8 Successful Communication Strategies for the Higher Education Sector
As the market undergoes digital transformation, communication experts in the higher education sector are constantly faced with many challenges. That’s why we’ve turned to our clients in the higher education sector to share their best-practices and most effective communication strategies.
From alumni relations to internal newsletters and newsjacking: discover 8 effective communication strategies for the higher education sector!
1. Utilizing the local press
Most educational institutions build strong media relations in the countries they are based in. However, it is also important to consider the local press in other countries or regions.
Every year, thousands of students come to the Middle East to pursue their higher education. Including international and other regions’ local media in your strategy is a great way to attract foreign students.
2. Give visibility to alumni news
Alumni are a strong medium of media coverage for educational institutions. Their work and accomplishments contribute to the overall reputation of the university.
However, its often a challenge for schools to maintain strong relations with their alumni and manually track their news features.
Many institutions use Meltwater to help them automatically pick up all articles which mention their alumni. Keeping the alumni informed of their press coverage can also become a new means of building a stronger Alumni relations strategy.
Keeping track of such news also allows the school to relay important achievements of their alumni.
3. Promote faculty’s research
Research published by schools is one of the most popular topics in the press. While each school has its own lines of research, the marketing team can collaborate with faculty to identify new angles of research in response to current trends.
The communication department must then work on promoting the research work of its professors, for example by identifying journalists who are interested in the topics researched and by personalizing their approach.
Finally, it is important to share the results of your campaign with the faculty, to both celebrate their accomplishments and to also help them understand the public opinion around their publication.
4. React to current topics
Newsjacking, or the art of utilizing current and trending news for promotion and increased visibility, also works in higher education!
By reacting to highly-discussed news, educational organizations can create a buzz around them in the media landscape. This can be done by publishing research related to the topic or by organizing an event.
5. Highlight faculty expertise
Some professors are recognized for their expertise in specific topics, and are regularly solicited by the press to give input on current events.
To shed light on the expertise of their faculty, some schools have created their own blog, where professors can express themselves and share their expert opinion and research. These articles are then taken up by the press.
6. Targeted social media messaging
As a higher education institution, your social media accounts are not only followed by current students, but also alumni, prospective students, parents, journalists, professors and other educational institutions.
In short: a diverse audience! Which also means large numbers of messages to respond to, if you are looking to be able to satisfy them all.
Some universities successfully analyze their different communities, and which social media channel they are more active on. Once the different audience groups are identified, universities can build a social media strategy for communicating with each group.
7. Set up an internal newsletter
In the field of public relations, we are accustomed to speaking to journalists and influencers, so much that we often forget about the importance of internal communication.
Maintaining consistent internal communication allows you to keep all your employees informed of your work and the media coverage your university is receiving. It is also one of the most effective ways to showcase your efforts and achievements as a communications department.
A periodical internal newsletter could be the perfect solution!
8. Set up alerts in case of crisis
The higher education sector is not immune to crises, which can be caused by many factors. It is therefore important to media monitoring and alerts that will help your organization in anticipating crises.
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