Habits of the PR-savvy education professional
During the pandemic, we saw a rise in educational leaders who were interviewed on media platforms in response to the education crisis. This is likely to continue because of the ongoing impact the pandemic has on pupils’ learning, plus there will always be opportunities to contribute to wider conversations around education. If you want to increase your chances of securing media coverage and turning that into something consistent and sustainable, there are simple steps you can take which will make a big difference. Read on for five easy ways to up your PR game…
- Read your local/regional and trade publications
In addition to your regular news intake, reading and listening to your local, regional and education media is the starting point for sharpening your PR nous. If you regularly read The Times Educational Supplement (TES), Education Today or Nursery World, for example, you’ll feel much more comfortable about pursuing coverage in these titles. The awareness of the editorial style and features could give you story ideas, angles, or possible hooks, as well as keep you updated. You’ll also become familiar with the writers you may want to contact in the future. This is also true for your local and regional media.
- Follow journalists on Twitter
Following journalists on Twitter is one of the quickest and easiest ways to see what they’re up to, what they’re interested in, and what they’re writing about. Follow #journorequest too so you can keep up to date with the hot topics of today and headlines of tomorrow. While you’re on Twitter, make sure you contribute too. Engage in conversation with others, share thoughts and be useful. Raising your social media profile will increase your chances of becoming noticed by media professionals.
“If you know you’re doing something big in six months’ time and it’s media-worthy – eg new building extensions, a new arts facility, restructuring your management team or a major charity event – create a PR plan.”
3. Build relationships
Do you know who covers education stories for your local and regional media? Are you aware of the editors of your industry’s trade magazines? If not, make the effort to find out. You could introduce yourself by email to kick things off (they may not always respond), and – where appropriate – arrange a short virtual introduction meeting or invite them to an event at your school or offe to give them a tour. Don’t just get in touch when you want coverage though, take the time to build relationships more organically.
- Incorporate PR into your annual planning
If you know you’re doing something big in six months’ time and it’s media-worthy, eg new building extensions, a new arts facility, restructuring your management team or a major charity event, create a PR plan. Be intentional in the same way you would be with your budgeting or marketing plans. Identify the right time to approach contacts about coverage. Most of the trade magazines are published months ahead so doing this will mean you can ‘sell’ your story in at the right time.
- Create an ‘In the media’ page on your website
When you get coverage, make sure you shout about it. Having links and references on a well-presented page on your website will definitely make your school standout.
Even following one or two of these pointers will help keep PR at the forefront of your mind, as well as increase your chances of getting good coverage for your school or nursery. To find out how we can help you with your PR, get in touch.