Created in collaboration with our marketing expert.
Almost every teacher feels stretched by their current workload, and teaching and learning will always be a priority; however, for your marketing strategy to work, you must engage staff as much as possible.
You can achieve this through explaining to staff what marketing is and why it matters and helping them to make a real difference to your plan.
One: bring together the school community
Busy schedules can lead to fragmented and disengaged departments. A school functions best with a happy community. Sometimes, the way to reinstall engagement is to remember why you are passionate about education – bringing staff together to share their stories and teach them new methods of marketing is a great way to do this.
Two: provide CPD opportunities
Hosting a CPD session can be a great way to explain to staff what marketing is and why it matters to your school.
Some schools don’t like using the word ‘marketing’ due to its link with commercialism and selling. Some teachers often see marketing as an intrusion on educational values and feel that they should be left to their professional role of teaching pupils.
During your session, you should highlight to staff that marketing is not necessarily about heavy advertising and forcing the school to behave like a corporation. Marketing in a school can be everything from organising open events to attending local community groups. In schools, marketing is usually less about spending money and much more about finding and telling stories that show what is great about your school. Once staff understand this, they will be more willing to help with these efforts.
You should also use the session to highlight to staff what the school expects of them and why they are integral to the entire process. Ensure staff are given training on the school’s branding and the importance of its usage – if you do not yet have branding guidelines for your school, download our article to get started.
Use sessions to gather information from staff and use their knowledge and understanding of the school to help shape your marketing strategy.
Three: organise whole-school training
Once staff have a better understanding of the direction of your school’s marketing efforts, you can offer training to everyone to allow them to get to grips with various aspects of the process.
Of course, the teaching day does not leave much time to work with, but furthering learning is a great way to maintain the engagement of staff. Tailored workshops can refresh your team’s knowledge and improve their skills, all whilst ensuring they are contributing to the success of the marketing strategy.
There are still a number of people who aren’t aware of how social media works, beyond sharing content with friends and family. Showing staff the power of social media can help them to understand how integral it is to the success of the school and its marketing strategy.
During your training sessions, ask staff what marketing workshops they would find useful –from either a professional or personal point of view. Make sure you follow this up and provide sessions that are tailored to your audience to help get them into the marketing mindset.
Four: communicate consistent marketing messages
When marketing your school, it is important to be clear and consistent about what makes it different from others and why it should be parents’ first choice. This means focussing on strengths and future plans – but remember that these are stronger when they are agreed by, and created in collaboration with, the whole school community. Involve staff in these messages – use your CPD sessions, training workshops and staff meetings to keep staff involved at every stage.
Schools are full of fascinating stories, but it can often be the same people within departments that share them. Encourage all staff to pass on great things that are being planned, ideally well in advance, and use these to show the school’s full breadth. Once these members of staff see their stories being shared, they’ll soon find more.
Five: set up a staff marketing committee
A marketing officer cannot be everywhere at all times, so it is key to have staff engaged to support the officer. Consider setting up a staff marketing committee – these members of staff, led by the marketing officer, could have access to the school’s social media accounts. This allows them to make a direct contribution to the school’s marketing and, therefore, means they may be more likely to engage, which should have a ripple effect on other staff members.
Furthermore, staff are linked to a huge network – from current and past pupils and parents, to contacts within the education community. Making use of their networks and social media contacts can be a great way to get your school’s message out there.
Six: praise staff for their efforts
Staff are an important part of your school and are highly trusted by current and former pupils and parents. Any marketing strategy needs to seek to engage their networks – whether this is giving them copies of newsletters to pass on to their communities or encouraging them to share stories via social media.
If staff have the knowledge of marketing and have received relevant training, empowering them and praising them for their efforts will encourage more activity. Any staff member giving up time to help with marketing needs to know that their input matters. Regular updates on the number of people attending events, registered interests, etc., will help. You should also feed back positive comments that relate to their input and create a virtuous circle for the future.
Teachers have a wide range of skills you will know about, as well as some hidden skills from general interests or previous careers. Tap into the skill set of your staff and see if you can utilise this to help push your marketing strategy.
Seven: demonstrate a two-way relationship
Your school’s marketing officer should attend department or faculty meetings on a regular basis, as well as weekly SLT meetings, to explain their role, current projects and what they require from staff members to support them in fulfilling the marketing strategy. This will demonstrate a two-way relationship between the marketing team and staff, creating a cohesive and productive relationship.
For more advice on developing your marketing strategy and engaging members of the school community, take a look at the resources in our Marketing Your School Resource Pack.