Collins Education – tools for Primary and Secondary school education
Post by Anne Dorst, Business Director, OgilvyOne
Collins Education is the children’s division of Harper Collins publishers. They have a list of approximate 65 children’s titles and also run an annual children’s writing competition. This year there will be 15 new titles on the list and the writing competition will be run again in September, with 3 children being published. Currently the competion has a microsite and contestants can enter via mail or online. Competition is open internationally although all entries must be in English. It will have a theme (last year was Secrets) but this is generated by the marketing department, not PR.
Collins has recently brought their PR in house and client was looking for PR ideas, including tips on PR basics.
Team suggested that the children’s writing competition is the best place to start – gives the PR a focus and a date to work with. The competiton starts in September, and will be themed, with the closing date in December. Team suggested using the competition as the first PR story, and using it to build a base of friendly media contacts and lists and then use these to launch the new titles.
- Consider stocking the website with more content, particularly video. This should include tips on how to start writing, as well as kits for both educators and teachers which include tips on how to get children involved. Other ideas for content include interviews with current authors and other leading figures such as educators, government ministers and/or people who are known for their interest in literacy and education.
- Launch the competition on a named day and ensure that you have a full list of key media targets in advance. These lists can easily be compiled using specialist PR software. Begin with a list of your key markets and create target lists.
- It is worth making a list now and begin contact now. A practice run with journalists is always recommended.
- It would also be worthwhile considering a media tour or book event. These should include the children who won last year, being interviewed or reading from their new books. These can be simple events in the children’s homnetown, or could be done with national and/or regional TV shows with an affinity for literacy and children. Consider local and regional TV channels in the children’s hometown or children’s programmes such as BluePeter, Ceebeebies. Other possible programmes which are aimed at parents should be used such as GMTV, ITV Today, etc.
- Ogilvy PR will forward a list of PR basics and tips to the client, along with software recommendation. CIPR also recommended as a good source of advice.
- Client should also consider working with marketing to create a theme that works with PR and media. Ideas around this include topical issues such as boys and reading, kids and imagination (ie versus gaming/video – can kids still create?) Sites such as Commonsense, aimed at parents, or Geek Out, which encourages children to embrace education might also give ideas for themes.
- Consider other ideas of create new interest – you could create or sponsor a survey using SurveyMonkey or similar on a key topic. It is important that at least 2000 respondents reply for any survey to be taken seriously.
- Look into search engine optimisation urgently. Current microsite is difficult to find. Consider getting a basic text on this subject and stocking the microsite with the most used phrases and words that are used by parents and educators when looking into ideas for children and reading.
Find out more at http://www.collinseducation.com