Busy schedules, limited budgets, small offices, and the constant juggling between strategic planning and day-to-day tasks. Ever wished for an extra hand with your school's PR?
From composing posts, summarizing content, and brainstorming ideas, to tailoring wording for different audiences — AI is here to help with some of the most time-consuming pain points plaguing schools and districts.
AI and ChatGPT have the potential to save your team a substantial amount of time and headaches for some of the most routine tasks, but just like any communication tool for your school, generative AI is really only effective if you know how to use it properly.
Understanding prompts, using automation effectively, and knowing the importance of including your own authentic voice are really what makes AI powerful.
The Benefits of Using AI in Your District's Communication Strategy
No, the robots are not here to replace us, but there are some important considerations and benefits for using ChatGPT for your school's community strategy.
- AI can be used to automate routine or repetitive tasks, freeing up you and your staff to focus on more important tasks.
- ChatGPT can be trained to understand a user's intent and provide personalized responses based on their needs. This can help improve the user experience and build trust in your school district's communication efforts.
- ChatGPT and AI can be cost-effective because it eliminates the need for some manual tasks and when time is money, that means you're saving a lot of resources!
So, you might be wondering, "What can my district do with AI, specifically ChatGPT?" The answer is... a lot!
What can your district do with ChatGPT?
There’s so much you can do and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
- Email Management: Let's start with your emails. ChatGPT can step in to draft, edit, and proofread your emails, making sure you communicate effectively with staff, parents, and stakeholders.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Wish to boost your district's online visibility? ChatGPT can help optimize your website content and metadata to improve your ranking in search engine results.
- Research Assistance: Think of ChatGPT as your very own research assistant. It can gather data and provide summaries on an array of educational topics, be it innovative teaching methods or the latest industry trends.
- Presentation Support: When it comes to creating engaging presentations, ChatGPT can offer a helping hand. It can suggest slide layouts, bullet points, and even visual aids. No more clip art!
- Drafting: Need to announce district news or updates? ChatGPT can aid in crafting and refining press releases, social media posts, and newsletters ensuring they're clear, professional, and formatted properly.
- Administrative Tasks: Think about routine tasks, like drafting meeting agendas and minutes. ChatGPT can create organized agendas and efficiently transcribe meeting discussions, keeping everyone on the same page.
Let's take a look at some of these examples in more detail:
Leveraging ChatGPT and AI for Drafting Press Releases
When it comes to writing press releases, ChatGPT and AI can be helpful because it’s great for:
- Generating Ideas: A press release needs to be newsworthy, and ChatGPT can help brainstorm ideas. Whether it's highlighting achievements, announcing upcoming events, or sharing significant updates, ChatGPT can help you identify and flesh out topics that would interest your audience and the media.
- Structuring Content: The structure of a press release is crucial. It should follow a specific format, starting with a catchy headline, followed by the lead paragraph with the most important information, and then the body with supporting details. ChatGPT can assist in creating this structure, ensuring that your press release has a logical flow and that it includes all necessary components.
- Improving Language and Tone: The language and tone of a press release should be professional, concise, and engaging. ChatGPT can help refine your writing, ensuring that your press release is clear, to the point, and appealing. It can suggest more effective word choices, correct grammar mistakes, and even adapt the tone to match your district's brand voice.
Remember, while AI can provide an excellent first draft or offer editing suggestions, it's important to review and refine the output to ensure it meets your specific needs and standards. AI can't replace a human's touch, but it certainly can make the process easier and more efficient!
Using ChatGPT for Press Releases
Downingtown Area School District has a news story about a school collecting 2,700 boxes of cereal to help fight food insecurity— great story! They have a photo, they have a few quotes, and they have their story ready for the website.
Here’s a way to breathe new life into the story by repurposing it for various mediums like local media, newsletters, or social media. Start with a prompt, turn it into a press release, and with a few directives, you've got a ready-to-go press release!
But we can go a step further — take that press release, and ask ChatGPT to whip up a tweet, complete with engaging hashtags and fitting character limits. You might even find a few emojis sprinkled in there for a touch of fun!
The beauty lies in the flexibility of the content — it's not a simple copy/paste job, but it's tailored to each medium, engaging different audiences effectively. It's a powerful tool to reshape your content for various platforms and engage your audiences on multiple fronts.
Leveraging ChatGPT for Email and School Newsletters
ChatGPT and AI can be powerful tools when drafting emails because they can provide:
- Personalization: AI can tailor emails to resonate with different personas, adapting tone based on the recipient's role within the district or whether the communication is intended for students or parents.
- Clarity: Thanks to its text generation capabilities, ChatGPT can suggest email content that is clear, concise, and well-structured, ensuring your message is easily understood.
- Proofreading and Editing: AI can proofread and edit your emails for grammatical errors, and typos.
Now, let's see this in action. Here's an example:
Prompt: Draft an empathetic and understanding email from the superintendent to teachers and parents regarding the school district's sudden need to return early from spring break. Include a reference to the visiting the school website for more information.
Now we have a starting point — we have enough momentum to start refining our messaging and get over the hump of writer’s block that so often separates us from getting the communication out.
ChatGPT Social Media Strategies for Your School
ChatGPT is a valuable tool for managing your school district's social media communications plan. Here's why:
- Content Generation and Scheduling: AI helps craft engaging content and schedule it efficiently, saving your staff time for other important tasks.
- Engagement Analysis: AI can analyze your audience's engagement, helping you understand what resonates most with your stakeholders.
- Automated and Personalized Responses: AI can automate responses to frequently asked questions or routine inquiries, while ChatGPT provides personalized responses tailored to users' needs, building trust and engagement with your school district on social media.
Here's an example of a prompt:
"Draft a tweet to an angry parent over social media. They're upset over not receiving the lunch menu update. Make it sound sympathetic, understanding, and calm, and suggest a way to fix the problem. Keep it under 100 words."
It's important to keep in mind that while these tools can support your social media accounts, they cannot replace the personal touch and human judgment needed to build relationships and trust with stakeholders.
Say it 3X Faster
The program is great for taking a message and repurposing it across different platforms for different audiences. Sometimes you have the same foundational messages but just need to tweak some of the languages to resonate with different age groups or different stakeholders,
So for example:
"Write a 100-word blurb about new student orientation: Write three versions: 1 for parents of students, 1 for students, and 1 for teachers, and explain the importance of attending for each group. Be excited about meeting new families and calming nerves before the start of the year."
With everyone having access to AI tools, the playing field had been leveled. The crucial difference is now your district's unique voice - your brand, leadership, and students. Strive to present them with passion and personality to truly stand out.
- How are you setting yourselves apart?
- What narratives are you sharing?
- How is your leadership making an impact?
Going forward, your online presence is an integral part of your district's brand. Despite AI's assistance, consider how you're showcasing your district's people, programs, and communities.
AI can lighten the load for school PR tasks — from emails to social media, they've got your back. But remember, they're tools, not replacements for you and your team. The real magic happens when you blend the efficiency of AI with your district's story. Use these tools to spotlight the amazing things happening in your schools, while making everyone's life just a little bit easier.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.