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School Marketing Blog

The professional school marketing manager needs to be up-to-date with the latest school marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the school marketing plan. This school marketing blog enables school marketing professionals to engage in blog discussions relating to the school marketing issues of today. The 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

Managing the Media Interview - 6 Key Strategies

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The media interview is often a challenging, yet necessary, and often a very rewarding experience, for those involved with marketing - yet each interview needs to be well managed and prepared for...

Following are six key strategies needing special management prior to and during the interview.

The case study below is relevant for most professional and business media interviews but is based on the school situation.

1. Be well prepared!

The media interview is a very important means of getting your message across to an outside media outlet. Again - Be well prepared! (This can never be repeated enough!)

The interview is usually conducted by a journalist at the school. Sometimes over-the-phone interviews occur.

2. Who is interviewed?

Students are mostly interviewed. Sometimes the Principal and various staff members may be interviewed. Often the School Marketing Manager (SMM) will be interviewed but this is mainly as a result of clarification being needed by the journalist for a particular story or upcoming interview.

The SMM may be asked to give quick quotes for the completion of a story or for an addition to a news story requiring a school's input. The SMM may need to seek the Principal's input for these types of quotes. The SMM may need to obtain a quote from the Principal.

3. Preparation for the interview

School representatives need to be well prepared for any interview. If possible, practice interviews should be conducted before the journalist arrives. The SMM should pre-empt possible questions for those being interviewed.

Even if the interviewee is the only person who knows the detail being sort, the SMM's preparedness is required. Go over with the interviewee what the procedure will be and possible questions. The SMM needs to build confidence in the person about to be interviewed. This is best done through thorough preparation. People feel more confident when questioned on areas for which they are prepared.

Prior to the journalist arriving, the SMM should make firm plans with those to be interviewed to meet at a designated time and at a designated place. This allows the SMM to ascertain whether everyone is present and if any last minute change of arrangements is required.

4. 3-4 Key Points

Concentrating on the key 3-4 points you want to get across is often the best and easiest way of approaching the preparation and interview. However, it is also necessary to try and pre-empt possible 'curly' questions and develop possible responses.

5. Expect the Unexpected

Sometimes the journalist is late. This is unfortunate; however it is best to make plans to suit the journalists for as soon as they are able to arrive. This sometimes causes great inconvenience to the school, interviewees and SMM. Sometimes either the journalist or photojournalist arrives at different times. This is not usually a problem as it is possible to start with just one present.

6. Conducting the Interview:

• The SMM would meet the journalist and often a photojournalist at the School Office. Welcome them appropriately and have them sign in. They may need to wear school endorsed name tags while in the school grounds.

• Offer them a non-alcoholic drink.

• Have a predetermined venue on offer, whether indoors or outdoors depending on the nature of the story and weather conditions at that moment. Offer this suggestion to the journalist who will usually accept.

• Have a chat about where you are about to go, the interviewees involved and any restrictions e.g. time restrictions that may be apparent.

• The SMM then takes the journalists and interviewees to the selected venue/s.

• If some photos are being taken at the same time as some interviews, the SMM will need to arrange for another well informed staff member to assist the photojournalist.

• The SMM, or any designated staff member, should usually remain with the journalists until they leave the school grounds.


A successful media interview is both rewarding for those from the school interviewed and the school itself. Being well prepared is an absolute necessity. Being able to turn a negative into a positive is exceptionally rewarding. Remember to try and concentrate on your 3-4 key points, however difficult this may

The 'Managing the Media Interview - 6 Key Strategies' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from and

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

Monday, April 02, 2012

Free or Inexpensive

A successful school marketing plan and budget will need to incorporate most of the top ten free school marketing strategies if it is to be successful. The top 10 strategies can be free, or at least relatively inexpensive, depending on the school’s present arrangements.

By effectively using the media and the school website, there should be little expense activating these top 10 strategies, especially when the digital option is the primary method used, instead of hardcopies. If it can assumed that the school has a website, which can be managed by the school, as well as a school signboard and a good digital camera, then these strategies can be implemented for free or little expense.

The first strategy is in itself free, yet is also reliant upon a number of other key strategies to be implemented successfully – ‘Word of Mouth’.

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

1.    Word of Mouth - School's Reputation
2.    Quality Teaching and Opportunities for Students – Curricula and Extra Curricula Activities
3.    Professionalism of staff in action and appearance
4.    School Website
5.    Use of the Media - both traditional and contemporary – including editorial, images  and advertising
6.    Information Sessions - night and day times – including observation of the school in action (a transparent approach), parent nights, entertainment by students, school boards and parent associations, open days, etc.
7.    Newsletters and Flyers - digital (and hardcopy where needed)
8.    Front Signboard
9.    Social Networking Sites e.g. Facebook and Twitter
10.  Cross Information (within the region’s schools or parish)

The number 1 strategy, ‘Word of Mouth’, is dependent on those espousing various views about the school being well informed. To do this, the next 9 strategies have an important role to play.

The school needs:

•    to have a high quality curriculum,
•    an easy to use professional website,
•    the ability to engage the local media so that the good stories are told to the whole community, and even the negative stories being told with the school’s professional approach for solutions being seen in a positive light,
•    openness to various visits to the school and
•    the acceptance of the place of the digital flyers and newsletters

•    acknowledgement of the place of social media in today’s digital world.


Free key strategies are often the best approaches to marketing your school. When the school has set up a professional website and the school community has a positive attitude toward the school and what it offers, along with what the digital age can offer, then a free, or relatively inexpensive, school marketing plan is possible. This approach can also work when the attitude of the community is not as high – however, there may need to be a need for various forms of paid advertising to counteract such negativity. The best school marketing plan would incorporate most of the free top 10 strategies for marketing your school.

The 'Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from and

Photojournalists - Essential for Schools

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photojournalists are essential for a schools success. They get the 'every picture tells a thousand words' to the general population.

Photojournalists are responsible for getting the best photos they can for their particular media outlets. Photos, like pictures, tell a thousand words - hence you need the best photo possible for your circumstances. Photojournalists will most likely have good ideas to best represent the image you or they want covered.

Photo sessions are usually enjoyable times for all involved. It is not often that people appear in the media.

The photojournalist usually works with the journalist who is covering the story. Yet it is often the photojournalist who decides which photos will be used.

There will be times when the media outlet only wants a photo and just sends a photojournalist. At other times you will need to arrange for interviews and photos at the same or similar times. However, at other times, the interview may happen over the telephone and the photo taken at a separate time. Even though most stories require a photo, sometimes it is not required.

Own Professional or Business Photos

There may also be times when the media outlet is quite happy for you to send your own photos by email instead of having the photojournalist come out.

This usually happens after the outlet appreciates the quality and content of your professional or business photos and the professionalism of your photographers.

This is more common with the smaller publications, or for photos accompanying editorial in special features and for advertising.

Rest assured that the outlets will invariably send out a photographer if you feel you need one.

Marketing Manager and the Photojournalist

The Marketing Manager, or selected well informed staff member, needs to attend all photo sessions. The Marketing Manager should treat it as an enjoyable time and it most likely will end up being so.

You are free to offer suggestions, though the final decision does rest with the photojournalist. Their employer is their media outlet (and not your business) and hence the photo taken is what they want. However, in most cases, the photojournalist is working with you and for the profession or business to be seen in the best light.

It is in their best interests to work with you for many reasons, including the media outlet's need for a good standing in the community. They will also possibly want photos, reactions or stories from your profession, business or field down the track. However, if you are being unfairly obstructive, then follow-up photos for other stories at other times may be few and far between.

For specific details of the unique school situation for dealing with photojournalists see Photojournalists and Schools - Duty of Care.

The 'Photojournalists - Essential for Schools' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from and

School Marketing and the Media

Sunday, December 27, 2009

School Marketing and the Media is an essential aspect of any school marketing plan.

Do not fear the media but be prepared!

All you are ever likely to need to know about dealing successfully with the media.

This chapter will help you deal with the journalists, photojournalists and others to gain the best result for your school.

You are in charge but need to appreciate the role these people play in marketing your school.

The big challenges of writing media releases and editorials (stories) is clearly explained here. There are samples to view!



• Media
• Media Releases
• Writing a Media Release
• Sample Media Release
• Media Interview
• Journalists at School
• Photojournalists at School     
• Editorial from the School
• Sample Editorial
• The Difficult Media Situation
• ‘Staged’ events

'School Marketing and the Media' is a chapter from School Marketing e-Handbook written by Bryan Foster

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