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3 Types of Videos a School Should Use to Enhance Their Brand

7 min read
Apr 10, 2024 8:00:00 AM

It doesn’t matter what type of organization you lead — you should be using video to enhance brand presence throughout channels.

In doing so, you’ll be exposing more people to your brand, nurturing leads, and even retaining customers. Since video is the closest thing to an in-person interaction, all organizations should be utilizing it to humanize their brands.

Schools arguably need to follow this advice more than most organizations, as their “customers” are families deciding who can be trusted with their child’s education, development, and time.

When it comes down to it, there are three types of videos that all schools should be producing and marketing right now: general admission, student-family experience, and program videos.

Why Should Schools Use Multiple Videos?

Isn’t one video enough? Sure, that might have been the case a decade ago, but now that the majority of the internet consists of video, it’s critical to contribute.

Audiences have come to expect videos as they research an organization. However, because of the abundance of video content, your videos need to stand out from the crowd to engage, educate, and convert.

To ensure your time and money is well-spent on video production and marketing, you’ll need to create videos that align with the buyer journey — or, in the case of schools, enrollment journey.

The simplest and most effective way to build this journey with video is to follow our three-step process. These three types of videos are what I’ve seen work best for building trust with each school’s community.

1. Make a Good First Impression With a General Admissions Video

If you were planning to produce only one video, the general admissions video is probably the most important. This video sets the tone as the flagship of your marketing. A general admissions video is the opportunity to explain why your school is unique and why families choose your school for their children.

What Exactly is a General Admissions Video?

Overall, the general admissions video is about introducing the school, mainly by highlighting the value proposition and differentiators. Many organizations fall into the trap of thinking that everyone is their audience, so they become too general in their messaging, but the audience should not be everyone. 

Remember, it is important to find out who is not a good fit for your school early on in the process. Weeding out low-quality leads will narrow down your audience in a good way, improving conversion rates and ensuring that those who enroll will not regret it later or hurt the school’s brand. Now, you’re saving your marketing dollars on families who are a good fit. These high-quality leads will be the ones that continue their journey of learning about you and eventually converting.

How to Create a General Admissions Video

There are two approaches to the general admissions video, the docu-style approach or the narrative approach. In both approaches, you should stay within a two to three minute duration, as longer videos struggle to keep engagement high and audiences are less likely to finish the video.

The docu-style video consists of interviews with faculty, staff, students, and parents. These interviews should be woven together and include b-roll to keep the video visually stimulating and engaging. The docu-style approach works well because it is very authentic, conversational, and fairly unscripted. Families tend to love this approach because of its authenticity.

The second approach is the narrative approach, which typically utilizes a script and storyboard. Schools can predetermine the exact message that will be portrayed with this approach, even using voice-overs to deliver the lines. At the end of the day, this approach means you would most likely spend increased time in pre-production ensuring everything comes together as planned. At the same time, this approach lessens the effort in post-production as long as everything was perfectly executed.

To show the difference between the approaches, I’ve included some links here as examples. As you view these, consider how each type of general admissions video will engage with your audience and portray your brand.

Here is an admissions video from Plymouth Meeting Friends School:

Now compare that admissions video to this one from Detroit Country Day School:

2. The Next-Best Thing to Referrals: Student-Family Experience Videos

Testimonials are critical for every brand, but they are especially important for schools. If you think about any major purchasing decision you make, you likely read reviews and ask other trusted people for their opinions. You can’t necessarily control word-of-mouth, but you can build trust immediately with student-family experience videos that allow your audience to hear directly from happy families.

How to Produce Testimonial Videos

By nature, genuine testimonial videos are less planned than a narrative approach. You should plan your questions ahead of time and ensure you’ve coordinated well with your interview subjects, but you cannot put words in their mouth.

To get the best results, you’ll want to pull in current students and families who have engaging and inspiring stories about your school that they’re willing to share.

Your planned questions should follow a three-part arc that will shape the narrative of the video:

  • First, you’ll want to ask your subjects about their life before they enrolled in your school. Ask them to describe what their challenges were related to their education or finding the right school. 
  • Next, you’ll want to understand if there was a transformation or large difference your school made in their lives. Have your subjects describe how their enrollment at your school solved those challenges or made a difference in their education. 
  • For the final part, ask them how they feel about their future now that they are attending your school. Consider asking them about how their experience as your school has influenced their choices or helped them to get on the right track for their chosen career, college, or other future goals.

To reinforce the final part, it is great to get the voice of some alumni who have achieved their goals because of your school. Ask them what was important about their experience with your school that led them to where they are today.

Here is an example from one of our clients, Montgomery School:

How Many People Should You Interview?

Because the best length for a video is between two and three minutes, you’ll want to focus your efforts on only a few people who will make the biggest impact.

Remember: the less people you include, the deeper you will be able to dive into their unique stories.

Take the below example from Tatnall School:

It’s also important to note that you could have more than one video, or break up a longer video into multiple parts. You could separate your testimonials into multiple videos and use that for marketing, which we can dive into later.

3. Speak to Unique Interests With Program Videos

Finally, schools should be producing program videos. These videos are where a school should dive deep into the types of programs offered.

For example, you can divide these videos by:

  • Grade levels
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Career and college counseling
  • Education programs like STEM

Here is an example of a program video from Detroit Country Day School:

How to Produce Program Videos

For these videos, you will want to get interviews with the advisors and leads from those programs. Having their presence will anchor the video and help families feel like they’ve gotten to know the people running the program.

As you interview these leaders, ensure you ask them questions that will help highlight the experience, goals, and accomplishments of these programs that students could potentially enjoy.

In the past, we’ve also had videos that had student voices as the prominent feature. Having students directly speaking about their experiences within those programs is powerful in a similar way to the student-family experience videos.

No matter how you choose to frame the video, remember to utilize b-roll as needed to keep the video engaging, especially if you’ve filmed b-roll of the program in action.

Here is an example from Upland Country Day School, where their athletics director speaks about the uniqueness of their athletics program:

Here are some other examples of program videos:

Pulling Your Videos Together in a Marketing Campaign

Now that you’ve produced all your videos, how do you market them? Marketing is often half the battle, but there are a few best practices that will help you form your approach. 

Place the General Admissions Video on the Home Page

To begin, I always encourage schools to put the general admissions video on the front page of their website — as close to the top as possible.

The reason is simple: the video is easy to find and one of the first things that a visitor sees when they find your school.

This first impression enhances the overall brand online, and you’ll get the most out of your investment. You’ll also get many more views, which is helpful when you need a significant amount of data to help decide if the video was successful. 

Use Testimonials to Grab Attention or Justify Price

Student-family experience videos typically do well on the tuition page. I recommend this approach because these videos support your pricing with genuine value in return. At the same time, these also do really well as lead generation marketing assets.

As I hinted before, you could use several segments of these testimonials as an email campaign or through posts on social media. Paid ads are also a good idea, as these videos will catch attention well.

If nothing else, please don’t put videos on the bottom of the website where it will get missed often.

Put Program Videos Where They Belong

Where you decide to place your program videos will depend on what types of programs you’ve chosen to highlight.

For example, if you’ve produced a program video about your arts program, you’ll want to place that video on the art program’s page and send it out through communications related to the arts program.

If you don’t have dedicated pages for the programs you’re highlighting, consider whether these videos are really a priority. Your marketing dollars are better spent where you are already investing time and money in building out resources. If these programs are a priority, then I highly recommend adding a dedicated page.

Another option is to use these videos to target families who have expressed interest already, either in that specific program or in general. This approach will help nurture that lead.

School Video Marketing is a Group Effort

Video is a super powerful tool, but it is only truly effective if done right. Embrace the spirit of school by pulling help from your community and involving the people who make your organization special.

Remember that pulling families into these productions can improve retention, as the process can make their opinions of the school stronger and make them feel valued. 

If you are looking for help in brainstorming, I am always happy to discuss your ideas. In the meantime, make sure to check out all the example videos I’ve included if you haven’t already. Happy filming!

Joe Monzo is the owner and creative director of Monzo Media Productions, a video strategy and production company that helps schools in K-12 craft compelling school videos. Learn more about Monzo Media’s work at their website.

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