Client gains national media coverage with timely survey.
Since 1970, the Computing Research Association (CRA) has conducted a survey of Ph.D.-granting computer science and computing engineering university departments in the United States and Canada. The annual survey provides the computing community with student enrollment and degree trends in computer science. Historically, CRA released the information to university professors months before it was released to the general public. Unfortunately, this approach significantly reduced the newsworthiness of the survey. In 2008 for example, the survey yielded only 6 media mentions – none of which communicated CRA’s messages.
More than a thousand people used Twitter to discuss how “computer science is cool again.”
CRA hoped to gain widespread exposure of the survey among general audiences in order to attract the brightest students to the computing field. Xenophon worked with CRA to develop a media release strategy, designed to increase awareness of CRA and opportunities in computing.
Xenophon met with key stakeholders at CRA to determine both strategic priorities and target audiences. As part of this process, Xenophon provided a full-day media training session to the recommended CRA spokesperson. Next, Xenophon developed key messages revealing computer science as a popular major offering valuable career possibilities.
Rather than releasing the survey data to all reporters at once, Xenophon offered an exclusive release to a prominent national science reporter. This initial story helped garner attention and drove follow-up articles in other media outlets – including a front-page story on the business section of USA Today.
This strategy yielded coverage in more than 70 outlets including The New York Times, Computerworld, The Seattle Times and ARS Technica in the first week of the release. More importantly, the messages and articles resonated with targeted audiences in the computing community and at universities. Xenophon monitored the reaction on Twitter to the news stories and within only a couple of days, more than a thousand people had used Twitter to discuss how “computer science is cool again.”
“The last time we worked together, Xenophon helped produce a strategic plan that ultimately transformed a bankrupt technology company with a stock option probe into a successful $2.1 billion acquisition.”