School Newsletters: Improve your School Marketing
School newsletters are the only way to reach every household in your tax-paying community.
Your school district should be sending out a quarterly, professionally-designed print newsletter as part of its marketing and communication plan. Why? This is a communication resource that is guaranteed to be delivered to every residence and business in the district.
We help you: (Benefits)
- Communicate with your tax-paying community for improved perception and easier bond passing.
- Highlight the value of your schools and their good work.
- Have a clear means of communication for crisis prevention and crisis management.
- Reinforce your school’s standard of excellence as a brand.
- Establish your position of leadership as a superintendent, headmaster or principal.
- Create goodwill between your school district and the people it serves.
Each of your newsletters features:
- Short well written articles, fully proofed and edited.
- Large, professional photography.
- Award winning, turn-key design.
- School/district highlights, and celebration of individual students and teachers, community involvement opportunities.
- Academic and extra-curricular (fine arts, athletics, clubs, programs) updates.
- An upcoming event calendar.
- District goals, new policies and focuses, explanations and updates.
“I can be wary of marketing on paper — I like social media and digital marketing products — but I have to admit I have seen firsthand the value of Troy Kidder’s newsletters since becoming the superintendent of Concord Community Schools. People talk about what they have read in our newsletters. I even recently received an email from a tax payer asking why he had not received his ‘Concord Connection’ newsletter yet. I concede the value of these newsletters. They are the only way to reach everyone in our community.”
— John Trout, Superintendent of Concord Community Schools
After seeing one of our newsletters, a district resident was moved to call and ask how she could help. She has since committed to funding a college savings account in the amount of $150 for every kindergarten student who enrolls at Tri-County over the next five years. This huge blessing happened thanks to our partnership with Troy Kidder and the positive light they (his team) shine on our students and schools.
— Dr. Kathy Goad, superintendent of Tri-County School Corporation in Wolcott, Indiana
Who do I contact for a non-commitment, no cost discussion on school newsletters, communications, marketing and crisis communications?
Call Troy Kidder at 850.797.1011 or schedule a short phone discussion by emailing him: [email protected]
Why a school newsletter?
School newsletters are the only way to reach every household in your tax-paying community. And, if you’re going to put something into everyone’s mailbox, it needs to include short, well-written articles edited to the proverbial “T.” These newsletters should also have large, professional photos — in the day and age of poor, phone photography, professional photos really shine. Great photos in a school newsletter also tell much of the story. Instead of just writing that your schools are safe and that your teachers care, photos show it with passion!
Isn’t print “dead?” Shouldn’t I be investing only in digital communication for our schools?
Print is not dead and, in fact, in our digitally saturated culture where everyone is easily distracted, major companies are incorporating print to their communication and marketing strategy more and more. So should you.
School newsletters are the only way to reach everyone in your community, because they arrive at every mailbox, residential and business.
The school newsletter works in tandem with your digital assets and provides a means to communicate with a consistent approach in multiple mediums.
A well designed newsletter helps you promote your digital media. For example, how are people going to follow you on social media if they don’t know you have a presence there? The same goes for your website. There is so much information on the web — highlight this in your school newsletter and point readers toward specific areas of your website that interest them.
When the school newsletter goes out, we often put a QR code on the newsletter inviting the entire community to follow the good news on social media and/or the school website. And people do scan the code and visit your digital sites!
This gives parents and community members alike a reason to follow your digital communication. You will see your followers on digital media increase as a direct result of your school newsletter.
Who is responsible for the school newsletter design and how does it look?
We have won national awards for our work and have proven the old adage that “the medium is the message.” As an educational institution, all of the above mentioned areas — including design — need to be done in excellence. A school can’t really say they are preparing their students for the future if their articles are poorly written and their design is old-school sloppy with poor, fuzzy photos.
Take a look at our school newsletter gallery to see the quality of work.
How does a printed school newsletter help me prevent or manage a crisis?
When it comes to crisis prevention and crisis management, communication is the key. Kidder Media’s school newsletter becomes a trusted medium of communication between the school district and the community it serves. For prevention, it promotes the positives going on in the school and community. When people feel good about their schools and community, they care more. And when they care more, they are alert. Alert people help prevent many potential problems. When that rare crisis does occur, the Kidder school newsletter is even more important as it is a trusted line of communication that can verify the facts and strategies.
How much work will producing a newsletter for my school require of me?
At Kidder Media, we produce your entire school newsletter for you and your school district.
Kidder Media is a turn-key operation lead by Troy Kidder, a former high school English teacher. He had this to say about how the company got started:
“Twenty-five years ago, while I was teaching school, my wife and I approached my superintendent boss about producing the school newsletter for our district. He liked our presentation, but added this before he signed the contract: ‘I’m a busy man, so make me look good and stay the (blank) out of my way.’ I thought, wow, that’s great advice. So, that’s what we still do.”
Why can’t someone on my team or even my students create a school newsletter?
As a former yearbook adviser himself, Kidder frequently points out to school superintendents that having their high school journalism class produce the number one communication tool to your community — the school newsletter — is a very bad idea:
“I’ve had some talented students over the years myself, and I can understand the concept of an administrator wanting to make the official school newsletter a ‘real-world, educational experience’ for the students—as well as save a little money for the district. However, in the age of school open enrollment/school choice, online schools, charter schools and even home-schooling, there can be literally millions of dollars at stake. That is not a role for a student, no matter how talented, who has not graduated high school.”
Finding a professional who knows school communications and marketing is tough. We know. But school newsletters must be done professionally and with excellence.
How does the school newsletter help us accomplish our goals?
An excellent school newsletter serves the school district in many ways, and addresses three of the biggest issues for school districts today.
- First, communication with your tax-paying community. This is paramount. Sending your community consistently positive messages about the good things that go on inside your school buildings each day creates goodwill and builds a relationship between your school district and the people it serves. We have learned over the years — and by reaching millions and millions of folks in school communities — that the school newsletter has a much greater impact when it is mailed to the entire community.
- Second, the school newsletter is a great marketing tool. Before we discuss mailing it into other districts, it’s important to note that marketing starts in your own community by creating a ‘buzz.’ We mail a newsletter that is full of life demonstrated in modern design with professional photos and short, well-written articles. People are starving for good news, so why not read some about our schools? And when folks feel good about their school and community, they tell their friends and neighbors. When you have your community on your team, you can then consider mailing your message into other school districts to tell their tax-payers about the value of your schools. If you are looking to bring in students from other districts, this will do it.
- Finally, the school newsletter is excellent for crisis prevention and crisis management. It becomes a consistently established communication tool that community members trust. Therefore, if there are any issues that may develop, or a concern in other districts, you can use the school newsletter to make your community aware of these potential problems. The community can help, and in some cases, companies and community members come forth with ideas and support. This is equally important in the rare case of a school crisis. Again, you have a trusted medium of communication and your community can hear directly from you — the superintendent — and the school district as to what happened, what the on-going concerns might be, and what you are doing to prevent this from happening in the future. It opens the door for support and ideas from professionals in your community.
How does a newsletter build community?
In the day of the world-wide web, community (ironically) is becoming even more important to our lives. People want to feel grounded. Regardless of the opportunity and touch-of-a-button power, we still have neighbors whose kids play with ours. We
still drive to the grocery store and to work. We still do most of our living and relating in our communities. In many communities, schools are the center of activity and discussion. Building community through your schools is a great responsibility and a great opportunity.
Celebration builds community. Your school newsletter will highlight many good things going on in the schools and the broader community itself. It paints a unified picture of the school and community working together. When people come together in unity, and feel good about their town and their schools, prosperity increases.
What is the frequency of delivery for my school newsletter?
School newsletters must go out consistently. We suggest quarterly (four issues per year).
- The first issue goes out in mid-July. This issue contains communication about the opening of the new school year and helps cut down on needless calls to your busy staff. It helps create excitement about the new year. It’s also an opportunity for the superintendent to discuss themes, goals, policy changes, curriculum, and focuses for the new year. Finally, it’s a great way to alert the community that the kids will be back out in the community riding buses, walking, and waiting alongside the roads.
- The second edition of the school newsletter is typically mailed in November. This is a great time to seek volunteers for various needs at the individual schools. We’ll help you share the autumn district “wins,” upcoming activities and highlight learning.
- The third issue of your school newsletter is published in March. This is the time parents, teachers and students alike, need some excitement, hope and encouragement about the success of the year. Winter “wins” are highlighted. Spring events and opportunities are presented.
- The fourth and final issue of the school year celebrates another successful school year. It’s a time to remind the community of the goals that were set at the beginning of the year and how they have been met. It’s an acknowledgement of your seniors who persevered. It’s a good time to remind the community of all the opportunities that are ahead for the soon-to-be graduates because of your district’s sound focus on educational fundamentals and the district technology that prepared students for the future.
Our school district newsletters cover every individual buildings from elementary, to middle school, to high school. Balance is very important whether it’s from building to building or that balance of articles about technology and fundamentals like reading and writing.
What do current users say about their experience with Kidder Media school newsletters?
“The newsletters produced by Troy Kidder promoting our schools receive overwhelmingly positive feedback for the community. Since we began mailing them, over 14 families from bordering districts have enrolled their students at Tri-County.”
— Dr. Kathy Goad, superintendent of Tri-County School Corporation in Wolcott, Indiana
“I like getting the newsletter out to our community because communication is very important to us. But time is an issue. Quite frankly, I have a lot of other responsibilities. So that’s why my staff and I really appreciate the service Troy Kidder offers. The Kidder team does a great job telling our story while taking very little of our time. Troy Kidder has really got something here!”
— Robert Fields, Superintendent of Frankton-Lapel Community School Corporation in Anderson, Indiana