Traditionally, schools have chosen to share news, announcements and generally promote school activity and initiatives using a well-established format and channel: the newsletter. Whether that’s now moved onto email or not is by-the-by – the idea is still the same. Someone has to carefully curate and lay out the document, and then distribute it by whatever means necessary. If you’re still on a print-based newsletter, this can mean incurring some pretty hefty print costs.
Even if you’re producing an electronic newsletter, this still requires some investment of time and resource to be produced. With email, this may also require some experience and knowledge in terms of coding, or on a very basic level, Mail Merge. That being said, the benefits of keeping the wider school community, particularly parents, engaged and informed on what’s happening within the school are pretty clear. So is there an alternative that can still deliver this value but with less effort and expense required on your part? Quite possibly.
The newsfeed is the newsletter
On a personal level, think about how you, and your friends, find out what’s happening in your communities these days. Whether that’s a group you’re a member of, or news from your local area, you’re probably thinking of one place you could go to get all of this information: social media. Additionally, you might be a member of certain public or private groups within those social networks, or part of a private messaging group, in order to share and consume updates. It’s the same for parents – just like you, they’ll be engaging with updates from various communities they’re involved with via social media.
Using a dedicated parental communication app can work much the same way – the parent has a place to go to get all of the updates they need about your school, their child’s progress, and other vital information, all in one place, and in a format they’re comfortable and familiar with. Many apps give you the capability to create specific groups, and for users to create their own custom “newsfeeds”, so they see the information and updates most relevant to them and their child.
These dedicated communication apps can often be integrated with other communication channels your school is using – including email, SMS, your website, and social media, to help you collate everything in one place. This means that if you want to share an announcement, blog post from the website or update as you might previously have included in your newsletter, you can instantly share this with parents and reach them within the app. This approach takes the pain and the cost out of producing a school newsletter. The quick and easy nature of being able to share social media style updates also means you can share updates and announcements much more frequently and keep parents engaged.
The app-based approach also gives you additional functionality to reach parents quickly, at any time – the push notification. A push notification is essentially a message that pops up on a mobile device from a specific application. Parents who have your communication app installed can receive instant notifications alerting to them updates from you via the app. They can customise this to their specific preferences, meaning they again can receive the most relevant updates from you. This means that you don’t have to rely on parents remembering or happening to look at an update on your newsfeed, or historically, a piece in your newsletter. You can reach them at any time with a notification, but you can also keep the power with them to customise the experience.
Which approach is right for you?
The bottom line is that a newsfeed/app lead approach to school communication brings with it a host of advantages over the traditional school newsletter. That being said, there is still value in that kind of content, and if you choose the right tool, you can integrate more traditional newsletter style communication with messaging and “social media style” updates into one platform. If you’d like to find out more about how Weduc could help you do this, and build a strategy around it, get in touch.
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