Talk About What Matters to Them November 16, 2011 8:00 AM | Tagged as public relations for schools, school communication, School Webmasters
I’ve been preaching for years that content is king. I’ve written numerous articles espousing this recommendation. However, I’m kind of old-school and I actually read content—on the Web, in books, in ads, etc. However, my co-founder and younger graphic designer daughter and I continually debate this subject. She says people don’t read content anymore. The attention span of the general populace is short and needs entertained to stay engaged and interested. She opts for visual and video in lieu of text.
Well, our debate is over. We are both right (that in itself is a miracle). But, in Tammy’s defense, the reading content versus visual content debate is actually weighed in her favor with one caveat. If your written content is the right sort of content, which means it is compelling, interesting, and targeted to the interests of your audience, your message will succeed. You need to be heard above the noise. Whether it is your school website, blog, brochures, parent messaging system, or newsletters, it will not be effective if you don’t write your content with the needs of your audience in mind. If the content is compelling, it can trump visual—if not, the entertainment value may keep them on the page, but won't make your case. (Think of all those very entertaining commercials you like, but by the end you have no idea what their message was. Great visual. Very ineffective.)
You must engage rather than repel. And what repels is anyone who wants to talk about themselves to customers (your parents, students, or tax payers) who want to know what your services will do for them, their children, or their community.
Start with simple steps. Whether it is the school website or school newsletter, make sure your information addresses your topic from the point of view of your audience. For example, let’s say you are looking for increased funding through bonds or tax overrides. Don’t just say you need the money; tell your audience what you will do with it that will help them. Provide real examples that they can relate to. “We will continue to offer quality science and math classes that will help our students (your children) get into the best colleges or to compete for the most coveted jobs.” Describe, specifically, what the courses can do to enthuse students and to make the knowledge applicable to them in a real world setting.
Then, include visual reinforcement for your written message. Interview a few students who will be impacted if the override fails and the courses will be cut. Or, take the positive approach and interview a few students (or alumni) who benefited from the courses and in what way.
Content may still be king, but the visual reinforcement can seal the deal. Use both approaches whenever possible—whether it is a presentation to the Board, a newsletter sent home to parents, or your school website.
Posted in Communication, school website content, school website design | 0 Replies
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