The Newsletter is Dead (and what to do instead), Part 1

January 3, 2017 Dr. Jim Cianca

When dial up modems were making AOL a household name and the Backstreet Boys were the hottest band on MTV, in the world of communications, the newsletter was the undisputed heavyweight champion – and that was as true in schools as it was in the business world. There was no better way to communicate to your constituents than gathering all your information into one package and sending it to them via that exciting, new invention called email. But those were the good ol’ days, at least from the perspective of the newsletter publisher. Once upon a time, the email newsletter was considered the “goose that laid the golden egg” says John Morrow in “Why You Shouldn’t Create a Newsletter, and what to do instead”, but “the world has changed” he goes on to say, declaring the use of email newsletters “pure foolishness” today (Morrow, 2013).

The tools now available to us far exceed the newsletter in effectiveness and efficiency – tools like social media, blogs, and most importantly, personalized website experiences. Schools must understand that societal changes demand changes in strategy. The National Association of Independent Schools, in Marketing Independent Schools in the 21st Century, says constituents respond to permission marketing not interruption marketers who send customers information when they are not seeking it, explaining that “This approach to connecting with customers is doomed to fail” (Hanson, 2011, p. 16).

Instead of holding on to outbound methods that don’t reach your constituents like they once did, NAIS calls for communications and marketing strategies that cater to constituents seeking information, providing them with the ability to find what they need when they need it. 

About the Author

Dr. Jim Cianca

Dr. Jim Cianca has been involved in the world of high-quality private education in many roles, including as an academic administrator, director of marketing & communications, an academic department chair, faculty member, and parent. He recently conducted a nationwide, empirical study of social media policies in K-12 schools. He has been involved in educational leadership and marketing and communications efforts, both as a business leader and as an educator since 1998. To learn more visit: http://www.edcomassociates.com/

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