What is the most effective way of undertaking PR so that it actually has an effect?
Go back 20 years and most firms that sold to schools would do some PR, writing press releases and sending them out to the multiplicity of magazines and newspapers that teachers were known to read.
Now it has all changed. Over time the specialist educational magazines moved from subscription to free publications to on-line publications. Press releases were no longer accepted for free, but started being paid for. Everyone turned to the internet.
However the notion of bringing teachers’ and parents’ attention to products and services via press releases still does exist and can indeed still be very effective.
In essence, PR now exists in three separate forms.
The original notion of sending out press releases to the national media does exist – but it is often focussed on the results of a survey which discovers something about children, teenagers, schools, parents, governors, etc, which no one quite knew before.
So, if you are selling a maths course and you establish that 60% of parents can’t add 23 plus 57 in their heads, then you have the start of a story. If you are selling management products to schools and find out that 80% of school administrators are doing unpaid overtime three or more days a week, you have a more specialist kind of story but it is still a story.
A second approach works for companies that sell products and services that themselves have a certain publicity value. This might be the arrival of a mobile recording studio at the school for the day through to the launch of a new sports facility.
What happens is that the company supplying the service or product asks the school if it would welcome publicity in relation to the recent supply of the service or product. If they do, the company can write a press release and send it to the local paper and local radio stations, focussing very positively on the school.
Such an approach can encourage other schools to take up the product or service – especially if the contacting of the media is followed by a postal promotion to schools in the locality.
The third approach involves getting listings on a variety of websites in connection with your product or service.
If you have used Hamilton House services of late you will know that in many cases we will put details of what you offer on UK Education News, Teacher News, Parent News and various other websites that we run. This is done at no extra charge.
If on the other hand you are not a Hamilton House customer we can do this for you for a very limited cost. A listing on UK Education News (the prime on-line rolling news service for teachers) costs just £25.00 plus VAT, while a listing across our eight main websites for two months of the school year will cost just £49.99 plus VAT.
And as a bonus on the two month programme, if you book in now we’ll put your press release or advertisement on our sites for the rest of July and all of August for free with the advert continuing until October 31.
You can read about all our sites at http://www.top5.org.uk/Suppliers.html where there are links to all the education news sites that we run.
UK Education News is at www.ukeducationnews.co.uk
If you would like to work with Hamilton House undertaking research for you which can be used in a PR project, you can do this through the Velocity programme (www.velocity.ac) or as a one-off project.
To discuss any of these options or to get an overview, please do call 01536 399 000. If you would like to book in either to UK Education News alone, or all the sites, just email Chris@hamilton-house.com