Here's your job: There are five things you can do now to prepare for storytelling in school next year. If you're just starting out, these may be things you've never done before. If you are an experienced storyteller, you can rethink and refresh these things.
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE
It's one thing to think that you know your audience, but it's another thing to connect with them, ask them questions, and search the data. Students and families often have different concerns and priorities, so getting to know them is important. And it's not just them – your story must also appeal to alumni, lecturers and employees.
I have to do this: Surveys are a fantastic way to find out who your audience is, what matters, and what tools they like SurveyMonkey just do it. Instead of hypothesizing, ask questions that help you better understand what your audience is interested in. Collect data, anecdotes and quotes. You need all of this to make your story.
I was there and did the following: Go back and review the data and details you have gathered about your various audiences to make sure nothing has changed. Did one of your target groups migrate to a new social platform? Has a new need or concern arisen? Personas – just like real, living people – are constantly evolving.
2. Perform a content check
One of the misunderstandings about storytelling at school is that you have to create huge amounts of content. It's just not true. When you use storytelling, you use smart content to connect (i.e., market) your audience. This means that useful and engaging content is provided, but it is not necessarily new.
Before you get lost in the emptiness of a blank Word document, it is important to know what intelligent content is already in your school. The best way to gain this knowledge is through a content review or inventory.
I have to do this: Use our school content review worksheet to track and organize your content. You can download it here.
I was there and did the following: Have you done a thorough content review in the past? Well, it's time to go back to that table. Make sure that all new content has been updated and that all new content requirements have been identified.
3. Analyze the competition
Your content must compete for the time and attention of your audience. This not only means that it will compete with other schools in your area, with your subject, or with similar programs. You are dealing with every single creator of content on the Internet that is just a few clicks away. While you don't have to spend time looking at the latest YouTube sensations, it's important to have perspective. What you need to consider more closely are competing schools. This will help you find opportunities and challenges.
I have to do this: Find out about your competitors' online content to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Check websites, social channels, eNewsletters, videos … everything you can access. Write down content that appears to reach the audience and try to identify trends. This does not mean that you will copy everything you are doing. In fact, you need to be aware of it so you don't. What you want to gain is an understanding of what your common audience is connecting with and what opportunities you have to position and highlight yourself differently.
I was there and did the following: Even if you have carried out a thorough competition analysis in the past, it is important to keep yourself informed about the competition. Which gaps can your school authentically close? Keep track of your competition and stay up to date with your audience.
4. FIND YOUR SWEET SPOT
Before you start producing content, ask yourself: Why?
Why are you producing content? What is different and better than what others are already saying? Or, in Joe Pulizzi's words, What's your sweet spot In his book Epic content marketingPulizzi says:
“Your sweet spot is the intersection between your customers' weak points and the point where you have the greatest authority with your stories. This brings us back to one of the original questions: where can you be the world's leading expert? "
You must be able to define your sweet spot before you start producing content. You must be able to explain clearly and precisely what makes your school unique and what unique benefits you offer your audience. You have to have the confidence to take on your expertise.
I have to do this: Find your convincing statement by answering the following questions:
- In which area do we have the most powers? What are we doing better than everyone else?
- How does this authority help our target group? Why should our audience care?
- What will our audience get out of it if they listen to our perspective? What pain points are cured?
I was there and did the following: Once you've defined your sweet spot, go back and make sure it's still relevant to your school today and where your school is going. You may not need to come up with a brand new sweet spot, but you may need to do a retarget.
5. SPEAK TO YOURSELF
Once you've finished the background materials, it's time to bring the team together for good, old-fashioned brainstorming.
Faculty and staff are the people who know your school inside out. Use this knowledge, expertise and loyalty by including them in the content marketing conversation.
I have to do this: Engage teachers and staff in the storytelling process by making it easy for them to share their thoughts and ideas. Create an editorial team that meets regularly to discuss content. Allow them to submit their ideas via email or through an approved online portal. Publish an internal eNewsletter that keeps faculty and staff up to date with the latest content. Engage them throughout the process to reach a fascinating audience from the inside out.
I was there and did the following: Yes … do it again. If content marketing is not a core component of their work, the faculty and staff may not recognize the value of the information they have. Check back regularly to see if they have new ideas, insights, or stories to share. Ask them what works, what doesn't, and where they need support. Involve them in the narrative process.
So there is your job. It is difficult, but I am confident that you can complete it. We want to be the year of school history next year.
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