My only friend through teenage nights
And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio'
Schools advertising on radio isn't a completely new phenonemon (as the adverts from 2010 and 2011 at the bottom of the article show) but there has been a significant rise over the past few years as competition between schools increases. There has also been a shift in the purpose of radio advertising - moving from tactical support for open events to brand building. If you're thinking of advertising on radio, read on for our tips, a case study and some examples of best practice. Please add your thoughts in the comments.
6 Top Tips for a Radio Campaign
1. Tell a story: Despite being mass media, radio can be very personal. Don't just focus on an event or news story - say how it is important to your audience.
2. Involve your community: The best school adverts aren't read by professionals but by pupils, teachers or school leaders. Scroll down for a great take on this by Tanbridge High School!
3. Don't be too formal: As a spoken medium, radio is different to written copy. Improve your advert by reading it out.
4. Think about when you need to run your advert. While some times of day (especially morning and drivetime) are more expensive, these are probably by far the best time for a school. Ormiston Six Villages Academy (see case study below) certainly thought so!
5. Have a very clear call to action - and repeat it. There's a reason why radio spawned jingles - people are often busy when listening to the radio and need repetition to take note of a telephone number or website. Make sure to repeat the name of your school and any contact details you give.
6. Try to track actions and perceptions. If you're looking to raise awarness of an event or drive visitors to your website, poll people to see how many came directly from your advertising. If you're looking to build your brand, carry out perceptions research before and after the adverts - or at the very least make sure you note every time the advert is mentioned.
Case study - Ormiston Six Villages Academy
Ormiston Six Villages Academy is based outside Chichester, West Sussex. As Tracy Clayton, who is in charge of Marketing and Communications for the school, explains, 'in 2014 we were facing a decline in our roll due to local demographic changes. At the same time we wanted to improve awareness of our change to academy status, new motto and improved exam results'.
As well as setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts, the school approached a popular local radio station, Spirit FM. The demographics and geographical reach of the station was an excellent match to the target audience of the school. Tracy adds '[Spirit] are very open to ideas and have worked closely with us to tailor the timing of our advertising - such as targeting drivetime and mid-morning to fit with school drop-off and pick-up times.
The impact in 2014 was a success. Parents reported hearing the adverts and there was improved footfall at Open Events. In 2015 the school has repeated the adverts as well as adding an additional event to meet the increased demand from prospective parents.
Examples - See below for some school radio adverts from the UK!