As you come through the first weeks of the new school year, consider starting a bit of house cleaning to set you up for a strong fall and a smooth transition into the new year.
Sometime after Labor Day, when the teachers and staff and students have settled into the new year, consider conducting a review of your school communications. I recommend a twist on the traditional independent school communications, to include a sweep of your school’s internal communications and messages.
When conducting a Communications Audit, often schools (and consultants) look only at external communications—enrollment, fundraising, alumni relations, social media—and exclude internal communications. Messages coming out of high-profile offices such as the head of school’s office, which are written for internal audiences (teachers, staff, trustees). They are important tools for a school to use to strengthen key messages developed for external audiences; a way to reinforce your brand internally. Doing this will help you extend your network of “school champions” who can talk about your successes, your progress, your goals, and help your admissions and fundraising goals.
A Communications Audit can be completed fairly quickly, using a formula to gather sets of specific communications and assess them against your audiences, strategic direction, and key messages.
It’s at this point in the process where schools find gaps—the holes in their messaging, in their distribution lists, in their intended messages—and identify ways in which to fill them. For example, has your admissions team developed new recruitment language and visuals, and forgotten to share it with the teachers and staff, who are often your best recruiters? How about your Board…are they in the communications loop?
A Communications Audit can help independent schools identify and fill gaps in their communications as well as strengthen their external communications.