Marketing to Schools
with Dianne de Las Casas
Verla: Here they all come, Dianne
Verla: right on time
Dianne: Verla, can you make sure I don't get booted?
Verla: I'll do my best, Dianne....
Gail: Verla does not have that power
Dianne: Thank you
Verla: But if you do....just come back. We will definitely wait for you!
Lyra_: all Verla can do is promise not to PERSONALLY kick you (g)
<<< NOTE: Lyra is Linda Joy Singleton>>>
Dianne: Lyra, tsk tsk
Verla: WHAT? I don't get to kick her?
Suzy-Q: Verla you behave
Verla: Rats. Lyra takes ALL the fun out of everything....
Dianne: I have a LOT to talk about!
Verla: mumble grumble grumble....
Suzy-Q: although I did bring the silly string.
Verla: Oh, Dianne...I can hardly WAIT!
Verla: Gail...that was a mistake!
Dianne: We sure have a full house!
Verla: Goody, everyone is arriving on time, tonight
Lyra_: good topic & speaker (g)
Dianne: Lyra, you're too sweet! :)
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to MARKETING TO SCHOOLS Workshop now in progress
Verla: Okay, folks...It is now time for the workshop to begin. Everyone, please take a chair and let's get started. I don't want to miss a MINUTE of Dianne's presentation!
Verla: Would you please introduce yourself, Dianne, to those who haven't met you...
Dianne: OK, let's get started.
Dianne: I am Dianne de Las Casas, a professional storyteller known as DIANNE and THE MAGIC SUITCASE.
Dianne: I live in the New Orleans, LA area
Dianne: First, I'd like to ask everyone to hold their questions
Dianne: until I ask for them.
Dianne: You may want to grab a pen and paper to jot down some notes because I have some information you may want to record.
Gail: Or you can read it on Verla's website.
Verla: Dianne, I will post this workshop on my website afterwards so they can get the info from there, too.
Dianne: Marketing to schools requires a plan. First you must establish your goals.
Dianne: You've published a book. Now you want to establish yourself as a touring author, speaker, or workshop conductor.
Dianne: Maybe you want to do all three. Great. You must map out a plan.
Dianne: Use the 5 Ws as an outline - Who, What, Where, When, Why.
Dianne: WHO? Who will be the target of your marketing campaign?
Dianne: 1. Who is your primary market? You must first establish your primary market.
Dianne: If you are writing for school age children, you may want to market to elementary schools to grades 5.
Dianne: 2. What schools should you visit? How far should you travel? Of course, only you can answer those questions.
Dianne: Once you decide where you are willing to travel, you can plan accordingly.
Dianne: WHAT? What are you marketing?
Dianne: 1. Determine what you are planning to market. Are you promoting a new book? Are you promoting yourself as a speaker?
Dianne: Are you promoting a creative writing workshop for teachers and/or students?
Dianne: 2. When schools spend money on programs, they want reassurance that what they pay for has educational value for the students.
Dianne: Tie in your topic to the current school theme or weave elements of the curriculum into your topic.
Dianne: Make it obviously educational as well as entertaining.
Dianne: 3. Tailor your marketing materials to be pleasing to the eye and easy to read.
Dianne: I recommend a brochure or nicely designed flyer.
Dianne: Remember the three Ps of marketing - Presentation, Professionalism, and Pizzazz.
Dianne: Presentation - Is the information clearly presented? Are the ideas clearly outlined?
Dianne: Professionalism - Do the materials look professional? If it is a photocopy, is it clear of smudges and lines?
Dianne: Pizzazz - Does your marketing material have pizzazz? Does your material possess that certain something that will differentiate you from all the others out there?
Dianne: Any questions so far?
Verla: What if you are promoting all of those things, Dianne? A new book, yourself as a speaker AND a creative writing workshop? Is that okay, too?
Dianne: Absolutely. The more versatile you are, the more the school can find a way to hire you.
Lyra_: are you promoting book(s) when you speak Dianne?
Dianne: Lyra, I don't promote my books but I promote literacy.
Dianne: I will be promoting my audiocassette when it is completed.
Verla: (Good for those of us who DO have books!)
Dianne: You don't need books to promote yourself in the schools.
Verla: What DO you need, Dianne? If not books?
Dianne: Sometimes, your life experiences alone may qualify you as a great speaker for certain topics.
Verla: For instance?
Dianne: Verla, if you were once a drug user, you might have a great program on saying NO.
Dianne: Of course, it doesn't have to be that drastic.
Verla: LOL. I can't do that one, I'm afraid!
<<<NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud>>>
Dianne: Moving on to the next section.
Verla: yes Ma'am
Dianne: WHERE? Where do you find your contacts?
Dianne: 1. You need to create a mailing list. Every state in the US has a State Board of Education.
Lyra_: (Moving On is Verla's book!)
Dianne: You can contact the Board of Education and find out how to obtain a Directory of Schools.
Verla: Ah HA!
Verla: I didn't know about that, Dianne!
Dianne: Each state publishes a Directory of Schools complete with all the information you need to market to schools.
Dianne: Names, addresses, grade levels.
Dianne: Some states even offer the directory on diskette or on pre-made address labels.
Lyra_: for any charge?
Dianne: There is a fee but it is affordable. In Louisiana, the directory is $15.
Verla: How do you find out where the Board of Education for the State is?
Dianne: Verla, you can look in the blue pages of the phone directory under State listings and find out the number for the Board of Education.
Dianne: Or, you can use the search engine on the web and search for it that way. I know California's has a website.
Verla: Thank you, Dianne
Dianne: 2. You can use a mailing label company such as PCS Mailing List (800-532-LIST).
Dianne: They can target specific markets and customize a mail-out for your but their services aren't cheap.
Dianne: If you are looking to target a large market and would like some help, they can save you a lot of time.
Verla: Oh. I see. The mailing label company is NOT the source of the Directory of Schools, but is an entirely DIFFERENT place to find markets, right?
Dianne: Yes, Verla, the mailing list company is yet another source.
Dianne: 3. Obtain a listing with a booking agency.
Dianne: An agency such as Young Audiences, Inc. lists performers, musicians, storytellers, dancers, and authors.
Dianne: Inquire about a listing. It costs nothing up front. The fee is taken out of the client's payment to the agency.
Dianne: Young Audiences comes out with a new catalog every school year and sends it to schools in your area.
Dianne: Young Audiences is a national not-for-profit agency promoting arts-in-education.
Lyra_: do you use this?
Dianne: Lyra, yes, I am listed with Young Audiences.
Lyra_: how often do you speak monthly?
Verla: Do you get much response from it, Dianne?
Dianne: Verla, it helps me get bookings. And some schools won't hire performers who aren't listed with YA!
Dianne: 4. Obtain a listing with your State Arts Commission.
Dianne: Some states have an artist roster in which they list performers, artists, and authors.
Dianne: This listing is free. You have to fill out an application.
Dianne: The listing is sent to schools, libraries, and organizations across the state.
Dianne: Through this listing, you have credibility. You can be selected for a presentation, artist residencies, and workshops.
Verla: How can you find out where this is located and how to find out about it, Dianne?
Dianne: Verla, getting to that.
Dianne: To find out if your state has an artist roster, check out the website of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies - www.nasaa-arts.org.
Verla: Ah HA
Dianne: It provides a link to all the state art agencies.
Dianne: To be accepted on the roster, you have to demonstrate professional credibility and submit supporting bodies of work.
Dianne: Any questions now?
Verla: Yes. I didn't understand that last comment
Verla: Submit supporting bodies of work
Verla: What do you submit?
Verla: (NOT dead bodies, I'm sure!)
Dianne: If you claim to be an author, you must submit your writing.
Verla: Ah...like a copy of your book?
Dianne: If you are a storyteller, you must submit audio or video tape of a performance.
Dianne: Verla, they usually ask for manuscripts of published works.
Verla: Right. That's what I meant.
Dianne: Rather than the book itself.
Verla: Oh. Really? So NOT the published book, but just the manuscript of the book?
Dianne: Saves you money not having to submit one of your books.
Dianne: Next section.
Lyra_ This is HELPFUL!
Dianne: WHEN? When should you send out your marketing materials for optimum results?
Verla is all ears...
Dianne: 1. The best time for a mail-out to the schools is in the early spring.
Dianne: That is when principals, teachers, and PTAs are planning their next year's agenda.
Verla: Before school lets out for the current year?
Dianne: Often, they budget money for programs at this time.
Verla: Like NOW?
Dianne: Before school lets out - LIKE RIGHT NOW!
Verla: Gulp. Like two weeks ago or a month ago...
Lyra_: that's a good tip, Dianne
Dianne: 2. Or you can split your mailings.
Lyra_: not that it will matter for me THIS year
Dianne: For beginning of the year to mid-year bookings and after holiday bookings.
Dianne: For beginning of the year bookings, mail out in early spring.
Dianne: For after holiday bookings, mail out in October, before the holiday rush.
Dianne: Not too close to the beginning of the year because schools have too much to do then.
Dianne: Any questions?
Verla: Dianne, I think lyra is mistaken. She thinks just because she doesn't have a book coming out this year, she can't do school visits. But she has published 19 books in the past...and I believe she can market herself as an author and TEACH the kids workshops on how to write...right?
Dianne: Verla, Lyra is VERY qualified to speak in the schools.
Verla: SEE, lyra?
Dianne: It's one way to keep yourself marketable.
Dianne: You make yourself the topic of conversation.
Lyra_: I'll just stick a sign around my neck: services for sale
Dianne: Then schools start demanding you!
Lyra_: That would be nice...to be in demand
Dianne: Editors may pay more attention if you have a following.
Lyra_: that's a good point
Dianne: Because they don't have to establish a market for you.
Dianne: You have already established the market.
Verla: Good point, Dianne!
Verla: Thank you
Dianne: Thank you.
Dianne: Next section.
Dianne: WHY? Why should a school hire you when there are so many choices out there?
Verla: yeah. why?
Dianne: 1. Establish a niche for yourself. What are your strengths?
Dianne: How can you present a common topic differently?
Dianne: If your topic is unusual, how does it fit into the school's curriculum?
Dianne: 2. Establish credibility.
Dianne: Tell the schools why they should hire you.
Dianne: You have written a book. What else? Have you worked in schools before?
Dianne: Have you presented programs elsewhere?
Dianne: Anything that establishes credibility will work in your favor.
Dianne: STUDY GUIDES - Create a study guide to pass out to teachers.
Lyra_: Verla has done that
Dianne: 1. Study guides should relate your topic to the curriculum.
Dianne: I make my study guide general. I divide my program into different curricula and list suggested activities for the teachers so that they can follow-up my program with activities in the classroom.
Dianne: Classroom discussion of the contents of the program will further facilitate understanding of the program.
Dianne: 2. List resources in your study guide.
Dianne: Teachers love resources. Your resources could include books on creative writing.
Dianne: 3. For a sample copy of a study guide, send a SASE to Dianne de Las Casas, Sample Study Guide, 1237-D Friedrichs St., Gretna, LA 70053
Dianne: Any questions?
Verla: Hmmm. Okay, Dianne...so my "niche" is historical books for younger children?
Lyra_: how do you decide how to charge & quote prices professionally?
Dianne: Verla, first.
Verla: And, if you are teaching "How to Write" you should make up a handout paper that lists writing activities?
Dianne: Your niche could be history as well as cryptic rhyme. How about a workshop on rhyme?
Dianne: I have a friend who does a program called Reading, Rhythm, and Rhyme.
Dianne: Lyra, now you.
Dianne: Obtain the state roster and find out what other performers are charging.
Lyra_: I'm always afraid they'll say, "No, too expensive."
Dianne: Ask your children's librarian for flyers from performers.
Dianne: Check out your local Young Audiences catalog for prices.
Dianne: Ask for brochures from colleagues.
Lyra_: I see myself less of a "performer" and more of an "informer"
Dianne: Lyra, you are worth what you ask.
Lyra_: I don't dance, sing, or do hand-puppets
Dianne: But you want to be an interesting informer.
Lyra_: that IS a good suggestion for prices
Verla: Lyra IS interesting, Dianne. I have heard her speak.
Dianne: When I say "performer", I am being general.
Lyra_: Mostly the schools I've spoken for can't afford to pay too much, though
Lyra_: And I'd rather grow as a speaker and make myself affordable
Dianne: This next section will be of interest to any of you that are published.
Lyra_: ok...(ears perked)
Dianne: PREPARATION PACKETS TO SCHOOLS - Send out prep packs to schools after you have made the booking.
Verla: Ah ha. I have made those up already
Dianne: Place all the contents in a folder with a die cut on the inside for your business card.
Dianne: Include a cover letter.
Verla: What goes in them? (I know, I know...You will tell us in a minute!)
Dianne: Your prep pack should include:
Dianne: 1. An 8 1/2X11" flyer. This sign should have your name/logo, photograph, and fill-in blanks for location, date, and time.
Dianne: Print it on white paper so that your clients have the option to copy it onto specialty paper. Provide one and they can make copies.
Verla: You fill in the blanks?
Dianne: 2. Bulletin information - This sheet will contain information relevant to your program for the school newsletter, bulletin, or other media.
Dianne: It can be designed like a press release.
Dianne: 3. Study Guide - One as discussed above. They can make copies.
Lyra_: I've made a press release before--even got a newspaper article from it
Verla: Hmmm. Like a pre-prepared "ad" for your upcoming event?
Dianne: 4. Assembly reminder sheet - If you are addressing students in an assembly, you will need to include this.
Dianne: You will list items necessary for the preparation of the assembly.
Lyra_: what items do YOU need?
Verla: You mean like a microphone, table, overhead projector, room darkening shades, GLASS OF WATER, stuff like that?
Dianne: Verla, yes.
Dianne: 5. For a sample of all of the above, send $1.00 to Dianne de Las Casas, School Prep Pack, 1237-D Friedrichs St., Gretna, LA 70053
Dianne: SUMMARY - Let's recap.
Dianne: 1. Who? Decide who your primary market is. What grades will you target?
Dianne: 2. What? What are you marketing? Books, yourself as a speaker, workshops, etc.
Dianne: 3. Where? Where will you obtain your contacts? Directory of Schools from State Board of Education, Mailing list company, Listing with a booking agent, Listing on State artist roster.
Dianne: 4. When? When should you send out materials? For optimum results, send out marketing mail-outs in the early spring for bookings for the following school year.
Dianne: 5. Why? Why should you be hired? Establish your niche. Establish your credibility.
Dianne: 6. Preparation packets to schools should be sent out after you have secured the booking. Include: business card, flyer, bulletin information, study guide, and assembly reminder sheet.
LinS: Dianne, I came in late. Sorry I missed so much...do you mind if I ask a question?
Dianne: Lin, ask
LinS: Are you storytelling your own book? Or straight story telling?
LinS: I know a little about your program
LinS: magic suitcase
Dianne: Straight storytelling - folktales and original material.
LinS: Thanks...so we could implment some of your marketing skills in school visits with our books
Lyra_: Do you continue to market a lot or is word of mouth/past contacts getting you enough work?
Dianne: Lyra, I still market because it keeps me fresh and visible.
Dianne: I have to compete with other people out there who also send out marketing material.
Lyra_: how to you balance the travel? Must mean a lot of flying...
Dianne: Lyra, more like driving.
Lyra_: so you don't come as far as to California?
Dianne: I have a backdrop, a sound system, the suitcase, speaker stands, etc.
Dianne: Lyra, If I were invited (and paid), I would visit anywhere!
LinS: do you ever "use up" an area?
LinS: or do you get invited back again and again
Dianne: I keep a log of all the programs I do so that I never repeat a program in the same school or library.
Verla: AH HA! Good plan. Like keeping a log of submissions!
Dianne: Verla, exactly.
Dianne: And I always offer new programs.
Lyra_: how many different programs do you offer?
Dianne: I have ten different storytelling programs and five workshops.
Verla: Wow. But you have been putting them together for a number of years. I mean, when you started, you didn't have that many, right?
Verla: I have started with two programs and will build from there.
LinS: But you are doing your own books right Verla?
Verla: Right, Lin
Verla: Yes. It took me two weeks to put those first two programs together. But now I can give them over and over at different places.
Dianne: Actually, from the get-go, I have offered multiple programs.
<<<NOTE: from the get-go = from the beginning>>>
Dianne: I have to be as versatile as my colleagues.
Dianne: Lots of research, time, and rehearsal!
Dianne: I've only been storytellling professionally for two years!
Lyra_: That's not very long at all--you're really amazing, Dianne!
Dianne: Lyra, thank you.
Dianne: Lots of hard work and determination.
Verla: Wow, Dianne. From your professionalism, I would have guessed longer!
Lyra_: are your colleages storytellers mostly? Or authors?
Dianne: My colleagues are authors, storytellers, musicians, artists, puppeteers, magicians, etc.
Dianne: After 1 year professionally telling, I was invited to tell at a storytelling festival, the New Orleans JazzFest, and made it to the State Artist Roster.
Dianne: I have always done my research.
Dianne: The other thing is that I am always willing to share my information.
Dianne: Professionalism and kindness will always get you business.
LinS: An excellent way to look at things
Dianne: What you give away will return to you 100 times over!
Verla: I agree
Dianne: Of course, that doesn't mean we can perform our services for free all the time!
Dianne: We have to eat!
LinS: Will you share dinner with us too??
Lyra_: need a BIG table, I suspect
Dianne: Lin, I cooked fried chicken tonight.
LinS: sounds good, diane
Verla is in her car....on her way to Dianne's for dinner....
Verla: Out of my WAY, lyra!
LinS: Verla is picking up Linda and Lyra along the way
Verla: Already GOT lyra....on my way to your place, lin...
Lyra_: Did you answer about how often you speak weekly, monthly?
Verla: She speaks a LOT, lyra
Dianne: Lyra, I sometimes perform 8-10 shows a week.
Lyra_: That's A LOT!
Verla: I don't want to do THAT many, Dianne!
Dianne: I do a lot of back-to-back, same site performances.
Lyra_: I'd be content with a few a month
Lyra_: But then speaking is secondary to writing for me
Dianne: Storytelling was secondary to writing for me too.
Dianne: Practice will take you a long way.
Dianne: BTW, I am finished with the workshop in case you didn't know.
Dianne: I tried to stay within the time limit.
Lyra_: round of applause!
Verla: Thank you, Dianne...
Dianne: Oh, one more thing.
Lyra_: turning down applause so Dianne can speak...
Dianne: My handbook entitled, "Minding Your Own Business - Office Savvy for the Professional Children's Entertainer" is available for $13.00 including shipping.
Dianne: It contains all of the above information plus more.
Lyra_: I've seen the book and it's VERY good.
Dianne: It has been newly revised!
Verla: And it is a GOOD book! Lyra has seen it, Dianne. She saw mine.
Dianne: Lyra, thank you.
Verla: Hmph. I do not have the revised copy!
Dianne: Verla, if you would like the new pages, send me a SASE with $1.24 postage.
Verla: AH HA
Verla: Okay, Dianne. Thanks.
Dianne: Verla, make sure it is at least 9X12 envelope.
Verla: No problem, Dianne
Dianne: Thank you for listening to my workshop.
Dianne: I hope I was helpful.
LinS1: I wish I could have been here earlier
Verla: It was GREAT, Dianne. I learned a LOT
LinS1: I'll have to wait for Verla to put the transcript up to see everything I missed
Lyra_: It'll be posted, LinS...so you won't miss anything
Verla: I'll post it later, lin. You can read it on my webpage
Verla: Thanks a MILLION for the GREAT workshop, Dianne. It was EXTREMELY informative and helpful!
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