How to get more content contributors for your school website

It’s not always easy updating your website content, especially if you have a lot of school departments needing to have notices updated online.

The amount of information waiting to be picked up, collected and then processed can become a massive hurdle to overcome even if you already have a web team all set to handle it. One way of making this behemoth task easier is to create a volunteer army of contributors who will not only give you high-quality content on the topics important to your school but also come relatively free and are already on hand.

Listed below are ways on how you can go about doing just that:

Reaching Out

people_conntectionsOnce you have made the decision of tapping into your own school’s enormous resources, you have to reach out and gain their support. You can start by approaching teachers. They may be reluctant to dole out any content at first, as is common with those with a busy workload, but explaining the advantages like making parents happier with just a couple of lines and a nice photo thrown in will surely win them over. Any news is better than nothing after all!

Next, you connect with your students and parents. One way of doing this would be to create a school blog and have a post submission form on your website where they can upload any article, photo, or video they want. Be honest about your intentions to post whatever content they give you but always cite or give credit for their work.

Trust Your Contributors

handshake We tend to get overprotective when it comes to our brand and messaging that’s why learning to trust others with it is crucial to getting more people to pitch in content for you. The responsibility of website upkeep is huge and, eventually, you’ll need to dedicate more hours than you can provide in a week for maintenance and improvements. Realizing that your obsession with brand integrity affects this responsibility is one of the first steps you must take in order to build a group of website editors that not only want to help you but ones you decided to trust the website with.

Assign the right content

assign_contentA school website’s navigation is oftentimes broken into varied segments: Admissions, Parents, Sports, Academics, and etc. We can make use of this segmentation by assigning them to the specific school departments they’re already related to.

Your colleagues know the story they need to tell better than you do, so get their help writing new content, or even better, ask them to be individually responsible for updating content so that it remains timely. An example would be letting your P.E. department handle the ‘Sports’ section on your website.

Bear in mind that you’d have to set up the time to train these individuals on how to update your website content, and you’d have to be available to answer any questions they have until they’re ready to start. This has the added benefit of making your co-workers feel capable and empowered which leads to better teamwork.

Use standardised layout

standard_layoutStandardised layouts maintain the integrity of your brand and design, no matter where they are used. So even if you use elements like calendars and news, you can control them to display the exact same way on any page.

One way of making sure that a standardised layout is used in your website is by creating different categories for specific content like news, admission dates, scheduled activities, etc., and task out maintenance of the layout only to the right people. For example, you can assign PE staff to sort and approve posts submissions for sports news, they can then decide how or when these posts can be published for that category. By providing a selection of categories, you can control where the posts are placed and what it’ll look like — and all your web team or faculty need to do is select the right category for the right staff.

It is difficult, not to mention impossible, to know almost every single thing that is happening throughout your school. Enabling other departments to post news and events that are specifically assigned to them can ensure that every detail of information your audience needs to know is available on the website.

Set Restrictions

set restrictionDue to the amount of contributors you’ll be handling, you will need to start assigning roles and permissions on your website. This allows you to restrict what content is published and also effectively distribute responsibility. Individuals can make updates, but not have the ability to publish until you’ve reviewed. We recommend setting up a review system that keeps content and communication flowing.

Community Involvement

Aside from calendar events, news stories and text content, keeping your site looking fresh with photos and videos is important to sharing your school’s story online.

For example, you can set up an ‘Uploads’ page somewhere on your site where the parents or students involved in the event can submit whatever information they have collected, most importantly, pictures. You now have an instant reporter or photographer at every single event, without exhausting your web team’s resources. All your team needs to do now is select the photos they’d like to share and post them where appropriate. For a bit of authenticity, you can credit whoever took them and, if you’re lucky, you can stumble on students or parents who are already blogging themselves!

Maintaining a school website is no easy undertaking especially if you’re updating what you need displayed constantly. A large team of website editors isn’t always the most viable solution for every school that’s why you would have to get what resources you already have at hand: teachers, students, colleagues. To do this, you will have to allocate work, manage your community and learn to entrust your school website content creation to them. You not only get to have a generous helping of fresh content every time but you also have the opportunity to entice existing and prospective families for your school. And finally, this serves a very important function since the more involved students and parents are, the more active the site will be in the long term. Their contributions, being genuine and continous, generally get far greater traffic than standard blog/gallery posts.

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