It’s a fair assumption that many people only have a vague idea of what publicity is and why it’s useful for universities and businesses alike.
Public relations and sales are often two essential arms of an organisation; one directly drives up revenue, the other maintains a reputation people want to invest in. Whilst they may be situated in different departments, the skills and work behind both PR and sales may not always be so distinct from one another.
PR is, for the most part, a game of words. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary to crunch the numbers to work out how effectively you are writing and distributing pitches. Luckily, PR consultants aren’t always forced to whip out a calculator themselves – publications like Propel’s quarterly Media Barometer are valuable aggregators of statistics. Here are some of the most interesting trends and tips from the latest Propel report, spanning the third quarter of 2022 (July-September).
Is it time for your institution to get on the TikTok bandwagon? TikTok witnessed incredible growth in during the pandemic, as people sign up to the app to join in with challenges, learn dance routines and be entertained in what was a challenging time for us all. So, should your institution get in on the trend and start using TikTok? Here's what you need to know about one of the most popular platforms today.
For top international business schools, understanding the media landscape in various corners of the globe is key to securing top-tier press coverage in those regions. Business schools are home to thousands of international students and faculty, and produce ground-breaking research that can be of huge relevance all over the world. One region that has one of the most diverse array of cultures and one of the most varying media landscapes is the APAC region. Asia-Pacific (APAC) is the part of the world near the western Pacific Ocean. The Asia-Pacific region varies in area depending on context, but it generally includes East Asia, Russian Far East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australasia and Pacific Islands. Indeed, the APAC region is home to many business schools, and many higher education institutions outside of this region now have flourishing partnerships with schools within this area. It is therefore vital that any PR and communications teams working with partners in the APAC territory understand these differences and nuances to fully unlock APAC’s potential. Below, we highlight a few key trends in the media landscape in four key markets in East Asia – China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.
While a press release can work great for the launch of a new school or interesting findings from a new research paper, some topics will be more successful if pitched as an idea for a wider article.
Learning from your success is great – but learning from your mistakes? Even better.
Ghost-writing involves writing an article or other piece of copy on behalf of somebody else who will be the named author. For example, this could involve using a research paper and notes to write an article for a brilliant professor lacking the English fluency to do their research justice or unable to reach a publication’s deadline due to other commitments.
In the world of PR and media relations, perception is everything. Optics are all that matter. Nothing is as important as what you see.
Press releases are a fantastic tool for PR professionals, they can get your brand’s messaging and your business school’s research in numerous publications – including top tier. But this only happens as long as they are crafted effectively.
Watching Love Island, the home of influencers, which this year was sponsored by ‘Just Eat’, I was reminded of the true power of PR. Despite ‘Just Eat’ spending huge amount on a TV marketing campaign, they were unfortunately outshone as in the final episode, watched by 3.4 million people, a contestant claimed they ‘couldn’t wait to get home and order a ‘Deliveroo’, ‘Just Eats’ main competitor. A pretty powerful statement.
Results, sadly, do not speak for themselves. Make no mistake, they are still an important part of an institution’s prestige, but relying solely upon them to uphold a reputation is like constructing a one-legged chair: recline upon it at your peril.
Spain boasts a great deal: second largest country in Europe, third most UNESCO world heritage sites, one of the globe’s largest wine producers, to name just three. It is amongst the most visited countries in the world, and its citizens have an extraordinarily powerful nationality to travel with, able to visit 190 other countries visa free – more so than the US, France or the UK. Its colonial legacy in parts of Africa and Asia, but mostly in Latin America, has left Spanish as one of the most spoken languages in the world, second to none but English.
For centuries, humans have been telling stories as a way to connect – it’s in our nature. And today, stories are still at the centre of all that we do. From the stories we share with our friends at the weekend, to the anecdotes we tell our colleagues in the office, stories help us forge connections and build meaningful relationships, both personally and professionally.
International media coverage is one of the goals which business school PR departments can target with their PR campaigns. Not only does international recognition build a school’s brand at a much larger scale, international coverage can also be used to reach new markets for student recruitment, promote new courses, and showcase successful alumni, among other things.
Effective PR is about generating those opportunities for fruitful publicity; the proof is always in the pudding.
Takeaways from Cision’s 2022 State of the Media Report As the world continues on its new path of hybrid working, entering deeper into a metaverse, our relationships are changing all around us. It’s impacting how we interact with our colleagues, our clients, and for us PR consultants – journalists.
Social media is an effective tool. Not only can you engage instantly and directly with a large amount of your customer base, but you can also shape the narrative and key messaging around your brand and have control over what is posted.
When it comes to planning your next PR campaign, you need to consider all aspects of your approach. PR is more than just media relations, it often involves all aspects of external communications and, with the increase in digital platforms to share content on, it is important that your campaigns are managed strategically.
For many PR agencies, the instinct to run a firm that appeals to as many clients as possible through generalising their expertise is common. However, at BlueSky Education we believe that the most effective form of communications comes when you concentrate your efforts on defining your ‘niche’. In other words, we think that it is important to become an expert in your chosen industry – and in our case, that is business education.
If you’re working in business school or university communications you’d be forgiven for sighing when you see that this blog post is dedicated to the topic of rankings.
Once upon a time, you may have heard a school of thought that PR and SEO were two different methods of promoting an organisation or website, and would always remain as such. That line of thinking has now been thrown out the window following the mass migration of media to digital platforms, leading to the birth of a new concept: SEO PR. But what is SEO PR, and how can it benefit your institution?
LinkedIn boasts an impressive 830 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide. So surely it presents an opportunity for the savvy PR? However, like most social networking sites it’s overcrowded and noisy, making it difficult for anyone to make a real impact.
When it comes to approaching PR, you should tailor your media approach based on the specific goals you would like to achieve, which can be incredibly varied. You might want to increase student uptake, publications mentioning your research, or international and trade media coverage.
The role of the media relations team within business and higher education institutions is not an easy one. Straddling the worlds of fast-paced news and considered academic exploration it can be tricky to match your institution’s expertise to a journalist’s needs at the right place and time.
When reporting back to your Dean or senior leaders, would you rather show them 20 individual pieces of PR coverage you’ve gained, or five? Naturally, you’re always going to say 20. Of course, the higher the number of coverage, surely the better the value for your client? But, is that always the case?
Would you hire a lawyer if they hadn’t passed their accreditation board exams? Would you consult with an accountant who wasn’t ACA, ACCA or CIMA accredited? Or would you seek the help from a doctor who was not approved by medical councils?
When it comes to hiring a new agency to support your business school with external engagement, the criteria can be pretty specific. After all, commissioning this agency to work with you will be an investment of sorts. The funds you allocate to paying for external PR support will inevitably be diverted from – or at least unavailable to – other initiatives or ventures.
Public relations, or PR, is all about the way organisations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and how to build a positive reputation and public image.
My colleague Stephanie Mullins and I recently gave a webinar on how to why we must highlight the successes of women in higher education through the media - and how to do it (for those of you who missed it and would be keen to take a look – its available for free on-demand on our website!)
Student enrolment numbers for universities took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic over anxieties about a lack of face-to-face teaching. Higher education institutions looking to recover or continue to excel need to get the message out that their courses are still worthwhile investments, and as such they need a strong public relations (PR) campaign.
In Education PR, there are a number of different approaches you can take to boost the profile of your business school or university in the media depending on what your specific goals are.
Wondering how PR and marketing work hand in hand? There is often confusion if PR is a part of marketing or is it an independent function. How much do they differ? Or is there a fine line between the two?
Faculty members who are comfortable and experienced at dealing with media relations are an invaluable asset – largely because they are so rare.
The graduate management education world is a competitive one, there’s no denying that. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for the top-ranking places, the best possible students or world-renowned faculty, institutions are all competing with each other to have the best of the best. And, in a small, close-knit industry, where many offer similar programmes, similar teaching and similar experiences, it’s hard to stand out of the crowd and really make noise.
“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR,” as Bill Gates once said. When done successfully, a PR campaign is crucial to an organisation’s success, be it mopping up damage or establishing your place amongst more seasoned competitors.
“Content is king.” It may seem cliché and trite, or as my colleague Kerry put it in a recent blog, ‘over-touted’, but there’s no doubt about it: in this day and age, when it comes to marcomms, content can be your school’s greatest asset… if it’s crafted well. And that’s a pretty big ‘if’. For any business school, the need for quality content has never been more desperately-felt: as a marketplace it’s never been more crowded; long gone are the days of the local or regional derby as more and more institutions seek global superstardom. This is because prospective students are no longer considering only domestic options – no, applicants have never been more willing to up-root their lives and travel in pursuit of the best provider. So, as an institution, you’re no longer competing exclusively with counterparts in your region, but competitors from all four corners of the globe. The market really is the most cut-throat that it’s ever been. And this puts all the more pressure on in-house comms teams to create engaging, appealing and, ultimately, effective content for external engagement purposes. Enter the content guru As a growing number of schools – more specifically, in-house communications staff – continue to feel the pressure to create quality content en masse, more and more are turning to professionals whose remit exclusively encompasses content-creation. But is there a need for such individuals? It’s understandable that so many schools have turned to content gurus. Having a professional on-hand whose sole task is to create the best marketing / PR content possible to support brand awareness and recruitment goals seems a smart investment. But what about broader media / external engagement? It’s all well and good hiring someone to focus exclusively on content creation if you have the budget for it – but what happens when you don’t. That’s where PRs – like me – come in. The value of hiring external PRs From content-creation to liaising with targeted journalists and outlets, external PR professionals can significantly bolster your output in terms of external engagement, acting as an extension of your institution. They also offer a wealth of expert insight and understanding of both the media – domestic, sector-specific and international – landscape as well as the broader business education market. And, while it would take others significant periods of time to look for the right publications, source media contacts, and make introductions, PR professionals come with all of this in-hand. It’s one thing being able to create effective content, it’s another getting that content in front of the right people. PRs can do both: from press releases and targeted pitches to writing copy on behalf of your school’s key spokespeople – external PRs can ensure that your institution’s stories find their way into target press. Measuring that value It shouldn’t be hard to measure the value of external PRs – in fact, it should be clear as day to see the contributions of an external agency. Through depth of knowledge, communication skills, and sheer creativity the premium content – and subsequent high-value media opportunities – should start flowing not long after their arrival. And if it doesn’t, there’s a problem. But, that’s not to say that cold, hard numbers alone are enough to truly measure the full impact of your external content creators / media experts. No, sometimes working out the value of external PR support isn’t always that simple. As my colleague, Katie, put in one of her recent blogs, “just like anything else you pay for; you want to make sure that the service you are paying for is worth it. But in the PR industry, that is often easier said than done.” It's true – schools often mis-measure the contribution of external PRs. And, in doing so, they waste money. To learn more about measuring the value of PR, check out Katie’s blog on the subject. But, in short, when looking to measure the impact of external PRs, here’s three things to think about: Are you any closer to realising your PR / Media Relations goals? Has output increased beyond levels reached prior to hiring support? Have they advanced your school’s broader strategic goals? Whether it's creating compelling content, or securing sought-after opportunities with leading publications, external PRs are able to help. Turning specifically to content-creation, if an agency is any good, it should be made up of highly-skilled communicators with a flair for taking ground-breaking but seemingly-inaccessible content and craft engaging and captivating copy to support your business school’s external relations efforts. Author: Jonny Stone
When it comes to writing online content we know we face stiff competition.
Finding yourself a marketing communications agency that works for your institution will enable you to achieve wonders when working together.
News has travelled around in one way or another throughout humanity, be that through word of mouth, messages written on stone or the more modern methods we use today.
Hiring a PR agency isn’t a decision you should make lightly. Communicating your organisation’s goals and strategy in an effective and successful manner is a crucial part of business, and selecting an agency to accelerate and enhance this is an incredibly important decision.
As the Dean of an institution, you hold considerable responsibility for cultivating relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, including donors, alumni, and the community. You are also responsible for protecting and building your school’s reputation and faculty. Success in these areas is vital and it often hinges on maintaining and preserving good relationships.
Media outreach is a part of many institutions’ strategies, describing a range of activities designed to get the attention of media representatives who could be interested in your newsworthy stories and willing to share them with your target audience.
Research is important. Many universities and business schools describe themselves as ‘research-led’ or as institutions renowned for the calibre of research they put out.
The New Year provides the perfect time to reflect on what the past year has taught us in the world of digital PR. Whether that be understanding how it was that we were able to reach our goals or why we might have made a mistake and how we were able to rectify it, there is always a lesson to be taught through both positive and negative experiences we may have had. Real-life lessons provide a great way to help us perform better and achieve even more, and this for sure is a great resolution for the year 2022!
It may be counterintuitive, since we are a media relations company, to write a blog telling our audience why they simply shouldn’t bother engaging with the media – or employing an agency to do it for them. Sounds a bit like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, doesn’t it?
When it comes to securing press coverage and working with the media, you may be apprehensive or unsure.
Photos are a really important part of every media opportunity. There are very few articles, press releases, or comment pieces that I have worked on that haven’t required a photo upon publication.