Great school testimonials are hard to come by — we’re so hungry for positive reviews, glowing references, and recommendations that are genuine, heartfelt, and unique. When you get your hands on an authentic, original testimonial that shows the impact of an experience and the value of your school, it’s like gold for content creation.
Testimonials are critical to your school marketing efforts — they’re social proof that reinforces your school’s mission and because they appear to not be from your school, they’re pieces of content that are received differently than the rest of your marketing efforts.
It can be tricky to subtly ask for positive feedback and sometimes, beggars can’t be choosers, so your marketing team will want to make the most of your best reviews. It’s time to work smarter, not harder, and extend the life of your content by repurposing testimonials across different platforms. Your target audience exists across different mediums in different stages of the funnel, and since your audience absorbs and interprets information differently, repeatedly communicating your message may take several attempts before you get a positive outcome.
For the sake of this blog post, let’s assume you’re starting off with an amazing video interview. Got it? Good.
Wondering how to repurpose that content for your school? Let’s look at a few school testimonial examples and how to breathe new life into your content strategy by:
- Pulling testimonials from a video interview
- Using testimonials as a design element
- Sharing them with a social media post
- Including testimonials in your admissions outreach
- Putting testimonials into print
- Making them pop with a page notification
- Turning stories into a podcast
1) Pull testimonials from a video interview
While a submitted written testimonial can sometimes provide a more polished opinion of your school, video testimonials allow your families to see and hear others talk about your school and provide a genuine, unscripted opinion. Video allows your families to sense emotion and reactions better, which makes it more engaging and authentic since it’s straight from the source. It adds personality and an additional level of authenticity.
The International School of Hamburg shares a wide range of testimonials and video interviews on its Community Voice page. With nearly three dozen videos from parents, students, and teachers, there’s a huge opportunity to repurpose snippets and have them fuel your content strategy.
Once you’ve captured a video testimonial, you can then start to distribute portions and snippets of that interview, which gives you a number of additional options to save time and breathe new life into your school quotes— just keep reading!
2) Use testimonials as a design element on your school’s website
Transcribing a quote from a recorded interview or pulling a written testimonial and repurposing it as a design element on your page breaks up longer text blocks and adds another visual element to the page. It will reinforce your mission and work as a branded design element that packs a powerful punch on a mobile device.
Make sure there’s enough context for the quote to resonate with your audience — without the video component and b-roll, your testimonial’s language will need to be strong enough to make an impact.
Trinity-Pawling features testimonials from students, faculty, and alumni alike with a beautiful “stop-your-scrolling” design on its homepage. The hover animation catches your attention, and when paired with some powerful photography, it’s sure to make an impact.
The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania uses testimonials from teachers and students throughout its site. On its homepage, it features brief callouts and photos from a variety of voices across its campus with the ability to click through and continue reading. On its interior pages, like its employee directory and its “Why The Family Boarding School” page, for example, it uses a testimonial as a text-based design element to help bring a little visual variety to the page.
Jackson County Public Schools in Sylva, North Carolina designed a web of testimonials on its district homepage sharing a mix of voices of graduates sharing their favorite memories and experiences from their education. Keep clicking and you’ll be able to learn more about the district's students and teachers of the “Jackson Family.”
3) Share testimonials with a social media post
Our brain isn’t particularly good at remembering text, but our brain is very good at remembering pictures. So good in fact, that after three days of hearing information, we’ll remember just 10% of it, but if you add a visual, chances are you’ll remember 65% of it.
Turning testimonials into posts with imagery or graphics will help your content reach more people on social media, too — on average, content paired with an image attracts 94% more views than content without visuals.
Mount Saint Joseph Academy, another school in Pennsylvania, does a remarkable job at creating branded graphics and videos to accompany its posts for student testimonials on Instagram. The school’s #AskaMountie series features interviews and questions about student life, commuting, campus food, and why students chose to attend their school, among others.
Taft School replicated this approach with its #MeetaTaftie series on Instagram. Note the full transcript is used in the post’s body, but a call-out is featured on the design portion of the post. They’ve also linked to more stories in their bio. Nice work!
Need more inspiration? Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart created its #WhySR Instagram series, featuring a range of testimonials from its teaching community about why they love teaching and the special aspects of Sacred Heart. It’s a great strategy to showcase your faculty to prospective students, and a great recruitment tool for teachers considering applying to Sacred Heart and who want to know a little more about the teaching community.
Love the idea, but you’re not a graphic design wizard? Consider using a design platform like Canva to whip up some creative graphics for your social posts with just a few clicks!
4) Include testimonials in your admissions outreach
Including testimonials in your admissions strategy is a must. Quotes pulled from alumni profiles, parent interviews, or faculty spotlights are great content to include in automated drip campaigns to nurture prospective families who have inquired or applied and have not yet enrolled. Share the value of your community by weaving in parent testimonial examples in your school's content marketing.
An email featuring powerful text from a video interview can entice users to engage with your email’s content, watch a video, or keep reading. Since your audience is new, repurposing testimonials will engage new families and continue to share insights from your community members about what makes your school amazing.
In an email featuring alumni success stories, Delphian School in Sheridan, Oregon shares a blend of voices from recent grads and seasoned professionals, each supporting the value of its education. By creating and adding an email like this to an admissions campaign, you’ll be able to automatically distribute these quotes with Finalsite Workflows and prolong the shelf life of your testimonials.
5) Put testimonials into print
Along with your website, printed admissions collateral is a cornerstone of your marketing materials. Generally, this material isn't produced as often as your digital resources, so you can reserve and repurpose some of your greatest, most mission-focused testimonials for viewbooks, brochures, welcome packets, and other printed materials.
The Hotchkiss School weaves multiple student voices into its admissions viewbook, each presenting multiple aspects of student life and the impact the school has on their educational upbringing.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to leverage your website and incorporate some digital marketing strategies into your printed material. Pair your testimonials with branded hashtags and vanity URLs to further engage your audience and send them online for a conversion.
Hotchkiss took this approach and extended its reach by incorporating a #HeyBearCat hashtag, which leads viewers to its Instagram hashtag and includes even more voice. It’s a great strategy to breathe new life into your testimonials, reach new audiences, and distribute that content even further.
But this even extends beyond the admission department, too. Think about ways to work testimonials into printed materials for your school’s development and alumni offices, like your alumni magazine or annual report. Including the voices of your alumni and gracious donors are a great way to build more support.
6) Make testimonials pop with a page notification
Along with alerts and important updates, including testimonials in your website notifications is a great way to distribute content because users will be more likely to see and interact with the content — they’ll even have to engage with it to close out the window.
By embedding a YouTube video testimonial in a Finalsite Page Pop, Munich International School puts an alumnus's profile front and center.
7) Turn stories into a podcast
Over 15 years ago, only 22 percent of the adult population in the US was aware of podcasting. By 2021, that figure had more than tripled, rising to an estimated 120 million podcast listeners.
It’s easy to understand why they’re so popular to produce and consume — podcasts have a very low production cost, and your audience can multitask and still enjoy your content no matter how busy their days are. Plus, storytelling with podcasts is a fantastic way to get your message across in a memorable way. We remember stories that are told to us differently and turning your school stories into a podcast helps engage your audience with a narrative.
A podcast created by The ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai‘i features conversations with a wide variety of students, staff, faculty, and administration about boarding life, academic programs, teaching, and more. And for an extra layer of convenience, you can download their content on popular podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.
Holton-Arms School, a college preparatory school for girls in Bethesda, Maryland, features testimonials in its “Life in Plaid” podcast. The summer series, hosted by recent Holton graduates, gives an interesting perspective on all the aspects of student life.
Repurposing the audio track from a recorded video testimonial is easy. Converting your testimonials into podcasts might be a smart investment for your school, too — one forecast suggests we’ll see podcast listeners increase by 20 million people each year.
If you’ve got hold of a great testimonial, don’t let it go. As school marketers, thinking creatively about how to repurpose your best reviews can extend its life, reach new audiences, and exponentially increase their impact.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.