How to Become an Effective School Messenger
The way you communicate home has come a long way from the scribbled note stuffed in a book bag, the school marquee perhaps missing a letter or two, and a printed newsletter.
Technology provides some options to keep in touch with parents and the community. But with a variety of choices, it can be difficult to determine the best way to send a particular message to its intended audience.
You’ve likely been using email for quite some time. Still, with the advent of newer communication channels, there are some ways you can adjust your email strategy. Email messages still have a very high open rate, particularly in education when parents provide (opt-in) for messages from their children’s schools.
Use email for reminders, policies, newsletters and other valuable information. Be sure to give links to specific places on your website for details, which will help reduce the amount of content in the email. Lastly, make sure to include your social media accounts in every email message to encourage parents to follow you.
Your school or district website is ultimately a self-serve portal for your parents, community members and other visitors. Users come to your website to find the information they want quickly without having to call your school or district office. Keep it up to date. Your website also should be easy to use and navigate. Make efficient use of picture and videos. And again, make sure to include your social media accounts in the footer of your website to encourage parents to follow you.
Platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook continue to provide another way to communicate home and to your entire school community. Before jumping into social media, it’s important to understand how to maximize the benefits of each platform. The key is to build a following who will interact and share. That means you’ve got to post relevant information, and you’ve got to do it consistently. Link to the source of the information, so you don’t have to fill your posts with too many characters.
A school blog is an excellent way to reinforce the school’s brand. Cover topics that are relevant to your school or district. Start conversations that will set you apart from other schools and districts. Include some posts that are fun and show off the personality of the author. You can even get the students involved. The key to blogging is to keep it interesting and consistent.
These different channels should be one cohesive form of communication. Start thinking through your current approach to communication and identify ways you might be able to improve.
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