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Customized alt text tags for posts is a fairly new development in Instagram. Alt text tags can’t be seen by the average Instagram user, but they can be read by search engines, providing SEO value to your school marketing.

Adding alt tags is a key strategy for growing your Instagram account. Alt text tags will increase the chances that your target audience will find your network, and they will improve the accessibility of your posts.

Why Are Alt Text Tags Important?

There are four key reasons why alt text tags are important. On every computer you can find the ALT key (or an Option key if you are using Apple products.) The ALT stands for alternative. There are several important reasons you should consider writing alt tags for your Instagram images and graphics.

  1. Alternative text for when there’s trouble loading images

Alt tags help people who are experiencing trouble with their internet connection to see a brief description of what the image or graphic is about.

  1. Alternative text for people who are visually-impaired

People who are visually impaired have a tough time on the internet unless there are alt tags that can be read by a special device or phone that is capable of reading the alt tags. This could open new doors to a potential parent who otherwise might not know enough about your school to inquire about it.

  1. Alt text tags give the Instagram algorithm more information

Instagram’s algorithm tries to recognize what each photo or graphic is about. Once it thinks it knows (and it’s really smart) it will search for new people to show your image to. This amounts to free targeting for your school.

  1. Alt text tags improve your search engine optimization (SEO)

Alt tags in Instagram help your postings – and website pages by extension – improve SEO rankings.

Alt tags help your Instagram account grow. If you don’t add in your own alt tags, Instagram will try to guess and create them for you. Chances are, you know your school and marketing content better than the Instagram algorithm.

How to Write Alt Text Tags

The idea behind alt text tags is to write a mini-description of what your image or graphic is about. Here are some tips for writing alt text tags:

  • Keep them short. Instagram has limited the number of characters to 100, so keep your alt tags under that number.
  • Use emojis. Screen readers can read emojis, so use them to save much-needed character space.
  • Include relevant keywords, but don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing. Use one or two keywords, but don’t use a string of keywords stuck together.
  • Use normal speech patterns that make sense to humans. When it comes to today’s algorithms, context is everything.
  • Describe the content and context of the image. Include branding elements like your school name, location and context of image if possible.
  • Don’t use the words “image of” or “photo of”. Instagram knows it’s an image and those characters are wasted space.
Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf How to Write and Use Alt Text Tags on Instagram to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.
How to Add Alt Text Tags to New Instagram Posts

You can add alt text tags directly to your Instagram posts where you write your caption and add any other tags to the post.

Here’s how you do it:

Click on Advanced Settings and then go to Write Alt Text. On the next screen you’ll see the image you’re tagging and a text box where you can write your alt text description. Add your alt text in the box and click on Save. Click here to learn how to write Instagram captions that will increase engagement for your school. 

How to Add Alt Text Tags to Instagram Posts You’ve Previously Published

You can go back and add alt text to Instagram posts that have already published, select the post and manually edit it. To edit the post, click on the three-dot button in the top-right corner of the post.

From the pop-up screen, click on the Edit option to open the editing screen. Once you’re in the edit mode, you’ll see the Aa icon and Edit Alt Text in the bottom-right corner of the image. Tap on this button to access the alt text screen.

From there, type in your descriptive alt text. Click on Save to save your edits. Once you’re back on the main edit screen for your post, click on the blue check mark in the top-right corner to save your changes and the new alt text for that post.

When to Add Alt Text on Instagram

The Instagram algorithm automatically adds alt text to all photos that are uploaded in order to improve the platform. The algorithm description uses object recognition and AI tools to determine what’s in the photo and provide a generic description of the post. Want to learn how to optimize images for better websites, social media and SEO? Click here to learn more.

While machine learning has come a long way, at this time the descriptions aren’t very illustrative and lack context. For this reason, you should edit and add your own custom alt text.

Ideally, you should add alt text to all of your Instagram posts. Every time you upload a new post to Instagram you should include your alt text, making it a part of your regular posting process. For older posts, it may be overwhelming to go back and edit all of your content. Instead, focus on updating your most popular posts, especially the posts you want to appear in search results.

The addition of alt text tags to Instagram posts demonstrates the value of visual content as well as the SEO benefit of social media. Instagram continues to be an important social network for school outreach efforts and alt tags will help a new audience find and engage with your posts.

As alt text tags become more common, the need to customize each post will be an essential step to increase searchability and grow your Instagram network.

Have you started adding alt text tags to your Instagram posts? Will you start using alt text tags after reading this post? Please share your thoughts and tips with the school marketing community in the comments below.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf How to Write and Use Alt Text Tags on Instagram to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

The post How to Write and Use Alt Text Tags on Instagram appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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Backlinks have long been one of the primary factors used by Google and other search engines to rank websites and pages. If you want to rank in Google search, you’re going to have to build backlinks.

The problem is that, unless you have built up a large number of followers, it is unlikely you will gain very many links directed to your content.

What is Link Building?

Link building is the process of gaining inbound links (also called backlinks) to a website (or blog) from external sources.

The goal of link building is to increase future search traffic from Google, although backlinks from popular sites can also be an excellent source of referral traffic.

The number of inbound links to your page (also called link popularity) has a high correlation with Google ranking.

Inbound link signals have a much higher correlation score than individual on-page factors such as meta tags, keyword usage, etc.

What Kind of Backlinks Will Help Your Page Rank in Google?

From Google’s perspective, each link to a website is considered a “vote”. The more votes a site accumulates, the more likely it will receive a higher quality score. However, Google doesn’t view all backlinks the same. Google will assign a different “weight” to the link depending on these factors:

  • Authority of the linking page

The higher a site is ranked, the higher the authority. You can view the rating of the domain and URL by using Moz Link Explorer.

  • NoFollow links

Paid links generally have the rel=”nofollow” attribute applied. Some SEO experts feel that NoFollow links lower the domain authority, but this is not always true. For example, Wikipedia contains NoFollow links but since the site has “high trust”, the NoFollow links don’t penalize the page.

  • Link placement

Links that are placed within content are considered higher ranking because it is more likely to be a legitimate backlink designed to benefit the reader, as opposed to trying to sell something.

  • Anchor text

Anchor text is considered a higher rank than non-anchor text. Anchor text is the text used to “anchor” a link. Here’s an example: click here to read an article by Ahrefs about anchor text as a Google ranking factor.

  • Link relevancy

The Google algorithm is pretty smart. It is able to determine the “relevancy” of a link based on the context of the link to the content on the page. The more relevant Google determines a link is, the higher it will rank.

  • Unnatural links

Links that Google determines to be “unnatural” are likely to be discounted and won’t contribute toward the ranking of the page. Multiple unnatural links can cause your site to be penalized and even blacklisted.

In general, most backlinks where there has been an editorial decision to link to your content should be safe. Also, links built manually with building traffic in mind should be fine. Here are some examples of links that are most likely going to be safe:

  • Guest blogging
  • Directory submissions
  • Press release distribution
  • Blog commenting
  • Niche forums, community sites, questions

Any links intended to manipulate ranking may be considered an unnatural link and are a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Here are some scenarios that could cause Google to penalize your site:

  • Links from “spun” content (using software to “spin” original content into tens or hundreds of other articles)
  • Comment or forum spam is usually generated using software such as a scrapebox. Usually, comment spam is nonsensical or not related to the content on the site.
  • Obvious paid links when they are non-editorial and designed to pass PageRank.
  • Low quality, bulk directory submissions (usually on low-quality sites)
  • Links from bad neighborhoods (unsavory sites) or link farms are likely to be penalized
  • Links from lots of foreign language sites that is different than the language of your site (i.e. lots of links coming from sites written in Farsi)
  • Poor quality links from sites that are not relevant in any way to your website
  • Private or Public Blog Networks that are built for the sole purpose of linking to a primary site
  • Excessive, non-niche relevant reciprocal link building. While reciprocal linking is common, make sure they are niche relevant and add value to the reader
  • Broken links don’t do your site any good. I recommend using a link checker app to check your links once a month or so. I use the Google Chrome extension Check My Links.
Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf 12 Best Practices for Generating Backlinks to Your Website to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

Ready to get busy building links to your website? Here are the top twelve most popular and effective link building strategies.

  1. Link bait

While it might sound a little shady, it’s not. Link baiting is creating natural content that other sites want to link to due to its high value or uniqueness. These types of links are considered earned rather than built. The value that is given is usually derived from research, unique data, a survey, attractive graphics or a free tool. The “bait” is the high-quality resource. A great example of link bait (that I use often) is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

  1. Ego bait

Ego bait is when someone mentions an influencer who then links to that content. Examples include:

  • Interviewing an influencer and publishing the interview on your site
  • Including an influencer in an expert roundup
  • Quoting an influencer in your content, or linking to their site
  • Including an influencer in a top 10 list

Most influencers will be happy to at least share content in which they are mentioned, amplifying the reach and providing a backlink to your site.

  1. Broken link building

This is another tactic that might seem shady but it’s not. Broken link building is where you identify content on an influencer site that includes broken links that can’t be fixed. This is usually because the original content no longer exists. By creating alternative content that is relevant, you can contact the webmaster and offer them to link to your content instead. This is a fairly common, and successful, tactic. Universities or government resource pages are often good influencer sources to tap.

  1. Link reclamation

Link reclamation is where you fix broken links pointing to your site (i.e. broken internal links), finding and actively monitoring for unlinked brand mentions and identifying uncredited use of copyrighted material (i.e. photos or video).

Here’s how you reclaim links:

  • For fixing broken internal links, run My Link Checker and create 301 redirects using a redirection plugin (WordPress or Apache).
  • For fixing unlinked brand mentions, you need to first identify sites that are mentioning your school. Consider using a Google Alert or Mention to identify mentions that aren’t linking to your site. Reach out to the site, thank them for the mention, and ask if they would consider adding a link.
  • When someone uses your copyrighted material (such as a photo or video) it is an opportunity for you to ask them for attribution including a link to your site. Try using Google’s reverse image search to find sites using your copyrighted images.
  1. Newsjacking

Newsjacking is where you tap into trending news and inject your ideas into the story. This can be an effective way to pick up high-quality links from major publications. With newsjacking, timing is everything. The basic idea is to identify breaking news and write content that pertains to the news story as well as your school.

Here’s a great example of newsjacking. A few years ago Kate Winslet was visiting Sir Richard Branson at a private retreat in the British Virgin Islands when a fire broke out. Winslet carried Branson’s elderly mother out of the fire to safety. The story was picked up worldwide. The London Fire Brigade found the story to be pretty amazing and offered to include Winslet in their next firefighting training at their local training center. The London Fire Brigade received a ton of site traffic, inbound links and media exposure from that story. Try to think of ways you too could newsjack a story and drive traffic – and links – to your site.

  1. Guest blogging

Guest blogging is an effective way to get your school in front of new audiences and build authority-boosting links. High-quality guest blogging is a preferred method of gaining white-hat links. Want to learn more about guest blogging? Check out this article from Backlinko

  1. Interviews

Interviewing can take on many forms, such as:

  • Blog interviews
  • Expert roundup posts
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

The goal is to grow awareness of your school and pick up some quality links along the way. These are the kinds of links that drive traffic, so are very much recommended for link building.

  1. Infographics

Infographics are a great tactic for building links. They are particularly effective at maximizing a return on your outreach effort. Outreach is more effective when you have something of value to offer the host site, and offering to provide a high-quality, relevant infographic (consider including a customized introduction) is a way to exchange value. The host site gets some great content – and you get a backlink. I use Canva or Infogram for my infographics, but there are many other tools out there to explore.

  1. Content syndication

Syndicating your content indiscriminately is not recommended, but syndicating your content to quality sites with link attribution can lead to a boost in traffic. Some of the sites I recommend include:

To get the most out of syndicating your content, consider writing a platform-specific title and introduction to each article.

  1. Repurpose your content

This is a great way to gain more value from your content and acquire high-quality links. The way this works is that you take good content – a blog post, for example – and repurpose it as a video, infographic, ebook or SlideShare presentation.

There are many relevant channels to share quality content. Repurposing is considered to be amplification and is therefore a white hat method of building links. Just make sure the content you repurpose is high quality and useful to your target audience.

  1. Directory submissions

Directory submissions can be good or bad, depending on the directory’s strength. Make sure the directory you are submitting to is applicable to your audience, the directory has been around a while, the directory does not contain a lot of spammy links, and check to make sure the page where your link would be placed is cached by Google. You can use SmallSEOTools’ Google Cache Checker to check it before you publish to it.

  1. Press release distribution

Publishing a press release out a to a network of media outlets can be a useful SEO tactic if you have something newsworthy to publish. Don’t use this tactic often or indiscriminately, or Google will notice and penalize you. But if you have a legitimate event you want to promote, a news release might be a good tactic.

Here are a few credible press release services to consider:

There are other link building tactics such as blog commenting, participating in forums, answering questions in Quora or Answers, sponsoring events or content but these should be used with caution, and only done if they are relevant and have value to your target audience.

Want to learn how to measure your social links? Click here to learn how to use Google’s Campaign URL Builder to generate links that will help you see where your web traffic is coming from.

What types of link building strategies are working for your school? Are there any tactics you think should be added to this list? Please share with the rest of the school marketing community by commenting below.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf 12 Best Practices for Generating Backlinks to Your Website to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

The post 12 Best Practices for Generating Backlinks to Your Website appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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“Everything has beauty, but not everyone can see.”

~Confucius

Required Reading

Run an Unforgettable Instagram Takeover in 5 Steps

Instagram takeovers are a powerful way to accomplish several Instagram marketing objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, gaining access to new audiences, and boosting engagement on your platform!

The best part is you don’t even have to do the heavy lifting of creating the content. That’s because, with an Instagram Takeover, you’ll bring on a guest host to create specific content for your Instagram account and (sometimes) manage engagement for the day.

4 Ways to Use Google Tag Manager With Facebook

Wondering how to easily install Facebook features on your website without editing the code?

In this article, you’ll discover easy ways to install the Facebook pixel, the Facebook Messenger customer chat plugin, alerts for Facebook comments, and Facebook standard events with Google Tag Manager.

The Beginner’s Guide to Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

In the paid acquisition world, clicks can seem like the holy grail. But if you really think about it, clicks only tell you if people arrive to your content. They don’t reveal whether they stayed or not.

But how do you know if your content is engaging and emotionally resonant enough to persuade your audience to stay and ultimately buy your product or service? A metric that’s arguably the most indicative of this is conversions — if your creative convinced someone to download or even buy something, then it was worth consuming.

In your advertising campaigns, the best way to measure your content’s converting capabilities and, in turn, its resonance is cost per acquisition. Read on to learn more about what exactly it is, the formula for calculating it, how its bidding process works, and some principles for crafting creative and convincing ad copy.

Suggested Listening

Why Retention Is More Important Than Admissions [Inspired School Marketers Sparkcast]

Trevor Waddington is an educational entrepreneur with 17 years of experience working in independent schools as a teacher and admissions administrator including St. John’s Episcopal School, Christ Episcopal School, and Green Acres School, all in Maryland as well as Hill Top Preparatory School in Pennsylvania. He is s past president of the MAESA (Mid-Atlantic Episcopal Schools Association) Board of Directors.

On the business side, Trevor is the founder of DCschoolHUB and NYmetroSchools, digital platforms that help educate parents and students about the different educational opportunities and where they can find them. He is also the Founder and Principal at Truth Tree Consulting, a full-service firm that works with independent schools in the areas of admission, marketing, brand development, and financial operations. These three companies fall under the umbrella of TYW Education Group, a coalition model of educational entrepreneurs looking to disrupt and obliterate the barriers keeping students from a world-class education.

Heard in the Facebook Group

QUESTION: Hi everyone. Does anyone have a social media policy for their school that they can share with me? Specifically looking for some guidelines for staff and board members and their interactions on social media. 

READ COMMENTS

Recommended Tool

Blog Ideas Generator from Hubspot

Are you trying to find content ideas for your next blog post? Check out this free tool from Hubspot that is both very helpful and fun!

The post Everything Has Beauty, But Not Everyone Can See appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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Google Analytics is a powerful tool for gaining in-depth insight into your audience and strengthening your marketing strategy. If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, it can be a bit daunting at first. There’s so much data it can be overwhelming to try to figure out the most important metrics for your school marketing program.

Over the years, I have learned 7 customizations I consider vital for my website.

There are many benefits to using Google Analytics for school marketing. Want to learn more about how Google Analytics can help improve your inbound marketing efforts? Click here to read more…

There are literally thousands of customizations you can make to Google Analytics, depending on your needs and how you want to use the tool. Over the years, I have discovered 7 Google Analytics customizations I consider vital for school marketing websites.

Once you have made these customizations, you’ll be able to:

  • Glean the most important keyword data
  • Run reports with the most pertinent metrics for your marketing program
  • Refer to instructions to clean up your URL to make your reports accurate
  • Set up alerts to help you catch catastrophic data failures within 24 hours
  • Install the Google Analytics tracking script
  • Filter out data from your office IP so your reports aren’t accidentally skewed
  • Access a backup of your Google Analytics account data should a major catastrophe happen

Here are 7 customizations to make to your Google Analytics account to protect your data and improve the performance of the tool for your marketing efforts.

Customization #1. Connect Google Analytics to Google Search Console

In the past, GA used to have keyword data in all the standard reports. You could see which keywords sent traffic to which pages. And, if you had goals set up, you could see how much revenue each keyword produced for you.

Then, Google decided to remove keyword data from Google Analytics.

For a few years, inbound marketers had to rely on third party tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs for keywords.

In the last few years, however, Google has been improving Google Search Console. It is now a goldmine for keyword data. All you need to do is sign up for a free Google Search Console account and connect it to your Google Analytics account.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Create a free Google Search Console account and verify that you have access to your site. It’s simple if you already have a Google Analytics account installed.
  • In your property settings in Google Analytics, connect to your Google Search Console.
  • From your dashboard, click on Admin in the lower left-hand corner.
  • Go to Property Settings > Search Console > Adjust Search Console.
  • Make sure your Google Search Console is linked.

After the accounts are connected, the reports under Acquisition – Search Console will start populating. Keep in mind there is a 48-hour delay so give it a few days before checking for keyword data.

Customization #2. Create Multiple Views

I consider this a mandatory customization because, well, accidents happen.

Once data has been collected by Google Analytics, it can’t be undone. If some of the following customizations are set up wrong, you won’t be able to go back and “fix” the data. All you can do is update the customization so your future data will be correct.

We all make mistakes. So, it’s a good idea to have two extra views for your Google Analytics profile as a backup.

I recommend setting up three views:

  • Master View. This is the main view you will work with.
  • Test View. Before adding a new setting to your Master view, test it here. This allows you to mess around without impacting your real data.
  • Raw Data View. Leave this view completely untouched without any settings configured. If something goes horribly wrong, you always have this base data to work with.

Here’s how you set up multiple views.

  1. Go to Admin > View Settings
  2. Click on + Create View
  3. Reporting View Name (Master, Test or Raw Data)
  4. Set your Country and Time Zone
  5. Select Create View
Customization #3. Set up Events

Google Analytics tracks many metrics without any customization, which is part of why it’s so popular. Standard metrics include sessions, pageviews, bounce rates and time on site.

However, there are other “events” you might want to track, such as:

  • Inquiry form completions
  • Email signups
  • PDF downloads
  • Video plays
  • Webinar registrations
  • Click on important links

Anything that’s important on your site can be turned into a Google Analytics event so you can track how often it happens.

To trigger events, you will need to add code to your site that sends the event data to GA whenever the action occurs. Most likely, you’ll want to ask your developer to help you set this up. Here is the link to how to set up events in Google Analytics.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf 7 Vital Customizations to Make in Google Analytics for School Marketers to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.
Customization #4. Clean Up Parameters

It’s pretty common to run into multiple listings of the same page in your Google Analytics reports. Each listing will have the same Page URL with a question mark “?” and then some number, symbols and text. Anything after the “?” in a URL is a parameter. It’s common for tools to add parameters to a URL that adds extra data various tools can then use.

The problem is that GA treats parameters as unique URLs. Traffic to the same page will look like a different URL because the parameters are different. This splits the data you collect into multiple listings so you don’t really know the true performance of the page unless you do the math by hand.

There’s a bigger problem here too.

Many marketing automation tools (like autoresponders and social media schedulers) will add ID parameters to the end of every URL in their emails. This allows them to track email subscriber or social media follower actions. Even worse, it can populate reports with personal information such as name and email addresses. It’s against Google Analytics Terms of Service to have personal information in any report so you definitely don’t want this to happen.

To understand how to make this customization, you need to understand how parameters work:

  • The end of the URL and the beginning of the parameter is marked with a “?”
  • Every parameter has a name and a value. The name is before the “=” and the value comes after
  • Parameters are separated by a “&” so if you an “&” in the URL, it means there are multiple parameters

To clean up your reports and scrub personal data clean, go to the All Pages report. Sort by Least Pageviews. This will give you a list of URLs that only have a single Pageview. Scroll through about 100 pages and look for any parameters that don’t signify a real URL.

Once you have your list of parameters that are junking up your reports, go to your View settings and add all the parameters you want excluded. Go to Admin > View Settings > Exclude URL Query Parameters. Add each parameter on a separate line.

Just be careful. Some sites use parameters for different pages. If your site does this, don’t include the parameters of real pages. Otherwise GA will stop tracking those pages entirely. Also, don’t include any of the standard UTM parameters that are used to track marketing campaigns. Google Analytics handles that data correctly.

Customization #5. Install Google Tag Manager

Most of the time when you are initially setting up Google Analytics, setting up Google Tag Manager isn’t worth the extra time and effort. But when you’re ready to start looking at customizations for GA, it’s worth taking the time to set up Google Tag Manager.

Long term, using Google Tag Manager is a good habit to get into. It saves time and headaches down the road that large sites can run into. Managing all your JavaScript tags from your marketing tools makes updates, maintenance and audits super easy.

However, if you’re running your site by yourself and don’t want to learn one more tool, feel free to skip this customization.

But if you’re ready to utilize this powerful tool, follow these steps to set up Google Tag Manager.

  1. Remove Google Analytics Global Site Tag from your website.
  2. Create a Google Tag Manager account at set up a workspace for your site.
  3. Install the Google Tag Manager JavaScript in the same place on your website that you previously installed Google Analytics. You can find the JavaScript under the Admin section of your Google Tag Manager account.
  4. Create a new tag under your workspace.
  5. For tag type, choose “Universal Analytics”.
  6. Choose “Page View” for tracking type.
  7. Under Google Analytics Settings, choose “New Variable” and add your Tracking ID.
  8. Add a trigger that fires the tag on all pages.
  9. Save your tag and publish your workspace. Don’t forget to publish the new workspace – you have to “push” to production otherwise your changes won’t become active.

To make sure Google Analytics is working through Google Tag Manager, check your real-time reports in Google Analytics to make sure it’s successfully recording data.

Customization #6. Create Custom Alerts

Sooner or later, your site will experience a major problem. Here are a few scenarios that have happened to me or I’ve seen happen to other school marketers.

  • A site redesign was launched and Google Analytics was missing when it was published.
  • Another site redesign launched and cut email signup flow by 50 percent. Tracking was working, the new site just didn’t convert nearly as well as the old site.
  • Someone was working on the site and accidently removed Google Analytics from the entire site. It was missing for about 24 hours before it was caught.
  • Google launched a bug in a search algorithm update and the site lost 40 percent of traffic in about 30 days.
  • About 40 percent of search traffic was lost in 30 days after Google recrawled the site and lowered all our rankings.
  • A new email signup infrastructure was installed which damaged the signup tracking, which was the primary goal of the site.
  • A landing page was updated and the marketing funnel that led to it lost traffic by 50 percent.

Most of these examples were pretty embarrassing to someone on the team.

Sooner or later, they happen to every site. Most marketers experience them about 1-2 times per year.

To help catch mistakes or errors like these, Google Analytics has Custom Alerts.

Here’s how it works.

You define a set of criteria and whenever that event happens, Google Analytics will send you an email. Even if you’re not checking Google Analytics daily, you’ll still catch major problems within 24 hours.

Here’s the alert I like to set up.

  1. In Google Analytics, go to Admin > Custom Alerts > New Alerts
  2. Name = Session Drop
  3. Apply to = Your Domain Name (default)
  4. Period = Day (this way you will catch a catastrophic problem within 24 hours
  5. Select “Send me an email when this alert triggers”
  6. Alert Conditions = This applies to All Traffic. Alert me when: Sessions – Condition: % decreases by more than 30% – Compared to: Same day in the previous week.
  7. Save Alert

This alert will send you an email if ever your sessions decrease by 30 % or more compared to the same day the previous week.

Here are few things to keep in mind regarding Google Analytics Custom Alerts.

  • Only set up a few Custom Alerts. I set up the Session Drop alert (which covers Total Traffic) and then one for the primary conversion on the site (i.e. inquiry contact form submissions). If you have too many alerts set up, you tend to ignore them eventually.
  • Compare events to the same day the previous week. This is because most sites have huge fluctuations on the weekend so if you set it for the previous day you might get too many false alarms.
  • Increase the trigger percentage if you find you are getting too many false alarms.
  • I recommend keeping alerts to major decreases only. Positive increases are great, but it’s bad news where every minute counts.
Customization #7. Add an Office IP filter

When it comes to Google Analytics, filters give you complete and total power. You can remove and transform data permanently.

And when I say permanently, I do mean permanently. Be careful with filters. Seriously. Once a filter is live it will change all the data that’s collected. You can never undo it. If a bad filter is applied, all you can do is remove it and clean up the data as best you can for the future. You can not do anything to fix the old corrupted data.

That said, there’s one filter that many school marketing departments should set up: a filter to remove internal traffic.

Now, if you’re a super small school and there’s only you or a small team, there’s no need to worry about this customization. The impact of your activity is so limited it’s not worth worrying about.

However, if you’re a larger school with a robust marketing team, you will definitely want to set up this customization to limit the impact of the team’s activity. Your traffic data is likely to be skewed and the data Google Analytics reports will be biased.

In order to set up this customization, you will need the IP address of your office.

Here’s how to set it up.

  1. Select the View you want to work with. First apply the filter to your Test view and make sure it’s working properly before applying it to your Master view.
  2. Go to Admin > Filters > Click + New Filter > Create New Filter
  3. Select Predefined Filter Type
  4. Exclude – traffic from the IP Address – that are equal to
  5. IP address (enter your address XX.XXX.XXX.XX)
  6. Save

This filter tells Google Analytics to ignore all data from the IP address you enter.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool you can use to measure the performance of your website and the traffic you are driving to it. These customizations will help you refine the data you are collecting and give you more control over your reports.

Have you applied customizations to your Google Analytics account? What customizations have you found to be helpful? Please share with the school marketing community in the comments below.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf 7 Vital Customizations to Make in Google Analytics for School Marketers to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

The post 7 Vital Customizations to Make in Google Analytics for School Marketers appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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“It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

~J.K. Rowling

Required Reading

BREAKING: Facebook Is Getting a Major Redesign—Here’s What It Looks Like

Today, Facebook unveiled a total redesign of the Facebook experience—and we gotta say, it looks pretty awesome!

The announcement happened at the company’s annual F8 conference. During the event’s opening talk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new design and discussed the reasoning behind it.

Essentially, Facebook users have changed how they use Facebook over the past few years. Instead of posting publicly, more and more users are turning to groups and other more private ways of sharing content on the network.

How An Email Lead Nurturing Campaign Can Help Your School

Wondering if email marketing is still a relevant activity for your school to engage in? Especially at a time when inbound marketing has opened up more profitable and effective ways of getting enrollments, can it still prove to be beneficial?

The answer is yes, email marketing, the strategy of sending emails to your prospects, current parents, and subscribers, is still a powerful marketing tool. Emails can enable you to gather leads, convert prospects into enrollments, and turn your parents and students into loyal school community members.

How to Outrank Big Companies When You Have No SEO Budget

There’s a formula to SEO and as long as you follow it, you’ll get rankings.

So, what’s this formula?

Well, you write amazing content, optimize your code, create a great user experience, and you mix in some backlinks.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, the formula isn’t too complicated, but it does require hard work and patience.

Suggested Listening

How to Stand Out with Facebook Video Ads – Andrew Hubbard

Video advertising is becoming the dominant force in the digital marketing space. Mobile is king, and attention spans are dwindling, so you need to be able to connect with your audience through visual content, and nurture relationships that way, all within the span of about 2.8 seconds.

Digital marketers look to Andrew Hubbard when they are trying to understand just how important video is as a driver of online content since many platforms – such as Instagram and Facebook – are shifting their algorithms to give video ads more clout as they seem to be the ones attracting the most engagement. And that doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

Heard in the Facebook Group

QUESTION: I am looking for samples of school constituent surveys. We have one that we have used in the past (I would categorize it as a “general satisfaction” survey) but am interested in searching out best practices, and seeing what other private schools inquire about. Parent, Alumni, Student…I’d love to see anything you are willing to share. Also if you have a survey tool you love, I’d love to hear about that as well. Thanks so much in advance!

READ COMMENTS

The post It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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Software applications (apps) have taken over our work lives. There are apps for our work email and calendar, chat tools for our team and even password security apps so we don’t have to remember our usernames or passwords.

For this reason, most of us are feeling a little overwhelmed with so many apps – and more than a little frustrated.

According to a study conducted by Techcrunch, smartphone owners use an average of 9 apps a day – and 30 per month. Almost two-thirds of respondents report feeling somewhat or very frustrated when they can’t find something they need when using online apps.

You might have experienced this frustration as well. You’ve got projects, deliverables, notes and conversations happening on many different apps. Your team might spend as much time managing the process, switching between tools and hunting down info as they spend actually doing the work.

All of this can cause stress. After all, success isn’t just about the results your team produces; it’s also about how efficiently you accomplish those tasks.

Evernote is a must-have tool for personal and business use. Whether it’s taking meeting notes, collecting content ideas or organizing paperwork, Evernote is one of my favorite productivity tools. And with Spaces, the Evernote Business feature designed to share projects and ideas with teams, you can easily connect the apps you already use to build a workflow that works for your team.

Here are 10 apps that work well with Evernote to save you time, energy and lower your stress level.

  1. Slack

Connect Slack to Evernote and save important conversations or pull up relevant notes to instantly access your relevant communication, ideas and work. Whether it’s saving Slack chats to Evernote or bringing up your notes right in Slack, you can avoid copying, pasting and app switching, all of which consumes your time.

For example, you could clip an entire conversation, saving it as a note in Evernote that can then be pinned to your team’s space. Integrating the two tools – Slack and Evernote – makes it easier to access share your ideas from one place.

Learn more about using Evernote + Slack here

  1. Outlook

Email is a big part of everyone’s workday. We spend a lot of time in our inboxes, whether it’s responding to new messages or trying to find an email we received in the past.

Emails tend to get lost in the never-ending stream of conversation. And since they occur in a different app from the tools you are using to create and organize your documents and projects, there is a big disconnect. By connecting your Evernote to Outlook, you can save important emails and easily share your notes, documents and other content.

Save your emails and attachments into the right notebook with relevant tags or additional remarks to make them easy to find later. Your emails will then appear as editable notes, making it handy for you to replicate or add to at a later time. This feature is especially handy for recurring emails, like status updates or weekly reports.

You can also attach a note saved in Evernote to an email easily, saving you time and frustration because you can quickly find your note and save it as an attachment without having to switch apps.

Learn more about using Evernote + Outlook here

  1. Google Drive

If your school uses the Google Drive suite, you can keep the files you create in context next to your notes and ideas in Evernote. Drop docs, slides and sheets right into notes in your team’s space. For example, you could add the slide deck and budget spreadsheet you presented at a meeting to the note containing all your action items and whiteboard brainstorming.

With Spaces, you can add important files to a note and pin it in your team’s space so it’s always handy. The “What’s New” feature in Evernote is an easy way to view recently added documents. I love that Google Drive files automatically update in Evernote, so you don’t have to worry about saving an updated version to Evernote. By using these two apps together, you can organize and track all of the details of your project, even if it doesn’t fit neatly into a single document.

Learn more about using Evernote + Google Drive here

  1. Feedly Pro

Use Feedly Pro’s integration for Evernote to save the best articles from your Feedly to your Evernote notebooks. Once they are in Evernote, you can organize them, add notes and attach files. Feedly automatically captures the full text of articles – even from partial feeds – when saved to Evernote. And the integration works perfectly with Evernote Business accounts so you can share with your team members.

Learn more about setting up Feedly + Evernote here

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Getting the Most Out of Your Favorite Work Apps Using Evernote to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.
  1. CoSchedule

 Evernote is a great place to capture ideas and start drafts for blog posts or social media status updates. You can then attach your notes to your CoSchedule Calendar to schedule your updates or blog post. This integration will also include your images and audio. CoSchedule is an all-in-one marketing planner, with visual views and the ease of drag-and-drop. I use Evernote to create drafts of blog posts and podcasts. Then I head to Evernote to start pulling those drafts into the CoSchedule calendar for the specific dates I want, giving me an at-a-glance view of our upcoming main content. When I’m ready to publish, I can convert that Evernote note into WordPress for final editing, formatting and publishing. Then, I can add in my social media updates for the post and Click to Tweets.

Learn more about using Evernote + CoSchedule here

  1. Pocket

I love saving blog posts and other content on the web to pocket. Using Pocket with Evernote is a great way to have a clutter-free, paperless filing system. Pocket makes it easy to click off things you’ve read, and tags make it easy to find exactly the article you’re looking for. Then, if you want to save an article for future reference, send it to Evernote. This way, Evernote becomes more of a long-term yet uncluttered storage tool. You can either use the Send To feature in Pocket or you can set up an IFTTT recipe to simply and quickly send starred items to Evernote.

While it may seem redundant to use both Pocket and Evernote, if you save a lot of articles that you only need temporarily (say for a status update on social media or the next blog post), saving them to Evernote and then deleting them takes more work than saving to Pocket and archiving them or making them disappear from the list. By saving to Pocket, it doesn’t clutter up Evernote, where I save pages I want to reference later in the future.

To get started connecting Pocket to Evernote, click here

  1. TaskClone

TaskClone instantly turns Evernote checklists, note titles and reminders into tasks or events in your favorite productivity or project management apps, such as ToDoist, Google Calendar, Basecamp, Trello, Wunderlist and more.

Evernote is great for capturing action items; TaskClone puts those items in your action tools where you can add due dates, reminders, assign duties and more. Collect tasks scattered throughout your Evernote and create a streamlined workflow.

When you take meeting notes in Evernote, you can use TaskClone to ensure your action items are not forgotten. Never lose context for your tasks as every task will be linked back to the original note. Schedule follow-up meetings in your calendar without leaving Evernote.

Learn more about using TaskClone with Evernote by clicking here

  1. Zapier

Zapier is an app that connects over 1,400 other apps to Evernote, including MailChimp, Trello, Eventbrite, Stripe, Dropbox and many more. Zapier makes setting up automated workflows (called Zaps) easy and quick. Plus, you can set up multi-action Zaps to chain together as many actions as you want. For example, you can copy data from an app (like from Trello) into a new note, and then log the new note into a third app (like CoSchedule), all automatically. Your workflows become exponentially simpler, giving you more time to get things done.

Here are a few Evernote integrations you can set up using Zapier:

  • Dropbox – access 30 Dropbox + Evernote integrations including backing up your Evernote notes to Dropbox, saving attachments on new Evernote notes as Dropbox files, send Dropbox file to Evernote automatically, create new Evernote notes as text files in Dropbox and appending new Dropbox file data to notes in Evernote.
  • Google Calendar – create Google Calendar events from Evernote reminders, add notes to Evernote for new Google Calendar events, and much more.
  • ToDoist – create Todoist tasks from new Evernote reminders, append completed ToDoist tasks to an existing Evernote note or create a new Evernote Notebook each time you create a new ToDoist Project
  • Trello – create Trello cards from new Evernote notes, create Evernote notes from Trello cards, create Trello cards from Evernote reminders, create new notes on Evernote for new activity on Trello, and much more!
  • Pinterest – create Evernote notes from Pinterest pins or append notes in Evernote from new pins on Pinterest

Learn more about using Zapier to create Evernote integrations here

  1. IFTTT

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a great way to get your apps connected with Evernote. If you want to sync between apps, it’s easy with a the new note in a notebook trigger. If you want to be selective, you can use tags. A specific tag trigger fires when you add the tag to the note, not when the note is written. So you can draft something up, and work on it over time, and add your tag when you’re ready to share.

Here are some examples:

  • Automatically send a note to a chat app
  • Sync new notes in a notebook to Google Drive
  • Send new notes to a Slack channel with you tag them with “Team”
  • Create a text file in Dropbox when you give a note a specific tag
  • Add a to-do to an Evernote note when there’s a new card assigned to you in Trello
  • Automatically add new tasks with a specific label from ToDoist to Evernote
  • Create a note by telling it to Google Assistant
  • Create a note when an event is added to a specific iOS Calendar
  • Automatically create a note in Evernote when a new event is added to your Google Calendar

Learn more about using IFTTT with Evernote by clicking here

  1. DocuSign

We all have documents that need signatures from multiple parties, and that’s where the DocuSign and Evernote integration comes in. You can set up Evernote as a document source in DocuSign, import documents to get legally binding signatures and then put those documents back into Evernote once completed.

Learn more about using DocuSign with Evernote by clicking here

I hope you are able to use these Evernote integrations to make it easier for you manage your workload experience and less stress at work.

What are your favorite Evernote app integrations? Please share with the rest of the school marketing community by commenting below.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Getting the Most Out of Your Favorite Work Apps Using Evernote to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for some of these resources which means that, at no cost additional to you, I make a commission if you purchase via my link.

The post Getting the Most Out of Your Favorite Work Apps Using Evernote appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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“Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.”

~Michael Scott

Required Reading

26 Mobile and Desktop Tools for Marketers

Looking for better ways to create videos, audio, and images? Want a list of tools to help?

In this article, you’ll explore 26 apps and tools for mobile and desktop from the Social Media Marketing podcast’s Discovery of the Week.

How to Grow Your Website Traffic – With Pinterest!

In your quest for more website traffic, you’ve likely investigated SEO, advertising, Instagram, Facebook, blogging, link building and more. But this may well be the first time you’ve ever considered the traffic-driving potential of Pinterest. If so, you’re not alone in your reluctance.

In fact, according to a study conducted by Social Media Examiner in 2018, only 27% of marketers are using Pinterest. What!? Maybe what people say about Pinterest is true. Maybe Pinterest marketing only works for the fashion industry, or wedding planners, or for cupcake recipes.

OR, maybe that 27% of marketers have realized something the others haven’t, namely that:

Pinterest WANTS to send traffic to your site.

The 12 Best Email Newsletter Tools in 2019

Email marketing is a key component of any successful marketing strategy — in fact, email marketing provides companies with a potential ROI of $44 for every $1 spent.

In particular, email newsletters are an essential way for your business to keep your subscribers up-to-date with relevant information, and ultimately drive more leads. Newsletters give marketers the ability to capture email sign-ups through form submissions, and nurture leads.

If you have a blog, you’ve probably sent newsletters to notify subscribers about new blog posts. Alternatively, perhaps you’ve used newsletters to send business-related information to your subscribers.

Anyway you slice it, newsletters help you keep your contacts engaged with your business.

Suggested Listening

Revealing Stealth Applicants, with Brendan Schneider [The Enrollhand Blog]

Our guest today is Brendan Schneider. He is the Director of Advancement at Sewickley Academy. Brendan is one of the leading minds today in school marketing and admissions, with a strong focus on inbound marketing, social media, and lead nurturing for schools.

In this episode, Brendan shares how using an inquiry or lead magnet can help to build trusting relationships with prospective parents so that they become direct contacts for the school rather than “stealth applicants” who are likely to be lost before the school’s message is effectively delivered. He gives specific strategies for schools to attract leads, connect with leads, and convert leads. Brendan talks about how the process of “filling the funnel” with potential applicants has changed, and how a school must understand their marketing strategy in order to correctly target their “right fit” prospects.

Listen and take note of how to build relationships with parents in order to move them toward the goal of a campus visit.

Heard In The Facebook Group

QUESTION: I’m sure someone’s probably asked this question already! For those who produce weekly newsletters – what are your average open and CTR (or CTOR) rates? I’m trying to get a sense for the industry average.

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Today’s digitized lifestyle has had an impact on our willingness to pay attention to online content for long periods of time. Most of us consume content on multiple devices (i.e. smartphone, computers, televisions, tablets) and we switch between an average of three per day to complete a task. This has led to omnichannel viewing and a notable reduction in our attention span – or our patience – or both.

You probably remember the 2015 Microsoft study that reported consumers’ attention spans are now less than that of your average goldfish. In light of these findings, marketers are now expected to produce short (6 second) and long (15 second – 10 minute) versions of marketing videos and test them to see which one will perform better.

For marketers, deciding between short-form and long-form videos has been challenging. We know that consumers are short on time, patience and attention. On the other hand, studies have shown that longer video may perform better.

The short answer to this dilemma is – it depends on the goal of your marketing campaign.

Let me explain.

Goals for video campaigns can vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Goals for video campaigns can vary from upper funnel brand discovery to lower funnel click-throughs. Advertisers generally consider video viewing completion rates and click-throughs when measuring the performance of a video campaign.

Click-Through Rates

Let’s start with click-through rates as a performance metric. Click-throughs represent people who click-through from your video to a landing page, which may be your website, a social site or a standalone landing page. Supposedly, if they click through to the landing page, they are interested in learning more about your school and are hopefully completing an inquiry form. Short-form videos are generally a better choice for click-throughs; why produce a long video when you want people to click away rather than watch?

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Are Short-Form or Long-Form Videos Better for School Marketing? to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

Completion Rates

The most popular metric for video marketing is completion rate. In theory, completions represent people who attentively watch your entire video. However, it’s not so easy to confirm that the viewer watched the entire video. In some online formats, a viewer can skip the video. Non-skippable videos average a 70 percent viewing rate; skippable videos only 30 percent. It’s hard to determine if people are really watching the entire video or tuning out while the non-skippable video plays.

Short-Form Video

At first glance, it seems like short-term video is the clear winner when it comes to click-throughs and completions. This is because, as video length increases, so do drop-off rates (and fewer click-throughs). However, it’s hard to tell a story in 6 seconds. This is where long-form videos stand out.

Long-Form Video

In their 2015 study on video-form length, Google (in collaboration with Mondelez International) found that long-form videos were more effective in “lifting” brand favorability. The extra depth and complexity of the story presented created a more meaningful connection to the brand. For schools wanting to move potential parents past initial awareness, a longer story may be necessary to persuade people to change how they think.

Consider Your Marketing Goals

In order to make an effective decision about the length of your video, contemplate the goal of your video marketing. Is it to drive clicks and completions? Or are you thinking more long term, like trying to build affinity for your school?

Using Short and Long-Form Videos Together

Marketers must always keep in mind that we are competing with an excess of high-quality content that is available at all times. Whether short or long, authentic stories captivate people. If you want people to pay attention to your video it has to be an authentic story presented in an authentic way. You can tell a story for 6 seconds or 3 minutes and they’ll watch as long as the story is good.

Regardless of the length of your videos, some people will click away relatively quickly. The best course of action is to make your videos as short as possible without compromising the authenticity and scope of the story you have chosen. A longer-version 3-minute video can always be trimmed to a 60-second version for Instagram, a 30-second version for a YouTube pre-roll ad or a 6-second blast. Just remember that the longer-form, 3-minute version offers viewers storytelling and engagement opportunities that don’t normally occur with the shorter versions. If you are trying to engage parents and demonstrate what makes your school exceptional, the longer version might just be the way to go.

Have you tested short-form and long-form videos? What was your experience? Please share with the rest of the school marketing community by commenting below. We’d love to hear from you!

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Are Short-Form or Long-Form Videos Better for School Marketing? to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

The post Are Short-Form or Long-Form Videos Better for School Marketing? appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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“Where there is love there is life.”

~Mahatma Gandhi

Required Reading

How to Cross-Post to Instagram From Your Facebook Page

Do you use Instagram and Facebook for your business? Are you looking for a way to post to Instagram from your desktop?

In this article, you’ll learn how to cross-post from Facebook to Instagram via your desktop.

5 Ways to Save Time on Content Creation

Content creation, when done correctly, takes time. But you’re a busy entrepreneur with a lot on your plate. Surely, there is a way to get more efficient about the content creation process.

The good news is: there is! There are ways to streamline the process and save time, while still creating meaningful content that will get you noticed by prospects and keep you top of mind with existing customers.

Here are my top five tips for saving time on content creation so you can get back to the other tasks that come along with running a business.

Required Instagram Video Sizes and Dimensions

Are you using video on Instagram to communicate, connect, and engage with your audience?

Wondering what are the best video sizes for everything from Instagram Stories to IGTV?

As video increases in popularity, adding it to your core marketing strategy is critical. And with so many video options, it’s easy to do.

But knowing the right video aspect ratio and dimensions can leave you scratching your head.

That’s why we’ve put together this complete guide, including an Infographic that you can pin and save for later!

Suggested Viewing

The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Technical SEO [Whiteboard Friday]

We’ve arrived at one of the meatiest SEO topics in our series: technical SEO. In this fifth part of the One-Hour Guide to SEO, Rand covers essential technical topics from crawlability to internal link structure to subfolders and far more. Watch on for a firmer grasp of technical SEO fundamentals!

Heard in the Facebook Group

QUESTION: Cross-posted: Colleagues, during our leadership team meeting this week, the topic of hosting a podcast came up. We just introduced webinars for families this year and between that program being in its infancy, news of podcast oversaturation and that fact that there is no strategy to this discussion, you can imagine I am reluctant to entertain this. Does anyone have any war stories/feedback they would like to share? I haven’t had to combat shiny object syndrome yet this year so I guess I’m due.

READ COMMENTS

The post Where There Is Love There Is Life appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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Everyone loves a good story.

Stories are all around us. They move us, delight us and inspire us. Stories are a way we can reach out to people and connect with them emotionally.

Telling stories from the richness of your school will excite, entertain and encourage your community. Stories are at the heart of successful school marketing; they are critical to the long-term success of your school.

Storytelling is the oldest art form known to the human race and is a fundamental way of communicating. In the modern age of technology, storytelling is finding new life through blogs, case studies and first-person narratives on a school website to short, fleeting stories on social media. The fact that people have flexibility in how and when they choose to consume online content gives storytellers creative freedom. We can interweave anecdotes and factual information to explore larger scientific or philosophical issues. We can use various media to illustrate our stories. We can use audio to its full advantage to complement the content.

Parents are looking for a place where they believe their children will fit in, a school that shares their values, priorities, and ethics. In addition to the concrete facts about facilities, activities, and results, parents want to know the story of your school, how the core beliefs and essence of your school were formed and what this means for your students – and what it could mean for their children. School marketers need to tell the story of their school in a way that makes parents want to belong to the “club.”

The power of a story is profound. It can help you connect with and move your audience; it can make your material more memorable. The best way to help people remember you is to tell them a compelling story.

What Types of Stories Should Schools Tell?

There are a variety of ways schools can tell their stories. Your school strengthens its public image as it shares stories along these themes:

  • Your school’s history
  • What your school stands for
  • What your school does (and does differently from other schools)
  • Success stories
  • How students, administrators, teachers, parents, and alumni have overcome barriers
How to Construct an Unforgettable Story

There are some easy steps you can use to get started with storytelling. But before you start crafting your stories, make sure you have your audience in mind and you know the goal in your storytelling, whether it’s to submit an inquiry, share with someone else or simply forge a connection between your school and the audience.

Here are 7 tips to help you construct memorable stories for your school.

  1. You need a clear message

Your main message is the single most important point you want to communicate. Your main message should answer the audience’s question “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM). Your main message needs to be simple and easy to “get”. When you keep your message succinct, it’s easier for the brain to bring your message to mind easily. Yes, making your story simple, short and sweet is difficult. But it’s worth the effort to make your story great.

  1. You need a powerful introduction

You have to attract the attention of your audience. Our brains are suffering from overload. They naturally save energy by tuning out boring, repetitive, monotonous things. As soon as something new or out of the ordinary shows up in our awareness, our brains switch on and begin to pay close attention.

One way you can do this is with humor. When you tell jokes and stories that make people laugh, you’re giving people a chuckle and a smile. And you’re increasing their endorphins, which lead to increased creativity, focus, and relaxation.

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Storytelling is Key to Forming Strong Connections with Parents to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.
  1. Your story must have the ring of authenticity

Authenticity is about being genuine and real. It allows others to connect with you (or your school) because it requires transparency and vulnerability.

  1. Your story must be relevant to the audience

People don’t remember facts; they remember how your story relates to them. As wonderful and noteworthy as they are, your school’s accomplishments should stay in the About Us section of your website. When it comes to telling a story, people want to know how the message is relevant to them.

  1. Every story needs the 5 C’s

Remember your high school lit class lessons about the 5 C’s? These five elements of storytelling are still important when constructing a story today.

  • Circumstance

When crafting your story, lay out the circumstances. Set the scene and give the vital information that will provide context for your reader.

  • Curiosity

Use curiosity to leave the audience wanting more (use this in headlines as well). If nothing piques the curiosity of the audience, why would they want to continue reading/viewing/listening?

  • Characters

Characters and engagement go hand-in-hand. Your story will be extremely boring without characters and dialogue.

  • Conflict

Conflict is an essential element of all stories. If there isn’t any conflict, there’s not much of a story.

  1. Win your audience’s hearts and minds

Stories are a great way to connect emotionally. Whether a story makes you feel sad, happy, scared or all-is-right-in-the-world, feelings make us feel more alive. To tell your story well, take the time to see the world through your audience’s eyes. Speak their language. Walk a mile in their shoes.

Stories elicit emotion – and action. The human heart is where your story must resonate if you want your audience to decide, to take action. The best stories help you touch human hearts.

  1. Your story needs a resolution

Where there’s drama or conflict, your audience will be on pins and needles, waiting for the resolution to the story.

Good stories surprise us. They don’t always have to end with a happy ending. The resolution should wrap up the story but also clearly call your audience to action. Your resolution fulfills the purpose behind the story.

A good resolution makes people think and it makes them feel.

In order to be an effective storyteller for your school, it is critical that you effectively build your story and deliver it in a compelling way.

What types of stories have resonated the most with your school’s community? Please share in the comments below…

Exclusive FREE Bonus: Download the pdf Storytelling is Key to Forming Strong Connections with Parents to use now, to reference in the future, and to share with colleagues at your school.

The post Storytelling is Key to Forming Strong Connections with Parents appeared first on SchneiderB Media.

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