Allerton Hill Blog

for industry news, case studies, new media & communications strategies

Category: Campaigns

From the Podcast: Talking with Paul Imhoff about Strategic Planning

A Conversation with Paul Imhoff, Superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools, Ohio

January 15, 2016

Our latest podcast episode is a conversation with Paul Imhoff, Superintendent of the Upper Arlington City Schools. Carole talks with Paul about creating community based, living strategic plans that transform school districts. One of the major accomplishments during his time in Upper Arlington has been leading the effort to reinvent the strategic planning process for the district. The new hybrid planning process incorporated the best from private-sector and public-sector models and resulted in a focused, results-oriented plan with measurable goals. You can learn more at www.uaschools.org/strategicplan.

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here

Download Show Notes

 Visit the WE LOVE SCHOOLS Podcast Website »

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Posted in Campaigns, Client Testimonials, Community Outreach, Podcast
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Effective media relationships ensure your message is heard

December 5, 2015

There is more to working with the media than simply responding to questions.  You need to develop a cooperative relationship, and become a valued resource.

When you are on good terms with the local media, they can become an important tool in your district’s communications toolbox.  The media can enhance your image, or they can destroy it.  A relationship built on mutual respect benefits everyone.

To build a solid relationship, it is helpful to understand what the media looks for in a source.  Some tips:

  • Tell the truth, no matter how much it hurts. One needs to look no further than the current presidential race to understand that lies warrant headlines. The truth is rarely as interesting. This does not mean, however, that you must reveal every ugly truth or fact that will have a negative impact on your district. Sometimes, it is better to say nothing. But when you do speak, tell the truth.

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Posted in Allerton Hill News, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Policy, Social Media
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Letters to the editor: get your message heard

December 2, 2015

Looking for a simple way to get your message heard?  Write a letter to the editor!

Letters to the editor are probably the best read section of a publication.  Whether you chose to contact a newsletter, newspaper, or magazine, letters to the editor are great ways to:

Complain, about unbalanced coverage, poorly conceived content or illogical editorials.

Set the record straight, about ill-conceived articles, inaccurate information, or unproven misperceptions.

Express a strong reaction, to community events, news coverage, and taxpayer issues.

Explore ideas, about life, community needs, and politics.

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Posted in Allerton Hill News, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Policy, Social Media
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Podcasts offer exciting opportunities for school districts

November 19, 2015

The surge in the use of mobile devices among all age groups could make podcasts a valuable implement in a school district’s communications toolbox. Podcasts create a unique communications opportunity because of their portability, ease of use and growing popularity. With careful planning and a little creativity, podcasts could become a primary source of information for  your schools to communicate with staff, students, parents and the community.

What is a podcast? Podcasts are audio or video files stored online that may be downloaded by subscribers to their computer, MP3 player (such as an iPod) or smartphone.

According to Pew Research Center, more than one-third of all Americans, ages 12 years or older, have listened to at least one podcast, and researchers say that number is growing.  According to a study by Edison Research, among daily podcast listeners, podcasts occupied 30 percent of their listening time, more than any other audio source.

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Posted in Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Social Media
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Soft grants can fund school projects

November 16, 2015

While many districts actively compete in formal grant programs, they often ignore a more lucrative source of funds:  celebrities.

Many high-earning celebrities, including actors, directors, writers, entertainers, sports stars, talk show hosts, broadcasters and others sponsor charities, donate items for fundraising auctions, or make pledges to crowdfunding campaigns.  Still others engage in “soft grants,” donating funds to projects that capture their interest.  Soft grants tend to have no application process.  All that is involved is a public or private appeal, and hopefully a check.

In fact, the award of a soft grant may depend more on the publicity value of the donation or whether it strokes the celebrity ego.  Sometimes, a specific project may pull at a celebrity’s heart strings and compel him or her to open their wallets. At other times, a grant may be awarded to boost a tarnished image, or heighten a public profile. But in the end, it is the recipient who benefits most.

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Posted in Budget & Finance, Campaigns
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Newsletters provide big opportunities

November 14, 2015

That “old-fashioned” newsletter is still an important tool in your communications arsenal.

The value of a newsletter is four-fold:

  • It permits a school district to communicate about multiple subjects at one time.
  • It provides flexibility in distribution (digital and print), enabling a broader reach.  Those without access to a computer and the Internet, such as some senior citizens, still have access to information in print form.
  • The advent of multiple platforms on the Internet, and the increasing deluge of junk mail, has created “information clutter.” With regular publication, a newsletter provides an opportunity to consistently reinforce key messages.
  • Newsletters provide an opportunity to reinforce your brand through consistent messaging. Featuring your brand, for example, “Striving for excellence,” at the bottom of each page drives the message home.

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Posted in Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education
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Pick your target and aim: Effective communications

November 12, 2015

Some school communications programs throw tax dollars out the window. Not intentionally, perhaps, but that money is wasted nonetheless.

Those programs are failing to effectively target key audiences.

Identifying who needs to hear your message is only part of the communications process. You must also ensure that they receive and understand your message. That means embracing learning styles, and developing strategies that target each.

According to the Bepko Learning Center at Indiana University, there are three basic learning styles:

  • Visual: Learning is best accomplished by using objects that can be viewed, such as graphs, charts, pictures, or words.  Learning occurs in a closed environment without distractions.  Information that provides a big picture, and then focuses on details, works best.  Bright colors and large numbers also enhance the learning experience. Experts say about 65 percent of all people are visual learners.
  • Auditory:  Information is retained through hearing and speaking.  Often auditory learners prefer to be told information, rather than reading it.  Repeating information may also be important. This type of learner benefits from group settings, where information can be read out loud, discussed, and repeated in several different ways.  Music enhances the learning experience.  Experts say about 30 percent of all people are auditory learners.
  • Kinesthetic:  For this group, information is best learned through demonstrations, experiments, and field work.  Learners benefit from an explanation of how something is done, accompanied by an actual demonstration.  They also learn more effectively if engaged in physical activity while information is conveyed, for example, standing rather than sitting. Most kinesthetic learners are also visual or auditory learners. But those skills are enhanced by the physical activity.

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Posted in Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Policy
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Are You Following the Social Media Rule of Thirds?

November 7, 2015

It’s tempting for businesses to exclusively share their content to drive sales or marketing, neglecting authentic engagement. It takes discipline to share content from like-minded businesses or industry thought leaders. By following social media’s so-called “Rule of Thirds,” you will be sure you’re sharing content that attracts and maintains an engaged following.

What is Social Media’s Rule of Thirds?

⅓ of your social content promotes your business, converts readers, and generates profit.

⅓ of your social content should surface and share ideas and stories from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses.

⅓ of your social content should be based on personal interactions and build your personal brand.

Sharing your own branded content should come naturally. It’s the other two thirds that may be a challenge. Let’s talk about why sharing professional and personal content is equally important.

 Click here to continue reading this article on Hootsuite.com »

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Posted in Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Social Media
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Public Schools Should Consider Podcasting

November 5, 2015

I am listening to a man explain home mortgages to another man on a video game podcast. I have known both men long enough, in the way that podcasts make strangers knowable, using mass disclosure of intimacies as a workaround for the insufficiencies of written language and a loss-leader for its continuing expansion.

Like its written forerunner, the spoken Internet trains its audience to project onto commercial material a dim emotional dependence activated by tone of voice, emergence of patterns of thought over time, and the jigsaw details about family and non-working life that slip between the topical seriousness. For years, I’ve followed alongside the lives of a handful of people I’ve never met and who nevertheless feel like steady companions, a desacralized variation on the still, small voice turned into a market commodity, something to make all of the chillingly desocialized spaces of the Internet feel slightly more familiar.

 Click here to continue reading this article on Forbes »

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Posted in Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Social Media
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Using research to get your message heard

November 3, 2015

Building a communications plan without research is much like trying to shoot fish in a barrel:  You know your target is there, you’re just not sure where to aim.

Research should be the foundation for every communications plan.  Surveys, focus groups, online discussions, and interviews with key influencers provide the information required to set goals and objectives, develop key messages, identify target audiences, and create effective communications strategies and tactics.

Information must be gathered from every group that could impact perceptions about your schools, including students, staff, parents, businesses, the media, and the community. Each targeted group should be surveyed about perceptions and attitudes concerning the schools, effective communications vehicles, desired frequency of communication, and message effectiveness.

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