The best opportunity for growth in community support might actually come with the two-thirds of households that do not have a child in your school.
That’s a lot of people who aren’t getting messages from us, aren’t hearing of mostly positive experiences in school on a near-daily basis, and perhaps have zero connection in our schools.
But yet, schools need community support for taxes, bond issues and general support.
So school PR pros need to have an organized strategy to grow awareness and market size, to borrow a commercial industry term.
Since this audience is not as likely to be a fan of your social media accounts, an email subscriber or other typical follower, you need to find them where they are.
Here are some ideas:
- Promote your arts events in community publications, especially those that target an ‘art’ audience. Art shows outside school calls and concerts at community events (not just school events) can help.
- Strengthen your media outreach. A regular presence on the news or in print is critical to reaching non-parents.
- Share your content. Will a local theater run in their previews a fun, short narrative you create to promote a student or staff member’s story?
- Be absolutely clear that you want teachers, parents and students to share your social media content. Explain the importance. ‘Then let the network’ part of the equation take over to reach your non-parent audience.
- Promote alumni. Alumni have networks outside of your parenting circles. Their success may be more interesting and eye-catching as a hook. Then follow-up with a strong school connection to make your point clear.
- Use a call for volunteers, mentors and even sports referees to get non-parents into the school environment. Having a personal connection is helpful for all.
- Create school leadership groups, academies, etc. that walk interested ‘outsiders’ through the various parts of the school day and district departments.
It can be helpful for a school PR team to think about the various markets it serves and desires, and develop a strategy for each.