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.
But why public relations? PR is key to lots of things in business. But, in my opinion, one of the most important elements to PR is its evergreen impact. What do I mean by that? Well, PR is the credibility-builder that not only helps power social media and content campaigns, it does something no other marketing strategy can do: it keeps working for you long after you’ve paid your PR agency.
This works because PR results in coverage of your institutions story or your faculties expertise by a credible, third-party member of the media, there is no "off" switch. Once that story is published, unless pulled by the media outlet for a critical reason, it works for your university or business school, building brand awareness, credibility and driving traffic, pretty much forever. This means that every time a potential student or even potential faculty searches for your institution that content keeps appearing. This is invaluable exposure.
Earned media placements otherwise known as PR have, what I like to call, the ‘halo’ effect.
By official definition ‘Halo effect is the tendency for positive impressions of a person, company, brand or product in one area to positively influence one's opinion or feelings in other areas. Halo effect is “the name given to the phenomenon whereby evaluators tend to be influenced by their previous judgments of performance or personality”.’
Yes, you'll see some direct traffic boost and, yes, earned media results will help in assisted funnel conversions. But more than that, it delivers a huge impact on future business opportunities.
By this I mean PR opens doors for individual opportunities that may translate to large data trends, but delivers big impact. One example is an institution seeking to earn more speaking engagements and advisory opportunities. One highlight was securing an opinion article in euronews, which is a multilingual television channel and current affairs website in partnership with NBC, and the platform has an audience of over 400 million. This allowed the researcher, Asya Metodieva, to dig into her work and discuss publicly the motivators behind why individuals are mobilised to join foreign conflicts to an enormous audience.
But the culmination of our work actually led to the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate making contact with us. The Political Affairs Officer who works in the Political Analysis and Research Unit where they identify and observe issues, trends and developments related to terrorism and counter-terrorism is now in conversation with Asya to help advise the UN on terrorism. As well proving the real word impact of public relations, this delivered satisfied faculty and created new connections, and partnership opportunities.
Making sure you’re being seeing in the right places
As well as being experts in delivering coverage, we also know where the right places to be seen are, the places that your potential students are looking at for information. Essentially, we make sure you are not just appearing in relevant publications; we make sure you’re appearing alongside your competitors in places like the Financial Times, The WSJ, and even key postgraduate student websites like Business Because or Poets&Quants.
If you’re being showcased with some of the best business schools, or even just your direct competitors, that all important halo effect comes into play once again.
Increases online brand credibility globally
No matter what industry you’re in, trust plays an important role when it comes to determining the success of an organisation. Not many business schools have the reputation that Oxford, Harvard and London Business School have, but public relations can help ensure that any school gets seen in relevant media publications, which in turn builds their credibility. And universities and business schools should never feel bound to their local market, by utilising online media coverage all over the world they can really give their reputation a boost. Luckily here at Bluesky Education, we’re here to help with that.
For example, currently, there are more than 130,000 students in higher education in Mongolia, however, there are a number of problems in the higher education sector which has led to low competitiveness and employment rates among university graduates. So, students have chosen to study abroad to improve their job prospects. BlueSky Education were asked by the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Canada to set up an interview with a journalist in Mongolia as a group of their students and faculty were visiting there. This led to a great piece of coverage in Business Mongolia, as well as other outlets, which led to the first ever Mongolian applicant to the Canadian institution. The story successfully sparked interest in an international market and attracted students to a far-off institution in Canada.
All of these elements come into play if you want help in building your institutions online global reputation.