Tired of your students complaining of TLDR (too long; didn’t read) syndrome? Financial aid professionals well understand the frustration of trying to engage short attention spans, while also covering all of the pertinent information. The problem is that there is usually just too much pertinent information!
So how do you find the balance between catching your readers’ attention, while also communicating the full message?
Here are three ideas to help you increase creativity in your communication:
Use a hook. The hook is not dead! If anything, in our fast-paced media-driven world it’s more important than ever. Use a catchy phrase or headline to draw students to your message. Whether you’re highlighting a complicated policy change or simply announcing an upcoming deadline, don’t be shy to first grab attention to guide readers to the full message. Be creative and have fun!
Replace text. Studies show that today’s students will typically skim text, while pausing briefly to review images and videos. As such, pithy graphics and short videos and greatly increase the chance that your message will actually receive the attention it deserves. Work with your marketing and/or website colleagues to obtain proper media that is consistent with the school’s overall brand, and then place them strategically throughout your website and other electronic communications.
Ensure it’s received! Meet your audience where they live. Ask your colleagues in Student Life/Affairs to help you do a brief student survey on how the majority of your community prefers to consume information. Text? Social Media? Email? Three-page letter through snail mail? Focus the majority of your resources on the area where the majority of your community lives.
In the end there may not be a scientific way to determine the most effective way to communicate. However, don’t be afraid to get creative! Many see their response rates quickly rise simply by changing the status quo.