Media Relations and Thought Leadership Campaign that Improved Rankings for a Pittsburgh Business School

Media Relations and Thought Leadership Campaign that Improved Rankings for a Pittsburgh Business School

Impacting Rankings for Katz Graduate School of Business

Client: Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh

CFO-Magazine-(Print)-July-2014-1Situation Analysis:

The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh (Katz) recruited an agency partner to help improve their position in business school rankings by increasing the school’s visibility with top-tier media. Schneider Associates (SA) was retained as the agency of record and immediately went to work, raising the profile of the school among its various audiences, most important of which was local, regional and national media.

Leveraging SA’s unique approach to editorial planning, we developed an integrated media campaign that was designed to insert Katz, the Dean and the school’s faculty into the national business school spotlight. Traditionally, the conversation and coverage about business schools focus on either West or East Coast schools. As the Dean put it, “People fly over Pittsburgh” and we want our administration and faculty to be not only be part of this dialogue, but positioned as experts within their respective fields.

SA hosted a series of editorial planning sessions where we interviewed the Dean and faculty, discussing their specific areas of expertise and research. SA used this intelligence, combined with our knowledge of how the media works, to establish these experts as sources for exclusive pitches. Instead of pitching one story to a variety of outlets, SA developed personalized pitches for specific outlets which are often times geared toward individual reporters. The idea was to provide our local, regional and national media contacts with original content that was timely and relevant to their focus area.

This reverse newsroom approach resulted in a continuous stream of media opportunities, feature articles and guest blog post opportunities for the Dean and the faculty.

Objectives:

  • Raise awareness of Katz’s unique approach to experience-based learning through securing international and national business, industry-specific, U.S. regional and Pittsburgh media coverage
  • Position the Dean and faculty as thought leaders in their respective areas of expertise through strategic media sourcing opportunities with international and national business, industry-specific, U.S. regional and Pittsburgh media outlets

Strategies & Execution:

  • Conducted multiple discovery sessions with the Dean, Associate Dean and the Katz faculty at the University of Pittsburgh to identify story ideas and future trends to prepare the faculty for high profile interviews
  • Conducted a Pittsburgh-area media tour to establish Katz faculty as the go-to source for a variety of local business stories
  • Conducted media tours in New York City, Washington D.C. and London to introduce Katz to the national and international media who produce regular business school rankings
  • Introduced Katz experts to SA’s international and national business, industry-specific, U.S. regional and Pittsburgh media contacts to position them as valuable sources for upcoming stories and future trends
  • Secured a monthly guest blogging opportunity for Dean John Delaney with the Huffington Post, a first for the business school
  • Developed a monthly editorial approach that featured strong pitch angles to fit within the context of larger business stories so that Katz’s programs were featured and faculty were leveraged as sources

Financial-Times-7.11Results:

To date, SA has secured over one billion media impressions for the Katz School of Business. Coverage includes The Wall Street JournalFortuneForbes and CNBC as well as stories in Katz’s local print and broadcast media, including the Pittsburgh Post-GazettePittsburgh Business TimesPittsburgh Tribune-ReviewNPR Pittsburgh and KDKA-TV. Additionally, SA coordinated desk-side, in-person media briefings with business school ranking outlets including Bloomberg BusinessweekFinancial TimesU.S. News and World Report and Poets & Quants.

The rankings for both the University of Pittsburgh and the Katz Graduate School of Business increased during SA’s engagement with the school. According to U.S. News & World Report in 2014, the University of Pittsburgh ranked as number 24 among U.S. public schools and number 39 overall, an increase from number 27 and number 47 respectively in the previous year. This increase is one of the biggest improvements of all the schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report. According to the Economist, the Katz MBA was first in the U.S. and fifth worldwide in return on investment with a 42 percent return after a year. The school also experienced an increase in rankings in the Financial Times.

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