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How to reach teachers on TikTok

Since its global launch in 2017, TikTok has expanded exponentially and the number of users in the UK is predicted to reach a staggering 15 million by 2025.

This seismic growth has seen TikTok morph from being the go-to platform used by under 25s to create lipsync music videos to becoming the increasingly popular tool used by influencers and businesses to grow their brands.

But can edtech firms reach teachers on TikTok?

Absolutely.

Find teachers on TikTok

With billions of views of #learnontiktok, #teacher and #teachersoftiktok, the education community is alive and well on TikTok.

Growing numbers of teachers are using the platform to share and look for new lesson ideas or ‘how-to’ style content to support their classroom teaching.

Teachers have become popular content creators too, such as Mrs J Primary, a primary teacher in Wales who regularly posts videos offering lesson tips and recommendations for teaching resources. There’s also mrsreandpsheteacher whose thousands of followers tune in to find teaching advice and lesson ideas for their students.

Partnering with influencers on TikTok is one sure fire way to gain traction on the platform (see @kjbr0wn’s partnership with the Premier League for inspiration), but there are a number of other methods too.

So how can education brands use TikTok to raise awareness of their products and services in the teaching community?

What content does well on TikTok?

What makes TikTok different from other social media platforms is that the algorithm does not consider the number of followers an account has when distributing content. This means that all video clips created have equal potential to go viral – whether the account posting them has a million followers, or none.

This offers brands a good opportunity to engage with teachers beyond their existing loyal customers and followers on social media.

One of the main advantages of TikTok is that alongside the paid advertising route, content can also be created relatively quickly and with little or no budget.

But corporate language and imagery won’t work well on this platform, so limit your branding and marketing content to the company profile page.

TikTok users love content that is:

  • Authentic
  • Informal
  • Helpful
  • Fun

Experimenting with different content types will help you to see what works best for the target audience you want to reach.

If you want to include TikTok in your organisation’s marketing strategy, get started with these four ideas for creating content that gets your brand noticed.

  1. Create content that teachers need

The first and last rule for success on any social media platform is to create content that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach.

Whether your products and services help teachers to manage workload, tackle classroom behaviour or make lesson planning easier, creating content that helps them address the issues that matter to them is always the most effective way to encourage meaningful engagement, rather than just views or likes on your posts. So, stay clear of focusing on your products. Instead focus on tips or advice.

While the organic reach of TikTok can be huge, the greater the engagement with teachers on your brand’s posts, the more likely they will be seen by other teachers so relevance is everything.

  1. Make use of hashtags

You can quickly start getting traction for your content by using trending hashtags that are relevant to your brand. These might include #ukteacher, #primaryteacheruk, #eyfs or #ect to name but a few.

Hashtags not only make it easier for teachers to find the content they are searching for. They also help the algorithm to more accurately understand what sort of content you have created and who will want to see it. But don’t overdo it. Three to five hashtags per post works best for TikTok but you can use more.

You can also create your own hashtags to include as part of a new campaign. If it’s attached to a regular activity, such as the monthly release of free resources for teaching maths, the repeated use of a relevant hashtag will help direct teachers viewing a post to the wider series. This will help to increase recognition of the hashtag along with awareness of the brand over time.

  1. Trend jacking

Trend jacking – which incorporates a popular meme, song or challenge that’s already trending – can be a great way to boost a brand’s presence on TikTok.

Take the ‘TeachTok’ trend, which encourages discussion on TikTok about many aspects of teaching. A teacher might record a ‘point of view’ style clip as part of the trend to show how they deal with different situations such as managing a noisy classroom or encouraging quiet students to contribute to a class debate. Teachers might also jump on trending events, such as the global release of the Barbie movie, to share their thoughts on planning lessons around inspiring women and girls in history or create content for teaching PSHE in schools. As the trend grows, more teachers join in and add their content and perspectives to build a vibrant community where people can find valuable resources.

Edtech companies can tap into the active teaching communities on TikTok by creating content around trending themes that add value to teaching, such as how to reduce workload or make classrooms more inclusive. Companies could gift their resources to teachers on the platform too or invite teachers to speak at or attend events they are hosting by commenting on relevant posts.

  1. Embrace challenges

TikTok is renowned for fun challenges that can go viral. They are often dance related or add humour and many teachers embrace the challenges, much to the delight of their pupils.

But there are other types of challenge brands can jump on the back of too. One example is the #madepossiblewithadidas challenge created by the sportswear brand.

The challenge encouraged users to post videos beginning with the question, “show me something you thought was impossible before you did it”. Each clip users posted in response told its own story of triumph, from overcoming illness to running a marathon, and the hashtag #madepossiblewithadidas was included. The campaign generated a plethora of content which went viral with many thousands of views and shares, which raised the profile of the brand.

Education brands could adopt a similar strategy to start a challenge such as the best lesson of the year or most creative use of technology in the classroom. Adding a relevant hashtag will galvanise the teaching community to engage with the brand and share their own experiences.

  1. Respond to comments

 TikTokers are active when it comes to commenting on the content they see on the platform and brands that are happy to respond will get the best engagement.

Answer questions about your product or service, or even respond to a funny comment with a witty reply. This can be a great way to engage teachers and encourage them to follow your brand.

Download our white paper for more guidance on how to influence schools or contact us to find out how we can help you get results like these, which we’ve achieved for other clients.

Image by antonbe from Pixabay

Seven ways to avoid PR mistakes in 2023

2023 has kicked off with a bang and your PR team will be chomping at the bit to create great content and pitch out new story ideas to get your product or service mentioned in the national and education media.

When batteries are recharged and the creative juices are flowing, you can go off with all guns blazing in the first weeks and months of a new year.

But it’s worth looking at these seven steps to avoid PR pitfalls, get campaigns off to a flying start and achieve the results you want.  

 

1. Make sure your PR delivers on your business goals

Your PR team could be doing a great job crafting messaging that resonates with senior leaders and teachers and getting your product or company name mentioned in the publications, podcasts and blogs they go to for information. The digital skills of your marketing people are crucial for generating imaginative product launches that generate sales leads too.

But blending PR’s ability to build an audience’s trust in your brand with the focused and measurable strengths of marketing can be a powerful combination to help you meet your business goals in 2023.

Read our blog  and find out how you can use PR and marketing to build your reputation, shift opinion towards your brand, and achieve your business goals.

2. Plan, plan, plan

Approaching PR in an ad hoc way with little or no firm plan on what you want it to achieve for your business is a high-risk strategy that is unlikely to get you the results you want.

While an element of flexibility is essential for responding to the changing news agenda and shifting education marketplace, a good PR plan is the linchpin for co-ordinating the efforts of your PR and marketing and ensuring the activity they engage in actually delivers for your business.

The grounding for a successful PR plan comes from asking yourself some tough questions. These are outlined in our blog, along with our top tips for planning a great year for your PR campaigns.

3. Don’t leave keywords to chance

Whether your company supplies software to schools, training for MAT leaders or student record systems to universities, there are some common keywords and phrases the people you want to reach type into search engines when they are looking for solutions to the challenges they face.

Including these keywords in your online content will get your company name higher in the search list and make it easier for people to see how your products and services can help.

But how can you find out which keywords your audiences uses to source information online?

Check out our blog on keyword research and find out which words and phrases you should be using in your online articles and news pieces to reach the right people and put the information they need into their hands.

4. Don’t stifle creativity

When your PR or marketing team has a great idea for a campaign, is there a tendency to step back from activities that are considered to be a bit wild or crazy in favour of what’s been done before?

Make 2023 the year that you consider pushing the boundaries a little more. Even if you end up tweaking the original wild idea, injecting some fresh thinking into your PR could help you stand out from the crowd and take a successful campaign to the next level.

Get some inspiration from our short video and avoid overthinking or stifling the true creativity in your organisation this year.

5. Be ready to manage a PR crisis

No organisation is immune to a PR crisis. If the unthinkable happens – a call from a journalist who has uncovered a major fault in your product, or from a customer who says your products have corrupted their data – you need to be ready.

We have created the Complete Guide To Crisis Management For Brands & Startups in the Education Sector to help you act fast and protect your brand.

6. Get ready for Google Analytics 4

Add 1st July 2023 to your PR calendar as this is the date when Google Analytics 4 will replace the Universal Analytics platform.

But don’t get caught out. You will need to start putting the groundwork in place for the change now as you won’t be able to access your historical data after that date.

Read our blog on what to expect and what you should be doing to get the most from GA4 into and beyond 2023.

7. Don’t miss out on a prestigious award

The new year is a great time to consider entering an education award, such as the TES School Awards or the Bett Awards. An award win – or even a place on the shortlist – can bring added recognition for your brand and demonstrates to prospective customers that your product or service is among the best in class.

Writing an award winning entry can take time, but we’ve done some of the hard work for you here by outlining what you can do to give you the best chances of award success.

 

Read more about the fantastic results we have achieved for our clients and contact us if you’d like our help to deliver PR success for your organisation.

 

Photo by Tara Winstead

How do you measure PR campaign success?

So, you’ve had a great idea for a PR campaign to launch a new edtech offering, raise awareness of your brand in schools or get headteachers to watch a product demo.

But now you need to put some KPIs in place to make sure you can measure and report on how the campaign is performing both during its roll out and post campaign too.

What are the best metrics to use in PR?

That all depends on the type of campaign and what you are trying to achieve.

So let’s say you want to raise headteachers’ awareness of your brand. You might think the number of items of positive coverage secured in the press and on the websites your target audience consumes would be a good goal to measure.

You may want to track the number of speaker slots you secure for your spokespeople or customers on podcasts and at events aimed at senior leaders in schools too.

But does this really get to the heart of what you are trying to achieve for your business?

Focus on actions

Ultimately, you want the brand awareness you are generating with PR to lead to an action.

When school leaders hear about you on a podcast or blog, you may want them to:

  • Come to a specific page on your website
  • View a video on your product
  • Sign up for a free trial of your software
  • Download a white paper

So, the KPIs you put in place need to reflect the end goals.

KPIs for PR

Let’s say you’ve created a guide on improving student engagement to raise awareness of your brand.

Some KPIs you might want to set for this scenario could be:

  • Spikes in traffic to your website following the publication of opinion pieces or podcast guest slots secured by your PR team as part of the campaign
  • Direct traffic coming from any links which media outlets or websites have included in published content
  • Engagement on the site – the number of pages people look at, the average time spent on the page and if they are new or returning visitors
  • An increase in new user activity on your web site over a 3 month period, before, during and after the campaign. You can compare this with data from the same time period in previous years to get a good idea of the impact.

You can measure these using a data analytics platform such as Google Analytics.

If your goal is to capture teachers’ email addresses by placing the student engagement report behind a gated page on your web site, your KPIs will be slightly different.

They should also include x number of downloads of the content from your target audience.

It’s worth adding ‘uplift in traffic to the content landing page’ as a KPI too. An increase in traffic to, and engagement on, your website over the course of the campaign can be a good indication that the content and activity has resonated with people and they’ve made the decision to take the next step.

The benefits of the correct measures

One of the most powerful things about having the right measures in place is that it starts to influence the content and management of the campaign as it progresses.

Success can be measured against the specific KPIs you have set and if you’re not seeing an impact, you can tweak the activity over time and check the changes are making a difference.

The ultimate aim is to achieve your business goals, whether that’s more teachers talking about you online, more signups for a free trial of your software or increased sales.

Measure PR and marketing against KPIs

So before you start measuring anything, define the business objectives you are trying to achieve with the planned activity. Set specific KPIs around these to help you choose the right measurement tools and put you on track to get the results you’re after.

Below are 12 measures you can choose from to help you get the results you want from PR.

Type of measure What it isHow to do it
Back links
Links from quality external websites that send visitors directly to your site from coverage secured by your PR team, such as opinion pieces, case studies or product reviewsBacklinks are a powerful tool for increasing SEO ranking on search engines like Google.

You can monitor web traffic coming from your backlinks by looking at referral traffic in Google Analytics to see which coverage from what outlets have encouraged visitors to you site. There are also tools such as the Ahrefs back link checker which can provide a list of all the websites that have a link to your site.
Site traffic
General traffic to your web site, or visits to specific pagesMonitoring visits to your site, where they come from and how the data compares to that of previous years will help you measure the success of a timed PR campaign. Again, you can use a data analytics tool of your choice ie Google Analytics.
Time on site, bounce rate and pages visited
Useful measures to check the right kind of traffic is being driven to the siteUplifts in time on site and page visits can indicate that the prospects being directed to your content are already pre-qualified by what they have read or heard about you.

Aim to keep bounce rates as low as possible by providing content that is of value to your target audience. You can use Google Analytics to measure these metrics or an alternative tool such as Hubspot .
Search
Direct searches of your brand or productYou can monitor the number of searches for your brand using a tool like Google Search Console.

An uplift in the number of searches would suggest PR activity is resulting in more people becoming aware of your brand. Check search data for before and during a specific campaign to help you demonstrate the impact of life with and without the activity.
Reach/impressions
There is a subtle difference between social media reach and impressions, as explained below.

Reach – the total number of people who have received or interacted with your social media content.

Impressions – the number of times the algorithm has served your content onscreen, whether or not it has been clicked on
Large brands often track these metrics as a measure of increasing brand awareness.

While they might be a useful gauge of how social media algorithms are responding to your content, in isolation, they won’t give you any information about what actions people have taken as a result. Generally, unless increasing reach/impressions is your ultimate goal, don’t limit your analysis to these vanity measures alone.
Engagement
The number of likes, retweets/shares and positive comments your content receives on social media platformsThese engagement measures are critical for helping you to see how well your content is being received by your target audience. You can find these kinds of metrics by using a social media management tool such as Hootsuite to view all your social content in one place. Alternatively, get the data directly from the individual platforms.
Connections/followers
These are the people who follow you on platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or connect with you on LinkedInMonitor these if you are trying to grow your audience or reach education influencers with a piece of online content. An increase in followers/connections can indicate the activity you are engaging in is successfully raising your profile. But remember to check the connections you are gaining are relevant and match the audience you are trying to reach.
Downloads/goal conversion/email addresses
These metrics are useful for measuring specific goals you want to achieve with your PR and social media activityWhether your aim is to capture email addresses with a webinar sign up campaign or encourage downloads of a piece of content on your web site, make sure you are clear on the goal so that you can measure success towards it.

It's important to track progress towards goals as a campaign develops and make adjustments to the activity and/or social media audiences and ad spend to ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Cost per click (CPC)
Data relating to the cost per click, click through rate and goal conversion measures on social media platformsKeeping an eye on the CPC rate of your campaign will help you to optimise your budget to get the results you’re after for the best return on investment.

You want to keep the CPC as low as possible, but bear in mind that if the audience you are trying to reach is small or niche multi-academy trust leaders, for example, the CPC may be higher.

If your CPC is high but a lot of the people you are trying to reach are taking the action you want them to, you may make the judgement that the result is a price worth paying.
Click through rate (CTR)

The percentage of people who click on your content when they see itA high CTR, combined with high numbers of people doing whatever it is you want them to, indicates that you are delivering the right content to the right audience and as a result, they are being encouraged to act.
Coverage
Published articles, news items and speaking opportunities secured by your PR team Quality media coverage can boost the credibility of your brand and enables you to build relationships with your target audience by demonstrating that you understand the challenges they face and can help.

Secure the right coverage for spokespeople and customers in the media your target audience reads. We tier all coverage based on a client’s objectives and the readership and quality of editorial.
Sentiment of coverage
The positive or negative tone of coverage Measuring the tone of coverage over time is useful, particularly for brands that want to counter past negative coverage or change market perceptions.

You could score the sentiment of individual coverage using a scale such as positive, negative, neutral, or balanced, or a numbered system to keep track of the overall tone of the coverage received.

Click here to find out more about generating leads for your education product or read more about how measuring PR and marketing can support your wider business strategy in our Guide to Good PR Planning.

Also, read our blog to find out how you can prepare for the changes to Google Analytics coming up in 2023 as they will affect the way you analyse the activity on your website.

 

Photo by Ann H at Pexels

Time is ticking, are you ready for Google Analytics 4?

Digital analysis is an essential ingredient in the recipe for most PR and marketing campaigns. Since it first launched back in 2005, Google Analytics has become a mainstay for brands looking to track campaign performance.

It has completely transformed the way businesses understand their customers’ behaviour, from their first visit to a website through to a sign-up or purchase.

However, change is coming, and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is set to replace the current version – Universal Analytics – on 1st July 2023. After that date, Universal Analytics will no longer collect your data.

July may seem a long way off, but now is the time to do the groundwork for the move to GA4. If you’re not prepared, you could find yourself on the back foot, analysing your website without any historical data.

Why is Google Analytics changing?

When Universal Analytics was first developed, there wasn’t anything like the complexity of today’s multi-channel, multi-device, multi-platform and customer engagement. That’s why GA4 is not simply an update, it is a complete rebuild which should take digital analysis into a new dimension.

The navigation will take some getting used to, but with separate tools for data collection, reporting and analysis, GA4 should give you a better view of your existing and prospective customers’ behaviour. With the new interface, you can more effectively track where your users come from, how they interact on your site and where they exit.

Google has also implemented machine learning technology into GA4 to allow for predictive customer insights, and many businesses will welcome the improved integration with Google Ads.

Better insight into conversions

One of the changes we’re most excited about is the advancement in conversion tracking.

While Universal Analytics focuses on page views and sessions, GA4 is more of an events-based platform. That means it gives you more information about the actions people take on your site, such as starting a sale, downloading a white paper or clicking on ‘contact us’ – and the paths they took to get them to this point.

This is incredibly useful in understanding what drives people to convert and will help you see which of your marketing approaches are most successful within each of your customer types.

So when you have set up your GA4 property, it’s a good idea to look at creating some of these events straight away so you can start measuring the key actions you want people to take. With GA4, there are clear parameters that allow you to define events very specifically. This enables you to look in detail at the actions taking place on your site.

The earlier you do this, the better as you’ll see what is driving customer activity over time and can adjust your marketing and PR to bring more people to your site and keep them engaged.

If you know the customers buying your product are coming from Google Ads or the people signing up to your webinar are coming from Facebook, this knowledge will help you improve your conversion rate.

It’s time to create a GA4 property

The first step is to create a GA4 property in your Google Analytics account if you haven’t already done so, and we’ll show you how to do it later in the blog. This will enable GA4 to start recording your information from the moment you set up the property.

Don’t worry if you’re not quite ready to make the full transition to GA4. Your current Universal Analytics tracking will run alongside GA4 until July, so you can continue your day-to-day reporting for now, giving you time to think about your tracking and analysis needs in the months ahead.

The benefit is that when you do make the move to GA4, you will already have collected some valuable comparison data.

How to set up a GA4 property

You can set up a GA4 property in a few simple steps.

  1. Go to your Google Analytics account and click on admin and setup assistant.

Google Analytics 4 set up

 

 

2. Click on properties and create the new GA4 property. Give it a name.

Google Analytics 4 property

 

3. Add the new GA4 tracking tag to your site. This is easy to do if you use Google Tag Manager. Alternatively, you will need to put code onto your site so that information will be pulled into the new GA4 property.

 

4. Set up new tracking items as the ones you used in Universal Analytics will not migrate across. This could include events, goals (conversions) and audiences.

 

5. Make sure the new events you set up reflect the actions you want your customers and prospects to take and the goals you want to achieve.

 

6. Take the opportunity to create more sophisticated audiences based on the improved information you will have from GA4 about attribution. This will help you target customers more effectively and you can also use this information to get more from other platforms such as Google Ads.

 

7. Check that your new GA4 account integrates with the other platforms you use, as integration will not take place automatically.

Make GA4 work for your business

Once everything is in place, you will want to be sure that GA4 is collecting data in the most useful way for your business. Check the events you’ve set up are tracking properly and the tags are firing correctly so you are getting exactly the information you need for your PR and marketing strategies.

It’s also worth remembering that although Universal Analytics will no longer collect your data after next July, you will still be able to download the previously processed data it holds for some time afterwards.

But think carefully about what you decide to download, and just focus on the key data you need for your business decisions.

While it may seem like an added headache you don’t need, setting up GA4 now will ensure a smoother transition in the months to come.

It also provides a great opportunity to review your data goals long before the July deadline comes along.

If you would like to read more about digital marketing analysis, read our blogs on keyword research and targeting teachers on Facebook.

 

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Should my edtech business exhibit at Bett?

We’re often asked by edtech businesses at this time of year if it’s worth investing in a stand at the Bett education technology show.

So, we thought we’d share a few nuggets of advice to help you decide:

  • If Bett is the best place to showcase your education product or service
  • If it’s the right event to reach your target audience and if so…
  • How you can get the most from the show to ultimately generate leads

 

While you’re here, find out how to effectively target teachers on Facebook too. Get in touch if you need help to give your education PR and communications a boost.

Which education awards should you enter?

And when does your award entry need to go in?

Entering and winning an award for your company is a straightforward way to improve recognition for your brand, product, or service.

There are three key reasons for this.

Firstly, awards improve your industry reputation. Your status is increased amongst your peers and competitors. Secondly, your customers can see that your service or product is high quality enough to achieve recognition. Finally, awards naturally attract great media coverage, to spread brand awareness and potentially increase your exposure through search engine ratings and on social media.

That said, it can be quite a minefield to search for the best award to enter. Application deadlines and category guidelines vary and some companies can be put off by the amount of time it takes to find the right award.

So, we’ve done the work for you.

Below are our top suggestions for education awards to apply for in 2021 and 2022 – good luck!

Name of awardLinkAbout the awardsApplication deadlineBest for Opportunities
Digital Education Awardswww.digitaleducationawards.com/2021awardsRecognising the best in the EdTech industry19th Nov for 2021Edtech companiesMarketing credibility

Magazine feature

Product/service validation, visibility, and recognition
Education Resources Awardswww.educationresourcesawards.co.ukRecognising those who make the best impact on services, educators, and the classroom25th February 2022Edtech companies, learning resources companiesPress coverage, validation of a product valued by educators
TES Awardswww.tesawards.co.uk/tesschoolsawardsCelebrating the achievements of staff and schoolsDetails of 2022 awards to be announced early February 2022Schools and staffProduct/service validation, visibility, and recognition

Press coverage
Edtech Breakthrough Awardswww.edtechbreakthrough.comRecognising the best companies, products and services in the field of educational technology2022 entry deadline likely to open January - March based on previous yearsEdtech companies large and smallMedia coverage, coverage on award website, endorsement among colleagues
Learning Technologies Awardswww.learningtechnologies.co.uk/learning-tech-awardsRepresenting talent and ingenuityKeep an eye out in May - July for 2022 entry dateEdtechs including games, learning resources and school administration supportMedia coverage across Europe and potential to get involved with summer forum and roadshows to showcase products
National School Awardswww.nationalschoolsawards.co.ukRecognise, celebrate and reward senior leaders, schools and multi-academy trusts for their dedication and hard workMay deadline for 2022 awards based on previous yearSchools, academies and individual teachersHosted at the House of Lords - high esteem award for academies and individual staff members. Great media coverage for individual schools
Pearson National Teaching Awardswww.teachingawards.comRaising the profile of the teaching profession through highlighting the positive impact teachers and school leaders have in our society2022 awards yet to open, but you can register your interest on the website hereTeachers, schools, or individual staff members in education institutionsExpansive media coverage! 2021 saw a BBC Documentary ('Classroom Heroes'), feature on The One Show, newsletter, website, social media and Pearson Podcast. A great way to cover lots of bases. High esteem for staff and individual schools
PIEoneer Awardswww.pieoneerawards.com/thepieoneerawards'The PIEoneer Awards are the international education industry's equivalent of the Oscars.'2022 entry TBC (previously opened in March)Companies focused on diversity, employment, digital innovation and student wellbeingJudges’ comments will be sent to winners to be used publicly. Media coverage, global recognition on awards site and social media. High esteem in the industry
Bett Awardswww.bettawards.com/about-bett-awards/Celebrating the world’s leading education technology solutions2021 entries have now closed. 2022 deadline likely to be SeptEducation technology companiesInternational exposure

Product/Service validation, visibility, and recognition
Education Awardswww.education-awards.co.ukRewarding the most outstanding contributors to the education sectorSeptemberEstablishments, organisations and people who contribute to the education sectorProduct/service validation, visibility, and recognition
Education Investor Awardswww.educationinvestor.co.uk/educationinvestor-awardsCelebrating excellence and innovation in the business of education in the UKEarly OctoberProfessionals investing in, advising or operating companies in the education sectorProduct/service validation, visibility, and recognition
Tech for Teachers Awardswww.teachwire.net/tech-for-teachersCelebrating Tech for Teachers that has a genuine classroom impactPreviously OctoberCompanies with tech products for teachingMedia coverage print, 37,500 copies

Feature on teacherwire.net 65,000 visitors

Newsletter feature 21k subscribers
Education Business Awardswww.awards.educationbusinessuk.net/Recognising school achievementsPreviously May entry deadlineSchoolsEndorsement, product/service validation, visibility and recognition
Global Edtech Startup (GES) Awardswww.globaledtechawards.org'The world's largest awards for global Ed Tech startups'Closed for 2021entry but one to consider for 2022For startup Edtechs wanting to go global to expand their geographic reach. This is an international awardGlobal recognition so one for expanding your borders. Great media coverage, recongition as an international provider

This concludes our list of top awards to apply for.

If you’re keen to enter any of these awards but are perhaps new to the game, or could do with a little refresher, we have a great blog covering our best advice on How To Write A Winning Award Entry.

You can also download our free guide – How to Write a Winning Education Award Entry.

Good luck!

 

Image by ktphotography from Pixabay

How to generate leads for my education product

A steady stream of leads is key to increasing sales of your education product.  And one of the best ways to generate leads is by using your own PR and marketing content.

When teachers and school leaders search online for information, solutions or answers to questions, you want your content to pop up in front of them. You want your content to solve a problem, so they can get to know more about your business, understand you’re an expert and be open to buying from you.

Content can take many forms including research, a report, an infographic or a podcast.

But what are the specific steps to using content to generate more leads from the education sector?

Let’s look at the process and how you can ensure the leads you’re getting are of the very best quality.

Research, research, research

Kick off by researching key areas – start wide and home in as you go.

When it comes to understanding what your target audience are searching for online, Google is a great place to begin.

For example, you can find out what headteachers are searching for in relation to your education product or service by using Google Trends and a range of other keyword research tools.

We’ve written a full blog on how to do this here.

Other research ideas 

Once you’ve carried out keyword research, there are other ways to find out more about your target audience and what they’re looking for:

  • Research the media that teachers read. Whether that’s Teach Primary, Times Higher Education or Independent Schools Magazine, you’ll get a view on what interests the very people you want to attract.
  • Hang out with them online. You may follow headteachers on LinkedIn or hop onto a UKEdChat. During these weekly Twitter discussions about education, you’ll find out about the issues education professionals are facing at the moment and can also ask questions and become a part of the discussion.
  • Interview schools you with to get as full a picture as possible about your target audience. Find out how they like to receive content. Is it via email or do they prefer to listen to podcasts?

Then use all of this information to understand what they need more of or less of. What bothers them or excites them. And most importantly, how your education product can help.

Look at pre-existing content

Once you’ve found the area you’d like to focus on, you can delve deeper to find out more.

This includes:

  • Looking through any pre-existing content you have access to already, like case studies or previous reports.
  • Taking advantage of research that already exists in the public domain, for example Teacher Tapp regularly surveys their database of 8,000 teachers about what’s going on in schools and publishes the results.
  • Interviewing experts in your organisation or externally to ensure you have interesting, relevant and useful information to share with potential customers.

Generating content through leads – an example

Background 

Let’s take the example of an organisation that helps students get into the top universities around the world. We worked with them to generate leads among affluent parents in London. Our research showed that these parents were comfortable supporting their children when they were applying for Oxford and Cambridge. Yet they found it more difficult to help with the application process for the Ivy League universities in the USA as the system is so different.

We decided to develop a Beyond Oxbridge guide for parents, explaining the main differences between the UK and US university system.

Expertise 

Within the business itself, there were a series of experts we were able to interview in order to develop the content, including course work and exam tutors, university admissions professors and previous students.

They gave us all sorts of useful information, such as how the application process works, what life is like on campus and how to get an athletics scholarship. They explained how undergraduate courses in the US allow for a wider range of subjects to be studied and how to finance a degree in the States.

Research 

We carried out our own research as well, using the QS World University rankings for top institutions according to subject. We were also able to tap into existing research, such as information on employment opportunities and average graduate salaries according to university attended.

This process made sure we had all of the relevant information to prepare the best content possible for potential customers.

Create the right content

The next step is to start creating your content. Choose the medium you think will work best for your audience. If you’re not sure, then try out one and test the results.

Your content can be in written form, such as a report teachers can download, a series of top tips emails you plan to send out, or a blog post for your website. It can also be multimedia content, like a video or podcast interview with an expert, an infographic guide or a webinar training session.

An example 

For our university admissions organisation, we opted for a guide format that was hosted on a gated landing page on the client’s website. In order to download the report, parents had to share their email address for further contact by the marketing team.

On the back of this guide, we also developed additional pieces of content, such as articles on the Beyond Oxbridge theme for education publications and infographics for social media. All content had links back to the landing page with the report on it, so we could use Google Analytics to track where leads were coming from and assess which content was producing the best results.

The content generated 428 leads in just a few weeks of promotion, plus additional web site traffic for the company.

Don’t forget the follow up once you generate leads

Be prepared for what you plan to do once the leads start coming in.

Drop them into your lead nurturing programme or follow up with a phone call or an invite to a demo of your education product. Maybe you could offer a free trial or some free consultancy.

You can continue to use relevant content at each stage of your customer journey to help move them along the marketing funnel, such as targeted email marketing or a case study from one of your clients.

Follow these steps and in no time, you’ll be an expert at using content to generate leads for your business and it will support your overall education marketing strategy.

If you want to know how to get your education product noticed by senior leaders in education, you can download our Influence Schools White Paper. You may also be interested in our guide to good PR Planning.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is finding out the exact phrases people use to search for services and products, find answers to questions or solutions to problems, using search engines.

Keyword research gives you a better understanding of your target market so you can then offer them helpful and relevant information in return.

This is useful in so many areas of content development for your education business, from website copy to articles, email campaigns, blogs, video content and social media posts.

Creating content that people are searching for also has a positive impact on your search rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find you online.

But how can you find out what terms your target audience is using to search for the content they need?

1. Brainstorm your keyword list 

Start by listing all of the possible keywords and phrases potential customers are likely to put into Google. These will be your ‘seed’ keywords as they will help you find more relevant words and phrases.

Think about long-tail keywords too. These are phrases that are more specific than single words. They get less traffic, but they have a higher clickthrough rate because if someone is very specific about what they are searching for, it is more likely that they will click through to your site when they see your content.

Say you’re an education business that provides fun and engaging science lesson plans to schools. Your list might start with keywords like ‘science lesson plans’, ‘science teaching resources’, ‘science lessons for primary schools’ and you’d keep building on this list.

Then when it comes to long-tail keywords, you’d consider phrases like ‘how to make science lessons more interesting’ or ‘how to make science fun in the classroom’.

Once you’ve done some initial brainstorming, there are some tools that can help you expand and prioritise your list. We find Google Trends is a good place to start.

2. Use Google Trends for keyword research

a) Enter key terms into Google Trends to see levels of interest in specific search terms set out by region and date. This will also show you similar topics these same users have searched for. For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into Google Trends, you can see that those who searched for this term also searched for ‘biological life cycle’ and ‘butterflies’. The tool can help you understand more about what teachers are looking for online and develop the right content for them.

b) Google Trends also lets you compare search wording to see what is the most searched for term. For instance, people have searched for ‘Biology lesson plan’ three times more often than for ‘Physics lesson plan’. Insight like this helps you to better focus your content according to what your target audience is searching for online.

c) You can also use your own Google search bar to check what other searches automatically come up. By typing in ‘science lesson’, you can see that the most popular searches are ‘science lessons online’, ‘science lessons for kids’ and ‘science lesson plan template’. This makes it easier for you to find out what your potential customers are searching for and give them the right content.

3. Expand your research

Take your research a step further by entering key search terms, like ‘science lesson plan’, into a free content insight tool like AnswerThePublic.

This will pull up more granular detail on the types of questions people are asking Google and give you more ideas on how to target them. The tool breaks up the data into questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabetical lists and other related searched-for topics.

For example, when you type ‘science lesson plan’ into the search bar in AnswerThePublic, you can see frequent searches like ‘science lesson plan with experiments’, and ‘science lesson plan with technology’. You can also see that the most searched for format is a pdf. See example results from AnswerThePublic here:

Science lesson plan results diagram from @answerthepublic

From a strategic perspective, you could also use an SEO analysis tool, like Ahrefs or Moz to check out your competitors and see what keywords they’re ranking highly in to help you build and define your own list. You may want to target the same keywords or look at building a list of less popular search terms that are still relevant to your business, where there is less competition.

All of these steps should help lead you to a strong keyword search list you’ll be able to use to plan and develop your content.

4. Decide on the best type of content

Once you have a targeted and comprehensive list of keywords, go through the list and think about the best types of content for each topic.

Taking our example of a science lesson provider and the research we have carried out, we might propose these four content ideas:

  • A video for teachers on how to make science engaging online
  • A series of science lesson plan pdfs with the top experiments to carry out in a science class
  • A blog post on how to prepare the ideal plan for a biology lesson

Once you’ve got a strong list of keywords that are right for your education business, you can be as creative as you like in using them to shape your content, developing blogs, videos, webinars or lesson plans.

5. Monitor progress with Google Search Console

Keep an eye on your keyword list and make a note to review it every quarter.

When you start to create content using your keywords, regularly monitoring engagement levels will help you to make adjustments where needed to keep you climbing the search rankings. This means more people will discover your content, visit your site and potentially convert into customers.

Google Search Console is useful for monitoring content posted on your website. You can use this tool to find out how often your site appears in Google search results and which pages have the highest, and lowest, click through rates from Google search results.

You can see how your search traffic changes over time too, where it’s coming from and what search queries are most likely to show your website. And you’ll get a clear idea of what keyword searches come from mobile devices so you can optimise specific content for people searching on their phones.

Being able to see which keywords and types of content are performing well will give you greater insight into the topics and formats your audience prefers on an ongoing basis.

If you’d like to find out more about how to get the attention of school leaders, read our white paper, Influence Schools.

 

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How to effectively target teachers on Facebook

Promoting the right content at the right time via Facebook advertising, with its powerful audience targeting tools, could be the driving force for your next lead generation campaign.

Despite recent criticism about its practices, Facebook appears to have weathered the storm and continues to be the most popular social media network among adults in the UK.

Teachers regularly access Facebook for personal and professional use providing a great opportunity for you to reach them.

However, creating a successful and well-targeted Facebook ad campaign takes time and there are many things to consider, from what you’re offering to how you can find the people who are most likely to engage with your content.

Here we share some top tips to make your next Facebook ad campaign a success.

 

Engaging and inspiring content

Teachers do not want to share their name and email address with just anyone, so you need to provide them with a good incentive to encourage them to do so.

Content is at the heart of any successful lead generation campaign and according to HubSpot, 96% of people who visit your website are not ready to buy so the best approach is to “give before asking” to capture leads.

If you offer valuable free resources, teachers are more likely to provide contact details to access it, providing you with an opportunity to engage with them in the future.

Here are some examples of the type of content that you could offer to teachers:

  • Useful resources such as lesson plans or classroom exercises
  • Webinars or training courses
  • Free reports and guides providing tips and advice e.g. behaviour management
  • Free trial of software

One successful content strategy you could try is to produce content that is aligned with a particular awareness week or time of the year. For example, you can produce back-to-school resources that you could promote in August/September or a Stop Bullying guide for Anti-Bullying week.

Landing pages that convert

Once you’ve decided and created the content that will incentivise teachers to share their information with you, you need to set up a landing page.

Landing pages are a critical part of your Facebook ad lead generation campaign and the start of the process from turning a visitor into a lead.

You need to make sure that your landing page has a single call-to-action e.g. fill in the form to download the content. Avoid additional links or other calls to action on the page as you don’t want to distract from the end goal – to capture their details.

You will also need a thank you page set up. Once someone has signed up, they will be directed to this page, be thanked for signing up and signposted to the content. It is also a great way for you to track conversions and create retargeting or lookalike audiences, which you will read about later on in this blog.

Ads that stop the scroll

You may have an amazing offering and a great landing page but if you don’t have an ad that stands out and grabs your target audience’s attention, then even with the best targeted campaign tactics, it’s more than likely that you will experience a low clickthrough rate on your ad. This will not only result in a low number of leads, it will be costly too.

A lead generation ad should use an image, video or infographic that makes someone stop the scroll and take action (click on it).

Here’s an example from Whizz Education who we worked with on their Mathvember campaign.  The ad successfully grabbed the attention of hundreds of primary school teachers.

Facebook ad for Mathvember

Remember…

It’s important to keep the imagery and messaging consistent throughout the lead generation process from the ad to the landing page to the content, so your target audience is being exposed to core messages and visual creative, solidifying familiarity and trust in your brand.

Setting up an audience targeting teachers

Interest-based targeting

Facebook knows a lot about its users, including their location, job title, hobbies and interests. This offers you a valuable opportunity to fine-tune your audience so you can target people who are more likely to engage with your content.

If  you have created a persona of who you are trying to target, interest-based targeting is perfect for setting up an audience based on the persona’s demographics, behaviour and interests.

In the absence of a persona, you can target a broader audience like deputy head teachers (pictured).

You can also exclude interests that might not be relevant to your audience e.g. if you want to target Maths teachers, you can exclude other subject teachers like English teachers.

With an interests-based audience, the more you know about your target audience, the easier it will be to choose the demographics, interests and behaviour that is most closely aligned to who you are trying to engage with.

 

Facebook custom audiences

One of the most valuable tools for ad targeting is the ability to target people who have already engaged with your business before.

The custom audience option on Facebook ads enables you to target people who have visited your website, followed/liked your Facebook page and if you have one, engaged with your app.

What’s more, you can also create a lookalike of these audiences (see below) to find people who are similar to your custom audience, increasing the chances that they will engage with your ads.

There are two important caveats of using custom audiences:

 

A/B Testing

Once you’ve created and set up your content, landing page, ad and audiences, you are ready to launch your campaign.

While it would be great to launch the campaign and see great results from the offset, the likelihood is that you will need to test different elements of the campaign to find what is working and what is not.

A/B testing is a method of finding the most effective ad by changing one variable at a time, such as creative, audience, body copy or call to action. An example might be testing a picture of a report against an image of a student.

Sometimes it will be clear within the first few days of launch which ad is performing better so you can switch off the other one. Other times, you might want to keep the A/B testing running a bit longer to see a significant difference.

It’s very important with A/B testing that you only test one variable at a time. You can always test another variable once you’ve completed the first A/B test.

 

Retargeting and lookalikes

Once your ad campaign has been running for some time, you can set up a retargeting and/or lookalike campaign.

You may be familiar with retargeting if you’ve ever browsed an online shop and then gone on to Facebook to find an advert promoting the item you were looking at earlier.

With a Facebook pixel on the site, you can do exactly the same type of retargeting if someone goes to your landing page but doesn’t complete the download form. People who have already visited your website are much more likely to convert as our client PS Financials found when we introduced retargeting during their lead generation campaign.

A lookalike audience is another option to give your campaign a boost once you’ve reached 50 leads and above. This is a great feature in Facebook ads that allows you to create a lookalike of everyone that has engaged with your campaign.

If you have a Facebook pixel on your website, tracking everyone that visits the landing page and also who completes the sign-up process, you’ll have an opportunity to do a retargeting campaign.

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Thinking of launching a social media advertising campaign targeting school leaders and teachers? We can help. Please get in touch if you would like to find out how.

Four reasons why you need PR in 2021

Well, what a year 2020 was.

As we enter a third national lockdown with hopes of improvement by the spring, here are four reasons why 2021 is the year to invest in PR.

1. Because technology is a part of our lives like never before

Stuck at home during the pandemic, many of us are spending more of our lives online. We are using our devices for work, socialising, shopping, exercise and entertainment.

This may have changed how your business connects with customers.

You can no longer meet in person with teachers or carry out live demos of your products. So, many business leaders find themselves asking how to connect with their audience in an authentic way.

One way is to meet your audience where they are: online.

Using digital PR and communications, you can connect with current and prospective customers via your online channels.

You can find the right way to reach parents and teachers, whether it’s through online campaigns, virtual events, blogs or video testimonials.

2. To take advantage of a rise in social media and influencer culture 

If your business isn’t engaging effectively with customers on social media, then your business isn’t properly communicating with customers.

In the last year, all social media apps reported an increase in usage.

The likes of YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok, which allow people to create, upload and share videos, have become increasingly popular. Last year, nine in 10 online adults, and almost all older children aged 8 to 15 years, used at least one of these websites and apps, and many watched videos several times a day.

Running integrated campaigns on social media is key to successful business communications.

Choose a theme that relates to your education product, create a key campaign message and be sure to track engagement. Make sure you use the right platform for your campaign and that it’s timely.

Consider partnering with a social media influencer who fits with your brand values and audience. They can help you reach your target audience, build trust, and increase engagement. This could be a blogger, journalist or podcaster. It could be a well-known teacher, edtech expert or education consultant.

Investing in social media will help you connect with current and prospective clients, boost awareness and increase leads.

3. So you can gain your audience’s trust 

Think about what your customers consider When deciding whether to buy your education product or service. Has this changed since the same time last year?

Recognise changes in your customers and their needs. Whether it’s spending power, ways of working, or challenges in education during the pandemic. And allay any fears or concerns.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 88% of us rate ‘trust’ as important or critical when it comes to deciding which brands to buy or use. Out of 8,000 people surveyed in 8 countries in October 2020, ‘trust’ was the third most important purchase criteria, with ‘price’ and ‘quality’ only slightly ahead, regardless of gender, nationality, age or income.

Personal experience matters the most when it comes to building trust. If your business can communicate with clients through friends, family, experts and reviews from trusted sources, then you’ve taken a step in the right direction in helping them to trust you and your business offering.

PR activities like product reviews, case studies, video testimonials and influencer campaigns can all help to strengthen trust among your target audience.

4. To help you manage a PR crisis

Last year was crisis, followed by crisis, followed by crisis.

The coronavirus outbreak, civil unrest and economic downturn.

An impeachment trial, a contested presidential election and a wave of international protests leading to a moment of reckoning on racism.

Not to mention natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes and floods.

If we’ve learnt anything from 2020, it’s to be as prepared as we can be for a crisis. A well-managed crisis can actually win your brand fans rather than lose them, so the third lockdown may be an opportunity to reflect on how you would manage a crisis.

PR crisis planning means having guidelines in place for an emergency or unexpected situation.

How is your company going to react if the lockdown lasts longer than expected? What will your company do if there was a breach of school data? Or if your education software that teachers rely on for online learning has technological issues?

Don’t get caught off guard.

Identify the risks to your education business, rank them in order of seriousness and put a plan in place for each one.

Your crisis plan should outline your response to stakeholders such as customers, employees and the media. It needs to include key messaging for all of your business platforms, including social media. And make sure your spokesperson is media trained.

Check out our ‘cut out and keep’ guide to crisis management here.

Get started

The best time to start planning your PR is now.

Don’t put it off for another day. Who knows what this year has in store!

If you’re ready to start planning your PR for 2021, get in touch today on hello@theinfluencecrowd.co.uk.

Or have a read of our PR planning guide for some more top tips.

 

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