03 Mar School Trip to the Movies
Marketing Assistant & Videographer
There are times when it’s good to settle down, specs on the end of your nose, and read an interesting article.
That time is now.
However, doesn’t everyone love a good video? What comes to mind? Curling up on the settee with a loved one and big bag of crisps? Childhood trips with the family to see the latest Disney release? Clicking on a Facebook or Twitter link to see a band, a cat, a child or a politician apparently rapping towards their own downfall? A Cheshire school recently got a global response to their own fabulously constructed production that showcased what they offer, the doors of the school opened by two student ‘Blues Brothers’ who take the viewer on a tour of a place oozing enthusiasm and joy in education.
Possibly, lip-syncing “Everybody Needs Somebody” isn’t your thing, but promoting your school, showing it at its best so children actually want to go there and parents have confidence in what you offer – that’s something you can do. Big, jazzy pieces will not be for everyone but the excitement and attention-grabbing qualities of video are also present in the headteacher’s poised introduction, in the virtual school tour and in the medley of clips that are more than snapshots of all that is good about your school.
Videos on your website or as links from other online marketing materials (or on a data stick, even) say visually more than you can put into words. Naturally many parents will still seek out the Ofsted report and want to know specifics of timetables or policies, but you’ve already drawn them in with something that speaks to their hearts. A video is associated with pleasure and effectively elicits the response you want: surprise, captivation, excitement or a desire to play the blues harmonica!
Because it is more about feelings and impressions than bald facts, a video also resists changing times. When updates are eventually called for it will be because of the length of skirts, the pattern on the carpets and the width of the ties that shriek ‘out of date’, long before you actually need to change your message.
Where you do include details, a video is still better received by parents and students than lots of text, charts or lists. People are impatient in their busy-ness and when looking for a school they have a lot to get through. Regardless of the information you deliberately communicate in a video the impression you create will be what lasts. There is a place for words in video, however; they might be accompanied by imagery and colour, eye-capturing font or layout, music or sound effects. Words can be used as pictures dancing before the eyes or forming patterns and emphasis.
Mesmerising displays have their place and you might give them a part in your video, but if the story is the school then you are its star. ‘You’ might be a child, a caretaker, a teacher, a parent. You don’t need to be Dame Judi or Sir Ian McKellen (though wouldn’t that be great!) just a human being – or even a head teacher! When a parent or prospective student clicks ‘play’ on your video and sees a real life you (or whoever is best placed) they make a connection with you; they begin to trust you and therefore your school. You have body language, facial expression and spoken tone and it is all relayed to the viewer naturally and instantly. There are endless potential styles and qualities available for the school video. You can present straight to camera, tell a story, use voice-over with still or moving pictures, even animation. You can show students’ work and students at work, use figurative graphics or aerial shots…
Great videos don’t necessarily need a team of experts – as the above example of the school illustrates – but some professional support can go a long way if you’re short of know-how, equipment, time or capacity. Directly involving children is an option – sometimes they are the experts! – but most schools choose a modest, well-made short piece that doesn’t take anyone away from teaching or learning for too long and that sits beguilingly on the homepage of your website enticing families into a conversation or visit.
Furthermore, a little input from the right design company will help you make best use of the ‘clicks’ and ‘click-through’ rates for your site. This kind of information allows you to follow up people who have shown an interest and also to measure the response your video is getting. Search engines can be made to work for you: video increases the chances of a high ranking when your site comes up in someone’s search. Video as a marketing tool is well researched; it is known to encourage people to look at what you’ve got to offer, look at what else you might have (e.g. other bits of your website) and make a decision in your favour.