By Lauren H. Dowdle
Creating an engaging school newsletter for parents can seem like a daunting task—but it doesn’t have to be that way. Check out these five types of stories that educational institutions can use to catch their attention.
1 Give shoutouts
Who doesn’t love reading about something fun or special a school has accomplished? That’s why spotlighting what different schools and faculty members have done makes for the perfect school newsletter topic.
This could include photos and write-ups about a school’s field day, educational award, milestone, new learning center, or anything that might catch parents’ attention, even if it’s about a different school in the district.
Or, maybe a teacher or other faculty member did something exciting you want to feature. While there’s nothing wrong with recognizing familiar faces like principals or other well-known staff members, these emails can be especially impactful if you feature someone not normally in the spotlight. For example, share a story about an administrative assistant, janitor, or school volunteer who is making a difference.
This can even include now-retired staff members with a major achievement, as the students’ parents might have attended while they were still at the school. No matter the accomplishment, include photos of people, an overview of the story, and a link to the school’s site so they can read more—like in this email example from Teachable.
2 Highlight class activities
Give a glimpse into what students are up to with an email marketing newsletter that features their activities and initiatives. Examples could include class projects, partnerships/mentoring programs, food/clothes drives, performances (class plays, concerts, etc.), or anything of interest the class has been up to. This could have a subject line like, “See what [NAME]’s class has been up to!”
In addition to sharing what the class is doing, don’t forget to mention the teacher who is involved. We all know they are the driving force for these types of activities, so be sure to show you appreciate their work too. That will go a long way with other teachers to strengthen the relationship between the school and staff.
3 Keep them in the know
Some of the most engaging pieces of content in a school newsletter are the upcoming events or important dates to remember. That includes telling parents about holidays/days off, school events, dress-up days, and deadlines—like registration dates.
Not only will sharing this information keep them informed, but it also allows parents and students to get excited for special days. Send the information well in advance so they have time to prepare, like a monthly email newsletter that lists all of the important dates and events. You can then send an email closer to time to remind them and provide any additional details.
By segmenting email lists by grade, school, activities, or other factors, you can ensure the information pertains to the parents receiving it. If you send content that doesn’t affect them or their students, they will be less likely to open the emails going forward—which could cause them to miss something important.
4 Spotlight extracurriculars
Whether their student participates or not, parents like seeing school newsletters about what extracurriculars, sports, and student clubs are doing. Parents who do have children in the featured group will want to forward the email to their friends and family, which boosts engagement. Those who don’t might want to get their child involved going forward.
These types of stories also build a sense of community and school spirit. For example, share when the band wins a competition, a new club starts or opens membership, the spelling team places at an event, or the French club travels to Paris for a study-abroad program. And again, be sure to include the teachers, sponsors, or coaches who lead the groups.
5 Focus on the environment
Parents want to know what the school district is doing not only in the classrooms, but also how they support causes that are important to them and their families. What better way to do that than showing what the school is doing to better the environment?
Create an email around the school’s climate change initiative: why it’s important (the need being addressed), what the school is doing to help, and how parents and students can get involved. Incorporating pictures from events into the email allows them to better connect with the mission, as well. If those aren’t available, you could take an approach like this email from Patagonia.
Green initiatives could include a school garden, using recycled materials for a project, Arbor Day activities, or other sustainable efforts. Show them what schools are doing to better the community and environment.
Engage with each school newsletter
No matter the focus of the school newsletter’s stories, there are important components to include that will improve engagement:
- Success Stories
- Calls to Action (CTA)
Pictures of students, teachers and staff not only help recognize those individuals and boost morale, but adding photos will also make your audience want to open the emails to see who was featured. Including success stories and other highlights (along with those photos) will encourage parents to open and read the newsletters, like in this example:
But, don’t include the entire story in the email. Instead, give a one- or two-sentence summary of what the article is about. Then, add a “Read More” CTA button or linked text next to each. That ensures your email isn’t too long and overwhelming but still provides valuable information for subscribers—and gives them the opportunity to click which articles they’re interested in reading. You can also include a general CTA for the blog or other main content page on the site at the bottom of the email.
The school district will also be able to view the analytics on which pieces get the most engagement, which gives you insight into what they enjoy so you can create similar content. See what does (and doesn’t) resonate with parents to provide them with valuable information, and you’ll have the perfect school newsletter.