Joined: 05 Mar 2012
Joined: 05 Mar 2012
PR for Recruitment
Though a lot of schools turn to public relations only in times of crisis, other schools look to PR as a means to prevent a problem. For insance, schools that are facing low enrollment rates due to a down economy are increasingly investing in professional marketing programs in order to keep admissions where it needs to be.
While some administrators suggest that a strong academic program will speak for itself, Lisa Relou, who directs marketing efforts for the Denver Public Schools, recently told the Wall Street Journal that "schools are really getting that they can't just expect students to show up any more. They have to go out and recruit."
Before you grow concerned, keep in mind that recruiting students for a K-12 school does not have to make you feel like a car salesman. Implement a marketing programs that will focus on positioning your school in a flattering way can help increase student recruitment and retention.
Tackle the real issues. Some marketing professionals will barge into your office wielding a corporate strategy and promising results. Instead of taping a band-aid over your problem, focus on the reasons why your student numbers might be lagging. If your test scores are down, invest in additional training or further education for teachers. If your facilities are outdated, skip the glamorous print ad campaign and purchase some updated equipment so that students - and more importantly, their parents - will know they are receiving a top notch education.
Implement a personalized program. Seek out parents of school-aged children and parents of children who will be aging into your school system. Have honest conversations with them about what they are looking for in a school and what your school can do for their child. In a market saturated with social media and mass marketing, a little face time goes a long way. While it might cost your administration some manpower hours, it will pay off in spades if conducted correctly.
Target the media that your audience consumes. Private and charter schools might find it tempting to take out ads in local magazines or newspapers, but in actuality, carpooling parents get their news from the radio while stay-at-home and working parents spend more time online. If you are working with a PR or marketing professional, ensure that they know your goal is quality - reaching the right audience - not quantity.
Do you use PR for Recruitment purposes? Join our discusson in the PR for Schools Group!