Which education awards should you enter?

And when does your award entry need to go in?

Entering and winning an award for your company is a straightforward way to improve recognition for your brand, product, or service.

There are three key reasons for this.

Firstly, awards improve your industry reputation. Your status is increased amongst your peers and competitors. Secondly, your customers can see that your service or product is high quality enough to achieve recognition. Finally, awards naturally attract great media coverage, to spread brand awareness and potentially increase your exposure through search engine ratings and on social media.

That said, it can be quite a minefield to search for the best award to enter. Application deadlines and category guidelines vary and some companies can be put off by the amount of time it takes to find the right award.

So, we’ve done the work for you.

Below are our top suggestions for education awards to apply for in 2021 and 2022 – good luck!

Name of awardLinkAbout the awardsApplication deadlineBest for Opportunities
Digital Education Awardswww.digitaleducationawards.com/2021awardsRecognising the best in the EdTech industry19th Nov for 2021Edtech companiesMarketing credibility

Magazine feature

Product/service validation, visibility, and recognition
Education Resources Awardswww.educationresourcesawards.co.ukRecognising those who make the best impact on services, educators, and the classroom25th February 2022Edtech companies, learning resources companiesPress coverage, validation of a product valued by educators
TES Awardswww.tesawards.co.uk/tesschoolsawardsCelebrating the achievements of staff and schoolsDetails of 2022 awards to be announced early February 2022Schools and staffProduct/service validation, visibility, and recognition

Press coverage
Edtech Breakthrough Awardswww.edtechbreakthrough.comRecognising the best companies, products and services in the field of educational technology2022 entry deadline likely to open January - March based on previous yearsEdtech companies large and smallMedia coverage, coverage on award website, endorsement among colleagues
Learning Technologies Awardswww.learningtechnologies.co.uk/learning-tech-awardsRepresenting talent and ingenuityKeep an eye out in May - July for 2022 entry dateEdtechs including games, learning resources and school administration supportMedia coverage across Europe and potential to get involved with summer forum and roadshows to showcase products
National School Awardswww.nationalschoolsawards.co.ukRecognise, celebrate and reward senior leaders, schools and multi-academy trusts for their dedication and hard workMay deadline for 2022 awards based on previous yearSchools, academies and individual teachersHosted at the House of Lords - high esteem award for academies and individual staff members. Great media coverage for individual schools
Pearson National Teaching Awardswww.teachingawards.comRaising the profile of the teaching profession through highlighting the positive impact teachers and school leaders have in our society2022 awards yet to open, but you can register your interest on the website hereTeachers, schools, or individual staff members in education institutionsExpansive media coverage! 2021 saw a BBC Documentary ('Classroom Heroes'), feature on The One Show, newsletter, website, social media and Pearson Podcast. A great way to cover lots of bases. High esteem for staff and individual schools
PIEoneer Awardswww.pieoneerawards.com/thepieoneerawards'The PIEoneer Awards are the international education industry's equivalent of the Oscars.'2022 entry TBC (previously opened in March)Companies focused on diversity, employment, digital innovation and student wellbeingJudges’ comments will be sent to winners to be used publicly. Media coverage, global recognition on awards site and social media. High esteem in the industry
Bett Awardswww.bettawards.com/about-bett-awards/Celebrating the world’s leading education technology solutions2021 entries have now closed. 2022 deadline likely to be SeptEducation technology companiesInternational exposure

Product/Service validation, visibility, and recognition
Education Awardswww.education-awards.co.ukRewarding the most outstanding contributors to the education sectorSeptemberEstablishments, organisations and people who contribute to the education sectorProduct/service validation, visibility, and recognition
Education Investor Awardswww.educationinvestor.co.uk/educationinvestor-awardsCelebrating excellence and innovation in the business of education in the UKEarly OctoberProfessionals investing in, advising or operating companies in the education sectorProduct/service validation, visibility, and recognition
Tech for Teachers Awardswww.teachwire.net/tech-for-teachersCelebrating Tech for Teachers that has a genuine classroom impactPreviously OctoberCompanies with tech products for teachingMedia coverage print, 37,500 copies

Feature on teacherwire.net 65,000 visitors

Newsletter feature 21k subscribers
Education Business Awardswww.awards.educationbusinessuk.net/Recognising school achievementsPreviously May entry deadlineSchoolsEndorsement, product/service validation, visibility and recognition
Global Edtech Startup (GES) Awardswww.globaledtechawards.org'The world's largest awards for global Ed Tech startups'Closed for 2021entry but one to consider for 2022For startup Edtechs wanting to go global to expand their geographic reach. This is an international awardGlobal recognition so one for expanding your borders. Great media coverage, recongition as an international provider

This concludes our list of top awards to apply for.

If you’re keen to enter any of these awards but are perhaps new to the game, or could do with a little refresher, we have a great blog covering our best advice on How To Write A Winning Award Entry.

Good luck!

 

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How to generate leads for my education product

A steady stream of leads is key to increasing sales of your education product.  And one of the best ways to generate leads is by using your own PR and marketing content.

When teachers and school leaders search online for information, solutions or answers to questions, you want your content to pop up in front of them. You want your content to solve a problem, so they can get to know more about your business, understand you’re an expert and be open to buying from you.

Content can take many forms including research, a report, an infographic or a podcast.

But what are the specific steps to using content to generate more leads from the education sector?

Let’s look at the process and how you can ensure the leads you’re getting are of the very best quality.

Research, research, research

Kick off by researching key areas – start wide and home in as you go.

When it comes to understanding what your target audience are searching for online, Google is a great place to begin.

For example, you can find out what headteachers are searching for in relation to your education product or service by using Google Trends and a range of other keyword research tools.

We’ve written a full blog on how to do this here.

Other research ideas 

Once you’ve carried out keyword research, there are other ways to find out more about your target audience and what they’re looking for:

  • Research the media that teachers read. Whether that’s Teach Primary, Times Higher Education or Independent Schools Magazine, you’ll get a view on what interests the very people you want to attract.
  • Hang out with them online. You may follow headteachers on LinkedIn or hop onto a UKEdChat. During these weekly Twitter discussions about education, you’ll find out about the issues education professionals are facing at the moment and can also ask questions and become a part of the discussion.
  • Interview schools you with to get as full a picture as possible about your target audience. Find out how they like to receive content. Is it via email or do they prefer to listen to podcasts?

Then use all of this information to understand what they need more of or less of. What bothers them or excites them. And most importantly, how your education product can help.

Look at pre-existing content

Once you’ve found the area you’d like to focus on, you can delve deeper to find out more.

This includes:

  • Looking through any pre-existing content you have access to already, like case studies or previous reports.
  • Taking advantage of research that already exists in the public domain, for example Teacher Tapp regularly surveys their database of 8,000 teachers about what’s going on in schools and publishes the results.
  • Interviewing experts in your organisation or externally to ensure you have interesting, relevant and useful information to share with potential customers.

Generating content through leads – an example

Background 

Let’s take the example of an organisation that helps students get into the top universities around the world. We worked with them to generate leads among affluent parents in London. Our research showed that these parents were comfortable supporting their children when they were applying for Oxford and Cambridge. Yet they found it more difficult to help with the application process for the Ivy League universities in the USA as the system is so different.

We decided to develop a Beyond Oxbridge guide for parents, explaining the main differences between the UK and US university system.

Expertise 

Within the business itself, there were a series of experts we were able to interview in order to develop the content, including course work and exam tutors, university admissions professors and previous students.

They gave us all sorts of useful information, such as how the application process works, what life is like on campus and how to get an athletics scholarship. They explained how undergraduate courses in the US allow for a wider range of subjects to be studied and how to finance a degree in the States.

Research 

We carried out our own research as well, using the QS World University rankings for top institutions according to subject. We were also able to tap into existing research, such as information on employment opportunities and average graduate salaries according to university attended.

This process made sure we had all of the relevant information to prepare the best content possible for potential customers.

Create the right content

The next step is to start creating your content. Choose the medium you think will work best for your audience. If you’re not sure, then try out one and test the results.

Your content can be in written form, such as a report teachers can download, a series of top tips emails you plan to send out, or a blog post for your website. It can also be multimedia content, like a video or podcast interview with an expert, an infographic guide or a webinar training session.

An example 

For our university admissions organisation, we opted for a guide format that was hosted on a gated landing page on the client’s website. In order to download the report, parents had to share their email address for further contact by the marketing team.

On the back of this guide, we also developed additional pieces of content, such as articles on the Beyond Oxbridge theme for education publications and infographics for social media. All content had links back to the landing page with the report on it, so we could use Google Analytics to track where leads were coming from and assess which content was producing the best results.

The content generated 428 leads in just a few weeks of promotion, plus additional web site traffic for the company.

Don’t forget the follow up once you generate leads

Be prepared for what you plan to do once the leads start coming in.

Drop them into your lead nurturing programme or follow up with a phone call or an invite to a demo of your education product. Maybe you could offer a free trial or some free consultancy.

You can continue to use relevant content at each stage of your customer journey to help move them along the marketing funnel, such as targeted email marketing or a case study from one of your clients.

Follow these steps and in no time, you’ll be an expert at using content to generate leads for your business and it will support your overall education marketing strategy.

If you want to know how to get your education product noticed by senior leaders in education, you can download our Influence Schools White Paper. You may also be interested in our guide to good PR Planning.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is finding out the exact phrases people use to search for services and products, find answers to questions or solutions to problems, using search engines.

Keyword research gives you a better understanding of your target market so you can then offer them helpful and relevant information in return.

This is useful in so many areas of content development for your education business, from website copy to articles, email campaigns, blogs, video content and social media posts.

Creating content that people are searching for also has a positive impact on your search rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find you online.

But how can you find out what terms your target audience is using to search for the content they need?

1. Brainstorm your keyword list 

Start by listing all of the possible keywords and phrases potential customers are likely to put into Google. These will be your ‘seed’ keywords as they will help you find more relevant words and phrases.

Think about long-tail keywords too. These are phrases that are more specific than single words. They get less traffic, but they have a higher clickthrough rate because if someone is very specific about what they are searching for, it is more likely that they will click through to your site when they see your content.

Say you’re an education business that provides fun and engaging science lesson plans to schools. Your list might start with keywords like ‘science lesson plans’, ‘science teaching resources’, ‘science lessons for primary schools’ and you’d keep building on this list.

Then when it comes to long-tail keywords, you’d consider phrases like ‘how to make science lessons more interesting’ or ‘how to make science fun in the classroom’.

Once you’ve done some initial brainstorming, there are some tools that can help you expand and prioritise your list. We find Google Trends is a good place to start.

2. Use Google Trends for keyword research

a) Enter key terms into Google Trends to see levels of interest in specific search terms set out by region and date. This will also show you similar topics these same users have searched for. For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into Google Trends, you can see that those who searched for this term also searched for ‘biological life cycle’ and ‘butterflies’. The tool can help you understand more about what teachers are looking for online and develop the right content for them.

b) Google Trends also lets you compare search wording to see what is the most searched for term. For instance, people have searched for ‘Biology lesson plan’ three times more often than for ‘Physics lesson plan’. Insight like this helps you to better focus your content according to what your target audience is searching for online.

c) You can also use your own Google search bar to check what other searches automatically come up. By typing in ‘science lesson’, you can see that the most popular searches are ‘science lessons online’, ‘science lessons for kids’ and ‘science lesson plan template’. This makes it easier for you to find out what your potential customers are searching for and give them the right content.

3. Expand your research

Take your research a step further by entering key search terms, like ‘science lesson plan’, into a free content insight tool like AnswerThePublic.

This will pull up more granular detail on the types of questions people are asking Google and give you more ideas on how to target them. The tool breaks up the data into questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabetical lists and other related searched-for topics.

For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into the search bar in AnswerThePublic, you can see frequent searches like ‘science lesson plan with experiments’, and ‘science lesson plan with technology’. You can also see that the most searched for format is a pdf. See example results from AnswerThePublic here:

Science lesson plan results diagram from @answerthepublic

From a strategic perspective, you could also use an SEO analysis tool, like Ahrefs or Moz to check out your competitors and see what keywords they’re ranking highly in to help you build and define your own list. You may want to target the same keywords or look at building a list of less popular search terms that are still relevant to your business, where there is less competition.

All of these steps should help lead you to a strong keyword search list you’ll be able to use to plan and develop your content.

4. Decide on the best type of content

Once you have a targeted and comprehensive list of keywords, go through the list and think about the best types of content for each topic.

Taking our example of a science lesson provider and the research we have carried out, we might propose these four content ideas:

  • A video for teachers on how to make science engaging online
  • A series of science lesson plan pdfs with the top experiments to carry out in a science class
  • A blog post on how to prepare the ideal plan for a biology lesson

Once you’ve got a strong list of keywords that are right for your education business, you can be as creative as you like in using them to shape your content, developing blogs, videos, webinars or lesson plans.

5. Monitor progress with Google Search Console

Keep an eye on your keyword list and make a note to review it every quarter.

When you start to create content using your keywords, regularly monitoring engagement levels will help you to make adjustments where needed to keep you climbing the search rankings. This means more people will discover your content, visit your site and potentially convert into customers.

Google Search Console is useful for monitoring content posted on your website. You can use this tool to find out how often your site appears in Google search results and which pages have the highest, and lowest, click through rates from Google search results.

You can see how your search traffic changes over time too, where it’s coming from and what search queries are most likely to show your website. And you’ll get a clear idea of what keyword searches come from mobile devices so you can optimise specific content for people searching on their phones.

Being able to see which keywords and types of content are performing well will give you greater insight into the topics and formats your audience prefers on an ongoing basis.

If you’d like to find out more about how to get the attention of school leaders, read our white paper, Influence Schools.

 

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Four reasons why you need PR in 2021

Well, what a year 2020 was.

As we enter a third national lockdown with hopes of improvement by the spring, here are four reasons why 2021 is the year to invest in PR.

1. Because technology is a part of our lives like never before

Stuck at home during the pandemic, many of us are spending more of our lives online. We are using our devices for work, socialising, shopping, exercise and entertainment.

This may have changed how your business connects with customers.

You can no longer meet in person with teachers or carry out live demos of your products. So, many business leaders find themselves asking how to connect with their audience in an authentic way.

One way is to meet your audience where they are: online.

Using digital PR and communications, you can connect with current and prospective customers via your online channels.

You can find the right way to reach parents and teachers, whether it’s through online campaigns, virtual events, blogs or video testimonials.

2. To take advantage of a rise in social media and influencer culture 

If your business isn’t engaging effectively with customers on social media, then your business isn’t properly communicating with customers.

In the last year, all social media apps reported an increase in usage.

The likes of YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, which allow people to create, upload and share videos, have become increasingly popular. Last year, nine in 10 online adults, and almost all older children aged 8 to 15 years, used at least one of these websites and apps, and many watched videos several times a day.

Running integrated campaigns on social media is key to successful business communications.

Choose a theme that relates to your education product, create a key campaign message and be sure to track engagement. Make sure you use the right platform for your campaign and that it’s timely.

Consider partnering with a social media influencer who fits with your brand values and audience. They can help you reach your target audience, build trust, and increase engagement. This could be a blogger, journalist or podcaster. It could be a well-known teacher, edtech expert or education consultant.

Investing in social media will help you connect with current and prospective clients, boost awareness and increase leads.

3. So you can gain your audience’s trust 

Think about what your customers consider When deciding whether to buy your education product or service. Has this changed since the same time last year?

Recognise changes in your customers and their needs. Whether it’s spending power, ways of working, or challenges in education during the pandemic. And allay any fears or concerns.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 88% of us rate ‘trust’ as important or critical when it comes to deciding which brands to buy or use. Out of 8,000 people surveyed in 8 countries in October 2020, ‘trust’ was the third most important purchase criteria, with ‘price’ and ‘quality’ only slightly ahead, regardless of gender, nationality, age or income.

Personal experience matters the most when it comes to building trust. If your business can communicate with clients through friends, family, experts and reviews from trusted sources, then you’ve taken a step in the right direction in helping them to trust you and your business offering.

PR activities like product reviews, case studies, video testimonials and influencer campaigns can all help to strengthen trust among your target audience.

4. To help you manage a PR crisis

Last year was crisis, followed by crisis, followed by crisis.

The coronavirus outbreak, civil unrest and economic downturn.

An impeachment trial, a contested presidential election and a wave of international protests leading to a moment of reckoning on racism.

Not to mention natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes and floods.

If we’ve learnt anything from 2020, it’s to be as prepared as we can be for a crisis. A well-managed crisis can actually win your brand fans rather than lose them, so the third lockdown may be an opportunity to reflect on how you would manage a crisis.

PR crisis planning means having guidelines in place for an emergency or unexpected situation.

How is your company going to react if the lockdown lasts longer than expected? What will your company do if there was a breach of school data? Or if your education software that teachers rely on for online learning has technological issues?

Don’t get caught off guard.

Identify the risks to your education business, rank them in order of seriousness and put a plan in place for each one.

Your crisis plan should outline your response to stakeholders such as customers, employees and the media. It needs to include key messaging for all of your business platforms, including social media. And make sure your spokesperson is media trained.

Check out our ‘cut out and keep’ guide to crisis management here.

Get started

The best time to start planning your PR is now.

Don’t put it off for another day. Who knows what this year has in store!

If you’re ready to start planning your PR for 2021, get in touch today on hello@theinfluencecrowd.co.uk.

Or have a read of our PR planning guide for some more top tips.

 

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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

 

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