3 minute read

How to get coverage for your business school in a changing press landscape

Who else is sick of the phrase ‘the rapid pace of change’?

There are only so many times you can reword the idea that the world is progressing faster than ever before. In terms of the media, nowhere is this discussion of transformation and innovation more prevalent than in the work and careers and the tech space.

Business schools are well aware of the shifting demands of the working world they send their graduates out into. Subsequent efforts to evolve can be seen as schools adapt their management courses to be focus more heavily on soft skills, which are expected to be in higher demand in coming years in the wake of automation. Similarly, as corporate social responsibility becomes a more pressing concern for businesses worldwide, curriculums are adopting a more socially conscious approach. Executive education too is changing; becoming more flexible to suit the needs of managers who are no longer attracted by a long term commitment to a part time course.

Why is an understanding of the press important?

The above developments all deserve credit. However, if business schools want all their brilliant progress to be visible they will also need to come to terms with a similarly altered media landscape. To attract prospective students, funding bodies, partners and the best academics, schools must know which publications to target, which topics to engage with, and why the answers to these questions are wildly different to what they would have been a few years ago. Alternatively, hire a great PR agency who has this knowledge already!

How has business education press changed?

BlueSky have been connecting business education institutions with great media opportunities since 2008 and in that time methods have shifted considerably. When we launched, regular MBA supplements were run by plenty of top tier UK publications, including the Independent and The Times. The FT devoted two full pages in print every Monday to business education coverage with regular special reports and interviews as an added bonus; ‘Biz ed’ press was straight-forward and opportunities were in abundance. The same cannot be said for 2019. The Independent and The Times no longer cover MBA news in any consistent capacity. The FT produces half a page on most Mondays dedicated to work and careers, relying more heavily now on a strong online presence and a newly updated approach to their influential business school rankings.

This shrinking of biz ed coverage in the UK means that the quest for visibility here is both more challenging and more important than ever for schools. Fortunately, the same trend has not been echoed in the rest of the world; for example, the appetite for MBA stories is as healthy as ever in the US, where BlueSky regularly achieve coverage. In India, a rapidly developing economy has given rise to an equally flourishing business education industry, and a huge press interest. Where opportunities may thin in one area of the globe, they thrive in another.

New press targets

Despite the challenges faced in the UK, the coverage we achieve for our clients here remains as strong as ever. When platforms designed specifically for business education coverage diminish, the solution is simple; expand coverage in other sectors. Management, HR and leadership press are all very receptive to insightful academic comment as is evidenced here in Forbes and here in HR Review. But beyond these, no pocket of the press is unreachable; our clients have appeared everywhere from political news websites, to national newspapers to scientific journals.

Perhaps the fastest growing branch of journalism today is tech. The world’s most successful businesses are the big tech giants, the start-ups considered most ‘disruptive’ are consistently centred on a new use of technology. The press reflects the same trend; there’s an insatiable media appetite for all things tech and lots of opportunities to feature for those who know where to look.

Widening the net

The media evolves and methods of achieving coverage necessarily evolve with it. To effectively raise the profile of your business school you need to have your ear to the ground. It’s not enough to know who writes about business education, you need to recognise trends in the sector, both nationally and internationally. At BlueSky we find that a strong spread of coverage across both countries and genres produces the best results. This can only be achieved with a deep and constantly updated understanding of global media.

Want to use a PR agency who knows how to secure great coverage for your business school in any sector, on any continent? Get in touch today.

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