on June 02, 2020 Content Creation Schools Blogging

How Storytelling Makes Your International School Stand Out

As we’ve been thrust into the fast-changing, digital world of today, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips. This increased access to knowledge, though exciting and empowering, can also be overwhelming—especially for families looking to find a good school that’s best suited for their child.

So how best to have your school resonate with a family who happens to stumble upon your website?

Ensuring you highlight your school’s unique qualities and differentiate it from other schools in your area is essential. And one of the most effective ways to communicate exactly what makes your school special is through storytelling.

People are inherently fascinated by stories and stories have been part of our culture for tens of thousands of years. Stories have a way of capturing the imagination of an audience, exciting their minds, and staying with them long after they are experienced.

Storytelling can be a powerful addition to your overall strategy.

Focus on Developing Human Interest, Not Promotion

The primary focus of incorporating storytelling is to provide value with no strings attached and to offer your prospective families those tangible, impactful tales of your school.

In this sense, storytelling can be particularly powerful when it comes to your school. After all, you are not selling a material product, like a car. What you are offering is much more intangible: an enjoyable school experience and successful future for a parent’s child.

The very act of enrolling their child at your school requires some imagination on the part of the family to picture how their immediate investment will pay off over the course of their child’s lifetime.

So capture this imagination with a story to show how their child will become a member of your community, and how they will enter into a partnership with you for their child’s success. Storytelling naturally helps build relationships.


How to Tell Effective Stories

When it comes to telling impactful stories, it’s important to focus on quality than length. In fact, the most powerful stories can be consumed in less than two minutes. Questions to consider are, “Why are we telling this story? How will this benefit our families?” A good story will transform the audience and can cause them to take action. It is effective in its authenticity.

Yet, it is still worthwhile to keep your school’s unique positioning statement or document near you when you plan the story. In many cases, you will want the story to support the values your institution is dedicated to promoting. After the first draft of your story, check back with your positioning document to see if the story does indeed communicate these values.

An important part of storytelling is to feature characters the audience can identify with. What better way to accomplish this then to tell stories about your current students and families? A story about a young family’s relocation to your city and the smooth incorporation of their child into your community can help another family currently doing their initial research see themselves as your next customer. This is far more effective than simply stating that making new students feel welcome is important to you.

In Part 2 of this series, we will go deeper into how to create a story for your international school.

download-marcom-plan-checklistThis content was originally published in 2017 and has been updated August 2020.

Deborah Janz

Deborah is a true leader. Not only has she jumped through legal and regulatory hoops to launch a multi-million dollar US-based business in Canada, she also wears multiple hats at IMPACT. She's the researcher and strategist. She a learner and adopter of innovative practices. She's a speaker, consultant, and trainer. She's also building a dynamic team of experts through an awesome workplace culture. Prior to launching IMPACT, she was in the trenches of sales and marketing in the tourism industry. A globe-trotter by nature, her boots-on-the-ground approach to exploring new opportunities internationally is why IMPACT is successful. She's adventurous, hungry to travel the world, and is always willing to try different foods - bugs are not out of the question. When not working away to make IMPACT the best it can be, you can find Deborah climbing mountains, diving in clear waters, or mentoring female business owners.