Public Relations (PR) is one of the most important elements of marketing and communication when it comes to branding. Whether it is a product, company or an idea, its features, benefits and/or message needs to be communicated to the public, more specifically the target audience. PR takes care of this aspect.
Public Relations is Different from Advertising and Publicity
Public Relations, Advertising and Publicity are often used interchangeably but they are completely different from each other. Advertising is a paid promotion. Publicity is concerned with managing the image of a public figure, product or company and creating hype – it could result in a negative public perception if not handled correctly. On the other hand, PR is a tool that focuses on building a strong and long-term relationship between individuals/organizations/brands and public/media/target audience. PR aims to create and maintain a positive image in the mind of the audience.
Public Relations in the Education Sector
With a number of schools, colleges and universities mushrooming at a rapid pace these days, it has become imperative for educational institutes to differentiate their brand in the market, keep competition at bay and establish themselves as a leader in the sector. Public Relations enables education institutes to enhance their brand visibility, making it easier for the target audience to know more about the institute on the web without having to visit in person. Through this, it helps in creating and maintaining a favourable image.
It also helps in raising funds and seek donations as the brand becomes more visible through PR and it hence easier to appeal to the individual, corporate and government donors. The most important factor is that it helps in disseminating information about admission cycle, placement season, fests or events, crisis situations or any other activity.
Building international academic collaborations is imperative for every institution these days. PR can provide global exposure to institutes and foster academic tie-ups with foreign universities through student/faculty exchange programs, international accreditation/degrees and research partnerships.
Let’s further understand briefly how PR can reach out to the institute’s key target audience:
For Aspirants, PR can attract prospective students and even faculty by promoting the institute’s unique features and building awareness about its academic offerings, faculty, activities and events. PR can increase the number of domestic as well as international applicants to the institution.
For Recruiters, PR can be also instrumental in improving relations with industry, recruiters and high-profile placement agencies. The way the institute handles PR can influence decision-makers in its favour when it comes to driving campus placements and seek rewarding job opportunities for students.
Alumni often lose contact with their alma mater after they graduate. PR can help institutes to reconnect with their alumni, invite them as faculty/industry experts/guest speakers, raise funds and seek their assistance in placements.
PR, if done continuously and consistently can reach the target audience and change their perception about the educational institute in the most effective manner. PR leverages mediums such as press releases, public appearances, newspapers, word of mouth, television programs and digital platforms to connect to the audience. Over the past decade, digital PR strategy has gained immense momentum. It involves targeting the audience by telling stories about the brand on online publications, blogs, emailers and social media sites. In fact, paid social media by boosting content on Facebook and other digital platforms can enable institutes to reach a larger target audience quickly and earn higher ROI on their marketing budget.
Hence, it is important that educational institutes find the right PR agency to assist them when it comes to formulating an effective PR strategy and promote the right content on the right channels at the right time. A good PR agency also strategizes with educational institutes to improve their National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking that was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2015. This framework outlines the methodology to rank institutions across the country on five parameters namely Teaching and Learning Resources, Research and Professional Practice, Graduation Outcome, Outreach and Inclusivity, and Perception.
SRV Media, one of the leading and trustworthy digital marketing agencies that provide insight-driven, innovative, affordable and targeted solutions to educational institutes as well as other domains such as manufacturing, healthcare, non-profit and many more. It has been instrumental in creating a strong brand value proposition by formulating the right PR opportunities, aligning academic and business objectives with needs of the target audience, and creating and promoting high-quality, engaging content for some of the most renowned educational institutes.