Results, sadly, do not speak for themselves. Make no mistake, they are still an important part of an institution’s prestige, but relying solely upon them to uphold a reputation is like constructing a one-legged chair: recline upon it at your peril.
Takeaways from Cision’s 2022 State of the Media Report As the world continues on its new path of hybrid working, entering deeper into a metaverse, our relationships are changing all around us. It’s impacting how we interact with our colleagues, our clients, and for us PR consultants – journalists.
Social media is an effective tool. Not only can you engage instantly and directly with a large amount of your customer base, but you can also shape the narrative and key messaging around your brand and have control over what is posted.
When it comes to planning your next PR campaign, you need to consider all aspects of your approach. PR is more than just media relations, it often involves all aspects of external communications and, with the increase in digital platforms to share content on, it is important that your campaigns are managed strategically.
Once upon a time, you may have heard a school of thought that PR and SEO were two different methods of promoting an organisation or website, and would always remain as such. That line of thinking has now been thrown out the window following the mass migration of media to digital platforms, leading to the birth of a new concept: SEO PR. But what is SEO PR, and how can it benefit your institution?
Would you hire a lawyer if they hadn’t passed their accreditation board exams? Would you consult with an accountant who wasn’t ACA, ACCA or CIMA accredited? Or would you seek the help from a doctor who was not approved by medical councils?
When it comes to hiring a new agency to support your business school with external engagement, the criteria can be pretty specific. After all, commissioning this agency to work with you will be an investment of sorts. The funds you allocate to paying for external PR support will inevitably be diverted from – or at least unavailable to – other initiatives or ventures.
Public relations, or PR, is all about the way organisations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and how to build a positive reputation and public image.
Student enrolment numbers for universities took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic over anxieties about a lack of face-to-face teaching. Higher education institutions looking to recover or continue to excel need to get the message out that their courses are still worthwhile investments, and as such they need a strong public relations (PR) campaign.
“Content is king.” It may seem cliché and trite, or as my colleague Kerry put it in a recent blog, ‘over-touted’, but there’s no doubt about it: in this day and age, when it comes to marcomms, content can be your school’s greatest asset… if it’s crafted well. And that’s a pretty big ‘if’. For any business school, the need for quality content has never been more desperately-felt: as a marketplace it’s never been more crowded; long gone are the days of the local or regional derby as more and more institutions seek global superstardom. This is because prospective students are no longer considering only domestic options – no, applicants have never been more willing to up-root their lives and travel in pursuit of the best provider. So, as an institution, you’re no longer competing exclusively with counterparts in your region, but competitors from all four corners of the globe. The market really is the most cut-throat that it’s ever been. And this puts all the more pressure on in-house comms teams to create engaging, appealing and, ultimately, effective content for external engagement purposes. Enter the content guru As a growing number of schools – more specifically, in-house communications staff – continue to feel the pressure to create quality content en masse, more and more are turning to professionals whose remit exclusively encompasses content-creation. But is there a need for such individuals? It’s understandable that so many schools have turned to content gurus. Having a professional on-hand whose sole task is to create the best marketing / PR content possible to support brand awareness and recruitment goals seems a smart investment. But what about broader media / external engagement? It’s all well and good hiring someone to focus exclusively on content creation if you have the budget for it – but what happens when you don’t. That’s where PRs – like me – come in. The value of hiring external PRs From content-creation to liaising with targeted journalists and outlets, external PR professionals can significantly bolster your output in terms of external engagement, acting as an extension of your institution. They also offer a wealth of expert insight and understanding of both the media – domestic, sector-specific and international – landscape as well as the broader business education market. And, while it would take others significant periods of time to look for the right publications, source media contacts, and make introductions, PR professionals come with all of this in-hand. It’s one thing being able to create effective content, it’s another getting that content in front of the right people. PRs can do both: from press releases and targeted pitches to writing copy on behalf of your school’s key spokespeople – external PRs can ensure that your institution’s stories find their way into target press. Measuring that value It shouldn’t be hard to measure the value of external PRs – in fact, it should be clear as day to see the contributions of an external agency. Through depth of knowledge, communication skills, and sheer creativity the premium content – and subsequent high-value media opportunities – should start flowing not long after their arrival. And if it doesn’t, there’s a problem. But, that’s not to say that cold, hard numbers alone are enough to truly measure the full impact of your external content creators / media experts. No, sometimes working out the value of external PR support isn’t always that simple. As my colleague, Katie, put in one of her recent blogs, “just like anything else you pay for; you want to make sure that the service you are paying for is worth it. But in the PR industry, that is often easier said than done.” It's true – schools often mis-measure the contribution of external PRs. And, in doing so, they waste money. To learn more about measuring the value of PR, check out Katie’s blog on the subject. But, in short, when looking to measure the impact of external PRs, here’s three things to think about: Are you any closer to realising your PR / Media Relations goals? Has output increased beyond levels reached prior to hiring support? Have they advanced your school’s broader strategic goals? Whether it's creating compelling content, or securing sought-after opportunities with leading publications, external PRs are able to help. Turning specifically to content-creation, if an agency is any good, it should be made up of highly-skilled communicators with a flair for taking ground-breaking but seemingly-inaccessible content and craft engaging and captivating copy to support your business school’s external relations efforts. Author: Jonny Stone
Finding yourself a marketing communications agency that works for your institution will enable you to achieve wonders when working together.
News has travelled around in one way or another throughout humanity, be that through word of mouth, messages written on stone or the more modern methods we use today.
The New Year provides the perfect time to reflect on what the past year has taught us in the world of digital PR. Whether that be understanding how it was that we were able to reach our goals or why we might have made a mistake and how we were able to rectify it, there is always a lesson to be taught through both positive and negative experiences we may have had. Real-life lessons provide a great way to help us perform better and achieve even more, and this for sure is a great resolution for the year 2022!
It may be counterintuitive, since we are a media relations company, to write a blog telling our audience why they simply shouldn’t bother engaging with the media – or employing an agency to do it for them. Sounds a bit like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, doesn’t it?
Photos are a really important part of every media opportunity. There are very few articles, press releases, or comment pieces that I have worked on that haven’t required a photo upon publication.
If you want to be a good PR person then you need an effective strategy. Working in the media is competitive and PR is often more of an art form than a sales technique. If you know how to use PR correctly, you can make your message stand out and boost your institution’s success. Here are my top 5 tips for PR professionals working in higher education to help you achieve your goals.
For as long as public relations has existed, the industry has needed to demonstrate the value of press coverage. At the end of the day, it showcases the value of the work, maintains interest in comms expertise, helps to justify investments in PR, and helps to prove it’s worth.
As many countries look to return to some sort of normality – businesses begin to reopen, workers start returning back to the office, and universities welcome students back onto campus – the media landscape is changing too. You’d be forgiven for thinking that covid-19 has completely dominated the news over the last year and a half – and you’d pretty much be right.
Business schools around the world offer a vast selection of postgraduate courses, some of which are more commonly offered amongst institutions, such as Master in Management, Master in Finance, or MBA courses, as well as some uncommon, more specialised programmes, such as a Master of Management in Energy or a Master in Auditing. One postgraduate course that is offered at many different business schools is the Executive MBA (EMBA).
Another month, another influx of pioneering research papers. But which ones are destined for the headlines? The first step to securing phenomenal press coverage for business schools and universities is to identify exactly which research, and which student or alumni success stories, are most likely to catch the media’s attention. It’s equally vital to know when material lends itself to a press release, to an opinion editorial or to interview articles.
Getting in on the conversation is a well-trodden means to gain media coverage. This piggy-back method by responding or talking about key issues on the news agenda can be highly productive. It can help to enhance reputation or credibility by showcasing a university or business school’s knowledge and expertise in fields at the centre of the news agenda.
Some brands are simply just synonymous with what they want to be known for. Apple are synonymous with leading cutting-edge technology, Tesla with cutting-edge manufacturing innovation and BlueSky Education, with unrivalled education PR knowledge 😉
Public relations agencies are, by definition, client-focused businesses. Without clients, we don’t exist. Doing great work for clients and keeping them happy is what we’re all here for, of course.
What education comms professionals need to know 2020 was a unique year to say the least, the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on everything and left people looking to the media for information to help them guide them through it.
It’s natural to expect that, over the course of time, the ways in which a university or business school operates will change. The past five years alone have been testament to just how much the world of education has evolved; the advancements in and preferences for online education over classroom-based learning for example, or the shift in curriculum focus to highlight increasingly important topics such as ethics and sustainability, all in the pursuit of providing a better, more valuable experience for students.
It goes without saying, that 2020 will go down in history for a number of reasons: the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, Trump’s response to the election and the attack on the US Capitol, just to name a few.
Thanks to the rise in digital adverts, recent surveys tell us that we see 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day – and the shocking thing is most of us don’t even notice them.
We can all learn PR lessons from events we see in the news every day. From the prime minister to football managers, the potential for negative media attention is never far away. What is important however is how your organisation responds to this media, and how you turn scrutinised blunders into something positive.
The pandemic has without a doubt made major changes to the higher education sector, changes that are likely to remain.
(Here’s a hint: the answer is YES!) When choosing where to study my own degree I didn’t just stick to reading university prospectuses and the rankings, I also took the time to look at what other people were saying about the institution and its programmes outside of what the universities chose to share. I read the stories of alumni and I took note of students who’d shared their experiences in newspapers, magazines and blogs.
2020 was a tough year for many in Executive Education. A number of organisations pressed pause on their programmes with leading business schools. Given the fact that much of in-person learning grinded to a halt, learning and development took a back seat as companies grappled with the immediate impact on their company, and many saw their own revenues fall, during the pandemic.
What is PR? As an institution, you might be interested in hiring a PR agency and wondering whether PR agencies are worth it.
How do you successfully improve your online reputation? Well, the key is to listen to what your potential students are talking about. To monitor where your competitors are appearing and to anticipate where your industry is heading. It’s about being and staying ahead of the curve.
Messaging has always been important for business schools. Whether for marketing communications, external media engagement or internal comms, how institutions frame key messages has long been crucial. This has never been truer than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Valentine’s Day wraps up, and love is in the air, it seems everyone is thinking about partnering up…
In 2017, MP Michael Gove famously said "people in this country have had enough of experts". And he may have been right at the time. In 2017, debate in the UK was fuelled around Brexit and its impact, with expertise being denounced as spreading fear and over-exaggerating. People preferred to listen to those that fit their preconceived agenda, and that they described as ‘normal people’, not experts who were often seen as stuck in their ivory towers.
Maximising the success of any institution or organisation often depends on having a winning PR strategy. Being able to impact the way in which your target audience – whether that’s stakeholders, prospective clients, and target consumers - perceive your organisation is vital to ensuring long-term success. And this doesn’t only apply to fashion brands, tech companies, or fast-food restaurants; this also applies to business schools and universities.
Many people only know what PR is from Mad Men or Sex and the City and, even then, it is a vague and often inaccurate understanding of what it really is. In fact, many people should look to better understand the real impact public relations can have for a brand or institution.
Having a winning PR strategy is vital to the broader success of any organisation, in any field, providing any service.
“Let’s do some PR for this”… A member of your faculty is hosting an event, or has published a book perhaps, or a new programme has been launched by your institution, and the request comes in… “Let’s do some PR on this.”
The early days of PR largely involved networking with journalists over the phone, face-to-face meetings, and building relationships with them in order to get companies, institutions and clients into newspapers and magazines. As such, prior to the internet, PR traditionally focused on print-based publications, TV and radio. But is it even PR now if we don’t include online media? With the growth of online marketing, the majority of PR professionals both in-house and in agencies today have shifted their focus further towards digital PR, with online publications becoming more and more influential.
You’d be forgiven for sometimes losing hope in the crazy year of 2020. Covid-19 has not only taken the lives of many of our loved ones, but also taken jobs, financial security and any form of ‘normal’ life as we know it. But there now appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Key takeaways from Cision’s 2020 State of the Media report When the novel coronavirus became a global pandemic it swiftly changed everyone’s day-to-day life, and the media was no exception. The pandemic triggered a stay-at-home policy for millions of workers and that significantly impacted media consumption. Suddenly people even had more time at home and they needed a voice of reason from academics and experts alike as the world went into turmoil. But how did journalists feel about this? How has their work changed and what do they want from PR professionals now?
For any PR professionals, one of the fundamental parts of the work is to measure the success of what we do. Just like anything else you pay for; you want to make sure that the service you are paying for is worth it. But in the PR industry, that is often easier said than done.
Recently, I was posed the question “for start-ups looking to undertake a dedicated public relations campaign what works best - hiring in-house PR experts? Or, outsourcing to agencies who specialise in PR?”.
Millions of students from across the world go into higher education each year, but with each selecting from thousands of universities and business schools around the world, it is vital that you understand what students are searching for when deciding on where to study, and how to get your school to stand out from the crowd.
Not long-ago PR and SEO were two different methods of engaging the public or stakeholders, but things have changed. Now that the media landscape has become more digital and Google has placed more of a focus on the quality and relevance of your content, as well as the quality of the site – it is so important for institutions to use both PR and SEO to promote their content even further.
When looking for information on a university, or for a specific course to study, or even for how to boil an egg, we would all probably do the same thing: Google it. Then, when we choose which website to visit, it’s probably going to be from the first page of results. The top results you see depend on the SEO ranking of the content on that site. But what exactly is SEO?
Are you wondering whether to engage in PR? Or, perhaps you’re considering reducing, or removing PR services from your institution altogether. If either of the above are true – particularly the latter – please do read on…