Higher Education Funding Council for England
PR Case Study
The four UK Higher Education Funding Bodies (England, Scottish, Wales and Northern Ireland) developed a digital resource, called Steps to Postgraduate Study, to support individuals considering taught postgraduate study. Our challenge was, during a three-month period, to develop a PR programme that would reach across the education sector to generate positive coverage, build awareness and drive user traffic to the new digital resource.
From our research, we identified that it was only very specific demographics that would be most likely to need this digital resource due to time of life factors, such as age, career or educational development.
In understanding who these people were and their characteristics, we opted for a case study led approach to the creative concept. In using case studies, we wanted the audience to identify with the issue in the scenario presented and feel compelled to find out how they too could resolve their questions through the resource. In addition, another part of the rationale for using case studies was that they are particularly good for leveraging media interest in stories, as such narratives focus on the demographic the outlet is catering for.
Getting a better understanding of the audience also enabled us to develop a highly-targeted media strategy that sought traction across both digital and traditional channels.
Before beginning the activity, we identified the relevant tangible objectives that mattered to the client. In this example, the focus on tangible objectives related to the performance of visitor metrics on the web resource (user sessional statistics). On the non-tangible side, we focused on the volume of new relationships developed through the activity with the by-product being the media coverage that followed.
Over the three months of the campaign, we drove 20,010 sessions by 17,403 users who had 48,954 page views. Activity on the client’s Twitter account also increased with 45,000 tweet impressions, 352 profile views and an 850% increase in follower numbers.
In terms of press coverage, the campaign engaged with 62 national media outlets, 95 student/union newspapers and 26 regional titles – with coverage gained in The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Guardian Education Supplement, The Guardian Universities Editor, National Careers Service and WorkingMums.co.uk.
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