Blogging and Beyond: Mediums to Share Your Message
There’s a message you need to share with your school community. You know what you want to say—figuring out where and how to say it is the tricky part. Many district leaders default to sharing messages on their blogs. That’s a great start, but there’s so much more to stakeholder communication than blogging.
Your district’s blog is just one item in your toolbelt. To reach as many stakeholders as possible, you need to share your message using a wide variety of mediums. You can turn any message into an email, take-home letter, social media post or even a radio segment on the local news. Expand your reach, and let more people see your message.
Why you should create a district blog
Blogging is one of the most effective ways to communicate with stakeholders in your school community. You can share a variety of different messages, from recapping events to celebrating retirements to keeping stakeholders informed after a crisis. Your district’s blog isn’t a side project—it’s a critical reservoir of information. When you post on a regular basis, stakeholders will be confident that whatever they’re looking for, they’ll probably find it on your blog.
A blog can also bring your district’s story to life. Your district shouldn’t merely state its mission, vision and core values. Your district should embody them, too, and a blog can show stakeholders how you’re doing just that. The whole community deserves to know about the awesome things your schools are doing, not just the people who were there to see them happen. Everything your district does—every fundraiser, career fair and state conference—is worth putting on the blog.
Blogging is an important tool for districts that are trying to boost enrollment. After all, your district’s blog is visible to more than just your school community. Prospective parents visit your website, too, and many will explore the blog to get a feel for what your district is all about. Blogging can encourage parents to enroll their children by showing them what it would be like to join your district.
A blog can help you develop positive stakeholder relationships as well. Posting consistently shows stakeholders you care about keeping them in the loop. Great things are happening in your schools, and you want stakeholders to know about them. Sharing exciting news can create a friendly, inviting atmosphere, especially for those who are less involved in the district. When you keep stakeholders updated, you establish a greater sense of connectedness that can inspire them to become more invested.
Don’t forget about the other mediums, too
Your district’s blog is a great starting point. However, there are so many other mediums at your disposal. Communication shouldn’t be limited to one medium. When that happens, your district reaches only a small fraction of stakeholders. You want the whole community to hear what you have to say, and to achieve that, your district needs a multi-faceted approach to communication. The more mediums you use, the more people will see your message.
Multi-faceted communication is crucial because not all stakeholders get their information the same way. Some might check your district’s blog, but others might check their inboxes. Many stakeholders only check social media for news and updates. When you share a message, you have to consider all the different groups within your school community. Figure out who those groups are and how best to reach them.
It’s important to note that different mediums will determine how you get your message across. In a blog post, you can include additional details to give stakeholders a more complete picture of the story. In a social media post, however, you have to keep your message short and sweet. You may even choose to say your message through photos or videos, which is far different than writing a blog, email or social media post. The core message stays the same, but it must adapt to the medium in which it’s being told.
Types of mediums for stakeholder communication
There are so many different ways to share your message. While blogging is certainly effective, stakeholders also appreciate other forms of communication, such as email, social media posts, your district’s website and even print mediums like postcards and take-home letters. You have to meet stakeholders where they are, and that involves leveraging the mediums they already use.
Here are some great mediums to put in your communication toolkit:
- Email: Whatever you have to say, you can say it with an email. Email allows you to send a direct message to many people all at once. You can use it to communicate a wide variety of messages, from field trip reminders to recruiting volunteers for fundraisers. You could also create newsletters specifically geared toward parents, staff, alumni or any other stakeholder group.
- Social media: Social media can help your message gain a lot more visibility. For many stakeholders, your district’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page is the first place they look for news and updates. You can also use social media to funnel traffic toward your district’s blog. Write a short, attention-grabbing blurb, then provide a link to the blog post. Oftentimes, social media works in tandem with other mediums to get your message across.
- District website: Your district’s website can communicate messages in many ways other than the blog. For instance, you can post important updates at the top of the home page. Pop-up banners are great for notifying stakeholders about enrollment deadlines and updated policies. You might even want to give ongoing initiatives their own web pages, such as board meetings, referendums and school construction projects.
- Print materials: There’s something to be said about putting your message directly into stakeholders’ hands. Take-home letters are still a popular way to inform families about upcoming field trips, volunteer opportunities and parent-teacher conferences. Postcards can help your district connect with the general public because they get mailed to every residence in the area.
- School signage: Signs help share your message with students, teachers, staff and school visitors. Hundreds of stakeholders walk through the halls every day. A well-placed banner or poster is hard to miss! School signage communicates a variety of different messages, from advertising school dances to reminding people to wash their hands to simply sharing your mission and values with the community.
- Local news: Your district can’t control what’s in the news. But when you establish strong media relationships, there’s a greater chance that reporters will tell the stories you want them to tell. Whether it’s good news or not-so-good news, your district should be the first to speak. Tell reporters the message you want everyone to hear. Be proactive, and use those relationships to your advantage.
Discover new ways to share your message
Blogging certainly deserves a spot in your district’s communication plan. However, it’s not the be-all and end-all of stakeholder communication. The most effective way to get your message across is to adopt a more comprehensive, well-rounded approach. It’s time to go beyond blogging and let the world hear your message!