As we begin to look beyond the COVID-19 crisis and towards what the future holds for higher and business education, one thing is clear: online learning is going to play a huge role.
During the live recording of our podcast, BlueSky Education Thinking, Tomaso Eridani, Press Officer from Bocconi University, asked some really pertinent questions, which I think a lot of other schools are going to be wondering about at the moment. Is it time to start moving on in our communications from purely focusing on content relating to COVID-19. Is it time to start talking about other things? Is there any interest from the media for other topics?
The Covid-19 pandemic has required the global population to make drastic changes to their day-to-day lives, remaining distant from friends and family while working and studying remotely.
When we talk about public relations, people usually think about it almost exclusively in an external capacity, i.e. looking to create a positive image of your company or organisation in the eyes of people and bodies outside of your institution.
COVID-19 has changed the world more dramatically than we have seen for generations. And arguably communication is now more important than ever. But how you do you maintain a sense of normality when people feel their lives have been turned upside down?
No matter what industry you work in, it is both natural and probably a wise idea to closely follow what your competitors are doing in the market. Whether that be new ideas or innovations, new products or services or something simply eye-catching to a key audience, it is important to keep on top of what is going on around your institution. What is even more important, however, is being the institution that all your competitors are talking about (positively, of course).
During my time working in education PR, I’ve learnt how to best overcome the challenges involved in getting coverage in the media. You’ll have a breadth of knowledge at your disposal, whether it is research papers, or an academic opinion, that deserves to be publicised in the media. However, some research or opinion will have an angle to them that journalists just immediately love, and will result in it being featured in multiple publications, including national and international press.
In the world of education PR, you’ll often be bombarded with story ideas for the media. Perhaps you have been given a research paper, or an academic has an opinion they want to voice in the media. The trick is in knowing what will work best with the media to secure not only a high volume of coverage, but also coverage in top tier publications. Some stories will have aspects to them which will lead to hundred upon hundreds of features in national and local press, while some will be perfect for securing international coverage, from Germany to India.
As universities and business schools around the world face an increasingly competitive recruitment environment, and challenges surrounding the ongoing Covid-19 threaten student intake, it’s vital that educational institutions come up with progressively creative and strategic ways in order to attract students.
We live in a world that is becoming more and more interconnected every day. This has never been more apparent than in the business education sector. Now more than ever before, students are willing to travel all over the world to study on the best programmes at the best business schools. This makes the business education sector well-and-truly a global marketplace. And with that, it makes it an incredibly competitive marketplace!
I think it would be fair to say that right now we are faced with the one of the greatest issues of our generation: COVID-19.
One of the key aims of your institution is to attract students right? But how do you that successfully? Of course, there are lots of ways you can do this. But here at BlueSky Education we think using stories to do this, might be your secret weapon.
There are a vast number of reasons as to why business schools want, and need, to engage in PR. Whether it is to highlight some of the ground-breaking academic research from their professors, announce a new programme at the school or promote their faculty’s expertise – all of which are enhanced and have more impact through the use of PR.
It was a throwback to the 1920s this year at the AMBA and BGA Excellence Awards and Gala Dinner. The event was hosted on February 7th at the Sheraton Grand Park Hotel in London with over 200 business school leaders from the business education sector, as well as category finalists, judges and members of the media.
The world is bursting with people from different cultures; identities formed from the environment we grew up in, our family, friends, and where we were born, among other things. It influences how we engage with the world, the perspectives we take, and the expectations we have. Culture can influence what we consider success in our careers, how we understand music, and even define how we see colours. Every single one of us has a culture, and most of us have identities built from multiple cultures; whether it’s our race, ethnicity, religion, or nationality.
As we enter a new decade, the political climate is arguably more turbulent than ever. The UK has officially left the European Union, which has left everyone in a “transition” period but not everyone really knows what it means, and in terms of education, it’s putting off some EU students from choosing the UK to study.
Within the last 15 years, social media has completely infiltrated our lives – both personally and professionally. From a business perspective, it could be argued that Twitter is the most effective platform to engage with.
It’s no secret that the public relations industry has a challenge when it comes to communicating how it directly impacts the bottom-line. But what if you, the client, could maximise your return from the work your PR agency does for you?
2019 was another fantastic year for the BlueSky Education PR team. Here are some of the highlights.
What are the results of PR efforts for universities? If you are investing money in a service or product, you will want to know whether the investment is worth the time and money. For example, if you’re investing a lot of money in a house, it will only be worth it if the house increases in value. The results of this type of investment is easy to see – an increase in value means it was a good investment.
Worthwhile investments must offer a return. Whether it is in a specific stock you have a hunch about, funding a business you like the idea of, or purchasing a property – you are always looking for results from that investment. But, in most of these, you are easily able to quantify whether your risk paid off, through stats and figures – did the stock you invested in go up? Did the company you invest in increase its value? Did the price of your house increase? Investing in public relations, however, can be a little more difficult to quantify in terms of return on investment.
With the start of the New Year comes people’s New Year’s resolutions, whether that’s getting fit for the summer, being better with your money, or spending less time watching Netflix.
Having a strong PR and marketing campaign is absolutely vital to success in business education. Universities and schools alike need to be able shape their brand to the world in order to compete on the global stage of the education sector.
Science press aims to provide coverage on current scientific research and findings which are often especially relevant to current news and trends, from increasing natural disasters and climate change to public health and the psychology of modern life; there are always scientific topics out there that the public love to read about. A widespread discipline, science press can specialise in different areas such as biology, chemistry, health, sustainability, and medicine, just to name a few.
Political press is a broad branch of journalism, and every day we are infiltrated with political news – in print, on the TV, radio, and of course our digital devices. Indeed, the variety of political media outlets and publications reflect the huge variation of political opinion across the globe.
Financial news outlets attract some of the biggest readerships and are amongst some of the most well respected in the world, with the Financial Times, Bloomberg, The Economist and Reuters amongst some of the most popular.
Human resources is an interesting topic. However, many may feel they can’t relate to the role of a HR Director, or that HR decisions have no impact on them – but, this is not the case. Every single company in the world has to have a HR professional, or at least have to make decisions that would fall under the HR function.
Technology is a massive topic, in the last decade it has moved from the fringes to mainstream media. This is because it has increasingly become integrated in businesses and industries so the media has had to adapt to the changing landscape. However, because tech is so popular in the media it can be very difficult to get coverage.
Nowadays, achieving coverage for your business school or university is a challenge to say the least.
PR features in a lot of movies and TV shows, albeit in a dramatized and sometimes inaccurate way; Scandal, Sex and the City, and House of Cards all portraying various aspects of PR in a way that shapes what the general public think PR actually is. In fact, when I tell my friends that I work in Public Relations and what that involves, I am often met with responses similar to the following:
You may have seen an interesting research study hit the headlines last week. Researchers from the University of Sussex released findings from a study into out-of-work hour e-mails, which suggested that banning staff from accessing their work emails outside office hours could actually do more harm than good to employee well-being. These findings, of course, featured heavily in the press, sparking huge debate not only in the comments section of the Daily Mail (what doesn’t?), but on social media and, I imagine, many workplaces – whether they be open-plan, virtual, remote or co-working.
There’s an old saying: "Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for” (Helen Woodward, 1938). I couldn’t agree more.
During my time at BlueSky PR, I have really noticed how much public relations and journalism link, a lot of the skills I learnt as a journalist translate into PR. The ability to write, how to use social media, how to interview someone, even my shorthand has come in handy. But one skill I’ve found to be really beneficial is having news sense.
Our Prime Minister, (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Boris Johnson, has had a challenging few weeks to say the least. He’s currently engulfed in a PR nightmare for the ages, and every day the situation for poor Boris seems to get worse. However, I don’t really feel sorry for him, as he’s brought it all on himself. He has successfully become one of the most divisive political figures of the last 30 years, and he’s only been in office since the end of July.
Life is busy, and it’s very easy to come into work and go about your daily routine, Monday to Friday, sitting at the comfort of your desk. Drafting press releases, writing articles, and sifting through the vast amount of emails you may receive every day is time consuming, and it’s therefore understandable why you may ignore an invitation to a conference or networking event.
The media is constantly changing as a result of digitalisation. The internet has become the go-to news platform, meaning getting news is quicker and easier than ever. As a result, journalists are now busier than before, so as a PR professional it’s even harder to get a response. The relationship between journalists and PR professionals is key to being successful in PR, our job is to get results and the only way this works is if journalists cooperate with us.
You have finally written the perfect pitch; catchy headline, fascinating content, and sent it out to a plethora of relevant journalists. Then, a journalist responds, interested in featuring a piece from your client. But what do you do next?
Producing innovative and influential academic research is one of the best ways a business school can make itself stand out in a crowded market. In fact, academic research is now so important to a business school’s brand that leading business education news site, Poets & Quants, recently created a new ranking selecting the top 100 business schools for academic research in the world. And it’s no surprise that globally known brands, such as Harvard, Wharton and NYU Stern, finished at the top for academic research too. It’s clear that both a strong brand and strong, impactful academic research go hand in hand in the business school world.
One of Europe’s largest countries, Germany is located in north-central Europe and has a population of more than 80 million people. At its spiritual heart is the capital city of Berlin – just one of the draws which bring millions of visitors to the country each year. And it’s a country known for its people’s devotion to hard work, who place a high value on leisure, culture and a free press, and enjoy the benefits of life in a liberal democracy that has become ever more integrated with and central to a united Europe.
The UK has a vast media landscape With a population of over 66 million, and over 100 daily and 450 non-daily newspapers, the UK is a nation of avid media consumers. Dating back to the 1620’s, the UK press has extensive history, and continues to be one of the most respected, diverse, and widely read national press across the globe.
The Republic of Ireland occupies 26 of the 32 counties which make up Ireland, Europe’s second-largest island, with one-third of the country’s entire population residing in the greater Dublin area. Although it shares an island and a border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, it is not itself a part of the UK. Therefore, the Republic of Ireland has its own unique media landscape with a massively developing technology and business sector, making the Emerald Isle an up and coming destination for many international higher education students.
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.
France is at the heart of Western Europe. Historically and culturally among the most important nations in the Western world, France has played a significant role in international affairs, with former colonies in every corner of the globe, and remains one of the world’s leading industrial powers. It’s home to around 66 million people that support the EU's second largest economy and enjoy reading some of the world’s most respected media publications.
India is the second most populated country in the world. It has an astounding diversity of religions, languages and cultures. Along with this, India has a flourishing media scene, with thousands of outlets operating in multiple languages. The mainstream media has more freedom that even before. The use of social media has grown exponentially with the increase in availability of technology. As a result, the media industry in India has expanded tremendously, so now is the time to focus on public relations and secure some great coverage.
China is home to an estimated 1.3 Billion people, is the world’s second largest economy and has one of the one of the largest media markets in the world. Unsurprisingly, being able to tap into it is a highly appealing prospect for any higher education institution.
It’s been a nightmare month for Heck sausages. PR doesn’t get much worse than having #boycott[insertyourproductname] trend on Twitter, which is exactly what happened in the UK following a controversial decision by the Heck marketing team.
The BlueSky Education team have just returned from another fantastic MaKi business media conference, and as always, we were delighted to sponsor the event!
Public image and politics have always gone hand in hand. Think JFK ensuring he looked as sharp as possible in the 1960 presidential TV debates in which he overwhelming beat his opposition, Richard Nixon. Think Margaret Thatcher before her election in 1979, taking lessons with a speech coach to help lower her pitch and develop a calm, authoritative tone. Think Tony Blair, in 1994, hiring Alistair Campbellas his press secretary and spokesperson for the Labour party. All of these are examples of politicians taking steps to try and shape and control their own public image.
Ghost writing is a delicate balancing act. A great ghost writer must master the ability to capture the voice of their subject, without losing their own. Here at BlueSky, we regularly have the privilege of ghost writing for our clients. From high-powered alumni short of time, to brilliant professors lacking the English fluency to do their research justice; we’re never without plenty of engaging articles to produce.