Why Stories Work & 7 Ways to Write One for Private Schools

Why Stories Work & 7 Ways to Write One for Private Schools

December 12, 2022
(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

You’ve probably heard that storytelling is essential for business, marketing, and life in general. You may have also heard that it’s a powerful tool with the potential for a tremendous lasting impact.

With that being said, think about what Zig Ziglar said, “Those of you who read the Bible know (and whether you are a believer or not, most people respect the fact) that Christ was a powerful persuader.” He goes on to say, “when people asked Christ a question, He either responded with a question or a parable—both of which are tools for persuasion.” (Source: Selling 101 by Zig Ziglar)

In other words, we love a good story! Jonathan Gottschall in The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, states, “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Knowing this, do you not think that telling stories from your school’s rich history will excite, entertain, and encourage your community? Stories can and should be at the heart of effective school marketing and are critical to your school’s long-term success.

In this post, we will cover the following:

Scientifically Why Storytelling Works

When you hear or witness an enthralling story, your brain engages in a phenomenon known as “narrative transportation.” It occurs when a story engages so many of your senses that you can nearly see, smell, hear, and feel what is being described. You’ve probably experienced narrative transportation if you’ve been so engaged in a movie or book that you didn’t notice the passage of time. That involvement of the senses is precisely why our brains love stories. They induce genuine and observable changes in the connections and chemistry of your brain.

There are two parts of our brains that are most engaged by stories:

  • Prefrontal Cortex: This part is in charge of cognition and comprehension. So when you read, your brain absorbs the material and stores it in your short-term memory.
  • Amygdala: This part is in charge of emotion and long-term memory. When your prefrontal cortex gets information, your amygdala “codes” it based on the emotion you feel, which aids in processing long-term memories.

Additionally, a flood of chemicals is released when we read or hear a story, which contributes to our emotional connection to a narrative. These are:

  • Dopamine
  • Oxytocin
  • Endorphins

This “Angel’s Cocktail” ultimately helps us get into the story being told.

Why Stories Can Help You Form Stronger Connections With Parents

Now that you understand why stories are so powerful from a scientific point of view, let's look at how they can help you develop stronger bonds with your prospective and current families.

We know that storytelling is one of the oldest art forms known to man and is a fundamental way of communicating.

However, in our modern age of technology, it has found a new life through fleeting stories on social media, first-person narratives on a school website, blogs, and case studies. We as individuals have more choices on how and when to consume online content that can provide storytellers with tremendous freedom. You can blend stories and factual information together to explore broader scientific or philosophical themes and issues. You can use various media to illustrate our stories, video, or audio (such as podcasts) to its full advantage to complement the content.

Parents are looking for a school that shares their values, priorities, and ethics and a place where they believe their kids will fit in. Additionally, parents want to know how your school's core beliefs and essence were formed, your school's story, what this means for the students, and what it may mean for their children. As a private school marketer, you must explain your school's narrative in a way that entices parents to join the “club.”

What Types of Stories You Should Your Private School Be Telling

There are several options for schools to share their stories. Your school's public image strengthens as you share stories about the following topics:

  • Your private school's history
  • What your private school stands for
  • What does your private school do, and what does it do differently from other schools
  • Your school's success stories
  • How students, parents, teachers, administrators, and alumni have overcome barriers

How to Construct an Unforgettable Story for Your Audience

To get started with storytelling for your private school, follow these simple steps. But before you start crafting and developing your stories, ensure you have your audience in mind (such as parents of preschool children or parents of elementary-age kids). You also need to have a goal in mind for your storytelling, whether it’s to have them reach out for a tour, share your story on social media, or forge a connection between your school and the new families.

Here are seven tips to help you create memorable stories for your private school:

1. You Need a Clear Message

The most critical point you want to communicate is that your main message or story should answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM). Your main message should be simple and easy to understand. When you keep your message concise, it is easier for the brain to recall it. Yes, it is challenging to keep your story short and sweet. However, putting in the effort to make your story great is worth its weight in gold.

2. You Need a Powerful Introduction

You must have a powerful introduction to capture your audience’s attention. In today’s society, our minds are overloaded. Therefore, our brains instinctively conserve energy by filtering out dull, repetitive, monotonous, or uninteresting things. When something new or unusual enters our awareness, our brains activate, and we begin to pay close attention.

Humor is one method to do this. People giggle and grin when you tell jokes and stories that make them laugh. You’re also raising their endorphin levels, which leads to more creativity, attention, and relaxation.

3. Your Stories Must Have a Ring of Authenticity

Authenticity is about being sincere and genuine. It encourages others to connect with you or your school because authenticity involves honesty and vulnerability.

4. Your Stories Must Be Relevant to Families and Parents

People remember how your story relates to them, not the facts. Your school’s accomplishments, as fantastic and remarkable as they are, should remain in the “About Us” section of your website. When telling a story, your prospective parents will want to know how the message applies to them.

5. Every Story Needs the 5 C’s

Remember your high school English class lessons about the 5 C’s? These five elements of storytelling are still essential when constructing a story today.


When drafting your story, lay out the circumstances. Set the stage and give the essential information that will provide context for your reader.


Use curiosity to leave your prospective parents and families wanting more. If nothing piques the audience’s interest, why would they want to continue reading, viewing, or listening?


Characters and engagement go hand-in-hand. Your story will be incredibly boring without characters and dialogue.


Conflict is an essential component of all stories. There isn’t much of a story if there isn't any tension.

6. Win Your Audience’s Hearts and Minds

Stories allow us to connect emotionally. Whether a good story makes you sad, scared, happy, glad, afraid, or all is right in the world, feelings make us feel more alive.

Before telling your story:

  1. Take the time to observe the world through your audience's eyes.
  2. Speak in their language and use terminology that will resonate with them.
  3. In other words, put yourself in their shoes.

Ultimately, stories provoke emotion as well as action. If you want your audience to decide and act, your story must resonate within their hearts. The finest tales allow you to reach out to people's hearts.

7. Your Story Needs a Resolution

Your audience will be waiting with bated breath when there is drama or tension, waiting for the story’s resolution.

Good stories take us by surprise, and they don’t always have to end “happily ever after.” The resolution should bring the story to a close and clearly call your audience to action.

The bottom line is a good resolution should cause people to think and feel.

Final Thoughts

The power of a story is profound. It will not only help you connect with and move your audience, but it will also make your content marketing more memorable. The best way to help families and parents remember you and your school is to tell them a compelling story.

If you need help writing your school’s story, reach out today.

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  December 12, 2022

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design and specializes in private school marketing. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina and across the United States. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

See Adam Bennett's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/adam-bennett