How to use PR to change teachers’ opinions

A successful PR campaign can totally change the way teachers think about your offering.

Whether that’s an IT system that helps manage school admin, an online game that diagnoses difficulties children have with reading, or STEM training courses for teachers.

Maybe teachers think your educational software is too expensive. Or it’s too difficult to implement in their classroom. Perhaps they simply don’t have the time to take part in a demo and bring in a change at a time when they’re busier than they have ever been.

So what do you need to do to change their opinions?

We’ve broken down one of our recent campaigns to give you some ideas.

1. Find out more about your target audience

The first step we always start with is to understand which teachers you are specifically trying to reach. Think carefully about who you want to influence, be that primary or secondary school teachers, SEN leads, teaching assistants, head teachers or subject leads.

And then ask yourself: how can you help them?

Let’s take the example of a campaign we worked on for Maths-Whizz, an award-winning online programme that raises the maths attainment of children aged 5-13. Not many teachers were aware of the difference it could make to children studying maths in their classrooms.

Our task was to let primary school teachers know about everything Maths-Whizz had to offer, and to get them talking about it. We wanted to encourage them to get in contact to find out how the product could help in their schools.

To get the attention of primary school teachers, whatever we did had to save them time – they simply would not engage otherwise. So, we came up with the plan to rebrand the month of November as ‘Mathvember’ and launch a month-long series of daily lesson ideas, social media challenges and competitions. These would provide primary school teachers with the tools and inspiration to ‘Make Maths Magical’ in their classrooms and encourage them to find out how Maths-Whizz can help them.

2. Put your Education PR plan in place

Once you have worked out exactly how to meet the needs of your target teachers, you can develop your plan. What can you do to let teachers know about your offering, or change the opinion they have of it?

You need an integrated campaign that combines the best of marketing and the best of PR. This involves creating great content, carrying out media and influencer relations and running social media advertising campaigns.

With Maths-Whizz, we engaged teachers in the daily lesson ideas, social media challenges and competitions we had developed via daily posts, social advertising and by getting key influencers on board. We also partnered with the influential teacher community, UKEdChat, which allowed us to tap into their 72,000 strong audience.

The month culminated in a webinar, which allowed the education experts at Whizz to demonstrate their obvious passion for generating ideas that help children enjoy maths. It gave the team an opportunity to talk about the Maths-Whizz product to an engaged audience too.

This integrated campaign gave us lots of opportunities to start a dialogue with teachers about how to ‘Make Maths Magical’ in the classroom and encouraged them to get in contact to find out more about Maths-Whizz.

3. Take stock

The outcome of an effective integrated campaign is raised awareness of your brand, as well as a change in opinion and behaviour of potential customers, making them more likely to buy your product.

The results of the Maths-Whizz campaign were impressive:

  • Web traffic rose by 53% year-on-year
  • 293 people viewed the webinar, which provided advice on how to ‘Make Maths Magical’ in the classroom as well as promoting the product
  • We earned support from key social media influencers such as @VicGoddard of Education Essex fame and @MartynReah. We also received coverage in TeachWire and Teach Primary. This resulted in a 2.8 million reach for the campaign
  • 1525 teachers signed up for the campaign and agreed to further marketing contact from Maths-Whizz

A change in teachers’ opinions can be seen in changes to their behaviour. For the Maths-Whizz campaign, teachers most certainly became more aware of the product and understood how much it could help in their schools. Then they went a step further and purchased the online programme.

We can see this from the huge uplift in sales:

  • Sales leads increased by 168% in the first month of the campaign and 244% in the following month

With this type of integrated campaign, you can engage with, and also help, the busiest of teachers. You never know, this may well shift their opinion, and interest, towards your brand.

To find out more about getting teachers to notice you, read our white paper, Influence Schools or have a look at our video and blog on how to get the attention of school leaders

 

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

 

How to write a winning education award entry

Award entries are a great way to get recognition for your brand and your products.

Winning a gong for one of your products or services means potential customers have external confirmation that your offering is best of class.

Awards can lead to additional media coverage too, letting more people know about you and your products – not to mention the social media buzz that brings a welcome boost to SEO.

The downside is the entries themselves can sometimes take a long time to put together, so you only want to invest the time if you are certain you will get the recognition you deserve.

So what do you need to do to increase the likelihood of you winning the award you’re after?

Here are our tips:

  1. Choose something that deserves to win

Talk about stating the obvious, but it is likely that if you designed the product, you will think it is the best thing since sliced bread. However, if there are 10 other products on the market that do exactly the same thing, it is unlikely that yours will make the award judges sit up and take notice.

A well written award entry alone may get you into the shortlist for an award but it is genuinely the best products, or the most innovative services that actually win the accolades, so choose what you put forward wisely.

  1. Start off strong 

Think about it from a judge’s point of view. They may have 100 award entries to sift through in a day. If yours is number 89 in the pile, it will need to be pretty special to make them pay attention.

Your first couple of paragraphs will be key. Start with a strong quote, or illustrate what impact it has with an example. If it is a lesson planning tool for teachers, instead of stating that ‘it is the best lesson planning tool available’, why not start with something around how much time a lesson plan takes an average teacher to complete and why it is such an important job, to set the scene.

  1. Assume the judges know very little

It is easy to forget how much internal company jargon you use – a phrase you think is in everyday use in your company may be unfamiliar to a judge.

Spell out any benefits too. The judge may not automatically see that making a core process quicker for a teacher will mean that they can spend more time teaching or planning lessons, so make this link for them.

  1. Prove it 

Every time you make a claim, try to prove it. You saved schools or colleges money – great – but how much money? Use comparisons if possible – 90% of schools are satisfied with your product – fantastic – but even better if you can compare that to an industry average that is much lower.

  1. Get your customers to back you up 

It is one thing you saying that you are fabulous, but it is quite another if you can get a customer to do it. Ideally, quotes or case studies you use should be peppered with facts to back up any claims being made.

  1. Think about the language and examples you use

Use emotive language to demonstrate the importance of your offering – rather than stating ‘our system is reliable’, you could demonstrate it by saying that ‘1,000 teachers rely on our system to deliver engaging maths lessons on a weekly basis so it cannot fail.’

  1. The word count is there for a reason

The judges will not have time to read 10 brochures or watch a 20 minute video you have attached to the award entry. A personalised two minute video walk through recorded specifically for the judges will be far more effective than a professional advert you usually use in sales presentations. Select what you send carefully, and make sure it supports the claims you make in the award entry.

Good luck and if you need any help with your entry, just give us a call.

If you liked this, you may also like our guide to good PR Planning

 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
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