Thought Leadership, Thought Leaders: 3 Ways Private School Marketers Can Drive Their School Forward.

Photo credit: East Woods School, Oyster Bay, New York, the author’s alma mater

Photo credit: East Woods School, Oyster Bay, New York, the author’s alma mater

To drive the private school industry forward, we need new ideas—the kind that only special subject matter experts like thought leaders can provide. Think of Greg Bamford, for instance, who drives innovation and strategy at private schools; his content provokes reflection and discussion and moves his listeners to action.

But you don’t necessarily have to look to popular influencers for thought leadership. In fact, thought leaders surround private school marketers. Think faculty members, students one step away from entering the “shark tank,” and of course, the Head of School. Highlighting these individual thought leaders on social media increases your entire school's authority.

 

“Indeed, having a genuine belief in the thought leaders who make your school the best in its class will be conveyed through the content you create and disseminate online.”

 

Below I have listed content marketing digital tactics that I have found to be most helpful in my experience promoting “backyard” thought leadership for private schools, businesses, and brands. 

Use Instagram Story Highlights.

Instagram Story Highlights are one of the least used opportunities across all private school Instagram feeds. You can use Story Highlights to reach a younger generation of potential and current students by communicating their way, as well as promote your thought leaders via relevant news, achievements/awards, publications, etc.

To create your Instagram Story Highlight graphics, I recommend budgeting a subscription to Envato Elements, Adobe Spark, or both. These tools provide easy-to-use templates, fonts, assets, stock photos, and more. 

Use videos.

Videos are the fastest and most useful piece of content to convey thought leadership, especially in the hectic world that is private school life. Here are a few simple tips for creating videos suitable in marketing your private school:

  • Schedule video interviews with your thought leaders on various topics and provide talking points or, in some cases, a script. 

  • Use small video clips to create a compilation of one discussion topic or publish the clips individually. (Don’t worry about posting too many videos; the more content, the better.)

  • Create a new YouTube Playlist to organize and separate thought leadership content. Give the playlist a catchy name that resonates with all audience segments. You can find inspiration for your new playlist's name using Oberlo's Slogan Generator or Portent's Content Ideas Generator.

  • For video production, I recommend using Adobe Spark's App, Spark Video. Once you create your Spark Brand Kit, you will have everything you need to have on-brand Instagram and YouTube videos. Another fun app I like to use is Swish. This app also requires a subscription, but it is as affordable and useful as Adobe Spark.

Video is quick for you, too, as a private school marketer: if you upload a 30-second video to your YouTube Thought Leadership Playlist and shared it on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, your work for the day may be complete.

Use blog posts—with caution.

You may have thought blogging would be the first piece of content I recommend, but I would lower it on your list of priorities. Why? Your audience affiliates the word blog with less-than authoritative connotations. Today, for instance, first graders use blogs instead of journals for school projects. 

Blogging isn’t entirely out of the question, however. An active blog tells search engines your website is active, resulting in increased organic search results and more favorable rankings. 

I suggest embedding your thought leadership videos into a search-optimized blog post—but don’t overthink it. Remember, a blog post only needs a snappy title, specific keywords, a small piece of content already created, and an uncomplicated call to action.

Think of your “backyard” thought leaders as the next Kim Kardashian and you’ll succeed.

I like to think of private school thought leader marketing as a sort of influencer marketing. If you can envision the leaders of your school as the next Kim Kardashians—with all her clout and specific branding—your thought leadership campaign cannot fail.

Indeed, having a genuine belief in the thought leaders who make your school the best in its class will be conveyed through the content you create and disseminate online. Authenticity, personality, passion, and dedication will shine through the content you create.


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