12 Quick Wins for School Breaks
Whenever school breaks roll around, we promise ourselves that we’re going to chip away at our to-do list. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve got your back with 12 quick wins you can accomplish over school breaks.
Review and Update Website Content
Your school website is more than a virtual space; it’s the vibrant heartbeat of your community. As guardians of this digital realm, you have a brand to uphold and an audience to captivate.
Remove Outdated Information
Take advantage of breaks to give your school website a facelift. Start by eliminating outdated information, especially related to COVID updates. Consider updating your dedicated health services section to keep your audience informed with the latest and most relevant content. Look at a few website analytics metrics to gain insights into how users are navigating your website.
“Evergreen content is a strategic communicator’s best friend,” says Ashley Winter, content marketing coordinator with CEL. “Try to populate your site with valuable information that stays the same from year to year. From general school information to program overviews, frequently asked questions to how-tos, keep your site packed with information that remains useful.”
Use automation whenever you can. Expire dated content for the end of the school year, especially news items that include dates. Expiring content will help return a more accurate search for users year over year. For cyclical information, add website updates to your annual content or editorial calendar. Back-to-School, Homecoming, Prom, registration campaigns, testing windows, winter weather procedures — plan to update once a year.
Use the break as an opportunity to align your content with the latest policy updates. Ensure that your audience receives accurate information and stays well-informed about any changes.
This may include updates to enrollment procedures, enhancements in safety protocols, changes in technology-use guidelines, and revisions to anti-bullying and harassment policies.
If your policies are still in PDF, or even in Google Drive, research ways you can build out policies for on-page content so that they meet accessibility guidelines, are translatable, and can be easily shared to school sites using Create Once, Post Everywhere (C.O.P.E.) best practices.
Update Staff Directories
For schools without automated staff directories, breaks provide the ideal time to ensure they’re up to date. An accurate directory fosters a sense of community and connection among staff, students, and parents. Maybe you even have new School Board and leadership headshots to update on your website.
Add New Content
Infuse creativity into your break by drafting new stories for your website. Spice up your content calendar with engaging narratives. Highlight the positive aspects of your school community. Don’t forget to add upcoming events and prepare the calendar for the next term or school year.
Sprinkle visual magic on text-heavy pages. Add photos and graphics to make your content visually appealing and easily digestible. Consider creating a brand use guide to help staff maintain a cohesive and visually pleasing online presence. Don’t forget the alt text to ensure your content is usable by all!
“Don’t underestimate the power of alt text for images,” Andrew Hagen, integrated communications coordinator with CEL, reminds us. “Simple descriptions can vastly improve the user experience for visitors with visual impairments accessing your website via a screen reader.”
Clean and Expand Mailing Lists
Revitalize your mailing lists by purging old contacts and adding new ones. Ensure that your email newsletter system syncs seamlessly with your staff and student information systems. If you have a key communicators list, update it with any new contacts. (If you don’t, start one.)
“Email list hygiene is so crucial,” says Andrew. “I advise schools to incentivize subscribers to update their information regularly. Accurate details keep your deliverability rates healthy.”
Social Media Planning
Plan your social media strategy. Highlight upcoming school events, prepare posts for annual student and staff recognitions, and schedule some #ThrowbackThursdays for a trip down memory lane. A well-planned social media calendar keeps your community engaged and excited. Create a content calendar that works for you, whether it’s in a project management system such as Asana or Wrike, a spreadsheet where you can track engagement, or a recurring event on your calendar.
Organize Your Digital Life
If you didn’t get a chance to get started on your summer refresh, here are a few tips to make some headway over your next student break. Remember, practice makes perfect!
An organized email system is crucial for a stress-free work environment—a digital sanctuary fostering order and productivity.
Start by decluttering—archive important emails and bid farewell to unnecessary ones. Create folders for better categorization, set rules for automated sorting, and unsubscribe from unnecessary lists.
With a new season approaching, embrace a fresh start. Imagine stepping into a pristine digital space, free from accumulated chaos. An organized inbox is a practical tool for efficiency and a gateway to a composed work routine.
Maintaining a well-organized photo library is essential. Consider this a digital decluttering session—a deliberate effort to enhance the order and accessibility of your visual narrative.
“Photographs authentically showcase the vibrant culture and community,” says Ashley. “Taking time to thoughtfully archive these memories also does a service for future generations.”
Embark on your photo organization journey by bidding farewell to duplicates. Beyond just conserving digital space, eliminating identical images ensures a streamlined and clutter-free visual experience. Let each photo hold its unique significance in your collection.
Search for any images that are more than five years old. It might be time to replace that cute kindergartener (that child graduated last year) or the teacher who retired three years ago.
Bring a sense of structure to your digital gallery by establishing purposeful folders. Whether categorizing by events, dates, or themes, this step transforms your photo library into a structured and accessible collection of cherished memories.
If you’re planning a website refresh, having a well-organized repository of photos will be crucial as you plan how to showcase your learning community. Think ahead about naming conventions, shared resources, and tagging standards.
Bid farewell to files that have outlived their relevance. In the fast-paced digital world, outdated materials can weigh down your digital workspace. Purge with purpose, creating space for what matters in the present.
Maybe you have draft versions of newsletters, postcards, and flyers that went to print long ago. Keep the final files, and trash the drafts.
For files with enduring importance, consider archiving them for long-term reference. This strategic move ensures that vital information is easily retrievable without cluttering your day-to-day digital experience.
Plan Professional Development
Professional development doesn’t have to break the bank. Research free or low-cost opportunities and block your calendar for learning. Make the most of your PD dollars by planning strategically during breaks. Your local NSPRA chapter likely offers regular opportunities to connect with colleagues.
Dedicate some time to reading industry blogs for fresh ideas. Stay current with trends and innovations that can elevate your school communication work. Experts recommend blocking an average of two hours of learning each week.
Our insights are a perfect starting point for exploring valuable themes, from branding and design revelations to practical tips on acquiring your Best Headshot Ever. Dive into the realm of AI in Schools, unravel the intricacies of Integrated Marketing Strategies, and gain a fresh perspective on the importance of accessibility.
These quick wins are not just tasks; they’re investments in the success and vibrancy of your school communications program. Embrace the break as an opportunity to refresh, renew, and return with a communication strategy that shines! Need a hand knocking projects off your to-do list? Give us a call!
Published on: January 17, 2024