A new year brings the opportunity for change. It’s the perfect time to shake things up and think about refreshing your strategies. Staff and parents often have mixed opinions about the effectiveness of school newsletters, based on their personal experiences, so now is the time to implement a fail-proof strategy.
Newsletters themselves have come a long way, as has the way in which we receive information. Teachers no longer have to watch on anxiously as students stuff them to the bottom of school bags or fold them into paper planes as they run out the door, banishing important information for parents into the abyss. Here are four simple steps you can take to create an effective newsletter strategy for 2016:
- Set expectations and communicate them to staff
What is the purpose of your school newsletter? It’s crucial to have a clear expectation of what the communication is to achieve and that all staff are aware of this. Your strategy should be centred on how you can deliver important ‘need-to-know’ information alongside current news that reinforces your school’s vision and values.
- Create a well-designed template and use it consistently
Take the time to have a template professionally created or choose a program that allows you to easily customise a template and layout yourself. The overall look is important in order to deliver information effectively. Cluttered templates with dense copy are not appealing for the reader.
- Timing is everything
While you don’t want to bombard parents, frequent communication is still crucial. Devise a consistent schedule so parents know when to expect the newsletter. This will depend on the size of your school – larger schools should consider separate newsletters for Junior and Senior school. If parents have to constantly wade through pages of information to find what is relevant to them, they are likely to lose interest quite quickly. Once a week creates a good line of communication between your school and the parent community. If you currently send a long newsletter fortnightly, it may be time to send less content, more frequently.
- Create content guidelines to reflect your vision
When you pick up a newspaper, how likely are you to read an article that doesn’t interest you? If a parent reads one or two newsletters that communicate irrelevant information or have little to do with their child’s year group, they’re not likely to continue taking much notice. Content must be relevant and well thought out. Important messages should appear in headlines, captions and at the beginning of paragraphs or sections. Teachers and contributors should be aware of your school’s specific style and visual guidelines and the importance of adhering to them. Long, solid blocks of copy are not appealing to parents. Use concise copy, dot points and subheadings to enhance readability. Remember that a picture tells a thousand words. Include quality images that illustrate the topic and convey the spirit of your school. And don’t forget to proofread! All correspondence, particularly event dates, should be checked by a fresh pair of eyes.
Before sending each newsletter, read back over your strategy and check you are creating content that aligns with your expectations and communication goals.
Here are some resources to help you with your 2016 newsletter strategy:
- Some more newsletter blogs which might be of interest to you.
- To learn more about improving your school's newsletter strategy, download our free ebook, is your enewsletter delivering quality content?
Speak to an expert:
- Find out from one of our consultants how you can get the most out of your school's newsletters - book a free call now
This blog was written by Melinda Webster
As Account Manager at imageseven, Melinda is committed to the unique journey of every client to bring their ideas, hopes and value to fruition. Originally from Sydney, her newest passion is exploring the beauty of the West Coast.