Education PR: What Journalists really want to know

The key to a great press campaign lies in knowing what journalists are really looking for in a news story. So before you start pitching your next campaign, take a few minutes to discover what journalists really want to hear.

Research & relevance

If you really want to understand what will interest the journalist and their readers, invest some time in looking at their output. Which issues do they seem most concerned about? It can be tempting to pitch every story to as many journalists as possible, but this is rarely a good idea. Sending irrelevant press releases to a journalist is more likely to damage your relationship with them than to help you build a strong connection. So, pitch to the journalists who you think are most likely to find your story relevant to their audience.

News hooks

A news hook is what makes your story relevant and is why a journalist may want to cover it. Start by asking yourself the question, 'so what?’ and focus on why your story is important today. For example, what will happen if everyone ignores your latest research? What impact will this have? When you pitch make sure your hook is summarised in the subject line of an email and reiterated in the first line of the email. Click here for more tips on how to create a good news story.

Good timing

It’s not a secret that journalists are busy people. To maximise your chances of reaching them on the phone, avoid calling radio or TV journalists when their show is on air, and don’t call weekly on monthly publications on their press day (that’s the day they put the publication to bed).

Facts and evidence

‘Fake news’ is a real concern amongst journalists and readers these days and for good reason. The increased awareness makes people more sceptical about the news that they consume and for this reason, journalists will want to know that the information you’re providing is accurate. Double-check any facts and figures that you’re sharing and make sure you can defend every point in your press release.

A press release

According to Cision’s 2018 ‘Global State of the Media’ study, when it comes to valuable content, reporters and editors still trust a press release most. 63% of those involved in the study said that news and announcements are the two key things that they want from their PR contacts. Click here for more advice on how to pitch your story.

Data and expert sources

Try to be as helpful as you can by providing additional information relating to your story. If you can help a journalist with researching their stories, they are more likely to see you as an asset and may even start to reach out to you for support or comment in the future.

Video and audio

Including audio and video in your pitch can increase the likelihood of your story being published. Stories with additional multimedia assets are often more popular amongst readers and these assets also save the journalist from having to source additional content.

Links to awareness days

Pitching your story on the relevant awareness day is a great idea but you need to have a good story. Make sure that the awareness day is relevant to the journalist’s audience and ensure that you have something good to hook to the day. If you’re looking for a list of education-specific awareness days, our up-to-date calendar is a good place to start.

Finally, the best way to pitch your story is to put yourself in the shoes of the journalist. What would you do if you were writing a news story based on some new research, working on a package for a TV news piece or developing ideas for a feature in a monthly magazine? What would interest others? Thinking like a journalist is the best way to put together a pitch that will succeed in getting attention.


TDT analysis shows CPD spend has fallen by £23.2 million

I’m very proud to be a Trustee of the Teacher Development Trust (TDT). Earlier this month the Trust released the results of new analysis they conducted into schools’ Continued Professional Development (CPD) budgets. The analysis was undertaken by school data specialists School Dash.

The report, which includes schools across the UK, shows that spending on CPD has fallen by £23.2 million in 12 months, with spending falling by 12% in secondary schools and 7% for primary schools.

These results come after the National Foundation for Educational Research voiced concerns about the value of CPD, especially for newly trained teachers starting in the classroom.

TDT’s Chief Executive, David Weston, has warned that funding constraints are to blame for the huge drop in spending on CPD, although it has also been suggested that more schools and trusts are choosing to train staff in-house as a most cost-effective alternative.

You can read the full report here and it’s also been reported in Schools Week and The Independent.


How to secure PR during Bett 2019: our tips

Bett starts tomorrow and if you’re exhibiting at the event, we hope you’re feeling prepared and ready to make the most of your presence. Generating PR during the event is a great way to promote your presence and ensure your potential customers know about you. Read on for our top tips for creating a PR buzz during Bett 2019.

Make contact with journalists

Keep tabs on the journalists that are attending and formulate a plan to engage with them. One way is to keep an eye on their Twitter streams. They may well Tweet when they are at Bett, giving you an opportunity to reach out to them.

Connect with the event organisers

Brief the show organisers about what you are doing that’s newsworthy each day. WithPR is the PR agency handling all media at BETT, so get in touch and ask them which journalists they are expecting to attend and on which day.

TV opportunities

Wednesday is generally the day when broadcast media attend Bett. TV needs to have something interesting to film. If you're showcasing something eye-catching, a well-known expert is attending your stand, or there are some school children trying out your tech, this could appeal to TV journalists. Get in touch with the press office and find out when they expect any TV crews and what you can offer.

Consider ways to attract attention

Prepare a few things that will draw attention to your stand and provide film or photo opportunities. These could include hands-on demos, audience participation, eye-catching guest visitors or VIPs.

Be opportunistic!

Don’t be shy! If you spot a journalist or blogger, say hello! Badges will usually make it clear if someone is a journalist. Ask them who they report for and what they’re interested in, then think about whether you can help them. If not, you could try and suggest a fellow exhibitor.

Review the speaker schedule

Journalists are often co-opted to chair panels. Check the speaker line up to see if anyone is listed. If a journalist is chairing the session, ask a question, and sit right at the front so you can have a quick chat with them at the end of the session.

Prepare some print materials

Don’t underestimate the value of flyers and business cards. They can be a great way to remind a journalist of your product or initiative after the event, so don’t be afraid to hand them out.

Finally, good luck with Bett 2019! We look forward to seeing you there. If you’d like to meet up, please give me a call on +44 (0)7813 938 020 or you can email me.


Dates for your diary: 2019 Awareness Days for Education Specialists

Awareness days can be a great way to connect with people with similar interests and reach out to a relevant audience. We’ve compiled an always up-to-date calendar of some of the most relevant awareness days for those involved in teaching and education. These are key days that those in education are likely to engage and are a good way to reach and engage your target audience.

We’ll keep this calendar updated throughout the year. Simply save this link to your bookmarks and you can take a look at it whenever you like. Click here to view it. Please let us know if you’d like to suggest an event for inclusion.

How to make the most of awareness days: Our top tips on how to join or start a conversation.

Focus on the awareness days that link best with what you do

Pick a few awareness days that link best with what you do and think carefully about how you are going to start or join the online conversation on that day. Make sure that there’s a clear link between what you do and the particular awareness day.

Don’t just try to sell your product or service. Think about how you can join the conversation and what you can add to it.

Avoid direct selling instead think about how you can add to the debate and, through this, promote your brand. Some ideas are:

  • Create a piece of useful content, such as a guide or article, that helps people to understand the importance of the awareness day
  • Offer your solution to an issue that the awareness day promotes and ask for people’s opinions
  • Share case studies that are relevant to the awareness day it’s fine for these to talk about your product or service, as long as they add to the conversation
  • Ask people to share their recommendations. For example on World Book Day, you could encourage your followers to share a photo of their favourite book

Whatever your link, make sure that you are inspiring people to respond and engage with you.

Plan ahead

Making the most of an awareness day needs planning. Think about the marketing materials you’ll need, so you don’t miss out. Plan how you will use all your channels in the run-up to the day and during the day. You can schedule tweets, Facebook posts and emails in advance to give more time on the day to encouraging engagement and responding to comments.

Use them to secure media coverage

Awareness days can provide a great hook for a news story. They help to answer a journalist’s common question; ‘why is this relevant now?’. An awareness day also connects your news to a larger national dialogue. Many journalists will be looking for stories on these topics to coincide with the day, but make sure you speak to them ahead of the day to have the best chance of securing coverage

Use hashtags

Make a note of the hashtags for each awareness day and include them on any social media posts. This means that you’ll appear in the feed of anyone who is following that hashtag

Be present, be reactive

Once you’ve sparked a conversation, the key is to keep it going. Try to set aside time throughout the day to respond to or share any comments.


Exhibiting at Bett 2019? Download our practical guide to securing PR

Bett 2019 is just around the corner and if you’re exhibiting at the show, you’ve already made a major investment. So how do you ensure it delivers everything you hope? With more than 40,000 people visiting the show you need a plan if you’re to maximise your investment and reach the right people who will be interested in what you have to offer. The good news is that there's still time to generate some brilliant PR before, during and after the event.

You can start by downloading our popular Bett 2019 Guide which is packed full of practical advice and tips.

If you'd like more support, then get in touch with the experts and let us help you plan and deliver a campaign that will get your voice heard.

Call us on 07813 938020 or email anna@pedrozacommunications.co.uk

 


bett show

The Bett Show: 5 ways to secure brilliant PR

The Bett Show is the biggest education technology show in the world. More than 40,000 people visit the show and hundreds of companies, organisations and governments exhibit each year. Whether your priority is generating new leads, closing sales, or building new partnerships, check out our top tips for getting the right people to visit your stand.

For a more detailed guide to securing brilliant PR before, during and after the Bett Show, click here to view and download our Bett 2019 Guide. 

Plan ahead

Get your Bett marketing plan in place well in advance of the event. In the run-up to Bett, many education publications produce previews featuring highlights of what’s happening at the event. There’s only a little while left and competition to be featured is fierce, so this a priority and you won’t regret it!

Identify your target audience

To get the right people talking about you, it’s essential to identify who you want to reach and what you want to tell them. Are they secondary teachers, primary head teachers, or ICT coordinators? Be clear whom you want to target.

Research your media list

There are thousands of media outlets, so do your research to understand your target audience. Talk to your existing customers and find out what they read, watch, and engage with when they are in ‘work mode’. You can check out some of our favourite Primary Education Publications for inspiration.

Create a newsworthy story

Journalists and bloggers need to have something that’s new, timely and relevant to write about. How can you create something that will grab their attention? Think about what is most newsworthy, what will appeal to the audience, and help to set you apart.

Pitch your story

It is worthwhile preparing a press release about your news, but pitching a story to a journalist is much more than simply emailing them your press release. Our Bett 2019 Guide is packed with practical tips on how to structure and send your press release.

There are plenty more ways that we can help you to make the most of Bett 2019. For more detailed information and tips, download our full Bett 2019 Guide. You can also get in touch and let us help you plan and deliver a campaign that will get your voice heard. Good luck with Bett 2019!


Tips to help you network more effectively

We advise a lot of our clients on how to raise their profile by attending events. As a result of this, one topic that I am often asked about is networking. In fact, the funny thing is that so many clients ask me how they can improve their networking skills, yet each one feels that they’re completely alone in their struggle. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Many people feel nervous, apprehensive or plain horrified at the prospect of attending a networking event. It is easy to forget that when you walk into the room, everyone else there is in the same boat. The good news is that there are steps that you can take to make networking easier and even (gasp!) enjoyable. Read on for my top tips for networking more effectively.

Get your pitch clear

Before you attend the event, get your pitch clear. You can even try rehearsing it aloud, to get yourself used to communicating what it is that you do. Remember to focus on the ways that you help your clients and customers. Once you are confident in pitching, you can also start to tailor your pitch to whoever you’re speaking to, making them more likely to request your services.

Arrive early

Walk into a busy room can be intimidating, especially when it seems that everyone is already talking to each other. Arrive first and you’ll get the chance to speak to whoever comes through the door next. Arriving early is also a good approach if you want to catch the organiser or a speaker before everyone else does!

Divide and rule

It can be reassuring to attend a networking event with a business colleague or friend, but remember, it is best to plough your own furrow. Avoid standing in a corner and talking shop. This will deter potential contacts from approaching you. Be brave! Split up and get stuck in.

Quality over quantity

A networking event isn’t a race to collect as many business cards as possible. Although it might be tempting, one or two really good connections will be more beneficial. Don’t be in a rush to move around the room. Take your time and make sure you are fully engaged with whoever you’re talking to. If they get the sense that you’re itching to move on, they won’t feel valued.

Listen

An easy way to shift the focus from yourself (and calm your nerves!) is to make the conversation about the person with whom you’re speaking. Ask them about their challenges and really listen to what they tell you. The best way to actively listen is by maintaining eye contact, so don’t be tempted to look over their shoulder at who else is in the room. By really listening to the person you’re speaking to, you’ll show that you care and it helps you to stand out from those talking about themselves.

Ask open questions

Asking open questions will help you to keep the conversation flowing. Open questions are more thought-provoking and should lead to a more engaging conversation. You could ask some of the following:

  • What products or services does your company offer?
  • Who are your clients?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How is the sector changing?

Wrap things up the right way

Of course, there will be times when you’re ready to leave a conversation. Don’t be afraid to move on but remember, the way that you say goodbye is important. Keep your farewell polite, genuine and warm by saying something along the lines of ‘It has been great to meet you. I’d better do the rounds and meet a few more people before the evening is over.’ Don’t forget to leave your business card!

Don’t be afraid of small talk

Remember it is perfectly fine to just have a chat! If it seems like the person you’re speaking to has no inclination to talk about business, don’t view it as a lost opportunity. You can still make an impact by finding some common ground or just making them laugh. And give them a business card so that you can follow up another time.

Finally, be human

People don’t attend a networking event to connect with a walking CV. The best way that you can make an impact is by having an honest connection with the people you’re talking to. Stop thinking too much about what you’re going to say, how you look, or what others might be thinking. Just being your true, self will help you to build a connection.

So remember, when you’re attending a networking event, you’re not the only person who is feeling nervous. Networking is a set of skills that anyone can learn. Good networks are built on good relationships first and foremost. Keep this in mind every time you approach a new networking opportunity and remember; the person next to you could just be your new favourite client.

If you have any questions, or you'd like to know more about how networking could benefit you and your organisation, get in touch.


CIPR Education Journalism Awards: The Lowdown

We were delighted to attend the CIPR Education Journalism Awards on 22 November 2018 in London. The awards have been taking place since 2005, powered completely by volunteer effort from the CIPR’s Education & Skills group. The group was founded to support PR and communications professionals working in the sector.

It is rare for education journalists to gather in such a concentration, so it was wonderful to be there to meet and congratulate all those that were shortlisted, runners-up and winners.

Here’s the lowdown…

Most promising newcomer to education journalism

Winner - Pippa Allen-Kinross, FE Week and Schools Week

Runner-up - Kerrie Kennedy, The PIE News

Outstanding schools journalism

Winner - Sarah Montague, BBC Radio 4 World at One

Runner-up – Charlotte Santry, TES

Outstanding further and vocational education journalism

Winner - Julia Belgutay, TES

Runner-up - Billy Camden, FE Week

Outstanding higher education journalism

Winner – John Morgan, THE

Runner-up – Tom Bartlett & Nell Gluckman, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Outstanding regional journalism

Winner – Emma Seith, TES Scotland

Runner-up - Helen Steel, ITV Calendar News

Outstanding national education journalism

Winner – Louise Tickle, The Guardian

Runner-up – Jon Severs, TES

TED Wragg award for outstanding contribution to education journalism

Judy Friedberg, The Guardian

As specialists in education PR, it is this group of journalists that we engage with the most. We really appreciate the work they do, in reporting and investigating education. The amount of time that the media devotes to education has decreased in the last few years, so congratualtions to this trusty group of journalists that write daily about the subject closest to our hearts. You help to hold to account education institutions, government officials, politicians and the myriad of other organisations involved in education. Bravo!

 


Education PR – 5 tips to securing coverage

We continue in our mission to support organisations in the education sector by giving you our top tips to securing broadcast TV and radio coverage for your event, brand or product.

Securing broadcast radio or TV coverage is one of the best ways to reach the hearts and minds of a large consumer audience. Without the support of an education PR professional, you might think that a TV interview or radio spot is out of reach. While securing that all-important feature can be a challenge, it certainly isn’t impossible. Whether you’re a small start up or a global business, there are things you can do to help your pitch get to the top of the pile.

Read on for 5 ways to improve your chances of securing broadcast coverage for your brand, event or product.

1. What’s the story?

An engaging story is the most important part of your pitch. Your story needs to tell people something new and it needs to be relevant right now. It should spark interest and drive conversation. Test your story out on your friends and colleagues. Are they engaged? Do they want to know more? If your story gets them talking, then you’re on to a winner!

2. Make it snappy

Keep your pitch short and snappy. If you can’t deliver your story in one line, go back to the drawing board. Focus on the most important parts of your story – what makes it new, relevant and interesting? If you can give your journalist a strong headline, they’re more likely to keep on reading.

3. Think about the visuals

If you’re pitching for a TV spot, you need to offer a visual element, something they can film! In education PR we’re lucky because often stories involve children and young people doing things which can be really engaging footage. Schools, colleges and universities can be great for filming locations as well. Always explain what you can offer in your pitch.

4. Choose your target

Make sure you are targeting the right media outlet for your story. Is your story of regional or national interest? Is your story more suited to radio or TV (or both)? Is there a journalist with a specific interest in the education sector or something linked to your story? Invest time in targeting the right people and media outlets and you’ll improve your chances of getting their attention.

5. Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste!

There is nothing worse than securing a news story, only to discover that the presenter or programme fails to mention key details about your organisation and campaign. Put forward a strong spokesperson and brief them thoroughly to ensure they deliver the key message, no matter what!

And there you have it. Pitching to secure broadcast coverage is a challenge but following these 5 tips will help you stand out from the competition. Good luck!

To discuss the ways that we can help you get greater value from your education PR campaign, please give me a call on +44 (0)7813 938 020 or drop me an email.

 


education pr

Education PR: building relationships

In September 2018 we were invited to speak at the brilliant EdTech Podcast Festival and we talked about education PR and the importance of relationships for the EdTech sector. It was a great session and sparked discussion about what it means to build relationships in PR, why they’re important, and, in particular, how to develop them with journalists.

As an education PR agency, we live and breathe PR relationships every day; they are the bedrock of successful communications. When you want to secure PR coverage, a good relationship could be all you need to get the attention of a journalist. Read on to find out how to start building relationships with journalists.

Give a little

When you’re pitching a story, you will come up against plenty of competition. There’s always plenty of news competing to fill the column inches (Brexit, anyone?!). Before focusing on what you want from your target journalist, improve your chances by thinking about how you can help them.

You can start by following your target journalists on social media. Add them to a favourites list so you can keep an eye on what they’re up to and click, comment and share their stories. (In the digital newsroom, social sharing is the currency of whether a story is a success or not.) Keeping up-to-date with their activity will also help you get to know more about what interests them. Remember, the number one request from journalists to PRs is ‘send me stories that are relevant’.

You can also help them with contacts and case studies. Journalists regularly get in touch with us when they need to find an industry expert or a teacher for a quote and we always try to help. Let them know that you’re active and connected within your industry and it will pay off.

Get a meeting

These days it is a real struggle to prise journalists from their desks. If they’re going to make the time to meet you, they need to be really interested in a story. So how can you get that face-to-face meeting? One option that sometimes works is to offer to come to them. Alternatively, perhaps your target journalist is on the panel at a forthcoming education event (you’ll know if you’re following them on Twitter!). If they are, attend the session, sit right at the front on a side and ask a question. This gives you a great reason to follow up afterwards.

Ask their advice

When you’re planning your education PR campaign, call up a journalist or send an email to ask them what they think. Remember that journalists are very busy, so keep it short and be prepared for no response but if you do hear from them, they could provide some very useful insight.

Think beyond journalists

One of the things that makes Pedroza Comms a leading education PR agency is the relationships that we have built. But these aren’t restricted to journalists. We’ve built relationships with stakeholders, influencers and passionate teachers, all with valuable channels to teachers and others in education. So don’t stop at journalists, think about all the people and organisations that reach and influence your target audience and build links with them.

Summary of the benefits of relationship-led education PR

Relationship-led PR requires time and effort. But, if you invest your time in to building valuable relationships before you start firing off press releases, you’re sure to find more success in the long-term.

Relationship-led PR gives you access to people that can help and advise you. Forming real relationships can also be incredibly valuable if you need to deal quickly with any negative news stories. You’ll find it easier if you’re speaking to journalists who know you. Building those relationships now, puts you in a stronger competitive position for the future. Plus, who doesn’t want new friends?!

If you’d like to know how we can help you to build or strengthen your PR relationships, get in touch.