My Account

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.

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

Television Advertizing for Schools - Beware the Challenges

Sunday, April 01, 2012
Schools may gain considerably from television advertising but there are a number of challenges to initially overcome if this advertizing pathway is selected. Is television advertizing a part of your school marketing plan?

It’s cool!” Even more cool than radio - A commonly held view by many in the school community. Televsion is one such form of media advertizing for schools.

Television advertising is an expensive form of advertizing. It is difficult to justify the expense / success ratio! Television is most likely seen as the coolest main-line commercial medium.

Beware: the challenges!
  • Quality

Television advertising is fraught with various levels of the ‘cringe factor’ if not produced and presented in a very professional manner.

Quality is paramount, as all weaknesses are multiplied when shown on air.

  • Large Cities
Capital city advertising is very expensive. Similar to radio, there remains the question as to whether there is any benefit in advertizing over a large area for a specific school in one location.

System level advertising would often be of benefit for those schools within the region. There is also the flow-on effect of like schools e.g. other Catholic Schools being seen as equivalent to the advertised ones.
  • Smaller Cities and Towns

Smaller cities and towns also have the question mark over the effectiveness of this form of advertising against the cost involved. Quality of production may also be questionable.

The local television channels usually only produce a nightly news program. All other shows are normally direct feeds from the main networks. The advertizing is added from the local station and interspersed with the major companies’ adverts.

The major question here is - how many people watch the local station when they could be watching the main networked station?

Hence, how successful would placing local adverts through the local station be?

Television Station Advertising List – Learn from…
  • The best way to decide on this is to see the local channel’s list of advertisers.
This is easily obtained from the station’s advertising consultants. Once you have the list, check the businesses, schools and community groups, etc, which advertise.
  • Does this advertising list inspire you to also advertise with this channel?
It may become apparent that no really significant local or larger business accounts exist and hence there is probably little reason for you to use this form.

If the major businesses and community groups don’t use it, there is usually a good reason why. This reason is most likely that the number of viewers is limited.

A case could be made for regional or system level advertising in these smaller places.
Once again, check who are the present advertisers and decide whether this suits your SMP.

Other topics and strategies covered in the School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed) 2011 are:

Creating a Television Advertisement for schools:
  • The Proposal
  • Professional Quote / Professional Proposal
  • School Marketing Manager and Advertizement Preparations
  • School Personnel and Facilities
  • SMM's Role in Production
The 'Television Advertizing for Schools - Beware the Challenges' 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

'Staged' Media Events for School Marketing

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

‘Staged’ Events for school marketing.

A number of events may be 'staged' for optimum media / marketing coverage throughout the year.

These events would most often be normal school events which would be heavily marketed, with a primary marketing aim of gaining some media coverage. The desired media involvement would be free coverage gained as a result of media releases and / or phone calls to key media people.

The main staged event for most schools is the Open Day.

Two other events, which have been found to be very successful at Aquinas College, were a special Phone-a-thon and a unique Liturgy.

The Phone-a-thon was set up with the local television station and went live to air during and after the local news and weather segments. The purpose was to track down past students from the College for an upcoming major school anniversary. The setting was a small room with a number of key people, including the Principal, a past Principal, staff member, student and Sschool Marketing Manager - all with telephones. The School Marketing Manager asked people to ring in details and also had a little 'chat' about the event with the host. The whole promotion went very well and was free of charge.

The Easter Liturgy is still covered yearly by the local television station and major newspaper. Its significance is its size, number of students in costume or otherwise involved, scenes and props used throughout the school campus and local church, and vision of whole school being involved with each new station of the cross.

Either the Principal, students or School Marketing Manager are interviewed by various media outlets each year.

Other events could be:

 the Night of Excellence / Awards Night
 a sports grand final game eg Firsts
 school musical
 a past students‟ event
 the school‟s feast day
 graduation day
 school formal.

The event, or aspects / moments within it, should be as unique as possible to gain media attention. The staged event then becomes the focus of a marketing campaign.

Written by Bryan Foster author. This is an extract from the section "'Staged Events'" in the 'School Marketing and the Media' chapter in School Marketing e-Handbook: Easy to Use Guide to Market Your School

School Marketing and the Difficult Media Situation - Response

Saturday, November 07, 2009

When School Marketers experience the Difficult Media Situation comment to the media truthfully.

You do not need to give all the details but offer what is needed for the media enquiry allowing for privacy and ethical considerations.

This may be just a simple, “Thankyou for the enquiry. We will get back to you shortly.”

If the school decides to act on the request itself there are a number of approaches which should benefit the school:

 Be available for an interview in person or over the phone.

 Be positive and in control during the interview

 Appearance is important eg appropriate demeanour, dress, stance

 Control the backdrop for television or newspaper photo to get the positive visual message out that you want

 Answer all questions, but turn the answer to what you want to emphasise

 Having 3-4 key points is a good approach

 State the obvious, such as:
o no one was hurt, or unfortunately some people were injured
o damage to the property was significant or minimal
o the most important thing is that no-one was hurt, only property damage occurred and that this will be repaired as soon as possible or
o unfortunately some people were hurt and the school is currently doing everything possible for those people eg ambulance was called immediately, there will be ongoing medical assistance, school counsellor involved for those directly affected and others at school, other counsellors are coming from sister schools, etc.
o the school / principal is sorry that this unfortunate event occurred, all procedures have been followed and that everything possible will be done to ensure that this won‟t happen again. If updating procedures is necessary then this will be done immediately.


Be available to keep the media updated as the situation changes or developments are made.

Written by Bryan Foster author. This is an extract from the section 'The Difficult Media Situation' in the 'School Marketing and the Media' chapter in School Marketing e-Handbook: Easy to Use Guide to Market Your School

Recent Posts