How (& Why!) to Automate Your Parent Communications

Friends, I now have two full-time jobs:

One here at Cursive Content Marketing, helping schools create and share their stories … and one in my first grader’s classroom, as Room Assistant.

I don’t know which one is more demanding. 

This is my first year as Room Mother Assistant (sorry, I grew up in the non-politically-correct 1980s when we went by another name). And it is like being thrown to the wolves.

In my first week, I was charged with decorating a Pinterest-worthy pumpkin for the school contest; carving a separate pumpkin and roasting the seeds so the kids could count them in “pumpkin math”; and throwing a classroom Halloween party. I have also been asked to coordinate a “birthday list” of parent emails and addresses, and to begin planning for the holiday festivities.

So naturally, being the content marketer that I am, I raised my hand during the first PTA meeting. “So, is there some kind of packet that explains all of this?” Blank stares. “Maybe a template we can use for all of the outreach we have to do?”No.

I was not to be deterred. “But, if we have to do the same thing every year, why don’t we make it easy? Why don’t we create these communications once, get them right, and then give them to Room Mothers — I’m sorry, Assistants — to share?”

And that, my friends, is how I found myself appointed head of the newly formed PTA Communications Committee.

Job #3…. <Sigh…>

Now, let me back-pedal a bit and let you know that I DO love all of this. I love being involved in the school, I love communicating with the parents — and I love the idea of creating templated communications for Room Assistants, and anybody else, to use.

But my question is: Why doesn’t this already exist? And what ELSE can we be templating?

The awesome thing about “evergreen” content is that if you create it right the first time, it’s done forever. You can continually repurpose it.

So back to the PTA — and back to parent communications in general. Why recreate the wheel every year? It’s silly.

I want you to take a moment and think about all of the ways you interact with your parents and families throughout the year. What can you template? What can you write once, and perhaps update slightly each year? What can you automate?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Can you create standard emails that hit parents at certain moments throughout the year? For example, a “Welcome” email for new students, holiday emails, policy emails, reminder emails? Think of all of the facts you share every year that don’t change, and create standard messaging around them.
  • How about presentations? My daughter’s school has a Parent Education night, where parents can go in and learn the ways students are taught math, reading, etc., so we can help with homework. Could something like this be turned into a webinar for parents who could not attend? Could you take your old presentations and create a reference library for parents online?
  • What about FAQs? Why are parents calling you? Why do they want to meet with you? What are they emailing you about? Wouldn’t it be helpful to develop standard content with the answers, so you can have these on hand to send to parents? That way, you don’t have to create a new response every time.

Creating templated communications is a little work upfront for lots of return over time. So think about what messages you can automate, and start building out your own resource library of stock content. It will help ensure your story is consistent, simple and always accessible.

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