Digital Marketing

Simple Tricks to Writing a Great School Newsletter

May 10, 2019

The humble newsletter was, up until a few years ago, a school’s main way of disseminating information to their wider community, including parents and alumni. Although you’ve now got social media, blogs and more on your side, newsletters are still super relevant, and present a great opportunity to deliver important must-knows in one big hit. In short: don’t let your newsletter fall to the wayside just because bigger, seemingly better mediums are available.

If you want to step up your newsletter game, now’s the time to do it. It’s the one piece of marketing material every school should have down-pat, no matter how tech-savvy your audience may seem. We’ve rounded up a few simple tricks you can use to turn your school newsletter into an amazing communication tool -- keep reading to find out what they are.

1. Write for your audience

There’s no point in spitting out great content if it doesn’t actually hit the mark with your target audience, right? Writing for your audience is ultra-important, as it ensures maximum retention and better engagement with your content overall. So, how do you actually do this?

Start off by identifying who you’re talking to -- most likely, it’ll be current parents, and maybe prospective families too. With these people in mind, tailor your content to fit their specific wants and needs. They may not want to hear about the ins and outs of a new piece of software being used in the classroom, but would love to learn more about its potential implications for their children’s technological awareness. Each piece you write should be framed in favour of your target audience.

Also be sure to use language that fits well with the established personas -- for instance, there’s no point in using complicated phrasings or jargon specific to the education space that parents inevitably won’t understand. Keep things short, sweet and on the pulse of who you’re writing for.

Want to get personal with your school personas? Check out our post, Why Personas Are the Key to Boosting Parent Engagement.

2. Vary your content

There’s nothing worse than receiving the same old newsletter week after week (after week…). Yet, that’s what a lot of schools end up delivering, maybe because it seems easier or requires less strategy. We hate to break it to you, but keeping your readers engaged requires variation! Mixing things up from week to week is a great way to ensure readers stay excited and on their toes when it comes to your content.

Of course, this doesn’t translate to ‘wing it’ -- in fact, it’s quite the opposite. You can still utilise a variety of different article types whilst sticking to a pre-established structure. Come up with a few kinds of post and circle through them, noting in your content calendar where and when you’re using each different piece.

Here are a few ideas for unique articles to include in your next newsletter:

  • A letter from the principal
  • An update from a school club or society
  • An interview with a teacher
  • A run-down of an upcoming event
  • A look inside one of your classrooms
  • An update from a specific year level or class
  • A collaborative piece on a certain theme (e.g. bullying, multiculturalism, literacy etc.)

These are just a few quick thoughts to get you started -- be creative and your newsletter will begin to flourish.

3. Include ‘own voices’

Although reading a professionally-written newsletter may be pleasing to some, most parents are more concerned with what it’s like to be a student at your school, rather than flawless prose! That’s why we recommend incorporating at least one ‘own voices’ piece into every newsletter you publish. This is essentially an article written by a student or teacher rather than someone trained in the art of content writing, like a school marketing manager.

There are so many different kinds of post you could encourage, but one we love is a simple check-in with a student leader of any age. We’re talking class captains, house leaders, choir captains -- any child with a little insight into a specific area that would also be happy to write or chat to someone about their school life. Student leaders are generally quite dedicated to helping out where they can, so they make great contributors to ‘own voices’ posts.

4. Incorporate visual interest

Text-heavy newsletters are a surefire way to discourage regular reading from parents -- trust us, no one wants to flick through pages and pages of tedious writing. Increasing engagement rates may, as a result, be as simple as considering the visual interest of your newsletter. Yep, we’re talking pics!

Consider ‘punctuating’ every article in your newsletter with at least one photo that helps represent it. After all, they speak a thousand words, so that’s less time spent writing for you! It may also be worth doing an entirely visual section, such as a spotlight on a certain class’s art projects, or a behind-the-scenes look at the school musical. Whatever you do, make sure you tailor your content to the possibility that some parents may just want to skim through when they have a free second, rather than reading longform articles.

5. Consider switching to email

Finally, the kicker -- do you really need a print newsletter? With half the parent population concerned about paper consumption and the other half in the middle of Marie Kondo’ing their lives, it’s evident we’ve grown resistant and unreceptive to single-use print items. Instead, why not make the switch over to email?

There are tons of reasons email is effective -- just ask the thousands of digital marketers who use email to deliver incredible results, daily. For starters, it lets parents pick and choose the content they actually engage with, meaning their overall satisfaction stays high. No one wants to trawl through articles they’re not interested in, scanning in the hopes their child is mentioned!

However, the key benefit of email is measurability. Email is a marketer’s dream because it gives them tangible insight into what works and what doesn’t. Not only can you measure the open rate of an email, but you can see how many people click the links, how long they stay on these pages and whether they visit all your articles or just one. You can then take this data and create tailored, more informed content that parents will truly love. It’s a win-win!

Will you be taking these simple tricks and applying them to your next school newsletter? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’ve decided to make the switch to email marketing but don’t know how, also be sure to check out Digistorm’s FUNNEL, an intelligent CRM that lets you nurture relationships through the enrolment pathway and beyond.