The University of Chichester is a publicly-funded organisation in West Sussex, England, founded in 1839. With 1,000 staff members and 5,000 students, the University's educators provide a focused and continuous commitment to their students. 14 departments span an array of subjects but specialise in humanities, sport, musical theatre, and education, in a continuous bid to live by its thoughtful motto "by teaching, we learn".
The University’s marketing and PR department is led by Senior Press Officer James Haigh, who is responsible for overseeing all marketing and PR activity including proactive, reactive and internal communications. Limited resources meant consolidation was key and the performance of open-source media intelligence could not mitigate the challenges the department faced:
1) Monitoring systems only provided top-level coverage
2) Near to non-existent strategy for engaging with journalists (other than local media)
3) The limited existing culture of producing reports or demonstrating a return on investment
4) Reliance on open-source tools with limited intelligence, top-line insights and reporting capability, therefore not accurately bridging the visibility gap, proving ROI or identifying opportunities
"Previous iterations of the press office (before my arrival) were reliant on monitoring news using free programmes which, although cost-effective, provided no real return on investment and were time-consuming. There was little strategic media relations plans in place and efforts were mostly focused on hyper-regional newspapers, many of which have now closed".James Haigh Senior Press Officer
Monitoring Global Mentions in Minutes
The University of Chichester now uses Meltwater's media intelligence platform to monitor mentions of key brand phrases and related terms, as well as trends and responses to messaging. In doing so, they solve the challenge of pulling high-quality, report-ready data which allows them to draw key insights and measure the impact of their work.
Forming Key Relationships and Distributing Influence
To help solve the problem of having limited resources, the University of Chichester also uses Meltwater media intelligence to expend fewer resources and to form key relationships with journalists and creatives.
As a result, they have been able to connect, engage and work with influencers, who play a key role in promoting the University. The department saves time and is able to set its focus on other pressing tasks. Meltwater’s journalist contact management tool offers features such as contact lists, search filters and outreach analysis that can be used by companies to identify relevant journalists, connect and monitor the correspondence.
For the University, forming these relationships has been key to engaging with potential students both on a national and international scale. This allows the University of Chichester to carve a unique tone and stand out among the 156 registered universities in the United Kingdom.
Big Events: The Royal Visit
A key success for the University, since using Meltwater intelligence, was their strategic approach for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's visit to the University. The tool enabled them to effectively strategise their communications plan with the goals of increasing brand visibility, across social media.
Key metrics to monitor included total mentions and media exposure and geographical spread of conversations. These analytics showed the key locations in which the University had been mentioned with the UK (60%) and the US (17%) accumulating the most coverage. These were especially important insights, as it allowed the team to pinpoint the impact of the reception of the Royal Visit.
"We were able to maximise the impact of the visit using Meltwater’s numerous services: from planning and communicating with the press to tracking all media coverage, and engaging with the overwhelming response on social media," - James Haigh, Senior Press Officer.
Subsequently, the team used the Insight Reporting function to understand the impact of their communications "which revealed that news of the Royal couple’s University visit had been seen 3.4 billion times worldwide." In light of the University’s 180-year anniversary approaching, the senior team was keen to see plausible engagement and clear, increased rates of media exposure.
"From the outset, we were able to track news and social media coverage to determine which channels were most effective for a medium-sized university on the UK’s south coast, which is an area full with a number of similarly-structured higher education organisations".
+931 potential reach
+4000% editorial mentions
The University now has "a more efficient working environment, which allows the team to work dynamically (whether in or out of the office) and deal with the fast-paced nature of a modern press office". Using Meltwater "as an automated team member," James says “is like having another press officer on board!”
They can now build "greater two-way engagement with journalists and social media influencers."
The University now has "improved reporting and evaluation, which helps to determine where to focus our efforts for the academic year."