'Nonnas meatballs', deli sandwiches on sourdough, as well as turmeric and chai lattes.”

Several years ago I consulted for an Adventist School. They offered a vegetarian canteen menu in keeping with their beliefs. This menu raised an interesting and unexpected cultural challenge. Having a vegetarian menu was proving attractive to the local, and growing, Hindu community. The positive word of mouth among the Hindu community about the school – and its canteen menu – meant growing numbers of this one local ethnic group were being attracted to the school rather than a wider multicultural cross section of the changing community.

What does your canteen say about your school? Are there unexpected opportunities to use it as part of your proactive marketing?

Issue 697 - 13-aug-2017

Apple crumble video proves popular for St Andrew’s School

When your Early Learning Centre kitchen has a lady like Marie Drewett it is worth celebrating and sharing. Karin Dunsford, Director of Development at St Andrew’s School explained “Marie designs and prepares all of the meals for the boys and girls from the age of three year in the centre and they love everything she makes. Parents are always amazed that their children are so keen to try different foods, and they often prefer Marie’s recipes to the ones at home!” In response they made a video of Marie making her famous eggless apple crumble so that parents could make it just like the children have at school.  The video was shared via Facebook and YouTube and now is possibly the most popular recipe with their school community.

Karin also mentioned how “Young children can often be fussy eaters for their parents but at our ELC tables they enjoy the different menu each day. The children are also the ones who set the table and clear away afterwards and at the same time learn about table manners.”

What simple ideas from your own school community could you share in the same way?

Issue 698 - 20-aug-2017

Annual Anniversary Week at St Paul’s School

When all your students and faculty live on site your school community is naturally going to be different. Possibly this plays a factor in why the annual Anniversary Week at St Paul’s School is so successful.

The event, Friday to Sunday, includes an Alumni Parade where former students march together behind a sign of their graduating year. In addition there are performances, services, and Reunion dinners. “While some events are planned specifically for Forms marking a special anniversary (25th, 50th), all alumni are welcome to attend. Anniversary Weekend draws to a close on Sunday afternoon with the Graduation and departure of the Sixth Form.” Each graduating class is therefore being celebrated and watched by some of the 8000 other former students who attend the anniversary. Combining reunions with graduation may be logistically difficult but it may be an idea worth exploring.

Learn more at: St Paul’s Anniversary 

Issue 699 - 27-aug-2017

Does the homepage of your school website grab a visitor’s attention?

The first thing I noticed about St Andrew’s School website was an upside down student’s face. It is unexpected so engaging. 

The homepage features 20 students of different ages, interests, ethnicity and uniforms. Each high key photo on a white background includes an aspect of the student’s personality such as problem solver, diplomat, dreamer, whiz kids and smart cookies. A small cartoon and quote adds to the message. I believe the variety of students and their interests is a celebration of diversity and hopefully one where a prospective parent feels their own unique child will be accepted and encouraged.

Take a look at:

Issue 700 - 3-sep-2017

Celebrate the passion of your enthusiastic teachers

Most of us will have memories of a few teachers who stood out for their skill, passion, enthusiasm or advice. Having a diversity of teachers means students have a variety of role models. Mariah Calman is an art teacher at Ambarvale High School  near Campbelltown Sydney. Her unconventional teaching methods of including rap gained attention of artists, local and national media.

One of her students said "I've got to say one of the best classes I've ever had is an art class. Some days even if I don't have art it's why I come to school." Mariah Calman says "The rap was created as a way for students to retain in-depth concepts for deconstructing artworks. I think they see how devoted I am to my subject and enthusiasm is contagious."

I encourage you to read the articles and watch the ABC story
> Macarthur Advertiser - Creative teacher finds new fans
> ABC - Is this 'fearless' rapper the best art teacher on the planet?

Issue 701 - 17-sep-2017

Start your school term with a smile

At the beginning of every term Deidré Proxenos, Marketing Manager at Dainfern College in Johannesburg South Africa decorate their main entrance and two reception areas with balloons. Deidré says “It is a welcome back to all our staff, parents and students. We have had the most amazing feedback about it and it just lifts the spirits of everyone - after a long holiday, having to come back to school.”

This is a simple, colourful and low cost way to create a better atmosphere for your school community.

Issue 702 - 15-oct-2017

How to introduce a new school Principal

Changing a Principal can be very significant for schools. Parents, staff and students will have many questions. When Wycliffe Christian School introduced their new Principal David Johnston they chose to create a video. This allows the Principal to be heard and seen. Rather than have him talking to camera he interacts with students of a variety of ages and answers their questions. They also explore the school facilities which acts as a promotion of the school.

As a Christian school they emphasise this aspect of the Principal's faith. Overall, I thought it was a very good production to reassure their current community, set expectations, not be overly formal, answer common questions and showcase the school. 
Do you have examples from your school of introducing a new Principal, or thanking one as they depart.

Issue 694 - 23-jul-2017

Have a family tell others the advantage of enrolling in your school

Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing for any school. Video is a way of harnessing and amplifying this. On The Scots College website is a section titled The Scots Advantage. In it they have several stories from former students – some recent and some decades after they graduated. One of these is the Quigley Family

They write…
"The Scots Advantage for me is all about persistence and tenacity; that in this game things can get pretty tough at times. I think Scots teaches you that self-reliance, self-resilience and tenacity to see it through to the end. Scots boys never give up." Tony Quigley
  • Class of 1978
  • Farmer, Trangie NSW
  • Senior Boarder Prefect
  • Sons Tom, George, and Richie all graduated from Scots as Prefects, and Senior members of the Pipes and Drums band, Rowing, and Rugby squads.
You can then watch videos of The Quigley Family's story in beautifully crafted documentary style and interview format. The repetition in each video of the distinctive school emblem helps tie the series together.

Issue 696 - 6-aug-2017

A few minutes work makes a difference in media photographs

Sometimes I see media reporting on schools and don’t know whether to laugh, cry or cringe. Some local media are desperate for stories and schools can be a good source of simple articles. An article > “Heartland Christian School renovates classrooms, sees enrollment growth” is a very positive local news story about a small yet growing school improving its facilities. The article includes many quotes from the Director. However I felt the photo could have told a better story. It is best not to assume that a media photographer will take the time to stage a better photo so it is often up to us to help them in their role. 

It only takes a few extra minutes but to reinforce this schools promise of “Inspiring Excellence in Education” I would offer the following suggestions on improving the photo:
  • Include students (it is holidays so understandable they are absent but inviting some students for a sneak peek of the classrooms would make a better story)
  • Student work displayed on the walls (it is a new room so not always possible)
  • Not having chairs on the desks
  • Not having ‘artwork’ leaning against the wall on the floor
  • Staff member not wearing an IOWA t-shirt (though some may say it sends a positive message of being part of the community)
  • Not having keys around the staff member’s neck
  • Not having an unnatural pose – what is the teacher doing with her right hand?
  • Consider if there was a better angle to take the photo of the room
If you are going to the effort of creating a Press Release or inviting media to your school take a moment to help ensure they have something good to work with. I do understand also that sometimes photographers turn up at the most awkward moments and you need to make do with whoever is available. Local journalists and photographers can be a positive source of word of mouth marketing if treated well as they tend to know, and see, a wide cross section of your community.