The digital age has presented schools with an unparalleled opportunity to shape their own profile and how they want to be seen.
No longer do they have to rely on an occasional mention in the local paper, or worse, find the only time they make it into print is when bad news breaks.
Today, a school’s website and its social media platforms are the shopfront of an institution. It is here that school initiatives as well as the shining achievements of pupils and teachers can be paraded for all to see: parents, governors, alumni, the local community and the media.
But knowing what news will make the biggest impact on your website – and beyond – and how best to tell those stories is critical to success.
For maximum impact schools should carefully hone what they project to the outside world; they need to choose what will really resonate with their key audiences.
This is where I can help. I have more than 20 years’ experience of reporting on education, from dealing with ministers at national level through to attending annual teacher conferences and spending many, many hours in schools both here and abroad.
Working for a wide range of media – from local newspapers to mid-market tabloids, broadsheets, specialist education titles, magazines and broadcast – the common touchstone has always been the same: finding good stories that people want to hear about.
Schools are vibrant, busy and endlessly fascinating places whose main skill is the all-consuming task of educating and moulding the next generation. Mine is knowing what makes a good story, articulating them well and making them attractive to a broader audience.
In this way, I can help schools develop compelling content for their websites and connect with the wider media.
Taking a proactive stance to generate your own headlines has never been more possible than now. As well as being able to shape your own ‘brand’, a legacy online, or in print, of positive news can help protect a school’s reputation in difficult times.
And if a school does find itself at the centre of national media attention, it will be its website that is the first port of call for the journalist who, faced with tight deadlines, is looking for even the most basic information about the school.
The days are long gone when local or regional papers had an education correspondent who was the go-to person for schools and their stakeholders.
As local paper staffing levels have dwindled, newsdesks are ever more grateful for the ready-made news story, complete with photos. National newspapers and specialist titles too are not always the bringers of bad news: they like good news stories too. However, they cannot write those stories if they do not know about them.
As we all know, a good reputation is built on actual achievements. A little outside help with a school’s strategic planning of news management and the production and distribution of stories could be all it takes to publicise more effectively those achievements – and help protect a school’s reputation in the long term.
To contact Alison please send an email at [email protected] or phone us on 020 7692 5675.