How to transform your school newsletter (Part 3)
Most schools fail to write a compelling newsletter.
Why? It’s hard to consistently produce a quality newsletter:
- Hard to write great content that parents want to read
- Hard to collect and choose photos from every event
- Hard to write with a purpose and find a voice for each article
- Hard to design interesting, fresh and consistent all at once
Steps to success with your newsletter
- Firstly they listen to their parents. When surveying parents and watching their viewing habits, overwhelmingly parents want to see photos of their kids and stories that celebrate success in the school. While some notifications of upcoming events or reminding parents can be a necessity, a barrage of stiff notifications is not what parents want from a newsletter — focus on success & celebration.
- This is a big one — Get online. Parents don’t have to read your newsletter. It’s up to you to make it easy (and compelling) to read. That means on any device, at any time. Sending a scrunched up newsletter home or a 20MB PDF attachment is not exactly enticing parents into reading it. Think about how you can draw readers into your newsletter from that very first point of contact. Doing a quick summary (with photos) in the email you send is a great place to start. If your newsletter isn’t online stop what you’re doing and put it on your website. Go now!
- Make it public! Your newsletter is the place for everything great your school is doing. Your school success is a reflection of your culture and image. The newsletter is your chance to shape your public image. It’s a powerful tool because unlike your website where you share your school’s vision and mission statement, the newsletter actually demonstrates them. Speak to your leadership team about making your school newsletter publicly available (tell them I sent you! @blakeseufert), your school will not regret it.
- Make it easy on yourself. Creating a school newsletter is a marathon — not a sprint. It’s important to be creative in each week’s newsletter and not be burdened with, for example, converting all articles to a consistent font. If you’re overwhelmed with standardising the formatting of 10–20 articles each week, by the time you start to think about the presentation and design you’re over it. Find a platform or application that’s flexible and simple to get use.
Where can we start with our newsletter?
Let’s take some action and try a very simple improvement. For your next newsletter give this simple change a go:
Step 1. Pick your best photo from the newsletter (high resolution, attractive photo)
Step 2. Get rid of your elaborate line-work header and replace it with a photo that builds your school brand and culture.
Step 4. Get your survey / form link and shorten it using https://goo.gl/ . Paste the short link into your newsletter to get some feedback.
This exercise is a quick way prove that your parents want more photos. It will also get you more accustomed to asking your community for feedback and direction on the future of your newsletter, because if you don’t ask, how will you know?
Want to try a platform that does all of this, out of the box? Try iNewsletter. It’s free to get started.