A strong education marketing-to-sales pipeline is paved with earned media. In order to establish brand authenticity among your buyers, you need credibility with education reporters and influencers. But how do you attract the “right” attention to your brand?
Successful media placements begin with understanding and operationalizing what differentiates your education brand from competitors. Once you understand your unique value proposition (UVP), you can make better strategic decisions about how to pitch newsworthy stories to media connections.
Here are a few tips to consider when you’re designing a pitch.
1. Offer a unique POV that underscores your differentiator
Timely and relevant education issues present an opportunity to display your brand’s unique positioning and point of view. Whether it’s public school enrollment, AI in the classroom, or the end of ESSER funding, consider what fresh perspective your organization can shed on the subject. Journalists and education influencers are always looking for new angles to a story.
Bear in mind that you don’t need to be inflammatory to be newsworthy. Make sure that your news angle aligns with your organization’s expertise and values. When in alignment, there’s greater likelihood that your story will resonate with your target audience and increase your brand credibility.
There can be a varying degree of risk in approaching media with a unique and compelling point of view. In most common instances involving risk in earned media, you may appear inauthentic if your take isn’t substantiated by your organization’s methods and practices. You should be able to defend the “why” behind your company’s point of view on an issue and know how your UVP is relevant in the context of timely issues or trends.
2. Prepare company spokespeople who can elevate your company’s thought leadership profile
It requires preparation to pitch a story journalists will find compelling. Part of that prep includes identifying and coaching thought leaders at your company to engage with the media. To ensure you get the right message across, have your brand’s spokespeople master concise talking points that communicate your unique value proposition.
The more straightforward your messaging, the more likely it is that reporters will include it in their coverage. Some brands overcomplicate their offerings to seem more essential to buyers, but effective media placement requires the opposite. Reporters seek easy-to-convey sound bites for news coverage, and a simplified UVP makes for better brand recognition.
Therefore, when prepping brand advocates, simplify talking points to emphasize what makes your brand vital and different.
3. Create a newsworthy moment
To earn media placements, you don’t necessarily have to fit your UVP into a newsworthy moment — you can craft the newsworthy moment yourself.
In our education PR work with clients, we often brainstorm ways for companies to interrupt the news cycle and lead the story, rather than responding to a timely trend or issue. It’s a more active way to showcase your brand differentiator. Examples include hosting local events or releasing newsworthy survey data.
It’s important to remember that reporters seek accurate and balanced news coverage. Education companies must demonstrate real evidence–empirical, anecdotal or somewhere between– to evoke authenticity. You should always be prepared for reporters to explore your intentions when engaging in “newsmaking”.
4. Above all, center your story on human impact
Brand authenticity is critical. And as with any good story, showing your impact on others is more effective than telling it. Instead of explicitly stating that you improve students’ lives, let your impact be clear. Customer stories and brand advocates can underscore the benefits your product or service has on real people.
Human interest stories are of particular interest to local media reporters. And, for education companies, securing feature stories in the local press is an instrumental tactic for influencing key audience members of surrounding school districts in the area. Here’s an example of how one education service got to the heart of their impact on the educators and aspiring educators they serve.
20+ media placements showcased this brand’s life-changing impact on educators
BloomBoard is a talent development provider that helps school districts with educator pipeline, advancement and retention solutions. Relative to other education development companies and traditional higher education, BloomBoard’s innovative approach to teacher training promotes a competency-based, affordable, and flexible way to obtain advanced degrees, promotions, or salary advancements.
Bloomboard offers truly life-changing programming – and sought to leverage earned media to tell this story.
Numerous testimonials reported that educators simply could not have obtained advanced degrees, or taken on student debt, without BloomBoard. And in light of staffing shortages and educator burn-out, their UVP was particularly resonant among reporters.
CB&A, a Finn Partners Company, secured over 20+ media placements with this unique value proposition at the center of our pitch strategy. Our efforts garnered new district relationships and major increases in educator enrollments. In one month, BloomBoard enrolled over 60 new educators in their program. We’ve continued to build on the success of this original campaign in new BloomBoard target markets across the country.
Partner with earned media experts to leverage your UVP
Done right, these 4 tips will help your business earn more—and more effective—media placements.
If you’re looking for a leg up, you can leverage CB&A’s 30+ year’s of business-to-education media connections as part of your marketing plan. Reach out any time.