Monday, January 9, 2017

Communication is easy...right?

Maybe you are asking yourself why a school needs to have a plan to communicate.  Communication is simple, right? 

First, don't take anything for granted.  When we talk about public education, we are also talking the the broadest sense about the community and it's future.  We are facing many challenges including state funding, college-readiness, new models of testing, and fundamental changes within education.  Voices from all sides are asking questions and expecting answers from us. 

Now more than ever we need to create understanding about what role public education plays in our community - in the success of our students - and how we are stewards to the promise of doubling the number of students getting to and through college or secondary education.  We face many challenges, and each of us needs to have a clear understanding of the roles we play. 

Start by asking questions.

When starting to create a communications plan, we first need to look backward instead of forward. 

What is the foundation on which your plan will be built?  Do you already have strategies in place you are using at the campus level to communicate?  Are they effective?  Do you who your target audiences are and the messages you need to provide to them?  Do you know what role your school plays in moving the needle of T-2-4?  Do you know what role you play in achieving that goal?

Getting Started

Step 1 - Assess Current Methods
List all the tools you are currently using to communicate with your parents and staff.
For example: Website, newsletter, social media, weekly principal blog

Step 2 - Effective or No?
Do you know if your methods of outreach are effective? How do you know your message is reaching the audience you want to target?  Do you cross market your media?   Do you track open rates or site visit? 

Step 3 - Ask
A great way to find out if your message is getting out is to create a working group.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Communications Tip: EDITORIAL CALENDAR - You need one!

The best advice as you head into the new year is to create a calendar of upcoming events, news and important information you need to share. This is critical in keeping track of all that important stuff you want to get the word out about!

Create an editorial calendar that outlines both the types of posts that you would like to see on your website, blog or social media channels (video, text, photo), and the post topics.

Make sure you've got at least two months of content covered at any given time, and that there is clear delineation of responsibilities, including someone who is actively maintaining the calendar. And don't be surprised when the topic pipeline changes, because it inevitably does. 

Don't forget to share!!! Make sure to loop in with departments and district office (like the SBISD Communications Department) to ensure you're hard work is being covered, shared and enjoyed.

Turning Readers into Viewers

Some of us may have the luxury of a video-savvy person on staff — but many do not yet. Not having a dedicated video pro doesn't mean you can't post videos, which are a great way to engage an audience. Videos tells a story in a way that text often cannot match.

Steve Garfield, author of Get Seen: Online Video Secrets and the first-ever video blogger, explains that video is easier than ever to capture. Any smartphone will do as a start. For example, capture a video on an iPhone, pull it into the iMovie app to trim the clips and layer in photos and sound, upload it to YouTube directly from the app and embed it in a blog post. Keep it short and sweet — 30 to 60 seconds at most. Garfield also recommends the Kodak Playfull, a simple camera with built-in editing and sharing features.

The best advice here is to be ready to experiment.  Content can be casual, and captured video can be real, authentic and less-than-perfect. Organizations are made of people, after all, and all of these same characteristics apply. Pick your device and take it with you and encourage your campus community members to capture video and share!

Something to think about...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Social Media 101

Click on image to view larger version.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

January - February 2014 Web Analytics Report

Site Analytics for Jan. - Feb. 2014

As always, this report includes the top 100 pages for the district and campus sites combined.  Click here to download the web analytics report for

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Web Stats for Jan. 2013 - Jan. 2014

Since the launch of the latest version of the SBISD website, we've been tracking web traffic.

With the site officially celebrating a year in service, now is a great time to look at an overview of web traffic.  Click here to download the web analytics for for 2013-14.  We will be watching traffic patterns in the coming year to see if they mirror the flow of this data.  We will also be working on ways to optimize our numbers in the coming year. 

If you have questions about this report, contact Melissa Wiland in the SBISD Communications Department.