The Sunny Bird PR team is celebrating its one year ‘clientversary’ with Bournemouth Collegiate School. The independent school first approached the team with two objectives; to increase the school’s enrolment figures through regional press and raise the profile of the school on a national level by highlighting its USPs and sought-after sports facilities.
To do this, Sunny Bird PR developed a strong media relations campaign to ensure BCS was featured in its target publications year round. To assess how and where to focus our media presence we conducted an initial survey of parents to discover where they heard about the school and what they thought about it to provide us with knowledge and focus for our approach. We discovered that 64% of parents discovered BCS through word of mouth and local news, which became a core focus of our PR strategy. We knew that regionally, local pupil success stories are always well read with friends and families sharing the news to their wider network on and offline. Each month, we produced several stories championing the pupils’ success from Wimbledon tournaments, to literary awards and everything in between. With the pupils at BCS being such a talented and high achieving bunch, we were never short of material and managed to secure 28 pupil-led stories in key regional publications throughout the year.
Our second approach was to establish the school and its teachers as education experts and leaders in their disciplines. To do this we worked closely with the school’s headmaster Mr Russell Slatford to identify newsworthy topics and trends in education which he could comment on. We targeted key journalists in the national and education press and offered them exclusive opinion pieces or interviews with the headmaster himself. Over the year we secured 14 comment opportunities for Mr Slatford on a wide range of topics including Brexit, charity work, school uniforms, the importance of sport and iGCSEs. The long form interviews were featured in a plethora of trade titles and pitched to national press ensuring BCS was firmly in the contact books of national education journalists and broadcasters including the likes of The Daily Telegraph and Channel 5 news.
Alongside championing the school’s pupils and staff we created features to highlight BCS’ unique offerings such as the prep’s Forest School and the senior sports academies, interviewing Heads of Departments as well as pupils about their experiences. Through this tactic we were able to highlight the school’s core philosophy of providing ‘education with character’ and place it in magazines and newspapers read by prospective and existing parents.
In total, over the past 12 months SBPR achieved 64 pieces of coverage for the school in target titles including in The Daily Telegraph, Schools Week, Country & Town House, Education Investor Global, Independent Education Today, Dorset Life, Wiltshire Life, The Lymington Times and the Daily Echo. That is an average of five pieces per month which reached more than 1.5 million people!