A few weeks ago, we had the exciting opportunity to speak with Region 10 Service Center Teaching and Learning Consultant, Accountability Expert, and Smore user, Jennifer Hood. We discussed how her journey with Smore helped shape her communication strategy. Using the school newsletter tool, she is now able to effectively reach and inform the over 120 districts and schools in her charge. Jennifer also held an Instagram Q&A session where she revealed how she maximized her efforts with Smore. You can see the video segment at the end of the post.
Inspired by our interview and the Q&A, we’ve compiled 5 school communication tips, with examples from Jennifer, to help you improve your staff and parent communication.
#1: Be predictable
Jennifer noticed that consistently sending out her school newsletter at the same time and day each week dramatically improved her open and engagement rate. Spontaneity, especially when it comes with a lot of new information, can be overwhelming. Predictability will allow your users to feel more confident and relaxed through a sense of control, trust, and reliability.
#2: Be intentional
Set up your communication goals for the week so you can better focus your school newsletter content and distribution. Jennifer realized her newsletter was getting a bigger audience when she’d encourage certain staff members to directly share parts of her newsletter with their own professional networks. For example, Jennifer included important information or classroom ideas intended for ESL students and noticed that the newsletter was getting more traction if it was distributed by an ESL teacher rather than by her.
#3: Be practical
Who, what, and why are the 3 “W”s you should be answering when planning out your school newsletter template. Jennifer uses Smore to compile the massive amount of information she receives and distribute it to the most relevant destination. She’s then also discovered the most effective format and schedule for her needs; for example, Jennifer will use Smore’s RSVP feature to advertise a school's upcoming event, but she'll only publish it on the same day she usually sends the school newsletter to avoid a pile up.
#4: Be informed
One of Jennifer’s favorite features is the analytics feature. She has been able to grow her mailing list to over 1,000 subscribers by carefully studying her newsletter analytics through Smore’s management dashboard. She’s also worked directly with Smore to determine how she can improve her engagement rate. With each newsletter, Jennifer notes how many have read it, when they’re reading it, how long they’re reading it for, and which links they’ve clicked on. She uses this information to improve on the next school newsletter, and maybe even chooses to include the more popular links from the previous newsletter in the following week’s edition.
#5: Be creative
A major pain point Jennifer mentioned was that she is always being asked the same questions over and over again. With a quick "think outside the box" moment, she created a school newsletter template with a Q&A section where she responds to all of the questions that come in every week. She is then able to respond to everyone's questions more efficiently and answer questions others didn't even know they had.
We love learning from our users, so be sure to let us know your best tips and tricks by commenting on our latest Twitter post! See Jennifer's Q&A highlights below: