If you want to be a good PR person then you need an effective strategy. Working in the media is competitive and PR is often more of an art form than a sales technique. If you know how to use PR correctly, you can make your message stand out and boost your institution’s success. Here are my top 5 tips for PR professionals working in higher education to help you achieve your goals.
One of the first things you’re told when trying to create an online presence – whether for an institution, for a programme or for an individual, is that, to create an impact, you need content.
For as long as public relations has existed, the industry has needed to demonstrate the value of press coverage. At the end of the day, it showcases the value of the work, maintains interest in comms expertise, helps to justify investments in PR, and helps to prove it’s worth.
When launched in 2001, Thinkers50 was the first-ever global ranking of management thinkers. Since then, it has published a new list every two years, and remains the premier ranking of its kind.
Video content has become ever so popular these days, and it’s no surprise! It is an easy to digest format, that often gives our eyes a break from the overwhelming amount of text we look at all day long.
According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report, 82% of marketers actively use content marketing to achieve their branding goals. Up 17% since 2020, content marketing is recognised by many professionals as an effective, tried and tested means of attracting, engaging and retaining new audiences and customers – and in the case of business schools, prospective applicants.
Public relations is no quick win. Though first impressions certainly do count, you might not change people’s minds, their behaviour or make them act differently on your first engagement with them. It’s often a lengthy process, which takes time and patience – at the end of the day people don’t generally jump into decisions lightly.
It is absolutely vital that academic research has impact, especially for the Research Excellence Framework, the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions – and PR can help academics reach people who can use the insights to make real changes in society and companies.
As many countries look to return to some sort of normality – businesses begin to reopen, workers start returning back to the office, and universities welcome students back onto campus – the media landscape is changing too. You’d be forgiven for thinking that covid-19 has completely dominated the news over the last year and a half – and you’d pretty much be right.
Barely a month goes by without a media league table of the world’s top universities and business schools. One month, it’s the rankings for business schools in Europe and the next it’s the rankings for MBAs, followed by rankings for Master’s programmes. The rankings for business schools and universities can feel constant and the wide variety of ranking tables published by a number of sources such as Forbes, The Economist, the Financial Times, and QS means that many schools can frequently see significant rises and falls.
Business schools around the world offer a vast selection of postgraduate courses, some of which are more commonly offered amongst institutions, such as Master in Management, Master in Finance, or MBA courses, as well as some uncommon, more specialised programmes, such as a Master of Management in Energy or a Master in Auditing. One postgraduate course that is offered at many different business schools is the Executive MBA (EMBA).
A press release is a vital tool when working in PR or comms for a university or business school. It is a great way to disseminate information quickly to a large number of people, whether that’s new or interesting research from your institution or information on new programmes that you want to share with journalists.
Another month, another influx of pioneering research papers. But which ones are destined for the headlines? The first step to securing phenomenal press coverage for business schools and universities is to identify exactly which research, and which student or alumni success stories, are most likely to catch the media’s attention. It’s equally vital to know when material lends itself to a press release, to an opinion editorial or to interview articles.
Industry 4.0: it’s a term that’s become pretty commonplace in recent years.
Today, there is more competition than ever between business schools as more and more are offering top-class programmes, innovative learning tools, and an extremely high-caliber of teaching. As such, international higher education markets are growing rapidly every year, which has indeed made the task of attracting leading academics and students more difficult than ever.
The use of social media has grown rapidly over the last decade, and even more so in the last year alone. In a time where we were unable to interact face-to-face, technology and social media platforms have been key, not only for keeping in touch with family and friends, but also to help keep businesses afloat.
Getting in on the conversation is a well-trodden means to gain media coverage. This piggy-back method by responding or talking about key issues on the news agenda can be highly productive. It can help to enhance reputation or credibility by showcasing a university or business school’s knowledge and expertise in fields at the centre of the news agenda.
For countless business schools and universities worldwide, the research that they produce defines them.
Some brands are simply just synonymous with what they want to be known for. Apple are synonymous with leading cutting-edge technology, Tesla with cutting-edge manufacturing innovation and BlueSky Education, with unrivalled education PR knowledge 😉
Broadcast media can include a number of coverage types ranging from television and radio to podcasts.
Public relations agencies are, by definition, client-focused businesses. Without clients, we don’t exist. Doing great work for clients and keeping them happy is what we’re all here for, of course.
Today, master's degrees are surging in popularity, and the number of master's programmes on offer within business schools is growing every year, especially those taught in English.
What education comms professionals need to know 2020 was a unique year to say the least, the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on everything and left people looking to the media for information to help them guide them through it.
It’s natural to expect that, over the course of time, the ways in which a university or business school operates will change. The past five years alone have been testament to just how much the world of education has evolved; the advancements in and preferences for online education over classroom-based learning for example, or the shift in curriculum focus to highlight increasingly important topics such as ethics and sustainability, all in the pursuit of providing a better, more valuable experience for students.
The competition to attract élite faculty has never been more intense.
In 1819, ESCP business school, as it’s now known today, was launched as a Ecole Spéciale de Commerce et d'Industrie, teaching students on key topics like entrepreneurship and business. This was the birth of graduate management education, and helped forge the pathways for other leading institutes in this area like Harvard, Wharton and Stanford – who have gone on to educate, hone and develop some of the world’s leading thinkers, politicians and CEOs.
It goes without saying, that 2020 will go down in history for a number of reasons: the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, Trump’s response to the election and the attack on the US Capitol, just to name a few.
Thanks to the rise in digital adverts, recent surveys tell us that we see 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day – and the shocking thing is most of us don’t even notice them.
We can all learn PR lessons from events we see in the news every day. From the prime minister to football managers, the potential for negative media attention is never far away. What is important however is how your organisation responds to this media, and how you turn scrutinised blunders into something positive.
The pandemic has without a doubt made major changes to the higher education sector, changes that are likely to remain.
(Here’s a hint: the answer is YES!) When choosing where to study my own degree I didn’t just stick to reading university prospectuses and the rankings, I also took the time to look at what other people were saying about the institution and its programmes outside of what the universities chose to share. I read the stories of alumni and I took note of students who’d shared their experiences in newspapers, magazines and blogs.
Deliveroo suffered one of the worst stock market debuts on record, seeing their shares drop by 30% on opening day, which wiped around £2 billion of their market value. According to Yahoo! Finance, their stock slumped a further 1.9% after opening on the second day.
2020 was a tough year for many in Executive Education. A number of organisations pressed pause on their programmes with leading business schools. Given the fact that much of in-person learning grinded to a halt, learning and development took a back seat as companies grappled with the immediate impact on their company, and many saw their own revenues fall, during the pandemic.
What is PR? As an institution, you might be interested in hiring a PR agency and wondering whether PR agencies are worth it.
How do you successfully improve your online reputation? Well, the key is to listen to what your potential students are talking about. To monitor where your competitors are appearing and to anticipate where your industry is heading. It’s about being and staying ahead of the curve.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Marked annually on March 8th, International Women's Day (IWD) is often seen as one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness about women's equality, and fundraise for female-focused charities.
In today’s multiplatform online world, maintaining a consistent marketing message and strong brand presence is more important than ever. Over the last decade, the rise of social media and technology means that it is easier than ever to find information on an organisation, and the brand is highly visible to consumers throughout the word.
Messaging has always been important for business schools. Whether for marketing communications, external media engagement or internal comms, how institutions frame key messages has long been crucial. This has never been truer than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Valentine’s Day wraps up, and love is in the air, it seems everyone is thinking about partnering up…
In 2017, MP Michael Gove famously said "people in this country have had enough of experts". And he may have been right at the time. In 2017, debate in the UK was fuelled around Brexit and its impact, with expertise being denounced as spreading fear and over-exaggerating. People preferred to listen to those that fit their preconceived agenda, and that they described as ‘normal people’, not experts who were often seen as stuck in their ivory towers.
2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many, but it's important to look at the positives and appreciate our achievements as well.
Maximising the success of any institution or organisation often depends on having a winning PR strategy. Being able to impact the way in which your target audience – whether that’s stakeholders, prospective clients, and target consumers - perceive your organisation is vital to ensuring long-term success. And this doesn’t only apply to fashion brands, tech companies, or fast-food restaurants; this also applies to business schools and universities.
With great power comes great responsibility – a bit of a cliché I know. But watching the storming of The Capitol building live on CNN and the true impact of Trump’s leadership unravelling before my eyes. I couldn’t help but wonder, have we underestimated the power of leadership?
In the final episode of season two of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast, BlueSky Education’s Stephanie Mullins, Kerry Ruffle and Katie Hurley discuss the future of business education, focusing on the rise of virtual events, along with returning guest Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School, and an in-depth interview with fellow BlueSky Education Thinking host, Matt Symonds.
Many people only know what PR is from Mad Men or Sex and the City and, even then, it is a vague and often inaccurate understanding of what it really is. In fact, many people should look to better understand the real impact public relations can have for a brand or institution.
Continuing with the theme of long term changes to business education in episode five of season two, but from the perspective of adapting and embracing opportunities for change, the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast sees International BizEd Guru Matt Symonds – as well as BlueSky Education’s Stephanie Mullins and Kerry Ruffle – talk to Dana Brown, Dean of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University and Angus Laing, Dean of Lancaster University Management School.
In the fourth episode of season two of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast, BlueSky’s Stephanie Mullins and Kerry Ruffle, alongside International BizEd Guru, Matt Symonds, discuss long-term changes to business education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also in the episode, Steph is joined by Hanna-Leena Pesonen, Dean of Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, as well as BlueSky Education’s Jonny Stone and Kate Mowbray, and Jonathan Simon, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Telfer School of Management.
Having a winning PR strategy is vital to the broader success of any organisation, in any field, providing any service.
In episode three of the second season of the BlueSky Education Thinking Podcast, BlueSky’s Stephanie Mullins and Kerry Ruffle are joined once again by International BizEd Guru, Matt Symonds, to discuss the importance of diversity in business education. Also in the episode, Stephanie sits down with Sunitha Narendran, Director of Roehampton Business School, as well as BlueSky Education colleague, Kyle Grizzell.
“Let’s do some PR for this”… A member of your faculty is hosting an event, or has published a book perhaps, or a new programme has been launched by your institution, and the request comes in… “Let’s do some PR on this.”