How to Make Your School Newsletter Interactive

Vol. 8 No. 3

You'll want to start by taking notice of how your newsletter is delivered. If you send out an electronic version, what is the "reply to" address? Does it say, "Do not reply," or begin with a series of numbers? These don't open doors for readers to respond, and if you think about it, e-mail is the easiest way to open doors to conversations. If you offer readers the option of sharing their thoughts, you gain a loyal reader base—which can take your school to new heights if you're searching for new volunteers, donations, or leads to new students.

Avoid redundant content across mediums. Your electronic newsletter and Facebook Fan page may have similar threads, however, they should not have the exact same information or speak with the same voice. Readers have subscribed to your e-mail list for certain materials. They will also follow you on Twitter and join your Facebook page for certain messages, but they're going to be looking for unique experiences within each. If your messages are redundant, readers are more than likely to turn away from your resources.

Here's how the experts are separating the three most popular e-marketing tools: Use e-mail for one-to-one messages, Twitter for conversations and sharing, and Facebook for a light, personal, and friendly dialogue. You can "market" your newsletter (and your school's latest news) through each, but it's important that you adjust your voice to open new doors.

Limit which sites you use. Social networking is the "in" way to market your services and stay in contact with your readers, but you'll want to choose only one or two sites to make an appearance. Professional social networking marketers are saying "stick with the big three." The hype over MySpace is past us. Actually, according to SmartBrief, MySpace is a "social-media ghetto." So, if you're going to branch out, stay with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Having a bar on your Web site or in your newsletter with a ton of icons is less likely to get click-through's than a simple bar with a few options. Remember the golden rule of marketing: "Don't make me think!"

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