Harnessing the Electrical power of Scholar Stories

With a 24-hour information cycle, shrinking newsrooms and plenty of levels of competition in better education, breaking as a result of the sounds to get nationwide media attention is extra demanding than ever. Even with these challenges, we at Southern New Hampshire University have experienced wonderful good results by concentrating our media outreach on our students and their tales. In excess of the past 6 yrs, our college students have been highlighted in Individuals magazine, Inside of Edition, the NBC Nightly Information, Are living with Kelly and far more. None of these stories occurred by accident, and they all took cautious planning, investigation, execution and stick to-up.

In this article are the major 5 procedures we use to harness the ability of university student stories, and how you can use acquired media to elevate your communications, advertising and manufacturer approach.

  1. Create a tale pipeline: Communicators are generally not on the front line with learners, so building connections internally to source the ideal stories is crucial. Everybody has a one of a kind tale to notify, and they generally are eager to share. We established a “Share your story” hyperlink that we include things like in pupil e-mail, on social media and with advisers and college associates. Supplying your staff members, school, students and alumni just one quick-to-don’t forget spot to share their tales assists create the pipeline. We obtain an ordinary of 1,000 submissions for each yr, which has aided us produce additional than 350 media placements. Even if it does not produce an quick media hit, we now have a curated and searchable list, which is beneficial when a reporter will come to us searching for a student with particular properties like “a doing work mother in the nursing degree programs” or “a college student who is on the lookout to alter careers to the tech business.” This helps us link pupils with reporters a great deal faster and increases our likelihood of staying involved in a tale.
  2. Place college students very first: Pitch each and every tale with an genuine, human-centered solution. 9 instances out of 10, we really don’t include things like SNHU in the 1st sentence or paragraph of a pitch. Instead, we guide with the university student and their tale. If it’s a tale about a person’s academic accomplishment, it is not likely the reporter or outlet will run the tale with out mentioning the faculty they go to, so constantly put students first—it’s a acquire-gain.
  3. Make and share media-ready offers: Shrinking newsrooms and a restricted media current market mean it is even much more crucial for communicators to assistance reporters convey to their stories. Right before pitching a tale, imagine about the visuals and means you can present. At SNHU, “diploma deliveries” are part of our model and our story—presenting diplomas, normally with an element of surprise, to college students who aren’t ready to celebrate their major milestone at our in-human being graduation ceremonies, like 94-calendar year-previous Amy Craton and Broadway star Emily Walton. For equally tales, we traveled with a photographer/videographer and captured the shock moments. Alternatively of sharing a very edited clip that took times to set together, we quickly shared a person backlink to unedited b-roll, interview footage and even now pictures in just hours of the function so that journalists and producers could use the assets to convey to the story in their personal way. Two producers a short while ago stated to us, “Thank you for constantly making it so quick!” and “This media package was the very best I’ve ever been given. SNHU manufactured it uncomplicated for us to do our occupation.” Be a useful resource. Not only will journalists be willing to share your tale, but you will make a robust romantic relationship and rely on with the media for upcoming prospects.
  4. Go regional to get nationwide: Each individual university chief states they want to be highlighted in The New York Occasionsbut you never require to pitch a nationwide reporter to get national protection. We have experienced the very best results by harnessing the energy of nearby affiliates to enable a story get nationwide traction. In both equally of the examples noted previously mentioned, broadcast affiliate marketers in Manchester, N.H. Honolulu Boston and New York City ran the items that were then later on noticed and picked up by Live With Kelly, NBC Nightly News and quite a few other countrywide retailers.
  5. Really do not be fearful of weekends and holiday seasons: Lots of of us have been taught to under no circumstances pitch stories on weekends, holidays or following several hours, but remember—the information cycle is 24 hours, and if you have the right tale at the appropriate time, you can established on your own apart. Just this December, my crew floated a probable diploma shipping and delivery to 89-yr-outdated Joan Donovan the 7 days right before Christmas. I was hesitant. Would we be in a position to pull it off in time? Was it way too close to the holidays? Is the workforce currently stretched seriously skinny? Still the tale obtained traction in excess of the class of a few weeks, sooner or later becoming showcased on ABC Earth Information Tonight with David Muir. At the stop of a further difficult 12 months, Joan’s tale of perseverance and grit resonated with persons close to the entire world, and even however we pitched the Friday afternoon ahead of Xmas, Joan’s story yielded far more than 500 media clips with a opportunity reach of 561 million men and women.

It’s an honor and a privilege to share our students’ stories, and we hope that they encourage many others. Using these tactics, we prolong our mission of expanding entry to larger schooling whilst also developing constructive associations with the college, internally and externally. At a time when Americans’ religion in the electrical power of better education carries on to diminish, we, as increased ed communicators, have the exclusive opportunity and obligation to share the tales of our outstanding learners and how our marketplace is earning a variation in the communities we serve.

Lauren Keane is the associate vice president of communications at Southern New Hampshire University.