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Are you like me and wish there was a program promotion fairy? In my first few years, I wasn’t prepared for how much effort and work it took to promote and recruit for my program. Also, registration seemed to sneak up on me. I was so busy planning for my classes, that I wasn’t even thinking about the following year and then, BAM registration was here and I was working long hours each day to add marketing to my laundry list of things to do.
I would then anxiously await for the requested numbers to come out a month later and hope that my classes would fill. Unfortunately, one time in particular they didn’t.
In my second year of teaching, the principal came down to my room with tears in his eyes. It was his first year as a principal and most likely the first time he had to have this conversation. He let me know that I didn’t have the numbers to stay full-time and asked if I had any other endorsements or teaching credentials to teach either yearbook or the video announcement class. Fortunately for me, I did, but it added yet another course to my schedule.
That was a tough conversation and an even tougher year that I don’t want any other teacher to face. Since then, I’ve learned quite a bit about planning and promoting my program so that I didn’t have to go through that again.
In this post, I’m going to share some ways that you can promote your program without the need for a social media account so that you can increase your enrollment (and your requests) so that you can teach the classes you want.
In this episode, Khristen discusses:
- Supply Your School or District PR Person with Posts
- Write Website Articles for the Community
- Guests/Field Trips
Promote Your Program by Supplying Your School or District PR Person with Posts
Let me save you time by sharing what I have learned about your school’s or district’s website. They need content! Not only that, as a school PR/website manager it can be difficult to get content. In my district, we are supposed to post some sort of article on the website four times a month. Also, the goal is to get 100-150% of your school’s population as followers. For example, if a high school has 1200 students, the district wants 1200 followers.
How in the world are we supposed to get that many followers when we only post four times a month?
This is where you come in to save the day! Your PR/website manager dreams that their inbox would be flooded with great photos and captions that they could easily share and post on the website and social media.
They could schedule out the posts and sit back and relax as the community floods the school’s social media account. They might even win some “hashtag” award because the district is recognizing all the posts and attention they are getting.
So how do you do this? Think about what you have planned for the next couple of weeks. Is there a way you can take some photos and write 1-2 sentences about what your students are learning?
Be intentional about carrying around a camera or your phone to take those photos. You may even ask a student to take some photos for you. Then send a quick email to your PR/website manager so they can easily post.
Need some templates where you can drop in your photos before sending them to your PR person? Get your free templates here.
Promote Your Program by Writing Website Articles for the Community
How often do you find yourself going to Google for an answer to a question? For me, it’s daily. Just tonight, we were wanting to know about a specific rule in UNO, but have since thrown out the instructions, so we went online.
What if I told you that you could be seen as an expert in your community by writing an article or blog post for your school website? As a career and technical education teacher, you have the knowledge and expertise to help not only your students but also the community.
Think about it, do you do any career exploration or post-secondary guidance for your students? Do you already teach content about career-readiness? Could you write a short article for your school website teaching or explaining what you already do for your students?
I was able to do this last year to explain a new way of teaching math that our district uses. In talking to one of my neighbors, I realized that while we as educators understood the program, the community didn’t. I had the math teachers write some FAQs and tips to help your students at home.
We posted the article to our website and then our teachers shared the post to their personal Facebook pages. Not only that, but we were able to share the article to community pages that not only served our community but those of the school district.
The power is in sharing articles online. Writing and sharing articles like this will increase your reach because you can be seen as an expert not only helping students but contributing to the community.
Promote Your Program with Guests/Field Trips
True or False: students love field trips. In my experience, most of my students would prefer going on a field trip any day of the week.
This year has proved difficult because our district is not allowing field trips due to COVID-19, so we’ve had to get creative. We have been able to still have guest speakers attend and have been able to have “virtual” guest speakers. So why couldn’t we have “virtual” field trips?
Not only that but is there a way that you could sponsor a guest speaker or virtual field trip for not only your students but their friends as well. Inviting other students to these events is key for promoting your program.
If you want to take this a step further, record a virtual field trip. Then have your school PR/website manager post it on social media and/or your website.
Try these strategies out on a regular and consistent basis, and you and your program will be promoted and recognized throughout the community and district. Want some more tips? Check out Episode 3: Have You Been Wondering How to Utilize Social Media to Recruit Without Having to Do All the Work?