To maximise engagement with your school communications, planning is key. Taking the time necessary to research, plan, and design your communications will be repaid in the form of improved results. Without investing in a communication plan, your efforts will be ineffective.
There are many things to consider while you are developing your communication strategy. Each consideration should be used to develop an effective plan. In this blog post, we look at the research and planning your school should undertake to improve its communications. So, without further ado, here’s our school communication planning guide.
Outline Your Goal
Every plan should start with a goal. Without one, your communication plan is a ship without a rudder. The decisions you make should all contribute toward achieving your initial goal. That is why setting out the desired result of your communication from the outset is crucial.
Some examples of common school communication goals include:
- Increasing admissions for the next school year.
- Attracting better applicants to job vacancies.
- Increasing engagement from parents.
- Improving reputation and standing in the community.
- Encouraging businesses to get involved.
Once you have outlined your goal, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of it. By uniting those involved in the communication plan, you can better focus on achieving your aim.
Learn about Your Audience
The primary audience of your communications will be determined by your goal. It may be parents, qualified teachers, businesses, or the local community. No matter who your audience is, you must take the time to understand them.
By analysing the audience, you can learn many important things that guide your school communication plan. This includes:
- The audience’s motivations.
- How the audience consumes communications.
- What the audience values.
- How the audience prefers to receive communications from your school.
- How the audience currently engages with your school.
For some communications, there are many audiences. While one may be more important than the rest, you should still research all relevant audiences. Equipped with a new, in-depth understanding, you can develop communication strategies with the audience’s needs in mind.
Identify the Most Effective Channels
Many schools still rely on traditional channels of communication, such as letters, posters, and radio adverts. Your new school communication plan should focus on the use of modern channels, such as social media and your school website. This isn’t to say they must replace traditional methods, but it will prove effective to integrate digital mediums.
As part of your research into the audience, you should have determined which channels they rely on the most. For the modern-day parent, this is usually social media and other internet-based channels. But, the local community, for example, may prefer printed materials, such as letters or posters.
The behaviour of your audience should decide the channels you prioritise in your school communication plan. This will broaden the reach of your messages and increase the likelihood of your audience engaging with them.
Plan Future Content Opportunities
Some school communications can be planned in advance. If your goal is to increase admissions, then social media posts and adverts for your school can be pre-prepared. Other communication strategies, though, require more ad hoc content.
School communication with parents, for example, is often based around their child’s learning and events that take place at school. Although you may not be able to write these communications in advance, you can certainly prepare for them. By taking a look at your school calendar and earmarking upcoming events, you can schedule a time to create content around each event.
You can also plan communications around strategic dates, such as the school transfer windows. Teachers can only transfer during these times, so your recruitment efforts should intensify before and during these periods.
Though you may not always be able to produce communications in advance, planning them is a great timesaver.
Know How to Measure Results
Refining your school communication plan is crucial. The only way to improve results is to make changes. But how do you know what changes to make? The key to this is measuring the results.
During the production of your communication plan, you should know exactly what success looks like, and how you can measure it. Then, as your plan progresses, you can determine how successful it is. Social media and website analytics are useful tracking tools. Noting engagement driven by non-digital communications will also prove helpful.
You should adapt your plan as you progress, using the results and analytics to guide you on how to make impactful changes.
Preparation Is Vital
An effective communication plan is a huge boost for any school. No matter what your aim is, good communication will help you achieve your goals. To improve your communications, you will need to carry out the necessary planning and preparation.
At Eduprise, we’ve developed communication plans and strategies for schools across the UK. We guide them through the preparation process, conducting the planning and research necessary to ensure the plan is a success.