In the age of social media and digital technology, schools and districts have a broader reach than ever before. But that doesn’t mean that our target audiences will pay attention.
It’s one thing to be seen—it’s another entirely for those views to result in meaningful connections, engagement and partnerships. If you don’t have anything to offer your audience beyond a polished web presence, you likely will not generate much engagement.
When it comes to making a lasting impact, a brand narrative is key. Telling your story allows you to develop unified messaging that improves your communication and alumni engagement efforts.
Developing your narrative
When you begin considering your school district’s narrative, it’s important to think about what your audience really wants. Students, alumni, teachers, local officials, parents and community members are looking to develop meaningful connections. They tend to be trusting of brands that are genuine and relatable. In short, people want to know your story.
Below are three steps to take to create your school or district's brand narrative:
- Define your brand identity: Before you can use your stories to generate engagement, you need to develop a narrative. Your brand narrative is the culmination of your district’s history, its current work and its future goals. It’s helpful to write out the context to your district’s narrative, including when it was founded, what its goals were from the outset and what its trajectory has been up until this point. Also include where your district is headed.
- Gather stories: Once you have a framework to build on, you can begin creating stories that support your district’s narrative. Reach out to staff members, parents, students and alumni for personal stories about the work your school or district has done—and is doing—for the benefit of the students, families and the community. These stories can be incredibly powerful and should be incorporated into social media content, blog posts, guest articles, videos and printed materials.
- Share your message: It’s important to share content online and in print on a regular basis. Take the time to develop a comprehensive editorial calendar that includes blog posts, social media, brochures, e-newsletters and email updates. All these different platforms should be optimized to serve your overarching brand narrative and identity. Ensure that everyone in your organization who is responsible for publishing content understands the narrative and how to leverage it.
While developing a brand narrative for your school district takes some effort, it can go a long way toward amplifying your community and alumni engagement. Invest the time into honing your district’s identity. When you take a strategic approach to your narrative, you give your audience the opportunity to support an organization with a powerful message.