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How to Effectively Use “Messages” to COPE

Gone are the days of “good things take time” for school newsletters. Using tools like Finalsite Messages we can now create GREAT school newsletters using less time of administrative professionals, also known as COPE (create once, publish everywhere). The intention behind Messages is to change the way we think about newsletter creation and create newsletters that drive traffic to the website and keep our website content fresh and searchable. 

Finalsite Messages has multiple template options, let’s take a look at some real life examples:


Dynamic templates

Dynamic templates require the lowest level of maintenance in Messages. These templates contain elements that pull live content from your website into your newsletter. Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools chose to use completely dynamic templates for their district, school and Community Education newsletters. This option allowed them to produce multiple newsletters with minimal work directly within the messages. Each template uses a unique dynamic content element that allows the number of Posts and calendar events pulled into the template to be customized for every school and program. 

Princeton Public Schools also chose completely dynamic templates for their school newsletters. While the information and settings are customizable in the dynamic content elements, the design capabilities are more limited. However, Princeton got creative with their mastheads to show each school’s unique personality while staying in line with the district brand. 

princeton high school news
princeton early childhood news

Manual templates

Princeton Public Schools chose the template with the lowest level of work for their schools but decided to go one step further for their district newsletter, Tiger Times. Their manual template layout includes space for a feature story, two callouts, a quote and upcoming events. This information is manually inserted into the template and can include links to external sources such as the district website. This template option allows for more design capabilities and the opportunity to feature brand elements like patterns. 

Hybrid templates

Robbinsdale Area Schools saw the low maintenance benefits of a dynamic template and the design capabilities of a manual template before deciding to create a hybrid template that contained both. Their hybrid template layout starts with a manual feature story and quotes section that is customized with each send. Those are followed by a dynamic news section that pulls more news stories and resources from their website automatically. 

Messages templates don’t have to be a one-time only selection. Robbinsdale Area Schools chose a hybrid template for their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion newsletter but felt a fully manual template would suit their general district newsletter. This template had a few layout changes that helped audiences receiving both newsletters easily differentiate between the message they were looking at. 

Published on: May 5, 2021