A Short But Heartfelt Plea to Directors of Marketing and Communications

You have a job, I know, that is never done. There is always another document that needs to be written or edited, another blog post that needs to be completed, another photo-of-the-day that needs to be chosen and posted….

BUT you need to take care of the basics please! I am constantly on schools’ websites, and it amazes me how many have outdated information posted. I just looked at a school’s website and the Welcome from the Head of School was written in 2012! Last week I saw a school that was boasting on its website about its sports’ teams’ championships—of 2013.

You need to set up a schedule to review every single page of your website at least twice a year, and/or make a list of the pages that have date specific information on those and put notations on the calendar to remind you to update that page. Make sure you have another set of eyes that reviews the website at least once-a-year because you may read what you think it says instead of what it really says. I see glaring typos far too often.

Mistakes on a school’s website are a very poor reflection on the school—and I would categorize outdated information as a mistake. These present as sloppy and as if someone is not taking care of business. You put forth so much effort in your work to attract new families and to compel graduates to stay connected; you want them to know you as a quality institution and as a place worthy of their investment. Please put aside the new project, the next creative and cool social media idea and take care of your basics by devoting time to ensuring that your first public face, your school’s website, is up-to-date and error free.

Many thanks.

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Jane Armstrong

First independent school job: "triple threat" at the Peddie School, teaching English, coaching and dorm-parenting; later serving as Dir. of Publications

Other school work: Assistant Director of Alumni & Parent Programs at Amherst College (her alma mater), Dean of Students and Dir. of Residential Life at Garrison Forest School, Dir. of Development at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School

Probably relevant: parent of 5 independent school students or graduates, one of whom is now teaching!