Strategic Thought Leadership and Media Relations Campaign for Northeastern University’s College of Engineering to Showcase Faculty Expertise

Strategic Thought Leadership and Media Relations Campaign for Northeastern University’s College of Engineering to Showcase Faculty Expertise

Positioning a College of Engineering as an Innovation Hub

Client: Northeastern University’s College of Engineering

Situation Analysis:

Northeastern University’s College of Engineering retained Schneider Associates (SA) to generate awareness about the College by promoting the research and industry acumen of its esteemed faculty.

SA immediately established editorial planning sessions with the faculty to better understand the depth and breadth of their expertise and how it related to the news cycle. SA then developed and pitched three-to-five story angles per month that were designed as exclusives for specific media outlets.

SA’s approach was to create proactive media opportunities while taking advantage of trends unfolding in the news to secure reactive opportunities. Our work spanned local, regional and national media outlets, allowing us to paint a unique story about the College’s thought leadership and innovative engineering research. The program not only achieved the desired outcome, but also aligned with Northeastern’s strategic priorities by positioning the University as a top-tier, forward thinking, and innovative academic research center. Within the first 10 months of the program, SA secured over 65 million media impressions.

Objectives:

  • Promote the faculty at Northeastern University’s College of Engineering as thought leaders in their respective areas of expertise through strategic media sourcing opportunities that capitalize on trends being covered in top-tier, vertical and local Boston media outlets.
  • Secure proactive media opportunities that feature the faculty’s research and expertise, while aligning with Northeastern University’s strategic priority of being known as an innovation hub.
  • Repurpose news and announcements to earn placements in leading engineering newsletters like First Bell,one of the most widely read and respected industry journals.

Strategy and Execution:

  • Conducted a series of editorial discovery sessions with Northeastern College of Engineering faculty, including the Dean, to understand the research being conducted and identify story ideas that could be placed relating to current media and societal trends.
  • Developed a monthly editorial calendar of pitches, guided by content and time-of-year trends to maximize the appeal of the faculty expertise with the media, e.g. travel-related pitch around Thanksgiving and Christmas, flu-related pitch at the beginning of flu season.
  • Introduced College faculty experts to national print, broadcast, radio and online journalists and editors to position them as valuable sources for upcoming stories and continued trends.
  • Prepared faculty members for each media opportunity by providing detailed briefing sheets that included background on the media outlet and reporter, talking points and related coverage.
  • Staffed each media opportunity, by phone, in-person or in-studio.
  • Worked in concert with Northeastern University’s Central Communications group to share story angles and coordinated top-tier opportunities to ensure message consistency.

Measurement and Results:

In the first 10 months, SA secured media coverage with top-tier media outlets, including the Boston Globe, the Weather Channel and Fortune Magazine. SA also secured local coverage in Boston including WGBH Radio, an NPR affiliate, the Boston Herald, NECN and Fox 25. SA secured two placements with First Bell, the leading engineering newsletter distributed by the American Society of Engineering Education.

SA also secured and worked with Northeastern University’s Central Communications department to coordinate an in-person visit by the New York Times to Northeastern’s campus to spend a day meeting with faculty and touring labs.

This media relations effort has resulted in 65 million media impressions to date. By positioning faculty and students as thought leaders and innovators in their respective areas of engineering expertise, SA has driven local and national visibility for both the College of Engineering and Northeastern University.

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