School Newsletter

Learning from Mistakes: 5 Lessons from School Newsletters That Didn’t Get Clicks

Dr. Kara Stern
2 min read
Hands typing on a laptop.

☕ Busy? Want the TLDR? Here ya go!
1. Don’t write long blocks of text.
2. Say goodbye to long lists
3. Beware of making people scroll
4. Always. Use. Images.
5. Never bury the lede

(disclaimer: names and identities have been changed to protect the innocent)

You’ve got important information to share. You need people to read your school newsletters! If you’re not seeing the clicks or engagement you want, it may be because you’re making one of the following 5 mistakes:

1. DON’T: write long blocks of text.

DO: Think visual

If you have a lot of info to convey, separate the instructions under headings, and organize them in a zig-zag pattern. It makes for a clearer path for your reader.  It might take you a few more minutes to create, but it’ll save time in the long run when more parents follow your directions.

2. DON’T: write long lists of instructions with no guideposts.

DO: use the tools you’re given.

Bullet points, bolded words, and numbered lists help your readers organize information in their minds.

3. DON’T: create updates so long you have to scroll for days.

woman scrolling on her cellphone

DO: Keep your scroll time to a minimum.

Aim to keep your newsletter to three or four essential sections. Remember: most people will read the update on their phone.

4. DON’T: create a newsletter without any images.

DO: remember that a picture is worth at least a thousand words.

5. DON’T: Bury the lede. We are a nation of skimmers.

DO: write the important info in prominent section of a button, not in the small text.

See the difference? Smartphones and social media have conditioned us to expect The Headlines! in 280 characters (including spaces) and emojis. Don’t fight it! Create newsletters that meet people where they are. Get the results you want.

Need a pre-formatted template for a weekly update? You can find one here.

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Dr. Kara Stern

Dr. Kara Stern began her career as an ELA teacher, then shifted into administration as a middle school principal. Dr. Stern is a fervent advocate for equitable communication and family engagement. She spent five years as Executive Director at Math for America, where she designed the professional learning community that exists to this day. An unexpected move to Tel Aviv launched her into the world of EdTech where she became the Director of Education Content for Smore and then the Head of Education Solutions at SchoolStatus. Outside of work, she indulges her love for reading, devouring two novels weekly, with a particular fondness for heists and spy stories.

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