As dependency on edtech solutions continue to grow under the quarantine measures issued by governments worldwide, the time to shout about your edtech business is now.
Edtech’s digital influence in schools has grown year on year, with 42% of students using smartphones as an in-class learning tool. The industry itself is expected to be worth an eye-watering $252 billion by the end of 2020, so the possibilities for new market entrants exist.
Sounds great. So, what’s the issue?
Well, the edtech industry is saturated with established companies who are seen as trust-worthy, credible organizations, preferred by educational institutions. If you’re a small edtech company, or an edtech startup, the barriers to success can seem insurmountable. How can you build your brand to become a recognized force in the edtech industry?
With some onpoint digital PR practices of course.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 5 straightforward PR practices that will be sure to bolster your online presence and promote your brand effectively.
1. Share your knowledge
By sharing your knowhow as an edtech expert, building up social proof becomes a natural process.
When an edtech prospect finds you online, they need to see someone who understands the in-class limitations of the learning process. Keeping students focused, effectively recording students progress, and fostering academic improvement are at the forefront of an educator or administrator’s mind. By demonstrating your edtech company not only knows these issues, but can resolve them with a technological solution, proving your legitimacy to your target audience.
Sharing your expertise, otherwise known as “thought leadership,” is one of the essential digital PR tactics that doesn’t require a marketing budget. Some common ways to share your edtech expertise are through writing guest posts on edtech related blogs, being quoted in a scholarly article, contributing data to an academic study, and of course, using social media.
2. Leverage social media
Using social media is a bit of a no-brainer when it comes to self-promotion, but you’d be surprised at how many edtech companies are either hesitant to use it. (For some extra insight into some common social media mistakes you should avoid, read more here).
According to a report by Statista and The Next Web, Facebook is the most popular social media platform with over 2.3 billions users. Following Facebook is Youtube with 1.9 billion, and Instagram with 1 billion.
What does this mean for edtech companies?
As social media is becoming more important in the lives of consumers and marketers, it provides a unique opportunity to promote edtech in ways that resonate with the audience that it wants to reach.
Some things to consider when creating a social media strategy is the audience you want to reach and the platform where you want to engage them.
Especially if your edtech business only has a small team, concentrate on the platforms where your target audience is most engaged. At the same time, being mindful of the trends could give you insights into how your target audience is using social media. For example, according to a recent report by Hootsuite, over 60% of online marketers are using Instagram Stories.
While you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin, develop a social media strategy that is most on brand with your company’s message and up-to-date with how people are interacting with social media. In addition to building up your own brand, make sure to follow and repost edtech influencers so that you can establish credibility yourself.
3. Build partnerships
The common misconception in PR is that in order to win, someone else has to lose.
This doesn’t have to be the case with edtech PR. In fact, competition might be holding yourself back. Your edtech website’s domain authority (DA), for example, is an estimated comparison of how your company stacks up against the relevance and search ranking of your competitors. By aligning your edtech company with a more established business, you can reap the benefits of their online reputation.
Partnerships can be anything from cross-posting content on social media to collaborating on a project together. Once a partnership is established, it’s really important that they promote the partnership through their own platforms and you do the same on yours. Especially in niche industries like edtech, it’s likely that edtech companies would share the same followers. By positioning your company alongside other key players in the edtech space, you are also asserting your own value.
To establish worthwhile partnerships, reach out personally over email or phone instead of sending out a generic email to an edtech listserv. This personal connection will distinguish you from other companies who have a similar intention but don’t want to take the time to actually engage.
4. Diversify tactics
A common PR error from edtech companies is to focus all their efforts on one or two strategies, while neglecting the rest. This can be costly and very time consuming. The key to developing a successful PR strategy is understanding how each PR tactic contributes to bringing people into your purchase funnel, and then identifying which stage of that funnel needs improvement.
For example, creating a marketing campaign for your edtech blog or website is great but ultimately ineffective if you don’t use social media to promote it. Just like building up a social media following is nearly impossible without engaging some of the current players in the edtech ecosystem.
For edtech companies, establishing whether you need to build brand awareness, or generate more conversions from prospects will allow you to tailor your message to align with your business goals.
5. Get help
Implementing PR best practices can be daunting, especially when you have a lean, specialized team.
Consider lightening the PR burden by working with a digital communications company that specializes in edtech PR. When choosing a PR firm, inquire about previous client testimonials, edtech resources, and if they’re within your budget.
An edtech PR strategy can be conducted in-house if you’ve got the human resources available, but for edtech startups, it’s often the case that a helping hand from PR practitioners serves much better for achieving growth.