Incredible stories of student achievement and accomplishments occur daily in school districts across the country (including yours!). Unfortunately, many are not being told in a way that captures attention and inspires loyalty and trust.
With the ever-changing trends in content creation and the endless (and new) ways to share content, it is essential that your messages are heard and understood amongst the voices competing for the attention of your audience.
Whether you are using the short-form video format on Instagram and TikTok or producing a high-quality podcast, connecting with your audience through authentic storytelling with real people and voices is a proven way to make sure your story sticks. One of the most significant ways to gain buy-in from your audience is to find your district’s authentic voice in sharing information and impactful stories. Understanding what makes your district unique and what resonates with your community are key to finding that voice. CESO’s Brand Identity/Clarification process is one approach to keying in on your district’s brand messages and can help identify the authentic voice that will drive your content.
Once you understand your district’s authentic voice, find the right stories that will live rent-free in your audience’s mind. In the book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath spend time discussing the topic of common sense in storytelling. I love this quote:
"Common sense is the enemy of sticky messages, if I already "get" what you're trying to tell me, why should I be obsessed about remember it." - Chip and Dan Heath
It is crucial to invest in stories that will make the audience stop and say "Wow!"
Now, we know this is easier said than done, but it doesn't require a monster budget to make it happen. An example, submitted for your approval, is Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop Public Schools (MN).
For months now, CESO Communications has been helping create videos to highlight the people and programming in the district. A recent video recognized the often unsung heroes who are responsible for transporting the students to school on a daily basis. This story sparked parents in the district to continue the conversation about these bus drivers sharing stories of how much their students love riding the bus and the impact that their drivers have every day, creating a powerful sense of community and support.
One of the most effective ways to share stories that genuinely connect with your community is to simply listen. People will tell you what is important to them. Taking intentional time to analyze the responses to each piece of content (and surveys!) will show your department the best route to take in your storytelling and shape your strategy.
Magic happens when we own our voice, and listen to the people we hope to engage and delight.