Content Creation

Using Personas for Effective Communication In K-12 Schools

Victoria Harkes
Average  to read article
5 Minutes

Schools are dynamic, complex systems that require effective communication to meet the different demands of their stakeholders. Communication is crucial in maintaining healthy relationships between the school board, faculty, students, parents and community members.

How can you ensure that your school community members get to hear you when you're competing with apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and bustling email inboxes? For your stakeholders to understand you, your message must be tailor-made.

Using personas is one of the ways K-12 school boards can communicate effectively with their stakeholders. With the right personas, school boards can curate their information to target students, staff members and parents directly.

What Are Personas?

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Personas are detailed representations of the users who interact with your services. In the school system, personas are used to build accurate and realistic models of all the people who interact with your school. These people include teachers, students, staff members and parents.

To accurately create personas, you should conduct both qualitative and quantitative user research. Your personas are only as good as the research that went into creating them.

What Are the Characteristics of a Good Persona?

While picking a set of user attributes and calling it a persona is simple, creating genuinely helpful user personas is quite challenging. Personas that work:

  • Describe actual people with values, backgrounds and goals. Personas aren't fictional guesses at what a target user thinks. Every aspect of a persona's description should be tied back to actual data.
  • Represent a significant user group of your products or services.
  • Give a clear image of what the user expects from you and how they will use your services.
  • Focus on how users currently interact with a service, not how users will interact with it in the future.

What Are the Benefits of Using Personas for K-12 Stakeholders?

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It's easy to start a communication strategy without creating personas, but you'll almost certainly lose out on important opportunities to connect directly to your target audience. Personas are essential to any communication strategy since they serve as benchmarks for your communication goals.

Personas link your objectives and your stakeholders by providing vital information that affects every phase of your communication process. Using personas will benefit your school in the following ways.

1. Make the Communication Process More Intimate

Personas remind us that we are dealing with real people who have emotions. Therefore, we need to find a way to connect or interact with our stakeholders on a personal level.

With personas, you'll be able to speak to your stakeholders more directly and effectively in the areas where they're most likely to be, via the channels they're most likely to use and in the language they're most likely to understand.

2. Help You Understand Your Prospective Parents

When marketing your school, personas help you understand your prospective parents. When you know the needs and wants of your prospective families, you can tailor your messaging to fit their needs. If you provide them with what they want, they are more likely to have a positive emotional response to your school.

3. Make the Learning Process Easier

Your school has students with different abilities and challenges. Personas help teachers better understand their students' interests, values and priorities, allowing them to reach out and engage them in the learning process. Teachers can tailor their teaching using personas to target their students directly.

What Should You Include in Your Personas?

Your school will likely have a diverse group of families who bring a range of perspectives to the table and choose your school for several reasons. The goal of establishing personas for schools is to consider what these people have in common rather than their differences.

Remember that you'll need to know your families from the inside out, so consider researching to gather a vast amount of data on your school community. The more information you have about all members of your school community, the more powerful your personas will be.

Include the following to perfectly capture your personas:

  • Demographic information like age, race, gender
  • Cultural backgrounds
  • Places they go for information
  • Their sources of motivations
  • The key challenges they face
  • The key relationships in their lives
  • Their behaviors and frustrations
  • The devices they prefer to use

How To Develop Your Personas Through Research

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Conducting thorough research is the first step in creating a good persona. You'll need a wide range of demographic and psychographic information from your school families to develop your personas. You can collect this information from databases like your district's SIS or communications platform analytics.

To perfectly develop your personas:

  • Use your existing systems to break down your audience into core groups. For example, you can group parents based on their device preferences. Parents who are rarely on their computers will probably not want to get school notifications through the school website
  • Use feedback groups and interviews to gather more information. For example, you can send a brief questionnaire to your families, asking for general information about their families and why they choose your school over the others

How To Use Personas for Effective Communication

Once you've done your research and created your personas, it's time to use them. First, decide the channels you want to use and reach each audience with relevant messages on their most-used channels. Also, tailor your messages based on channels.

The different stakeholders in your school system require various pieces of information from you. Students, for example, need information about class schedules, while parents need information like their child's progress. Personalize your communications to meet the demands of each persona.

Use specific language that speaks to your personas. For example, the tone and language you use when communicating with parents will probably not work on students.

Communicate Easily With Your Personas Using SchoolBundle

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By tailoring your content overall, you are being more effective and efficient in your communications.

Using SchoolBundle's all-in-one communication platform is a great place to start when it comes to boosting effective communication. Because of the time and work you'll save, you'll be able to focus on the tools that matter, so you can provide the most exemplary service to your community. Contact us today to get help communicating with your personas.

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