Video marketing is a slowly growing trend for schools. But some school leaders are understandably reticent about the idea. This article takes a look at the advantages of using video marketing in a school context.
Despite the huge growth in the use of online marketing videos by all kinds of private and public sector organisations, many schools are either cautious or positively reluctant to include video in their school’s promotional strategy. Reasons that video marketing for schools isn’t more widespread include misconceptions about cost and return on investment, prejudices regarding the appropriateness of video marketing (or any other form of marketing) in the world of education, concerns about disruption, and also safeguarding concerns for those involved. However, with video firmly established as a dominant force in online marketing and with national policy forcing schools into ever fiercer competition, perhaps it is time for abstainers to reconsider their position.
Why should my school use video as part of its marketing strategy?
Movies engage audiences with almost unsurpassed immediacy, making them an ideal vehicle for delivering key messages related to your school’s unique and valued ethos.
Research shows that online video is not only a preferred way for the general population, especially young people, to consume entertainment and to communicate but also a preferred way to access information and to learn. This makes video an invaluable tool for engaging increasingly tech-savvy students and their parents.
With more than two billion active accounts (around 70% of internet users) and now established as the second largest search engine on the web, YouTube, alone, is a testament to the all-pervasive nature of video in the 21stCentury. However, the exponential growth in competing internet video services over the last decade underlines this phenomenon still further.
Videos make ideal content for your school’s website and social media channels and can be hosted and distributed over the internet at virtually no cost. This means that even when production costs are incurred, videos give a favourable return on investment, making them a good alternative to traditional printed media.
What does good video marketing for schools actually look like?
Schools are incredibly rich environments, in which interesting and exciting activities are a daily occurrence, so much so that much of this potentially newsworthy activity can easily be overlooked. Everything from a vinegar volcano in a science lesson, to the choir singing in the annual carol service, is visually interesting, shows students at their most engaged and, above all, demonstrates what a vibrant learning community your school is. So, why not feature as much of this activity as possible in regular video posts to your website and social media channels?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that an online video won’t be of any use in promoting your school if it isn’t produced professionally. While I’d agree that your key marketing videos should be produced to the highest standards possible, you can shoot newsworthy video reports of day-to-day activities with a decent smartphone and a little care. By way of example, the video above was filmed, handheld, on an iPhone 6.
If you’re desperately worried about the idea of using homegrown video to represent your school, a passing look at the BBC News website will show that even Auntie is happy to accept slightly wobbly footage if there’s a story to be told. What’s important is the regular stream of content to your public-facing internet channels.
More formal video content
Obviously, in addition to regular snapshots of day-to-day school activities, your video output should include more generic, high-level content. For example:
School marketing video/video prospectus
This celebrates the good work of the school and communicates its key messages in a clear, concise and engaging way. This can be a centerpiece on your school’s homepage and should be reposted regularly on your social media channels. Just like a printed prospectus, this kind of video has a potential shelf life of several years and only really becomes redundant if the school undergoes major change during that time.
Posted at the start of the new school year, along with messages from the Head Boy and Head Girl. These can be simple talking-head style videos but could also benefit from some engaging B-roll (cutaway footage) to help illustrate key points.
Annual Report to Parents
This is easily extrapolated from regular reports to school Governors and can be used to publicise KPIs. Again, this might be predominantly shot as a talking-head but illustrated with key data.
A video tour of your school’s facilities, or a curriculum overview that includes a tour of key areas. This could feature several key staff, or student ambassadors talking about various aspects of your school. Rather unsurprisingly, these became very common during COVID lockdown – see one of my previous articles.
Aimed at new students entering year 7 and their parents, containing key information and reassuring messages from current students and staff. Again, these were popular during lockdown but could be potentially useful as an annual project.
Aimed at prospective new staff or trainee teachers and has a very different target audience from most of your promotional material.
By their nature, these more formal presentations demand more serious pre-production work. They also demand higher production values, so at this point, you may want to consider enlisting professional support.
Remember, even though some of the ideas above may be more relevant to an established audience, they can still be made public and therefore exploited as a more general marketing asset.
In a follow-up post, I’ll be offering some simple tips for schools wanting to begin their online video journey and important principles that should be adhered to for even the most modest in-house video productions. I’ll also be looking at important considerations when preparing for more involved projects, especially if they are intended as key elements of your main online marketing campaigns.
Example school marketing videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsZXTWkDoeo&t=10s (generic, visual only)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CrhRj_xDAM (generic with talking heads)
Mooma Media offers a range of video production services to individuals, small businesses, public sector and not-for-profit organisations operating in the West Midlands region. Mooma offers competitive quotes to produce website or social media marketing videos and to film or live-stream events. To find out more about any of Mooma Media’s services, use the contact button below.