Anatomy of a Viral Private School Blog Post

Even if we won’t admit it, every private school marketer dreams that someday, somehow, we will reach the pinnacle of the Internet. It’s a feat so rare and unexpected that we dare not even whisper it or it’s sure to elude us.

It’s the Holy Grail.

The Brass Ring.

The Pot of Gold.

You know, it’s the Viral Post.

And while we may not set out seeking virality in our videos, social content, or blog posts, we still hope that our planning, creativity, and efforts will bring a swell of positive publicity and brand awareness to our school.

But what happens when it’s never crossed your mind, not even as an afterthought?

And then you publish to your educational blog a seemingly innocuous 1,200-word musing … a post that is honest, and raw, and exudes your passion from years of experience as an educator.

And when you wake up the next morning it’s exploded. To the tune of 1.5 million page views and nearly 1,000 comments. So many hits, in fact, that your website crashes.

It goes so viral that the local newspaper writes about it and CBC radio talks about it.


This is Amy Murray’s story.

Amy Murray, Calgary French & International School
Amy Murray (photo courtesy cfis.org)

Amy is the Principal of Early Childhood Education at Calgary French & International School, a PreK through Grade 12 school in Alberta that I recently worked with to develop a strategic marketing communications plan.

Amy’s viral post offers all of us private school marketers a valuable lesson about the power of the content we produce and share as we promote our institutions.

When you film, tweet, and write, it’s not about being slick, trendy, or spending thousands of dollars.

It’s about conveying what’s different and authentic about your school, your faculty, and your outcomes. That’s what speaks to our parents, and ultimately drives enrollment.

With Amy’s permission, I’ve reposted below the beginning “Dear Parent: About THAT Kid”. Do yourself a favor and click through to read the whole thing — that way you can truly understand the anatomy of a viral post.


Dear Parent:

I know. You’re worried. Every day, your child comes home with a story about THAT kid. The one who is always hitting shoving pinching scratching maybe even biting other children. The one who always has to hold my hand in the hallway. The one who has a special spot at the carpet, and sometimes sits on a chair rather than the floor. The one who had to leave the block centre because blocks are not for throwing. The one who climbed over the playground fence right exactly as I was telling her to stop. The one who poured his neighbour’s milk onto the floor in a fit of anger. On purpose. While I was watching.  And then, when I asked him to clean it up, emptied the ENTIRE paper towel dispenser. On purpose. While I was watching. The one who dropped the REAL ACTUAL F-word in gym class.

You’re worried that THAT child is detracting from your child’s learning experience. You’re worried that he takes up too much of my time and energy, and that your child won’t get his fair share. You’re worried that she is really going to hurt someone some day. You’re worried that “someone” might be your child. You’re worried that your child is going to start using aggression to get what she wants. You’re worried your child is going to fall behind academically because I might not notice that he is struggling to hold a pencil. I know.

Your child, this year, in this classroom, at this age, is not THAT child. Your child is not perfect, but she generally follows rules. He is able to share toys peaceably. She does not throw furniture. He raises his hand to speak. She works when it is time to work, and plays when it is time to play. He can be trusted to go straight to the bathroom and straight back again with no shenanigans. She thinks that the S-word is “stupid” and the C-word is “crap.” I know.

I know, and I am worried, too.

You see, I worry all the time. About ALL of them.

READ MORE


If you’re interested in learning more about private school marketing, check out my ISM Summer Institute Workshop, The New Marketing Communications Director, where we spend four days on a wide variety of topics including digital marketing tactics.

ISM Summer Institute - Professional Development for Private Schools

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