Developing a PR strategy for rankings

Barely a month goes by without a media league table of the world’s top universities and business schools. From the FT World University Rankings to the QS World University Rankings; from the Forbes MBA ranking to the FT Masters in Management, and the Executive MBA rankings. So, have you developed your PR strategy for rankings?


With so many rankings on offer, including the many national rankings that business schools and universities also face, the PR office is under increasing pressure to intelligently navigate this media minefield.  Deans and Vice-chancellors, faculty and coms staff, students and alumni are among the stakeholders that expect you to share the news of rankings success, and produce a solid defence when things go the other way.


So what should your rankings PR strategy be?  BlueSky Education works with many international universities and business schools to develop a coherent and sustainable approach to the rankings.  Some of the ideas for you to consider:

  • Define your battlefields – understand the methodologies and where you’re likely to do well
  • Drill down to the details to identify your strengths – perhaps you’ve performed well in a particular area included in the FT, Economist or BusinessWeek league table
  • Press release or no? – what goes up has every chance of coming back down
  • Opportunities for editorial coverage – think in advance about relevant news, profiles and opinions
  • When PR can influence reputation and citation – the academic community is not immune to the influence of the media


For good or bad, rankings are now a firmly established part of the higher education landscape, and the communications department can play a key role in managing the outcomes.  Of course, if your school is in a rankings free fall that is a conversation that requires further assessment, so feel free to reach out to us to discuss one-on-one.


For the full article on developing a PR strategy for rankings, download issue 1.3 of Wildfire – Media Insights for BizEd.




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