Social Media

Top 9 Priorities for a K-12 One-Person Marketing Team

Lisa-Katharina Ochmann
12 Minutes

Top 9 Priorities for a One-Person Marketing Team

It can be challenging to develop new strategies when you are the only person in charge. When reflecting on your marketing strategies and setting new goals, it's important to consider what other organizations of similar scale are doing and what their priorities might be.

The key goal to keep in mind for all schools and districts is that these strategies must be implemented to further ensure that your messages are reaching your entire audience. Certain marketing tactics take longer to implement, but in the end, they could have a larger return. Pay attention on maximizing each marketing activity to get the most bang for your buck.

Here are the top nine ways a small or single-person marketing team can prioritize their tasks to see the best results.

  1. Don’t waste time setting unrealistic goals
  2. Develop a comprehensive budget
  3. Understand yourself
  4. Understand who your audience is
  5. Use social media platforms to be more interactive
  6. Leverage the mediums your audience is on
  7. Re-using content
  8. Focus on Storytelling
  9. Collaboration with others

1. Don’t waste time setting unrealistic goals

According to Michael Mankins, most organizations face a constraint when it comes to making decisions quickly. As such, pace and quality are crucial. It is important that the goals align with the mission of the organization.

Marketing can be thought of like taking a trip – you wouldn't fly to a new country without planning where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and site-seeing effectively. So, in the same way, you should map out the activities that will grow and connect with your audience to keep it growing and engaging.

Consider setting goals using the SMART tactic

The goals need to be:

Specific

You must be specific in what you wish to accomplish when setting the goal.

  • WHO – Who will be involved in achieving the goal?
  • WHAT – Think about the details and what things are required to consider the goal achieved.
  • WHY – The reasoning behind the goal.
Measurable

A goal is more tangible when you are able to use metrics to determine if you meet the goal. A project may take weeks or months to complete. You must be able to identify the specific tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve the overall goal.

Attainable

This is all about what the goal means to you and what you must to do in order to attain it.

  • Do you have the skill set and the tools to make the goal happen? Consider how you can acquire the necessary tools or skills.
Relevant

This refers to the goal aligning overall with the organization. If your district is focusing on engaging students that are new to the district and community this year you want to ensure that your goal is aligned with those initiatives.

Timely

Timing is key! If the goal is lacking a realistic time frame, then its highly likely the goal won’t be achieved. It is imperative that you set deliverable dates. Outline what must be achieved along the way and set small deadlines first. If the project is going to take 2 months, questions you should be asking yourself are:

  • What should be completed each week leading up to the final deadline?
  • Where should the project stand halfway to the deadline?
  • What are the time constraints?

You must be able to numerically indicate how long the project will take.

2. Develop a comprehensive budget

Develop a Budget

Just as you would budget your time, you also need to budget the amount that will be spent on marketing. Break down spending based on the type of ad and the platform that is being used, include things like;

Digital Ads

Often referred to as internet marketing, you can leverage the internet to share your messaging and information with your community.

Digital ads can include various internet technologies including:

  • Email newsletters makes it simple for families to stay engaged and aware of what is taking place at school, whether it be field trips, fundraisers, or school plays etc. This approach can save time given that it is easily shareable for parents and guardians.
  • Use Google to optimize your school’s rankings. In other words, you want to help people find the correct information when they look for your school in the search engine. Ensure all of your information is up to date, claim your GoogleMyBusiness account and make your information accurate everywhere you have access.

Traditional Ads

Mass media that can reach a mass audience often through television, radio,billboards. It can be a great way to reach out to your audience in a channel they aren’t expecting to hear information from you on.

Website

Having a strong website that outlines what you do is important. Tips for building a strong website for your organization are:

  • The goal you want to achieve.
  • Develop your own content.
  • Ensure that the website is mobile friendly as parents, guardians, and students use their phones many hours a day and look on their phone for information first.
  • Educate your audience about your district, from the people who work there to the activities your schools take part in.

Marketing collateral such as brochures and direct mail

  • Brochures and direct mail must align with your digital marketing. You should give the audience a reason to look inside. Having a visual of the organization, including the logo and name, and an intriguing headline can be eye-catching and will motivate them to read the brochure.
  • Ensure that the content inside the brochure is not too lengthy. A parent or guardian is more likely to stay focused when content is organized and easy to follow.For example, content can be organized in a bulleted list.

In order to effectively budget, know how to measure the effectiveness of your strategies. Using measures such as the amount of traffic on your website or the number of clicks on your ads will help to allocate your budget efficiently. You might find that a certain strategy is not giving the organization any return and as such that funding could be used elsewhere.

3. Understanding Yourself

Understanding Yourself
“After all, without understanding yourself, what basis have you for right thinking?”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Before you can understand the needs of the target audience and how to educate others,it is crucial you understand yourself. Understanding yourself means finding your voice, understanding what you are good at and what you are not so good at,but also knowing what you want to achieve and developing strategies to make your goals attainable. It is important to develop this understanding for yourself as a marketer, but also for your organization. Your district should have a distinct voice,personality, and goals to achieve – imagine your district is an actual person and give it these traits, it will help you ensure your messaging and communications maintain a consistent look and feel.

Your Voice

The ability to speak up and to feel safe expressing your wants and needs while facing the possibility of strong criticism can sometimes be difficult to come by. When developing and maintaining communications with the schools and districts, you always want to present yourself well in the sense that you can deliver new and improved solutions to meet the needs of your audience.

Personality

Your personality is made up of several characteristics that shape the character of a person. According to Insights For Professionals, there are four distinct personalities that are ideal in a successful marketing team. They are:

  1. The Nitpicker: This person can identify problems that not necessarily everyone is able to see and is able to push the organization to its utmost potential.
  2. The Scientist: Someone who can effectively track and measure each strategy and interpret the data to improve and make the necessary changes.
  3. The Artist: Someone with a creative imagination brings forth the heart and soul of the organization. They can assess what other organizations are doing to engage schools and districts to better evolve their strategies.
  4. The Networker: Someone who leverages their personal connections to develop and guide ideas. You can look to other people in your organization for ideas and even consider what other schools and districts are doing to improve their engagement with their audience.

While these are the four personalities are considered an ideal to any marketing department, you are not limited to these. In other words, you don’t need all four to be successful.

Goals

The goals you have as a one-person marketing team must align well with the intentions of the organization. Things to consider as a goal are:

  1. Improve communication with parents and guardians.
  2. Develop improved newsletter readership by a certain percent.
  3. Increase awareness using search engine optimization.
  4. Increase the satisfaction of the parents and guardians.
    i) Address the concerns they might have regarding logging onto their accounts or finding relevant information pertaining to their child or children, such as posted grades etc.
  1. Access at is needed and required by the organization including a time frame for each activity.

4. Understanding who your audience is

Understanding your audience

Understanding your audience is crucial as you don’t want to spend time creating content that doesn’t reach them. Essentially knowing who they are is the foundation for when you begin to develop a marketing strategy.

Not having a clear understanding of who your audience is will result in lost time and effort. However, casting too large of a net can weaken the focus of your message. For example, many groups (i.e., parents and guardians, teachers, and principles want to be involved in their schools. But not all want to be involved in the same way or for the same reasons (i.e., student grades, field-trips, events, fundraisers). Sharing a news story to a teacher about the easiest way to view student grades won't generate the same results as marketing to a parent to view the grades of their child.

You can use models, like personas, to layout information such as:

  • The level of education, such as a post-secondary degree.
  • Psychographic Segmentation relating to personality, values, and beliefs, and lifestyle.
  • Demographical information to narrow the focus, such as gender, age, and race.

Developing personas is helpful not only to understand your audience but can be helpful when you are understanding the voice of your district as well! When you know and understand your consumer, it will be easier to develop quality content effectively to attract customers.

5. Using social media platforms to be more interactive

Using Social Media Platforms

Pick your 3 core platforms

Social media platforms are considered key places to connect and communicate. Social media marketing is an imperative tactic that drives engagement and develops relationships with your audience.

Before deciding on which social media platform to focus on, you should be able to identify which platforms might or have created the most traffic and engagement,such as which are giving you the most interaction with your audience.

The most common popular social media platforms include:

Facebook

Over 2 billion users each month, with most users being between 18 and 29 years old. For education marketers, Facebook should be top priority to communicate directly with people and keep them updated. Traffic will depend significantly on how many posts are made. At the same time the posts must be directed in such a way that allows the direct audience to give feedback.

Key considerations
  • Ideally,you should be responding to legitimate conversations within 12 hours either by direct messaging or providing the person with contact information if they have a more personal question or concern.
  • Don’t delete negative comments as it gives you the chance to show that you are addressing them either by providing them with the necessary contact information or directly messaging them.
  • Posting quality material over quantity has proven to be more successful.
  • Add shareable links to each post, but post videos directly on Facebook, rather than sharing a link.
Twitter

330 million active users each month contributing to 200 billion tweets annually, with 63% being between 35-65 years old. Twitter has a search engine providing individuals with the chance to search for organizational names, personal names, and specific topics. The platform can be used by education marketers to post news and updates about their school and district. Ideally, it can be used to give the school a voice,share important updates, and allow one to interact with the parents, guardians,and students.

Key considerations
  • It is best to add your own content rather than re-sharing news articles as this can sometimes cause negativity – you can’t control when a news outlet will post positive or negative content about your district so it is better not tore-share their content.
  • A great way to make short alerts such as bus or school cancellations.
  • Twitter is the best place for important updates and information to be shared, as it allows the information to get to the public, but does not encourage the same level of discussion on sometimes sensitive topics the way that Facebook posts will.
LinkedIn

Over 303 million active users each month, 37% of adults between 30-49 use LinkedIn,and 28% of adults age 18-29 are using the platform as well.  LinkedIn is a large platform to promote an organization while staying aware of what other school communications organizations are doing (a great way to assess your current strategies).

Key steps to setting up your LinkedIn
  1. Set up the organization page
  2. Link the URL for your district so that anyone can directly view your website
  3. Be sure to have your logo and cover image uploaded (Looks far more inviting)
  4. Organizational description
  5. Publish the page
  6. Publish valuable content,usually one post a day, with some content being re-shares of other articles or posts and the rest sharing your original content

6. Leveraging the mediums your audience is on

Leveraging the mediums your audience is on

Different mediums can engage new and different audience members for the organization. In order to get the highest return on investment, the Content Marketing Institute suggests that marketers should share content in new ways that engage your audience. In other words, you want to stay relevant by delivering across interactive channels.

Using different ways to share content

Video

Creating a series of short videos that provide additional information and education to your audience.

Infographics

Illustrate organizational data that will be more visually appealing to the audience and provide a call to action.

FB Live/IGTV

A forum that allows anyone to share content that can engage viewers within seconds of streaming. But with any video, the content will still require some thought to make sure that the video will have an intended value to the audience.

Choose Your Own Adventure link series

Content marketing is continuously shifting to more customized levels. This gives viewers the chance to interact in ways that cannot be achieved through other channels. Essentially this method of providing links at the end of content to related pieces gives the viewer control to select different options that are best suited to them. If the content makes sense with what the organization offers, it can be used to your advantage, keeping people more engaged and better informed.

There are several ways at which one can “choose your own adventure” such as:

  1. Quizzes
  2. Games
  3. Website content
  4. Flowcharts
  5. Video Playlists

New channels

TikTok

A social network to share videos designed to capture and present short forms of mobile uploads. Most of its users are teens and young adults. As a result, the main audience would range anywhere from 13 to 24. So, the question becomes, how can you use TikTok? You can:

  1. Create your own channel and then upload videos that are relevant to your community,from student spotlights to community events
  2. Can collaborate with influencers to increase awareness
  3. Pay to run advertisements
  4. Create a connection to seniors at your schools and districts, like principals and superintendents by participating in video challenges and trends, overall making students more engaged and comfortable with the staff at their schools
Snapchat

Like TikTok, Snapchat also provides a network to share pictures and videos either individually or to create stories. The user can decide whether to make their content public or private. Usually, the pictures will only last a few seconds, but stories will last on the platform for up to 24 hrs and are then deleted.

You would typically use similar strategies across TikTok and Snapchat, engaging in trends and sharing fun stories. These platforms are best kept to light-hearted and fun content, while more serious pieces should be saved for your website or Twitter.

7. Re-using content (more than the sum of its parts)

Re-using Content

Reusing content is a great way to keep past posts, information, and news stories relevant. Simply linking them in the current blog, or social posts can give the viewer the chance to connect more with your content and treat you as a trusted source for information.

Today schools and districts can take a page out of B2B marketer handbooks and leverage other forms of media content including:

E-book

By bringing together various blog posts on a topic you can quickly create a great e-book. According to Thomas net, the organizational expertise can be showcased in several forms such as Q&As, case studies, troubleshooting guides. E-books can help position education marketers as industry experts that result in greater credibility. Just as in writing a blog post, each eBook requires careful research and editing. It is crucial that the content is engaging and well-developed.

Webinar/Live Stream

From the Content Marketing Institute, Webinars are considered the second-most important marketing strategy. These seminars can be held live or prerecorded.This method of presenting information is much more personal as it results in showcasing what the school is currently doing and will also answer common questions that parents and guardians may have. Webinars are great for reaching anyone and creating engagement as well as building a stronger reputation. After a webinar is recorded, you can easily take snippets and highlight videos out of the full-length video to share across your social channels or on your website.

Blog posts

Creating blog posts that are easy to read and understand are ideal in promoting the school. Posting several times a month on relevant topics such as graduation dates or after school programs can be effective in driving traffic to the main website. You can also take small sections of your blog post to share on social media, during events, or update and re-release your post to get further life out of your content.

Education marketers can link webinars within blog posts and re-post relevant articles on social platforms such as LinkedIn. Another strategy that would be beneficial is to add on to past articles to illustrate what has changed.

8. Everything comes back to storytelling

storytelling

Creating a bond between your organization and the needs and desires of your customers is also known as emotional marketing. At its core all of marketing is designed to tell a story, and the more your content and messaging is designed around that story, the more your audience will resonate with it and engage with you.

The following inspire emotion:

  1. Choosing colour: Colour evokes emotion. Have you ever felt emotion when walking into a particular colourful room? For example, light green is considered a good studying colour. The same can be said for organizations. Each colour depicts a feeling of emotion whether that be happiness, intellect, wisdom, ambition, etc.
  2. Tell a story or fable: Being able to tell a story helps connect the organization with the audience. In a Coca Cola commercial titled “Brotherly Love”, the company tugged at the hearts of consumers when telling the story of a typical relationship of a young boy and his older brother. Several scenes show the older brother picking on his brother. Eventually, a scene is shown of the younger boy getting bullied by a group of boys to which the older brother steps in to help his younger brother. The commercial closes with the older boy giving his brother a Coca Cola bottle to drink. Positioning the ad to the target audience in ways that are relatable is important.
  3. Create an Ideal: Some marketers will create ads that depict an ideal image of the use of their product. For example, emotional marketing can convince a consumer that they are being faced with a problem and that the company can solve it and simplify their life. In other words, they want the consumer to feel good when marking the purchase. For an education marketer, they might want to showcase how parents can access the school’s log into track their child’s grades and upcoming activities.  Showing just how easy it is to connect with the school and use their website.

Storytelling using emotion is a way to engage your audience and interact with them. As a result, it is important that you know who your target market is and how you can incorporate emotion that will resonate with them.

9. Collaborating between different departments (and districts!)

Collaboration Between Different Departments

Marketing strategies should align with other departments in the organization. You want to ensure that when you are talking about an exciting new event for the school district, teachers and other staff are also talking about it, engaging students, and becoming involved in the process. This is also a key aspect in writing expert content when you are not the expert, as more and more departments are tasked with creating content far beyond the scope of their role – from flu season updates to managing mental health.

Ideally, you want to be able to reach out to other co-workers such as:

  • School nurses: providing health information such as flu-shots during flu season or cases of head-lice, etc.
  • Librarians: obtaining information on available workshops and book fairs
  • IT: obtaining tips and strategies on how students can use the internet in a safe and appropriate manner
  • Teachers and principals: obtaining information on new tools for the classroom or interesting techniques for engaging students

It is important that you develop and agree on a shared vision and goal for the school district. This can lead to a sense of belonging in the organization. For example, you could set up monthly peer-2-peer meetings that promote relationships and exchange information regarding educational events or concerns. Ultimately you want to discuss possible ways to engage your audience. This creates the chance for you to receive feedback from different people and for you to hear their ideas.

Additionally,you could reach out to other districts that are having similar problems, they may know what strategies could be useful.

There are often great resources already available to you nationally or regionally- like CACE or NSPRA!

Essentially, better communication and collaboration among departments builds:

  1. Sense of Community
  2. Leverages Communication to Avoid Conflict
  3. Efficiency
  4. Collective Goals and Visions

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

As a one-person marketing team, it can be challenging to assess and implement new strategies, these 9 priorities can help by providing a checklist of overall goals:

Setting realistic goals helps to improve efficiency. Once you have set yourself realistic goals you need to keep in mind the budget for marketing, which includes anything from brochures to websites. Following the budget, understanding yourself is key to knowing what you are good at and finding tools and skills to improve on things that are not your strength. Developing your district voice and personality will help you stay consistent in your messaging.

When you're looking to engage and connect with your audience, it is important that you're understanding your target audience and who they are. Interactive social media platforms can be a great tool to get the audience interested in upcoming events and overall become involved in the school or district. By changing the use of mediums,the audience has further opportunity to be exposed to your messaging and finds a new way to hear your content.

Next, it is beneficial to reuse the content in order to keep past information relevant and updated and maximize your limited time in creating new content. Educational marketers can often evoke emotion through storytelling and focusing on your story will make your content more engaging.

Finally, if the collaboration among the different departments is lacking, it can cause issues in successfully engaging with parents and students without their expertise and can be a huge drain on your time educating yourself about those topics. It is important that you as a marketer communicate with departments such as teachers and principals and secretaries, so you know how and when to best strategize marketing.

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