No More Boring Marketing: Use Your Students’ Work

During the holiday season, there are countless opportunities for students in your school to draw, sing, or perform to celebrate the Christmas season.  But when the video is done or the curtain falls, what will come of such rich student-generated content?

In the new world of marketing, you must consider yourself a publisher of your own content.  The families around your school expect it in a 24:7 real-time world.  They are not waiting on you to get published in a feature story in the local paper or slick neighborhood magazine.  They are reviewing your website, or more likely, your Facebook page or YouTube channel to see what your school is producing today.

Last week, I was on-site with a school working on social media and there was a conversation among the staff of this in-house “viral” video that had been emailed back and forth between teachers and staff.  One of the students had completed an assignment for a Bible class on the parables of Jesus and created the funniest (yet accurate) portrayal of one Scriptural story  . . . all with her Macbook Pro and iMovie.  The only problem I noted was “outside this campus, who is seeing this great piece of work?“  So much of your students’ work is genius: creative, inspiring, and authentic.   This represents a gold mine of that content that you are constantly looking for to tell prospective families about your school.  It beats a slick tri-fold brochure and a memorized promotional Open House script every time.

Here are a few tools you can use to showcase your student-generated content:

  1. Video-sharing sites: YouTube, Vimeo (my preference), and even SmugMug offers schools the opportunity to upload those classroom video projects, the funny pep rally skit, or the favorite Student Council speeches.  Use judgment on posting videos of kids and consider the impact of “related videos”.  I’m no lawyer, but there may be a need for you to get permission from the student to post online.
  2. Issuu: – a virtual flipping book might be a great way for students to produce digital scrapbooks of summer mission trips, Homecoming weekend, or it might even replace the hardcopy yearbook (gasp!)  It might be the place where the next world-renown author launches his masterpiece based on a history class project.
  3. Photo-sharing sites: share those photos from the band retreat, the recent track and field championship, or the Christmas play.  Sites like Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug, and even Photoshop.com allow you to upload photos to an online gallery that make sharing easy (and the PS site allows some create editing).
  4. Online Reviews: the right student might offer a better testimonial than her parents would on GreatSchools.org or your school’s Google Place page.  Make it a class assignment on “Why I Love ______ (your school)____” and let the students vote and reward the student who wins.  Then have that student write that review so others can see the authenticity of your students’ enthusiasm.

So once you have the content housed in an online location, all of these sites are promoting the “Share” button on each piece of content.  It is super easy to share that video, the photo, or the review over to your Facebook page or Twitter stream.  Then Mom shares it with her sisters and Granny – who then share it with others.  Friends share friends’ stuff when it is good!

In a recent article entitled, “Tip of the Week – Six Great Ways to Publish Student Work“, Glenn Wiebe makes this observation: “…publishing student work beyond the classroom encourages authentically engaged kids who create high-quality work.

Well said.

-Randy

image source: 6inchmove.com
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