As a teacher on Skillshare, your students love to hear from you! And we’ve discovered that sending Discussion Announcements is a powerful way to build a connection with your followers and bring students back to your classes for more creativity and learning.
The Discussion Announcement feature is a tool that all teachers have access to within your Skillshare profile page, allowing you to send an email message to all of your Skillshare followers. Each announcement you send gets posted as a “Discussion” on your profile page for students to reference in the future. If you haven’t used this feature yet or are looking for fun and authentic ways to message your students, we’ve got you covered!
In this post, we’ll go over general best practices on how to engage your students with Discussion Announcements, share some fun ideas and examples to get you inspired, and provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to access the feature.
Best Practices for Sending Discussion Announcements
Here are some general best practices for sending Discussion Announcements to your students:
- Be authentic and personable! Talk to your audience as you would a friend.
- Always include a clear call-to-action, whether that’s inviting students to take a class, share their feedback or ideas for your next class topic, or participate in a giveaway. And whatever your call to action is, be sure to include hyperlinks and/or referral links!
- Craft your Discussion Announcements so they feel “made for Skillshare.” Reserve these for announcements that are related to your Skillshare channel, not to promote non-Skillshare offerings; otherwise, your students might feel they’re being sold to!
- Get creative! You can embed images and gifs into Discussion Announcements to really make them pop!
- Space it out: While this is a great way to communicate with your followers, using this feature too frequently could cause some followers to opt-out of messages. We recommend sending no more than one Discussion Announcement a week.
Idea Starters & Great Examples
Still not sure what to share? Here are some great ideas for Discussion Announcements and awesome examples from Skillshare Top Teachers.
1. Promote Your Latest Class
When you publish a new class on Skillshare, all of your followers are automatically notified via email (as long as their email preferences are turned on), but how many of us see an email and then promptly forget? Send a Discussion Announcement from your profile to remind your followers of a recently released class and invite them to come check it out! A great way to do this is to share a glowing review or highlight a beautiful student project from the class.
2. Tease Upcoming Classes
Working on a new class? Send a Discussion Announcement to your followers to hype it up! Get your students excited for what’s to come with a behind-the-scenes look at your production setup or artwork for the class.
3. Ask for Feedback on What to Teach Next
Struggling to come up with a topic for your next class? Ask students to comment on your Discussion Announcement and share what they’d love to learn from you!
4. Spotlight Your Past Classes
As you continue to teach on Skillshare, your student audience grows, but these new followers may need a friendly reminder about older classes they’ve yet to check out! A Discussion Announcement can be a great way to drive new traffic to older classes. Authentic ways to promote older classes include sharing student reviews or student projects, recommending an order in which to take them, or tying it to a seasonal moment (more on this idea below!).
5. Share Tips, Tools, & New Techniques You’re Loving
Discussion Announcements can also work as a type of newsletter, inviting your Skillshare audience to learn along with you, hear what you’re working on, what you’re excited about, and much more. Here are a few ideas for using Discussion Announcements to invite your followers into your creative world:
- Share your favorite tip for breaking out of a creative rut — maybe it’s a quick exercise, a source of inspiration, or a simple practice that helps you reset. This can be a great lead into a class recommendation, too!
- Have you discovered a new tool or resource that is really changing the way you work? Share it with your followers, and then guide them back to specific classes where they can put those new tricks to work.
- Share some new techniques or mediums you’re learning right now. They can be related to your field, or completely different! If you feel comfortable, you can shout out other Skillshare classes that you’re loving, and learning from!
6. Mark the Season
Use your Discussion Announcements to connect with your students over a meaningful milestone or celebrate a seasonal moment together! For example, Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd, 2021. Share with your students how you’re planning to celebrate and find creative inspiration in nature.
7. Inspire Your Followers to Keep Creating
It’s been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and things have changed a lot! For some of us, quarantine was a time of renewed creative energy, and for others, it was a necessary pause from a busy pre-pandemic life. Share how this one year milestone is affecting you. Reflect on your last year of creating, and how you plan on finding creative energy in a post-quarantine world.
Our theme of the season here at Skillshare is “Signs of Growth” — to us, that means growing as a person, growing as a creative, and growing in the face of adversity. Top Teacher Dylan Mierzwinski’s Discussion Announcement below is a great example of how you can share your personal signs of growth, and invite your students to do the same. Be sure to click through below to read her full Discussion Announcement!
Tutorial: How to Send a Discussion Announcement from Your Profile
Wondering where to find and how to use this Discussion Announcement tool? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to send a Discussion Announcement from your profile page:
1. Go To Your Teacher Profile Page by clicking on your picture and selecting ‘view profile’.
2. Click “Edit Profile” at the top right corner of the page
3. Scroll down until you reach the “Discussions” section and select “Create a New Discussion.”
4. Create your discussion post. Note that you can format your discussion to add images, bullets or links.
5. Select “Email all students” before posting your discussion
6. Hit “Post” when your post is complete and ready to send.
When you post, this will generate both a “Discussion” on your profile page that students can comment on and an email to your followers with the content of the post.
- The subject line of the email will be the name of the discussion you choose.
- Your teacher profile link and profile picture will be automatically included at the top of the email.
- The email will automatically include a “Read More” button at the bottom of the post which leads users back to your teacher profile.
- Any additional links that you’d like to add (to a class page, project page, Instagram profile) should be included in the body of the post.
Now that you know why, where, and how to post discussion announcements, you can use them to engage your learning community!