Latest > Unlocking the power of PR for the education sector

2nd Oct 2023

4 min read

Unlocking the power of PR for the education sector

In any business, public relations plays a crucial role in enhancing brand visibility and creating positive brand awareness. The field of education is no exception, as Early Years settings, schools, universities and educational organisations can greatly benefit from PR support. In today’s online society, where scrutiny is rife, educational organisations are more in need of PR than ever before, to showcase their values and ensure their ethos shines through to prospective students, parents/ carers and stakeholders.

So, exactly what role can PR play in the education sector and why is it so important? Let’s dive in and explore the role of PR in the industry and its evolving nature.

Building and maintaining brand awareness
It comes as no surprise that the education sector can significantly benefit from effective PR strategies, allowing establishments to gain increased visibility and promote their brand positively through both traditional and digital channels. For many education institutions, positive PR has become a necessity to maintain a favourable reputation in society.

According to the PRCA, one of our leading industry bodies, PR is ‘‘all about the way organisations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and build a positive reputation and public image’. While the profession encompasses various skill sets, using the PRCA’s definition, the underlying importance of all PR activities is to cultivate and uphold a positive brand and public image.

Key PR audiences in the education sector include alumni, students, prospective students, faculty and staff, government entities and the public. Effective communication should appeal to and engage each audience segment, contributing to the establishment’s reputation. Strong storytelling helps to highlight significant achievements and successes and forms the foundation of positive PR, generating community interest and expanding geographic reach.

However, brand awareness goes further than merely creating a positive image. Instead, it involves building relationships and harnessing them for future success. For example, by creating and maintaining regional interest within the local community and attracting the attention of regional journalists, educational institutions can establish effective communication channels that build trust and credibility.

PR isn’t only important when showcasing a school’s highlights; it is also vital in mitigating crisis situations. Without positive and proactive PR, it can be more challenging for organisations to avoid and navigate crisis situations. During any crisis, PR serves as an effective tool for minimising negative chatter and managing positive messaging, supporting local awareness, and mitigating any damaging after-effects.

Utilising the power of digital and social media platforms for education PR
In our digital world, PR can play a pivotal role in the progression of any company through social media and digital platforms; from maintaining a strong and up-to-date website platform to a constant and engaging stream of social media content. Unlike traditional media relations, social media allows organisations to create short-form, punchy content that targets specific audiences directly. By integrating media relations and social media, any organisation can create a well-rounded and strong brand image.

Additionally, social media offers an approachable platform, allowing organisations to develop positive relationships with key target audiences, and encouraging two-way communication for stakeholder analysis and support.

With social interactions occurring daily on media platforms, social channels are a great way of measuring and analysing a school’s success. Monitoring social interactions can help a school or academy trust to outline its areas of weakness and its successes, understand who is engaging with its content and compare this information to its target audience.

As PR evolves to incorporate a greater range of digital offerings, more personalised content like blogs or company e-newsletters, it allows for more direct communication with parents, students, and stakeholders. Great PR can ensure an educational establishment has a presence everywhere – from social media platforms to local community newsletters, offering visibility both locally and beyond. With digital advancements, PR is no longer limited to long-form written content, instead, it’s all about creating varied, captivating and engaging content tailored to appeal to key demographics – something that is particularly vital within universities looking to capture a wide pool of students.

The combination of media relations, social media and digital PR is key to the success of an educational establishment and can only be harnessed through effective PR strategies. Ensuring an organisation can maintain a positive relationship with its key stakeholders and existing and prospective families is the key to supporting its longevity and success.

Do you need help with PR for your school, schools group or academy trust? We specialise in results-driven PR campaigns and targeted communications in both the private and public education sectors. We’ve worked with a range of education providers across the UK, including Forfar Education and Worksop College. Contact us now to find out more.

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Written by

Polly Donaldson

Polly is a focussed and conscientious member of the Eden team, committed to developing her ideas for both the company and her account teams. With true Yorkshire grit, Polly has a constant desire to wow her clients, tackling every new challenge head on.

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