Posted on March 22, 2011 by Mike Lesczinski
As I mentioned in my last post on “educational leaders as intellectual commodities,” developing individual and fluid faculty profiles is vital to any higher education PR program. While professors often jump at the opportunity to utilize an on-campus PR rep, it can be more difficult corralling non-research faculty members with knowledge and experiences to share.
A faculty member’s unwillingness to be an internal resource can stem from a number of reasons. If they are unsure of what your PR department can provide or are simply uncomfortable dealing with the media, it can be solved through awareness campaigns or hands-on training. If they have an aversion to self-promotion, however, it can be more difficult.
When this happens, turning to internal communications can help with both skeptics and introverts.
Now, I’m not saying you have to push for a full-blown newsletter program or step on the shoes of your internal communications team. But I do encourage you to create a daily internal “digest” email program that shares many of the same traits to the traditional company newsletter.
- Recent media coverage
- Upcoming event promotions
- Peer faculty advice on daily issues
- Individual profiles of faculty members
- Interdepartmental news
So, what’s the difference? Informality. This isn’t intended as a platform to facilitate leadership-subordinate communications. Instead, you’re are simply offering to relay department to department and employee to employee news from a single location, sprinkling in links to media coverage you’ve secured on behalf of the school for good measure.
There are no graphics and no specific template. It is just a quick crowd-sourced email that is intriguing enough for recipients to open and informative enough for them to skim.
Is it a “Magic bullet?” Not by a long shot. But it can raise awareness for your department and help educate faculty (through the links to coverage) on the value PR can provide. Plus, it provides a platform for more introverted members to share their thoughts, allowing them to experience their names in print in a more comfortable setting.
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