Is your website too static? Have it tell your story.

by Jack Sheard, IdeaBank Marketing Strategist

Your district website is probably providing frequent posts for parents and students on important news regarding changes to schedules and updates to daily operations. You likely have reminders about upcoming events to make sure everyone knows the details.

But are you telling your story?

Your website can be much more than simply a repository of useful information. It can be the primary location for showcasing your district’s best attributes. 

Think of the top three or four things you are proud of in your district. Consider the qualities of your district you want parents thinking about.

Now picture your district website. How long does it take you to find any reference to those items? Are they on the top of the homepage, or is closings information there? Are they on your site at all? 

I’m a former newspaper guy and lifelong storyteller, so stories are big to me. A story (or five) focusing on what you want visitors to know about you — perhaps a video or photo slideshow even — can make an impact. 

If you have a news feed, keep tabs on how many items are related to your top priorities — and your positive progress. If the feed shows three stories on the homepage, you need to have one of them telling your story.

Obviously, a snow day needs to be easy to see. Changes to the schedule or the procedures are important bits of information. In the heat of the moment, that takes precedence over the good stuff. 

On the other hand, if those notices squeeze out all positivity and pride, a negative cloud can hover over your district online. Once the moment passes, get some good on the front page again. Even in a pandemic, you should have positive stories to tell.

I know, I know. You can only handle so many stories at once. The crisis always outweighs the celebration on your available-time scale. But realize the dark cloud can have an impact on the school community if you aren’t balancing it with a little sunshine. Here are a few ideas to help brighten the day — and your website:

  • Be deliberate in planning for positive, on-message content. When you plan your communication for the year, designate four to six — or more — stories you absolutely must tell. Then tell them. These are priorities. 
  • Have a few finished stories about long-term positives in your pocket. Evergreen stories about the quality of your programs are good year round. Have two in the bag just in case. Get them prepared in the summer, and hold until needed.
  • Have pictures of students in action ready to go for your website. Pictures of buildings or football fields are impressive, but they aren’t the soul of your district. Make sure you have kids in the mix.

The main thing is to keep a balance between the necessary operations and the story you want to tell. After all, you know there is great learning going on inside your buildings each day students and staff are inside. 

Let that shine.

Learn more about how IdeaBank Education can help you with content creation and implementation of your communication plan at