School marketers can have fun with format

This weekend was spectacular.

We have the good fortune of working on the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival, a growing icon for children’s literacy programs everywhere. Every year proves inspiring and this weekend was no different.

The highlight of our weekend: Cece Bell.

Jerry Craft, Cece Bell, & Jarrett Krosoczka @ the 2019 Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival.

Spending the day with Cece Bell changed our lives. She is an incredible person. She is kind, generous, funny, talented, brilliant and has magnetic energy. Once you meet her, you just want to be around her.

Cece is also an extraordinary storyteller. She puts words and graphics together to share powerful messages with the world.

As school marketers, we are also storytellers. We put words and graphics together to share powerful messages about schools with the world.

So, what lessons can we learn from our literary superhero that we can apply to our school stories? The answer: A lot.

Here’s a practical and playful lesson to get started:

Have fun with format

We all know Cece Bell changed the perception of graphic novels for so many with her Newbery Medal for El Deafo. She often shares how the graphic novel format was perfect for sharing her important story.

It proves having fun with a creative format can generate a much richer and engaging experience for readers. It really allows a storyteller to ‘show vs. tell’ the strong story they want to share.

This extraordinary graphic novel is not the only example of how Cece Bell inspires us to have fun with format. Perhaps the most relevant example to school marketers is how Cece shared the significant news of being named the Newbery Honoree.

She could have shared her prestigious news in a very traditional manner, but she didn’t. Instead, she stayed very true to her personality and had a lot of fun with a format her audience loves. Check it out for yourself (warning: you may smile for the next two minutes!):

So, our #1 lesson from meeting Cece Bell this weekend for school marketers everywhere is to have fun with your format.

Now, how do you apply this lesson? Answer: Experiment with format.

Take a good look at the news you shared recently on your blog, the events you promoted across social, or the faculty bios you published on your website.

Try recreating one of these examples of content in a more graphic format versus long prose. What would be the result of having a little fun with the format?

Have a go. I bet it will help you express your school’s personality as a result.

While we are no Cece Bell when it comes to creative execution, we wanted to share a project where we had a little fun with format: The Rebrand of KVK. We experimented with illustrations to express the unique KVK personality and love the end result. Check it out!

See you next Monday,  


We help schools grow with stronger stories. Strong messaging and strategic content marketing drive the right enrollment, greater support, and more impactful community involvement. Stronger stories lead to stronger schools.