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.