The Situation: To assist a state education department in creating standards to promote student understanding of Internet safety, our client was selected as a partner to develop an online curriculum covering several safety issues. Our client needed to publicize the new, standards-based curriculum through a public relations campaign that targeted state educators and reporters.
The Results: C. Blohm & Associates scheduled a successful press conference, generated nearly 50 news items and filled to capacity the program’s pilot phase, and created remarkable excitement for the new program.
Making the Internet a Safe Place for Kids
When a state Department of Education (DOE) expanded its standards to mandate Internet safety education, the agency needed a partner to engage and teach its local students effectively.
Our client was selected to develop an online curriculum with the state DOE covering Internet safety, cyber-bullying and other related issues. Through this partnership, an engaging, high-quality instructional resource was created, suitable for lower and upper elementary grades, to help administrators, educators and parents teach students how to safely interact on the web.
With the partnership in place, our client needed to strengthen its relationship with the stage agency by publicizing the collaboration, allowing both to generate goodwill among educators for the pursuit of a socially responsible and educationally significant program. A successful public relations campaign also would drive sales of the client’s products by drawing media attention.
The CB&A Strategy
Our firm worked with the client and the state DOE to publicize the new standards-based curriculum. The strategy was to apprise educators in the state of the new Internet safety materials by generating media coverage.
A media event was scheduled for the first day of the state’s educational technology leadership conference. The state agency’s educational technology director and our client’s senior manager of educational content were designated as hosts.
A media advisory was distributed to all major media outlets in the state, particularly in the state’s capitol, where the event was to be held. The advisory invited reporters to the media event, and offered them on-site interviews, photos and video access to use in their news stories. A joint news release was prepared and distributed to education trade and major media outlets within the state.
Additionally, an Internet safety fact sheet was created for the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC), providing essential information about the topic to education trade media and industry influencers in attendance. The document included statistics that illustrated the importance of safe Internet habits, and pointers for teachers, including lesson topics and information for parents.
The event proved a remarkable success.
Several local major media outlets attended the news conference, hearing a presentation about the Internet safety curriculum and resources. Within the next week, the news releases and media event generated nearly 50 news items in print and online publications, blogs, newsletters, broadcast outlets throughout the state, and the education trade press.
Staff education officials had hoped for 4,000 enrolled students in the initial pilot-testing phase for the new lessons, but the public relations campaign generated enough excitement for the program to reach the maximum capacity of 25,000 students.
Numerous media outlets, from coast to coast, covered the story. Publications in a variety of states picked up the release and published information on the partnership and new curriculum, producing 5.6 million cumulative impressions.
Building on the launch event’s success, CB&A distributed a second news release highlighting the features of the Internet safety lessons now available to educators nationwide. The release was distributed to the education trade media during FETC.
Several in-booth meetings with the education media were conducted during FETC to highlight our client’s new lessons and successful collaboration with the state DOE.
As a result, a leading education trade publication commissioned two articles, one on the partnership from an administrator’s perspective, and another on the new curriculum from the perspective of a classroom teacher.
The campaign generated awareness of the leadership provided by the state and our client regarding Internet safety, and of the availability of the new lessons program, among top education officials, teachers, parents and industry influencers across the nation.