Zachary J Baehr

Finding that one actionable measurement that leads to growth

jesse cole yellow tux savannah bananas

Jesse Cole is an interesting man, with interesting meaning fun and innovative and creative and more. He’s the owner of the Savannah Bananas, a minor league baseball team. He wears a yellow suit to games. He makes a baseball game fun!

In a recent LinkedIn video, Cole said while some companies try to grow their revenue, he has his team try to go fans. This means in attendance, on social media, and everywhere else. His team finds it more exciting to focus on people instead of dollars. And if they grow fans, revenue will follow.

In Catholic school communications, what is our similar comparison? Sure, many of us many also be in fundraising, where dollars raised have direct impact on students and the school day. But it’s hard to get energized from a dollar sign or financial report.

In addition, we all have recruiting duties, where every student enrolled (and retained!) has an impact on our growth, both in enrollment and revenue via tuition.

Why do I still find that not quite right? What is the item we as school communicators directly control that can lead to growth in both funds and students? And is that measurable item going to bring us fulfillment?

My landing spot is this: number of stories told.

Each story becomes website content, which leads to clicks and SEO successes, but more importantly provides information and inspiration.

Each story becomes a social media post, which provides affirmation for parents and a chance for our Good News to spread beyond our parent email list.

Each story becomes a celebration of our teachers, which can help with hiring and retainment of these amazing people, too!

So how many stories can we tell in a school year? First, let’s define a story as a photo, gallery, or a short video, and some context in the form of at least two sentences that contain the following:

– Name of class

– Name of teacher

– Name of student, if applicable

– What is happening photos

– Why it matters

These aren’t magazine stories. These are short stories. Focus on 2-3 sentences and a photo gallery of 5-8 pics. Write the story while you are still in the class where you took the photos. When you do this, you will hear what the teacher is saying and can immediately work that into your what and why.

To reach your goal, you’re going to need a plan.

Now for the why of this blog post: If you are consistently telling stories, you will have an abundance of social media posts, fresh headlines on your website and in your email, and affirmation for teachers and parents (and even students). You’ll also have great content to re-purpose for fundraising campaigns. You’ll be able to package together a series of stories on a related topic to create another story called, ‘Five ways students use technology in our classrooms,’ for example. And you’ll likely be invited into more classrooms more often.

Can we dress in all yellow? No, I don’t think I can. But can we set a goal that leads us to consistent, innovative and creative storytelling?

That’s the goal we should set for ourselves.

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