Public Relations for Higher Education Association Elevates Awareness and Relevance
CSG’s expertise in PR for higher education helped to define and expand the public profile of EDUCAUSE, the world’s leading non-profit association in higher education IT.
900 + pieces of media coverage secured
400 + media attendees at the Annual Conferences
31.3 % increase in overall social media engagement
591 % increase in post link clicks
Solving for EDUCAUSE’s Why
As the world’s largest community of information technology, academic, industry and campus leaders, EDUCAUSE supports the advancement of higher education through the strategic use of IT. Despite its abundance of intellectual capital and industry influence, EDUCAUSE had not attained the name recognition, visibility and thought leadership presence expected for an organization of its size and stature. The association sought to crystalize and amplify its voice in a crowded academic environment and came to Communications Strategy Group (CSG®) for its expertise in public relations for higher education organizations.
CSG went to work applying its higher education PR and social media solutions. Over the past seven years, CSG has helped EDUCAUSE gain recognition as the leading community and resource addressing a full spectrum of education and technology issues.
Drawing on its expertise as an education PR agency, CSG established three goals for its work with EDUCAUSE:
- Define with foundational messaging. Before launching an aggressive campaign around social media and public relations for higher education, CSG worked with EDUCAUSE to define the organization’s value proposition with clear, compelling and concise messaging.
- Engage through content marketing. With that messaging in place, CSG initiated its proven Content Process Optimization to bring efficiency and greater effectiveness of the extraction, packaging and amplification of EDUCAUSE’s content to engage the industry.
- Amplify with a PR and social media strategy. To elevate EDUCAUSE’s content and intellectual capital, CSG developed and executed a comprehensive public relations and social media plan that engaged the higher education and EdTech industry.
Establishing “North Star” Messaging for Higher Education PR
EDUCAUSE was meeting the needs of multiple audiences, including educators, administrators, higher-ed institutions, IT professionals and vendors, via a wide range of channels. But the association’s messaging platform — the guiding North Star for a higher education PR strategy — wasn’t clearly articulated.
CSG leveraged EDUCAUSE’s thought leaders, subject matter experts, community members and market-leading research to establish its messaging platform. CSG clarified the group’s mission and developed comprehensive messaging to drive its higher education PR strategy and social media solutions.
CSG developed messaging that:
- Articulates the group’s mission, priorities, global reach and successes
- Enhances understanding of and support for its members as they lead, manage and deploy IT on campus
- Elevates the critical insights and research on topics presented by EDUCAUSE
With the group’s foundational messaging in place, EDUCAUSE’s value proposition within the higher education IT and EdTech space was now clear for current and future member institutions, as well as media and influencers.
Activating Engagement Through Content Marketing
After establishing EDUCAUSE’s messaging foundation, CSG initiated its signature strategies for successful content marketing. These ensured a continuous cycle of Drumbeat communications, punctuated by major PowerPlay initiatives.
CSG’s expertise as an education PR company drove its story ideation to:
- Identify, create and package content that was compelling to stakeholders, the media, and IT and EdTech influencers
- Bring together marketing and membership engagement around PowerPlay themes, which included conferences, EDUCAUSE’s annual “Top 10 IT Issues” list, and its acquisition of the Horizon Report, an annual higher-ed technology forecast
The end result? CSG’s work as a strategic communications agency created a self-perpetuating cycle of coverage for EDUCAUSE. This led to repeat inquiries from reporters and influencers, with earned media coverage in leading trade journals.
CSG also helped EDUCAUSE’s leadership team members establish authentic voices in the higher education IT and EdTech space. This included working with the organization’s CEO, its vice president of communities and research, and its director of the teaching and learning program.
Optimizing Paid and Organic Social Media Solutions Across All Platforms
Functioning almost as an extension of EDUCAUSE’s in-house team, CSG’s strategic communications consultants optimized the group’s social media infrastructure. The agency also evaluated and optimized EDUCAUSE’s social media ads for conference registrations and reports.
On an ongoing basis, CSG provides support for EDUCAUSE’s paid and organic social content and for managing an engaging series of social media profiles across all platforms. And to ensure these messages are hitting their targets, CSG provides tracking, listening and reporting capabilities at a regular cadence.
Breaking Through the Noise
CSG built out EDUCAUSE’s higher education PR campaign to ensure the group became the go-to resource for industry media and influencers. This included:
- Identifying and reaching out to high-value consumer and trade-focused reporters, bloggers and influencers in the EdTech and higher education space
- Proactively providing media with timely stories to generate the most traction
- Reactively offering commentary that solidifies EDUCAUSE’s position as an information technology thought leader
- Amplifying earned media coverage through leading industry newsletters
- Developing and distributing a subject matter expert directory booklet
Strengthening EDUCAUSE’s annual conference as the premier convening of higher education IT professionals, CSG’s strategic communications consultants achieved:
The value of these higher education PR initiatives became clear when COVID-19 closed down higher education virtually overnight. EDUCAUSE was one of the first organizations the media reached out to for authoritative commentary on the crisis. Over the early days of the pandemic, EDUCAUSE gained 65.3 million readers, increasing readership by 1 million, compared year-over-year.
Drawing on a deep understanding of the higher education IT space in EdTech, CSG’s strategic communications consultants ensured that EDUCAUSE’s messaging framework successfully amplifies the group’s presence and credibility across important audiences — its members, vendors, internal constituents, conference attendees and the wider public.
Whether it’s for a scrappy start-up or a global non-profit, gaining recognition in the competitive higher ed space takes an agile and experienced education PR agency. Discover what CSG’s talented team of strategic communications consultants, writers and designers can do for your company.
The right education communications agency can take your social media strategy from nonexistent to highly effective. Get in touch today to put CSG’s team of social media consultants, writers and designers to work for you.
“CSG has proven time and again to be a huge asset and valuable partner for us. We think of them as an extension of our MarComm team.”
— Marc Stith, director of marketing at EDUCAUSE
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