I read an excellent article by Meg Fowler Tripp, Director of Editorial Strategy, for Sametz Blackstone Associates on Finalsite. The article, School Website Content: Keep the Pipeline Fresh, had suggestions for communications professionals on how to keep editorial content up-to-date and along the school’s mission.
One tip that I felt was particularly helpful was to develop an editorial guide. Ms. Tripp adds that the guiding light needs to stay on brand. In other words, always look to the mission of your school/organization for its beacon, the guiding light of what readers expect from your school — this will guide you with editorial standards.
Additional suggestions from this article include:
Exploring brand storylines that build on basic messaging to tell more of your story, including statements like:
- Through service opportunities, we guide our students to become global citizens
- Our cross-disciplinary teaching approach encourages creativity and critical thinking
- Immersive arts education is fundamental to each child’s ability to express themselves, and to embrace how others express themselves
- Problem-solving skills are at the heart of our STEM programming
Now, about the editorial calendar….It’s not as complicated as many people think. It may seem daunting at first, but my approach to working with schools in this area is to take it one month at a time. Print out monthly calendars and fill in holidays and school events (gala, high school play). Those activities will need support from the communications department, so keep your eye on the ball and be adamant about not inundating the community with too many reminders — parents have busy lives too and their children’s school is just one part. Below are additional suggestions that are made in the this article:
- What types of content do you/could you post in each place, and who is responsible to provide that content?
- How often do you communicate in each place?
- Who monitors the post for reactions/interactions?
The editorial calendar is simply an organizational roadmap. Think about it this way: I live in the Times Square area of NYC. If I needed to get to 79th Street and Fifth Avenue, I wouldn’t guess how I planned to get there. I would look at a map and determine if I was going to walk, take the bus, or get on the proper train. Don’t get overwhelmed by putting together an editorial calendar; it’s just common sense and designing one with other people on the administration or in your office is a good approach.
When I was a Director of Communications with independent schools, one of the greatest challenges I faced was keeping up with all of the editorial content needs. I became a consultant for schools, education groups, and arts-based non-profits because I saw a need for helping communications pros who struggle to keep up with all the demands.
When I speak with my clients and prospective clients, I ask them about managing editorial demands. One suggestion is to bring in a freelancer who has the skills to capture the essence of your school or organization and keep the content fresh.
I think like a journalist (because I am married to one), and I recommend finding a quiet space and allowing your mind to think about mission-specific ideas that are closely aligned with your school or organization.
Managing the budget (always a concern) is actually easier than you may think — get creative and keep your content fresh by using part-time freelancers, who understand your program.