- General Best Practices
Do you ever wonder if your school is sharing enough of its story online? Do you have faculty and staff that are able and willing to share content for on school's website? Do you want to give them a podium to share their voice, without giving them access to your website? Having talked to Highland Park Presbyterian Day School, I was reminded once again how Finalsite Posts is the simple go-to answer for involving members of your school to share their own content in a new way on your school website.
Finalsite Posts is an intuitive and flexible platform available to Finalsite clients who use Composer that makes it easy for community members to share content on your website without giving them full admin rights. The platform is ideal for news, events, blogs, and teacher pages — although we've seen some schools like Maret School use the module to make an online curriculum guide.
For Highland Park Presbyterian Day School, using Posts for Teacher Pages was the perfect way to simplify the way their teachers communicate with families about homework, upcoming events, and more. The combination of the user-friendly interface and ability to easily and automatically email content to families using eNotify made Posts an ideal switch from their previous open source platform.
Looking to incorporate teacher pages into your school's content strategy? Follow these tips for success from Highland Park Presbyterian Day School.
Step One: Evaluate Your Current Platform
Highland Park Presbyterian Day School's faculty was already actively involved in their website when they switched to Finalsite, as they were avid bloggers on the school's previous CMS. However, according to Sarah Good, Director at Highland Park Presbyterian Day School, it was becoming more difficult for teachers to post to the blog on their old website because it was an open source platform that was not at all user-friendly.
"One of the biggest reasons we switched to Finalsite in the summer of 2017 was because many of the individuals were having a hard time using the feature on our old site," said Sarah. "We wanted there to be an easier platform for them to share content on."
Schools like Giddens School and Woodland School came to Finalsite for the same reason - a better platform that is user-friendly for users from beginners to advanced. When you have a large group of teachers hoping to contribute to their own pages, having a user-friendly platform can make the difference. The school was able to launch the new teacher pages on its school website in time for this school year to start at the end of the summer. They spent time during teacher development week before school officially started to train the teachers in the new platform.
"The teachers brought their iPads and I walked them through the process. It is really so simple, there wasn't much to train," said Sarah. "I had them all do a test Post during that session to get comfortable with how it works. They took it from there and emailed me with any questions along the way."
Dive into how Finalsite Posts can help your teachers in this on-demand webinar.
Step Two: Set Up Teacher Boards in the Posts Module
Posts makes it easy to bulk-create Teacher Pages in the module to save your admins time. Each Teacher Page is called a "board." The way each school organizes their boards can be custom. For this school in particular, the boards set up in the admin area of the Posts module are organized by teacher and grade, from Toddler 1 and 2 through Kindergarten.
From there, the teacher pages are organized on the school website using the Posts element in Composer. Each board is displayed by the teacher(s) headshot, name, grade, and email address(es).
Sarah noted that teachers are required to post every other week, so there is always fresh content being shared on the pages. Visitors can click on the individuals teacher posts, read the latest updates, and then have the ability to return back to the teacher directory through the CTA button placed in the upper left hand corner.
According to Sarah, the teachers "have been much happier with this platform." They can tell it is more user-friendly, especially for the individuals who only access website just to update their pages. Everything is simplified."
Step Three: Share Updates with Email and Notifications
Posts for Teacher Pages allows you to set up an alert for each individual teacher's boards so parents and students can subscribe and receive notifications as new posts are published. These alerts pull in the post title with a link and the plain text summary from the post for those who are subscribed to the teacher's page to be able to preview as a new post is published.
In addition to Alerts, Highland Park Presbyterian Day School uses eNotify to create engaging email newsletters that share teachers' updates every other week. On the off weeks, Sarah manages the school newsletter, which is also sent out via eNotify, so constituents receive at least one email per week. Along with sending out the school newsletter, Sarah handles all the email newsletters for the teachers.
"I use a template in eNotify for each teacher, which is set up with dynamic content," said Sarah. "The deadline for teachers to upload their new posts in Friday morning. Each teacher has their own mailing lists and the emails are sent out every other Friday."
Yes, it's quite impressive how Sarah is able to manage sending out nearly twenty newsletters every other week. She is able to do this with the tools in eNotify that allow her to save the templates for each teacher's email, as well as the mailing lists feature that will save each class' emailing list for every school year.
In addition to using dynamic content to automatically bring in each teacher's updates, here is a call-to-action button that will bring users right to the school's news on the website.
Key Takeaway: Combine Functionality in Modules to Create a More Complete Solution
Using eNotify has been extremely beneficial for the school to promote the Teacher Pages because it's been another way to repurpose and share out the content right to the parent's inbox. "It's nice and convenient that Finalsite offers so many modules under one umbrella that can be used to share out the content in numerous ways," said Sarah. What's great about being on Composer is the modules you use are all available in one place - the login dashboard. Not only does Composer offer an improved editing experience and ways to add modules right into the pages on your website, but these modules can also go hand in hand to make your job more efficient and managing your school website both simple and fun at the same time.
How do your marketing strategies compare? Want to be on our Featured Friday blogs this year? E-mail us at email@example.com and share your success with social media, the Finalsite platform, admissions, crowdfunding, or content marketing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie brings a fresh new marketing perspective with her background in social media, communications, and radio broadcasting. She is a co-producer for the FinalsiteFM podcast network and is passionate about helping schools stay ahead of their marketing goals by tracking new trends and developments. She is also a practicing singer/songwriter and loves to expand her creativity in DIY projects.
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