Friday, May 11, 2012
Public Relations Research Lands A University Client on “The Today Show”
Guest blogger Axel F. Bang is a former journalist and trade association vice president with 15 years of successful executive public relations and marketing experience. Axel F. Bang Public Relations and Marketing works with leaders in Health Care, Architecture and Engineering to build their businesses, increase clientele and implement individually tailored public relations campaigns and marketing plans. Axel blogs at http://thebuzzfrombang.blogspot.com/
According to the New York Times, Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards and student debt is topping $1 trillion for the first time. The bitter irony is that many high-school students are enrolling in colleges and then landing in the poor house after graduation.
One way students can reduce debt is to chose a quality public university where tuition can be one-fourth that of a private one. But how does a public school lure away students who are attracted to a brand-name private college? Here’s how.
Working with an affiliate PR firm and the associate dean at a public university, I identified several dozen recent transfer students from private universities. They were all contacted via email to see if they would participate in a story about how transferring from a private to a public school helped their debt situation and proved to be a good academic fit.
Three students (10%) replied that they were willing to work with us. One was a computer science major, another an economics major and the third was a voice/opera major. All had transferred to take advantage of the lower tuition and the public university’s academic excellence and small size.
When I pitched the story to a variety of national reporters and TV producers who specialized in education, the producer from the Today Show, who wound up doing a feature story on one student, told me that she was really not interested in the computer science or economics majors. What caught her eye was the voice major and the possibility of entertaining video and audio – voice lessons and singing in an opera that would tell a visual story etc. – along with how she had reduced her debt.
If I had not conducted thorough research on all the possible students, and not developed profiles on three (vs. one) students, then we would not have achieved a spot on The Today Show. At the core of this success was the original research, which allowed us to offer the producer choices. And, we triggered a story that we hope helped many families struggling with student debts.