Nowadays, achieving coverage for your business school or university is a challenge to say the least.
In a marketplace that is unprecedentedly crowded and competitive, every academic institution out there is trying to break away from the rest and make their mark on the media.
This competition – unfortunately – can decrease your business school or university’s chances of achieving media coverage without the help of expert agencies, as it’s not an exaggeration to say that the pitch or press release you’ve sent is literally one of hundreds or even thousands that a journalist will receive that day.
So, how can you break away from the rest and get the coverage you want in education press?
Well, it might sound like a statement of the obvious but, you need to stand out. It’s really that simple!
You’re dealing with the media – or in other words, you’re dealing with news publications. Ultimately, journalists and editors care about two things: is it new? Is it interesting?
If you tick those boxes, then you’ll get hits for your business school’s story.
So how can your business school or university stand out?
Journalists love stories
When it comes to catching the attention of an education journalist, you’ll often have more luck pitching an inspirational student or alum story than trying to convince them to write about your school’s new executive programme.
Now that’s not to say that the media isn’t interested in your school’s alternative to an MBA. It’s just that, if you want to stand out, sharing someone’s personal story is most likely going to be a more effective route to take.
It can act as a source of inspiration to prospective students – perhaps no testimony is as powerful to potential applicants as the stories of current or former students.
This is because, much like the effect of the media, these student stories offer a legitimate endorsement for your school. No one has forced them to say anything; they don’t work for your business school, so their comments offer an unparalleled endorsement.
These stories are genuinely unique – For any business schools or universities out there who think that claims of having the most diverse faculty and student body, or committing the most to a sustainable future, will set them apart from the crowd are unfortunately mistaken. Pretty much every school out there is making these claims, so these aren’t USPs. A student story, however, retains that element of individuality which education journalists want to read.
Stories are key to getting coverage, as they tick both boxes: they’re interesting and something the media haven’t seen before. So the next time your business school or university wants to feature in the PIE News, or Times Higher Education, choose a quirky student story.
Opinion and analysis
When you’re pitching to education journalists – or any journalist really – along with the questions is this interesting? And is this new? You need to ask: is this relevant?
Your content has to be relevant to the journalist, or more specifically, to the journalist’s readership.
Now…why am I telling you this?
Well, it’s because for a lot for education-focused publications or segments of wider news outlets, their readership is often made up of people who work in the education industry – faculty, leadership staff, or even PR professionals like me.
Whether they’re giving lectures or writing press releases, the one thing that they all want to see in education-focused news outlets is likely to be some comment and analysis, particularly in regard to trends in the sector.
This is where business schools and universities come in – academic institutions are in prime position to offer insights and analysis into the wider education sector. Their leadership staff will be fully aware of any new trends in the education sector, and can offer insightful comment and analysis of the issues facing the market.
Attracting the attention of education journalists, with the hope of securing coverage in education press for your business school or university, doesn’t have to be difficult. It all boils down to standing out; if your story is interesting and new, then media coverage could be yours.
The purpose of this blog was just to give you a few things to think about when trying to appeal to education press. The moral of the story is: stories pretty much always work better than updates on new programmes or business school rankings; current and former students can offer legitimate endorsements for their institutions; and offering relevant analysis on the education sector will always draw attention from education press.