In our latest Leadership Thoughtexchange, we partnered with the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and asked school district communications professionals to share innovative communication strategies, success stories and ideas for future learning and professional development.
Many districts expressed an interest in enhancing marketing and branding initiatives, but had questions around how to develop communications activities to foster ongoing brand engagement – especially content for social media and storytelling.
This blog post offers some creative ideas and practical advice from your fellow school district public relations and communications professionals. We welcome your comments, stories, and any ideas you may have around involving your community in your district’s dialogue in the comments section below.
Community Involvement and a Team Approach
Team Approach emerged as a top theme that could amplify a district’s communications reach and brand engagement.
The thoughts shared on this theme centered on creating specific communications plans, both online and offline, that align with the hearts and minds of local communities. By using these plans to empower local staff, students, and community partners to become brand ambassadors, districts can significantly expand the reach of their teams and amplify brand engagement.
1. Digital Media Team – Expanding Our Social Media Reach
We deputized someone or a team of people at each school to manage its social media presence. This allowed for more content to be posted for parents and the community, and content that was more relevant than what was shared at the district level. We took a planned approach with measurable results.
– Actual thought supported by 24 NSPRA members and assigned 67 stars
2. Create a Street Team
As professionals within a district, WE can’t be EVERYWHERE, but there are students, parents, and Community Members who can and will be. Create a Street Team of those core community members. Tap into PR positions in student organizations that exist in your school and have students take pictures etc.
– Actual thought supported by 24 NSPRA members and assigned 63 stars
3. Using Employees In Your Marketing Campaigns
In our city, garbage service was changing in a big way. The city surveyed all employees for unique skills. Then it created a singing group of 5 garbage men, wrote them songs, taught stage presence, called them The Collectors. They made appearances around town, made national headlines, won awards.
– Actual thought supported by 18 NSPRA members and assigned 45 stars
4. Sharing with Rivals
Schools in my area are small and don’t always have the resources to have communications people, photographers, etc., on their team so we cross teams. For example, at a multi-school event or competition, we take pictures of each other’s students and send them to each other
– Actual thought supported by 13 NSPRA members and assigned 30 stars
5. Localized National #DecisionDay
To make students proud about future plans. Our district capitalized on the growing trend of announcing college plans on #DecisionDay. The comm staff coordinated with each of our district’s high schools to organize events at each school. Students tweeted photos and video of their choice, while attending pep rallies and wearing college gear.
– Actual thought supported by 28 NSPRA members and assigned 29 stars
At Thoughtexchange, we partner with districts to develop a clear understanding of community interests and perspectives to support ongoing brand engagement and meaningful conversation with community members. We would love to hear your community’s story and help you tell it through ongoing interest-based conversations.