When considering effective school communication strategies, overcommunication likely doesn’t make the list. But there are times when “too much” communication is actually the perfect amount. Clear, timely and frequent communication is essential during a crisis or when critical information needs to be distributed. Overcommunicating ensures students, staff and parents get the information they need precisely when they need it.
Finding the perfect balance can be a challenge. These simple tips—coupled with school giveaways—can help you get your message to the right people at the right time, every time.
Segment your audience
When audiences see numerous texts, emails or social media posts from the same organization, there’s a strong possibility they will start to skim or even ignore those messages. Segmenting your audience ensures your message is relevant to the audience. Segments could include:
- Students participating in extracurricular activities, including athletics, and their guardians
- Students in a specific academic year and their guardians
- Volunteers helping out with a school event
- Current or potential classroom volunteers
When one of these segments receives information specifically for them—like an email, followed up with a text—they are likely to be grateful for the reminder.
Pick the best method(s)
It’s critical to send your messages in the way the audience wants to receive them. Consider the best method for conveying certain types of information:
- Texting: Many people favor this type because it’s fast and efficient. But make sure to limit how many texts you’re sending. Try to keep it to once a week—or less. Texting is especially good for reminders (permission slips are due tomorrow) or emergency messages (school is closed for the day).
- Mobile app: This can help establish two-way communication by allowing you to send push notifications that link to your website or making it possible for people to answer questions directly in the app.
- Social media: This is an ideal way to share pictures and stories while offering reminders of non-urgent happenings, such as sporting events or spirit weeks.
- Written or printed: Printed material is an ideal way to share information that needs to be kept, such as guidebooks or updated school policies. Handwritten thank-you cards can also be a great way to show appreciation for volunteers or staff members who go the extra mil
- Phone calls: These are great for emergencies or urgent issues that require immediate attention, whether it’s weather-related or a discussion of recent problems at school.
- Website: Keeping your site updated—and adding an FAQ page—allows students and staff to find answers to important questions on their own time.
While every form of communication has its place, it’s essential to ask recipients how they prefer to hear from you. When they’re filling out paperwork at the start of the year, ask them to complete a survey on their preferred communication methods and offer them a branded school giveaway, like a pen or pencil, to thank them.
Be specific but concise
When it comes to communication, it’s best to keep your messages short and to the point. Be sure to put your call to action first. A subject line like, “Give your input today,” or “Urgent information on soccer season,” will ensure your messages are immediately opened. Keywords can help catch people’s eye and make it easier to search if they need to come back to your message.
Be sure to ask for feedback. Send out a survey about recent messages. Ask if they saw the message and if it provided relevant information. To encourage feedback, put everyone who responds into a drawing for a backpack or a wireless speaker.
Right message, right time, right person
Overcommunication will always be appreciated when the right person gets the right information exactly when they need it. By following these tips on effective school communication strategies, you can help ensure your messaging is right on time.