Should my edtech business exhibit at Bett?

We’re often asked by edtech businesses at this time of year if it’s worth investing in a stand at the Bett education technology show.

So, we thought we’d share a few nuggets of advice to help you decide:

  • If Bett is the best place to showcase your education product or service
  • If it’s the right event to reach your target audience and if so…
  • How you can get the most from the show to ultimately generate leads

 

While you’re here, find out how to effectively target teachers on Facebook too. Get in touch if you need help to give your education PR and communications a boost.

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!

 

Image by ktphotography from Pixabay

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 can a PR strategy help my edtech start-up?

It’s no surprise that start-ups offering remote working solutions, online learning tools and food delivery services are among the companies that have achieved considerable growth in 2020.

The current climate is bringing significant challenges to some education-focussed businesses, while others have thrived from adapting their offerings or bringing new products and services to market to meet the changing needs of schools, colleges and universities.

But short-term growth doesn’t guarantee long-term business success.

In 2019, there were 5.9 million small and medium sized businesses operating in the UK – but 11% of all businesses ceased trading that year according to government figures.

So, what can fledgling edtech businesses do to help them deliver sustainable growth?

How to help your edtech start-up business succeed

The challenge is that launching a successful new business is all-consuming. Your blood sweat and tears have gone into developing a product or service that you know will help solve the problems your prospective customers are struggling with. Naturally, you want to get your new offering out to market as soon as possible.

The temptation for many edtech start-ups at this point is to focus all efforts on selling to schools. An announcement might make its way on to the news page of your website or an ad could be placed in the print and online media your prospects read. There might even be a handful of social media posts created about the launch. This won’t get your business noticed by your target audience.

All too often, a more strategic plan to raise awareness of the new business or offering is put on the back burner to be picked up once the brand is more established.

However, putting a well-designed integrated PR and marketing plan in place from the start can make the difference between a new business that flies and one that is at risk of falling at the first hurdle.

Here are three tips from us to help your start-up or SME get great results from education PR.

  1. Get the messaging right

Let’s say your company has developed a new tracking tool to help schools monitor the impact of catch-up lessons on pupils’ achievement and your sales success relies on teachers knowing that it’s superior to other solutions on the market.

Launching a campaign designed to knock or discredit your competitors might bring short-term gains, but this approach will put you at risk of damaging your brand.

You will get much more positive and sustainable results from shaping a strategic plan of PR and marketing activity that incorporates language that resonates with your target audience, highlights your credentials as thought leaders in pupil assessment and showcases testimonials from customers that back up what you’re saying.

  1. Make the most of positive customer stories

You are much more likely to spark the attention of heads and teachers in schools by having other educators talk about how great you are in a radio interview or podcast boosted on Facebook than you will talking about what you do well yourself.

Customer advocacy has been shown to increase the effectiveness of marketing efforts by as much as 54% and word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind up to half of all purchasing decisions

Make sure you have a way to identify and capture the great stories and experiences of your existing customers as the business develops and grows. When 80% of word-of-mouth comes directly as a result of personal experience, you can see why positive customer stories are so critical to the successful promotion of any new product or service.

  1. Create great content

Don’t be tempted to blast your prospects with technical details of your product – few teachers will be interested in the fact that the new app you’ve launched to support children’s literacy development is built on API technology.

You are much more likely to turn your prospective customers into sales if you focus on creating quality content that adds value and helps them solve the problems they face.

It’s getting harder to reach senior leaders in schools and academy trusts. So, if your company provides CPD to primary schools, a series of blogs on how to support the wellbeing of under-fives is more likely to be read by your target audience of school leaders than a company newsletter. If they have found the content useful, they will be much more likely to contact your organisation when they need to arrange behaviour management training for teachers across the school.

Avoid peppering your digital content with too many keywords and phrases designed to influence your SEO too. Google is getting much smarter at spotting corporate generated promotional materials and this will have a negative impact on your SEO ranking, making it less likely that your content will be seen by the people you are trying to reach.

It’s better to choose a few strong keywords, rather than overdoing it.

Find more information on how we can help your start-up get the most from PR here.

If you want to know how to get your brand noticed by senior leaders in education, you can download our Influence Schools White Paper.

You may also be interested in our blog What marketing messages will teachers want to hear in September 2020/21

Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

What is integrated PR – and why can’t you afford to ignore it?

Good PR has the power to shift opinion towards a brand. There’s no doubt that opinion pieces, press articles and blogger recommendations encourage a teacher to consider your product in a way that a heavy-handed sales push won’t.

In fact almost half (47%) of buyers rely on media articles before making a purchase, according to Iliyana Stareva in her book, Inbound PR.

So, traditional PR will do wonders for your coverage, but does it deliver on your overall business goals?

Missed opportunities

Even if the overarching objective of your PR activity is to increase sales of your products – a key business goal – it’s quite possible that objective doesn’t appear on your PR plan.

Your team may be focusing on crafting your message, engaging your audience and getting your name in the right places, which are all great ways to raise the profile of your brand.

But that doesn’t necessarily get more teachers to buy your product.

For that, you need to convert prospective customers into sales. This has traditionally been the job of marketing, and marketing does it well, with its ability to focus on a specific product launch, generate sales leads and measure the impact on the bottom line.

However, marketing tends to concentrate on the product you want to sell.

Education PR reinvented

What’s often missing from the marketing approach is an understanding of how to engage teachers in the long term with your brand and spread the word that your company cares about helping teachers do their jobs.

That’s what PR does well.

If you take the focused and measurable strengths of marketing and blend them with PR’s ability to build an audience’s trust in your brand, you have an awesome combination.

The best of both marketing and PR’s talents, focused on your business goals.

That’s why we’re so excited about integrated PR, because it not only raises awareness of your brand, but can also change the behaviour of your prospective customers, making them more likely to buy your product.

Best of all worlds

Integrated PR makes your content work harder by using multiple channels and marketing techniques to make the biggest impact.

This is the philosophy behind the PESO model, developed by Spin Suck’s founder and CEO, Gini Dietrich. The model underpins integrated PR campaigns that combine Paid, Earned, Shared or social and Owned channels to draw your audience in and achieve tangible results.

Here’s how it works:

  1. An EdTech company writes a research report from a survey it conducted into teaching coding in schools.
  2. The report goes behind a gated area of the website where teachers’ contact details are requested before they can access the report. This generates leads for further marketing.
  3. The PR team writes a series of blogs and articles for the education media using the report content. These articles contain a link back to the report download page on the company’s website, increasing the number of signups and generating more leads.
  4. The team engages the help of influential education bloggers to link to the report via their social media profiles. Teachers see the report being recommended by people they trust.
  5. A social advertising campaign is launched on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to promote the report.
  6. The internal marketing team posts blogs using the report content on the company’s website to achieve further exposure to teachers.
  7. Months of coverage on social feeds, influencer sites and the education press engages teachers with the brand. There are also hundreds of new email leads from the report download.
  8. The integrated PR campaign improves brand awareness, secures new business leads and provides a return on investment.

PR is changing, and the days of focusing on coverage alone are gone. By blending the best of PR and marketing, integrated PR campaigns can build your reputation, shift opinion towards your brand, and achieve your business goals.

 

To find out how integrated PR can help your business, read our white paper, Influence Schools.

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