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How to develop a messaging framework for your small school

Courtesy of Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash.

As we enter the holiday season, tie off 2021 and prepare for the new year, you may find an opportunity to revisit the effectiveness of your small school’s messaging and how well you’re communicating with your audiences. How would you sell your school to parents if you only had two sentences? What makes your school unique and worthwhile to potential students and families, and how are you communicating that message? A framework of your messaging is the backbone of your communication, and it should be checked in on or tweaked if necessary to best represent the key values of your school. 

But where do you start if your school doesn’t have a framework? What does a messaging framework look like? How do you create one? No sugarcoating here – a messaging framework isn’t easy to build from scratch. This is especially true if there isn’t an old template for your team to build off of or use as a reference. Nonetheless, there’s a way to do this without yanking your hair out! 

The process of creating a messaging framework 

There are key elements that help pull your school’s voice and tone together to represent the values of your school. The elements include: 

  • Awareness: What makes your school different from other schools? What’s your competitive edge, and are your school families and prospective students aware of your uniqueness? 
  • Interest: Do you know what the concerns of your parents are? What are some school families’ interests that you can represent in your messaging? 
  • Desire: Can you offer solutions to your school parents that address their concerns? What about your school is desirable to school families? Can you prove that value has been achieved with another school family through testimonials? 
  • Intent: How do you publicly handle the concerns and provide solutions to their problems? Are you presenting your school’s solutions to parent and school family problems or concerns effectively? An effectively-communicated solution will encourage the parents to inquire or apply to enroll their children in your school. 
  • Conviction:  If you claim your school programs are built to encourage collaboration between students, which over time betters their testing scores, you need to have proof woven into your messaging through articles, case studies, or infographics. This gives parents the reassurance that you know what you’re talking about. 
  • Action: Show parents and families where they’re supposed to interact with your website in clear messaging. Using action phrases like “Schedule a tour here,” or “Enroll today,” or “Support our school” are all great engaging statements to get your message across. 

If you’re a visual learner, it can be helpful to write out a map and physically list out responses to each of these key elements. Once you have your think-map, it’s time to build copy text that encapsulates your school’s overall message. Use this handy form to think through your school’s messaging. Share it with your key stakeholders and compare your answers with each other (we will send you a copy of your answers!).

So parents aren’t overwhelmed by one long, detailed school message, you can build a few. It’s recommended to have one overarching message that really grasps the overall mission of your school; then, create a few secondary messages that address smaller, more detailed school values. It’s even better if you have testimonies, case studies, or other data that can really boost the validity of your message. 

For example, the Engage the Brain’s primary mission or philosophy is helping students pre-k through adults to “think, learn, and grow.” 

As you can see, they delve deeper into their mission by listing out the details that pull together the mission. The details listed out would address the values and concerns of the parents and showcase why they are a unique, strong tutoring option for their children. 

You can be as detailed as you please – be sure to share all the information necessary to show potential school families that your small school is a great fit for their child. Engage the Brain has an entire page dedicated to why parents should enroll their children in Engage the Brain tutoring and learning programs, which addresses parents’ questions or concerns by providing them with concrete solutions and answers. 

More detailed tactics to include in your messaging is building a school tagline that quickly explains the mission of your school. For example, Engage the Brain’s tagline is “Think. Learn. Grow.” A tagline should be short, memorable, and ties back to a value or mission of your school. 

Additionally, you can build a boilerplate for your communications and public relations messages. A boilerplate is a short, 25-30 word phrase that encapsulates your school’s mission and philosophy. This should be the who, what, when, where, and why of your school. 

Contact Us

Looking for help in refreshing your small school’s messaging framework? Look no further! Contact us today for a FREE, 15-minute consultation to achieve the best possible outcome for your school website.

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