June 10, 2013
Education and teaching requires schools to plan, prepare and diagram all aspects of the educational process. For example, many educators have been planning for years for the new standards, curriculum, testing involved in the Common Core.
But when it comes to sharing news and informing the public about what goes on in our schools everyday, school districts often “go with the flow” and don’t have a comprehensive plan about how to stay connected with their community. In this era of “instant information,” it is more important than ever to map out a communications strategy to help build trust and credibility with the public.
A good place to start is with a communication plan. A communication plan provides a mix of tactics and tools needed to reach targeted audiences on a regular basis. Each plan should include key themes and messages that the public should know about your schools and that message should be cross-marketed via a variety of different tools. They range from traditional mediums, such as direct mail and local media, to 21st Century tools such as social media and videos and mobile apps, to good old- fashioned coffee klatches in people’s homes.
A good plan ensures you’re doing the right work, pursuing the right goals, and doing it the best way while maximizing the use of your limited resources. A good plan should also include a month-to-month checklist to make sure you are staying on target. Finally, your communications plan should be reviewed annually for updates and enhancements as new and more effective communications tools become available.
Why should you find yourself in a “reactive” mode when it comes to sharing information about your schools? Good communications and public outreach need to be a priority. Being proactive by creating a communication plan will help keep you on track, build trust in the community and ensure residents are informed about the value of their local schools bring to the community.