8 tips on how to use Storytelling in content production and dissemination of your educational institution


Check out in 8 simple steps how to create a strong link to mobilize and inspire students, parents, educators and employees of your Educational Institution!

If you were a Hollywood screenwriter, what would your content look like? Definitely filled with good stories that motivate people’s hearts. Writing in this way is having in your hands the power to converse with the other in a very meaningful way that reaches you emotionally, convincing you to act the way you want.

Storytelling is a technique that has the ability to strongly influence actions, desires, and values. The main benefits of using storytelling in your content are:

  • Inspire people towards an agreed goal
  • Explain who we are, where we came from and what we believe
  • Establish goal and vision of the future
  • Stimulate innovation and creativity
  • teach important lessons
  • Show troubleshooting
  • Form cultures and values

But how to fit storytelling into the Digital Marketing strategy of an Educational Institution? Much of what an EI needs to attract its students in an ever-growing market is to be able to attract attention, look for ways to personalize its brand, and deal with dropout.

The problem is that in practice, many Educational Institutions forget to use the power of storytelling and fall into the crisis of immediacy, obsessive competition and lack of time. This leads to an extremely direct, cold and rational relationship with the market, which does not work for every type of public, much less for the expected objectives.

Education has the value of social essence and that is what its audience is looking for. Students want to know how Educational Institutions can positively transform their lives through teaching, and telling high-impact stories is one way to bring this information to them.

Thus, storytelling can help a lot in the production of content for your Educational Institution. So, to contribute with inspiration and technique, we have separated 8 steps on how to create a strong link to mobilize and inspire students, parents, educators and employees.

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1 – Understand the role of protagonism

The main thing about a story is the protagonism. It is necessary to understand what the soul of your story is and what it’s essence is. For this, the protagonist of your content must have a consistent and convincing image, with real problems. In this way, the audience will identify with him and validate the report.

Keep in mind that stories are about principles and that every protagonist has a genuine desire to create an emotional connection with the audience. And this type of connection can be with content in the form of an email, video, a letter or a post.

Anyone can be the protagonist: employee, student, product, course or the educational institution’s own brand. A good example of protagonism is the Universidad Cesar Vallejo Commercial:

2 – Working with antagonistic forces

They are the ones that can prevent the protagonist from getting his wish. It is necessary to show that the potential of your Educational Institution for the potential student is greater than any force that is a possible impediment.

When preparing your content, you should be aware of the issues that may be raised by your audience as impediments. For example:

  • internal forces (fears, lack of ability, resistances);
  • personal strengths (conflicts, financial difficulties, lack of resources);
  • External forces (competitor, nature, space, government, educational preparation).

3 – Ask the right question

Asking questions helps you understand which way to go in producing your content. Some of them can be:

  • What does my Educational Institution sell?
  • Who chooses my IE to want what result?
  • What is the main message?
  • How will this audience connect to what I’m telling you?
  • What does the story mean?
  • Why does this student need to be at my Educational Institution?
  • What results does my IE deliver?
  • What are my IE success stories?
  • Who are my IE teachers and how credible are they?
  • What is confidence for my students?

Starting by answering these questions helps you organize the rationale of your content and focus on other aspects of your Inbound Marketing strategy, such as creating personas and evolving your potential students’ buying journey.

4 – Surprise

Including a surprise is a feature that makes the audience pay attention and allows the brain to release adrenaline, the neurotransmitter responsible for memory consolidation. In other words, surprising your future students feeds their expectations in relation to your Educational Institution and makes them seek to know even more about what it can offer.

Check out the example of UniCesumar EAD – Voices Poster:

5 – Tell the truth

Don’t tell your target audience that you follow x methodology if you actually follow z. Do not offer content on the use of technological trends in education if traditional teaching models are still applied. A lie may attract you at first, but it reverses the situation right away.

Use real stories and tell the truth so that your future students will get to know your EI and identify with what it can offer. This way, when you reach the sales stage, you will have many more qualified Leads and a greater possibility of closing enrollments.

6 – Use the transformation factor

A story is made up of twists. This structuring must contain a dilemma that leads to a crisis, forcing decision, action and resolution.

Why would someone choose your Educational Institution? What obvious problem would you be able to help solve in the lives of the students who chose your IE?

7- Create visual impact

Storytelling can take many formats and be broadcast through different channels. It is a fact that people respond more to visual stimuli than to simple written accounts.

Cambridge used graphic animations and illustrations to explain how prospective students can apply to the university.

8 – Show data

What stories do your institution’s numbers carry? Data doesn’t move people. Data are only important if they are within a context, that is, if they are well presented and placed within a good narrative structure and with a visual that can help the audience to retain the information.

Another example from Cambridge, which used this technique, but with a well-structured look and story.


Using Storytelling for Different Types of Educational Institutions

Now that you have the main elements, check out some suggestions on how to solve the pains and challenges of your future students if your Educational Institution is:

Primary school

In this IE, the focus is not only on students but mainly on parents. The master word in your story is to tell how your school can convey confidence and security about the learning that the student will have over many years in this teaching phase.

The great concern of parents (decision makers) when choosing a school is to make sure that their child will learn much more than basic subjects, that the school will provide learning about ethics, morals, citizenship, respect and will contribute to the formation of the personality of the student.

Another important point is to sharpen the desire to be at school, with adequate and modern infrastructure, extracurricular activities, security of the place and the teachers’ curriculum. Presenting real student stories makes your institution that much truer.

Faculty or University

Here we are already talking directly to the student, the person who will decide which college is within their expectations and desires. One idea is to present in video format the achievements of students and their transformations on campus and beyond, in the job market.

The student has a great desire for transformation, he enters one way and leaves another in the last year of university. This makes future students want to understand what this trajectory is like, how they can accomplish things in the classroom, how this transformation will actually be.

The audience also pays close attention to teacher awards, rankings and experiences.

The above examples from Cambridge University are excellent stories, with all the storytelling elements.

To learn more about how Digital Marketing can help your Higher Education Institution, read the post “How to optimize your HEI’s selection process with Inbound Marketing”.

Online courses

In this case, the target audience is people with specific needs and some limitations. They are usually people looking for quality, the flexibility of time and investment.

Often the provocative incident to undertake a distance study can be the lack of some specific knowledge that limits your career growth. Another factor is the issue of time/displacement, which makes this teaching format much more attractive and easy to access. Another point that we must not forget is the question of the value of the course and its duration.

Here our protagonists work much more on antagonistic forces and limitations to achieve their goals. Use and abuse real stories and breakthroughs.

Structuring your script or content

So far we understand the elements and pains of each audience, as well as what data and facts can be used for each of them. You must be wondering how to organize all this, right? In this post, which has become a dossier of educational storytelling, we will finish by showing the basic and practical structure to organize all its content and ideas.

The greatest presenters, screenwriters and storytellers use the 3 acts:

Act 1 – beginning

It usually starts by presenting the character and its context, day by day. In this act there is a turning point which is the provocative incident, something that leaves our persona out of balance, a challenge or a certain limitation to achieve their goals.

Act 2 – middle

The character encounters some obstacles that can keep him from his journey. The middle is where the whole plot unfolds, where we find all the good arguments, challenges, overcomings, finding solutions. The turning point is the solution and recovery of the character’s strengths.

Act 3 – end

Leave for the end that moment the audience will remember forever. The ending contains the great transformation, it’s where the character learned something, changed his life, or the company, the brand, the employees, in short, something that his audience really wants. The end of the content can be the beginning of the next story, a continuity as if it were a series, this will make the audience become even more attached to the character.

Steve Jobs always used the 3-act structure: he described the problem, introduced the hero, and closed with the resolution.

These are our tips for valuable, high-impact content. We hope you can create different ways to tell how your differentiators can change your students’ lives.

To complement this post, visit Blue World City to better understand how to plan the necessary actions to face the new scenario of the education market, strengthen your school’s image and overcome dropouts.

Until the next story!