Educational technology and education in itself is a challenging industry to understand if you have never worked in it. Even more so, getting press for your small business can be a daunting challenge if you don’t know how to do it the right way.
Most startups and small businesses in the education industry have limited budgets. Quite often, many small education businesses spend thousands of dollars on ineffective, low-return marketing strategies.
Among the massive sea of education products and services on the market, there are various ways to get visibility.
Your PR Strategy is Critical
I’ve worked in education as a teacher and outside of the classroom at various education startups, and have learned a great deal given these different perspectives both inside and outside of the classroom.
If you’ve been struggling with getting visibility in the right places, these five tips below can help you grow when you’re a small fish in a big pond.
Guest posting on other education sites can still offer several benefits for any business. By sharing your expertise with a different audience, you can begin to establish yourself as a thought-leader or specialist within your market, build ongoing relationships, and create awareness around your brand.
Before reaching out to different blog owners, add value first. Try to build a mutually beneficial relationship, and ensure your reach is personal. Please do not send out several requests from an email carrier. Using this strategy feels and looks like spam—and it’s unprofessional.
Also, if the blog owner charges a fee for a sponsored article, keep in mind that his or her blog may be their sole source of income.
Finally, if you have a blog on your company’s site, featuring education specialists can help drive traffic too. Having a place for guest posting is great for SEO, and it can also keep your audience engaged and coming back to read more—which can bring in leads and potential sales. Also, when others write on your site, they are more likely to share the work with their audience too.
Partner with Education Influencers
Partnering with education influencers and teachers who have their own blogs or have a large following on social media outlets can significantly boost your company’s awareness.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2020 predictions, they state, “Influencer marketing will continue to soar. Influencers can help marketers achieve a variety of marketing goals and not just generate leads.
Marketers are not just collaborating with one or two influencers now, but they are working with a whole network of small, relevant, niche influencers. These kinds of influencers get much higher engagement and can cost much less. Going forward, more and more marketers will use this strategy and work with multiple smaller influencers instead of one celebrity.”
Where to Look for Education Influencers
For education and edtech companies, if you want to reach decision-makers, need consulting, or want to find someone with a serious education audience, look for influencers on LinkedIn. If you want to reach teachers, you will find them on Facebook, Twitter, and especially Pinterest.
Share your Stories on Social Media
A little storytelling can go a long way on social media, and it’s not too challenging to make videos and tell stories today. Part of communicating your brand’s message is to make sure you know your audience, connect with them on their level, and share exciting stories that will reach them from an emotional point of view.
Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. You want to be the company where people say, “That’s just what I was looking for right now, right here.”
Having a strong content marketing plan can differentiate you from the endless ocean of services and products in this industry. The stories you tell today can become your company’s stories for the future, and should be part of any type of PR plan.
Reach Out to Writers and Journalists
If you’re going to reach out to journalists on your own, make sure to do your homework. Some publications have staff writers and contributors. Take the time to know the difference between the two because you could be wasting precious hours.
Contributors at most publications can usually write about their ideas and opinions with editor oversight. Staff writers typically have different goals and assignments.
You should be selective when it comes to media outreach. For any media relations campaign to work, you should focus on reaching out to reporters and writers at education outlets who have a vested interest in bringing your story to their audience.
Keep in mind that your story should be unique and add value to the journalist’s readers—it is not about your company, but how you can help a writer add value to their audience.
Create a relationship, follow writers on Twitter and LinkedIn, share their stories, and support them. Creating a mutually beneficial and professional relationship can lead to other potential future editorial opportunities.
If you can’t seem to get ahead on your own in the media space, consider hiring a boutique type of education PR firm. Do your homework and research the best offerings out there for your specific needs.
Reach out to their former customers, and ask for referrals. PR can get expensive, and you want to make sure you get the visibility, services and all of the offerings they promise. An effective PR firm should be able to assist you with content development and implementation, storytelling, editorial strategy, marketing, and media implementation—while making sure your company lands in the right publications.
There are many PR firms out there, so take your time should you choose to sign on with an agency. Do your homework, ask a lot of questions, and follow your instincts.