With a population of just over 329 million people, making it the third most populous country in the world, the USA is clearly going to be a key media target for any institution. But, more importantly, according to GMAC’s 2018 Applications Trends survey, 140,000 out of an overall 290,000 business school applications last year came from US-based applicants – over three times the size of applicants in Europe alone.
This just clearly shows how much of an important market the US is for business education institutions. And, with last year’s GMAC Application Trends survey also showing that domestic applications in the US are down, and applications to other destinations are up, now is a perfect time for elite European business schools to be promoting their brand in the US media, and attempting to gain applications from a market, which previously, did not necessarily pay as much attention to non-domestic business schools.
Though the US media is more similar to UK and European media than somewhere like China, other parts of Asia and Latin America, there are still huge differences to take into account when working with US-based journalists – and not just the time difference!
So, how does the US media typically work, and what steps can you take to give your institution the best chance at success?
1. Localise content
Of course, this is a more generic tip for working with most markets outside of your home. A journalist is not going to be interested in an initiative, a student story, or a programme that is happening outside of their market which has no relevance to their market at all. However, this is amplified in the US. Most people, when considering US media, see the US as a whole entity, not taking in the fact that the US is of course split into 50 very different states.
The US is not just New York or Washington DC – and, of course a story that may be of interest to a journalist in Alaska, for instance, may not be of interest to a journalist in Wyoming. And, due to this variation from state to state, there aren’t as many national news outlets as you would imagine, and competition to feature in these is incredibly strong.
That is why, when looking to pitch to journalists in the US, it is important to decide upon which specific locations you would like to target in the country, and ensure that the stories you are pitching have a local angle, and are completely relevant to the publication.
Think New York. Wall Street more specifically. Think of the trading floors, and how hectic and fast-paced this environment is. This isn’t too dissimilar to the news rooms of US national press outlets. News travels fast in the US, and there are stories constantly breaking which journalists are looking for academic perspective on.
This is why, when pitching to US news outlets, especially on hot topics, it is important that you are quick in both pitching, but turning around comment too. There is an abundance of experts in the US, who are able to discuss a number of topics, so speed really is of the essence with US media to really set your experts apart.
3. Strong analysis
For many global news outlets, which have both an Asian, European and US focus, the Asian bureaus are the beginning of the day, Europe the middle and US the end. This often means that global news stories can break in Asia, settle in Europe and are digested by the time they are in the US. This means that the initial story, which was broken in Asia, has had time to be digested and analysed by the time it reaches the US bureau.
This gives an opportunity, when pitching to US publications, for experts to offer a more in-depth and analysed look into a news story. Experts can be reflective, insightful and look at the story in the wider context when it comes to pitching to these global outlet’s US bureau. Therefore, it is important to pitch out academics who can really offer a different take on a story, one that is reflective and takes into account its impact on a wider scale.
4. Different perspective
As previously stated, there is an abundance of experts in the US, who are able to talk about anything from climate change to the global financial crisis. So, what sets your experts apart from the US-based ones? They can offer a non-US perspective on a local or US-wide issue. Experts from your institution can put these topics into a different perspective, and the context of their own continent, whether that be Europe, Asia or so on. This different and fresh perspective on an issue or topic is something that will be of interest for journalists.
5. Consider Donald Trump
This tip really does depend on what topic you’re looking to talk on, and what publication you’re looking to pitch to. The political environment in the US is extremely divided and polarised. A lot of US media, especially television networks, are very obvious in their support, or lack of support, for President Trump. It is important to consider the perspective and angle if it is a political topic, when pitching to news outlets. Of course, an expert that disagrees with a President Trump policy isn’t likely to be featured on Fox News.
Author: Peter Remon