Your marketing communications plan is most effective when its foundation is a “global” communications calendar that covers the whole school and accounts for all constituencies. Preparing a truly comprehensive annual agenda serves as the organizing force behind your annual cycle of print and electronic publications, special events, outreach and publicity efforts.
You should put the calendar together in June in that window of time between students departing and the new fiscal year beginning. (A tune-up in January is a good idea.) The most efficient approach is convening a working meeting with representatives from communications, head’s office, parent relations, development, alumni relations, admissions, college counseling, academics, athletics, arts, community service, facilities, extended day and summer programs.
The director of communications should facilitate the meeting. The master calendar should include:
- opening and closing dates, holidays, vacations, days off, exam periods, annual school celebrations and meetings
- web update schedule
- mailing dates of invoices sent by the business office to parents
- on-campus special events or activities, including those initiated by individual offices (development, alumni, head of school, admissions, academics, college counseling, summer programs, etc.)
- social media posts and campaigns
- video and still photography shoots
- off-campus special events, travel by head, development, admissions, etc.
- on-campus visitor dates, including college representatives
- mailing dates for invitations
- mailing dates for appeals, reminders, stewardship letters
- mailing/posting dates for magazine, enewsletters, special publications, push emails
- mailing dates for recruitment materials (annual, to consultants, etc.)
- mailing dates for information packets to current parents (enrolled student packet, etc.) and volunteers (class agents, etc.)
- dates for publishing of media and directory ads
- timing of market research and other special communications projects
This calendar will serve as the cue for photo and publicity opportunities and allow the school to see at a glance how often and when it is communicating with different audiences. Going through the process of organizing the calendar across offices and departments assures that all are on message and invested in your marketing program. It takes teamwork to connect.