You may be wondering what to do with your PR plan when school is out. It might seem like an unlikely time of year to launch--or even maintain--a public relations campaign.
Yet when your students, staff and administration are on summer vacation, it actually is a great opportunity to re-assess your program from the previous year and plan ahead for when school is back in session in September.
What does that mean? There are a number of things an administrator can do to ensure that a school's PR program is in optimal shape to generate the best results.
Evaluate your marketing partners. Are you working with the best company for the job? If your school or school district outsources its public relations, social media or marketing to an external organization, the summer months are a good time to sit down with them and discuss what is working and what needs improvement. Though you might not need to make any major decisions or transitions, summer is a good time to be introspective and take a good look at the structure and operations of your organization, PR included.
Revise your media kit. There is nothing worse than sending outdated materials to a journalist. Though it might not seem vitally important to rewrite press releases, fact sheets and media backgrounders on a regular basis, these are the things that writers, editors and producers look for when they receive your pitch. Take the extra time to review all of your marketing materials with a fine-tooth comb and give them the face lift that they might need.
Plan ahead. There is no reason you can't get a jump on some of the fundamental elements of your PR plan during the summer. Before the hubbub of the school year begins, develop strategies for promoting your events, promotions and community partnerships for the year. Develop a social media calendar if you use Facebook or Twitter, so that some of your content is planned ahead of time. You can also use the summer to media train any teachers whom you have appointed as spokespeople for your school or district.
Build relationships. In my opinion, the two best times to reach out to media are when you have exciting, breaking news to share with them or alternatively, when you have no news at all. If you are doing your own public relations, it is more important than ever that you get to know the local reporters in your community who are responsible for helping position your organization in the media. Approach reporters when you aren't pitching them, and when you don't need them to cover your story. Take them to lunch or coffee and get to know them. Learn what their interests are and how you can help them. These relationships will be essential to your PR efforts in the long run.
A social media expert, freelance writer and public relations professional for many high-profile companies, Maris Callahan is the author and publisher of the food blog In Good Taste and the new Chicago online lifestyle magazine My Daily Find Chicago.
Copyright © 2012 Education World