Whether it's reaching out to prospective students, allowing for more accessibility to class lectures, conducting a class off-site, or trying to win over investors, video blogging, or vlogging, has become an important PR tool for academic institutions.
"PR people can now create online video content that is searchable and that can be of a compelling nature to their clients," says Andy Plesser, president and founder of Plesser Holland Associates. Plesser Holland is currently working on a vlogging series for the Fordham University School of Law. The law clinic's vlog will be used to present the university's program to other law schools.
"It's very important that they get the mindshare of their peers," adds Plesser.
"We were looking for a vehicle to showcase our clinical program at the law school and to reach out to other clinicians," explains Ian Weinstein, professor of law and director of clinical legal education at Fordham University, "because that is what academics do: We talk to each other, we exchange ideas."
Weinstein adds that a vlog is a great way to communicate with the clinical community and that it offers opportunities that they haven't even explored yet.
"The video gives us a dynamic channel for getting across the excitement, the emotions," he says. "I'm hoping that students will connect with the videos in a way that none of them connect with print."
Other firms are exploring vlogging for their educational clients, as well. MWW Group has recently been recommending the service as an addition to traditional PR efforts.
"It's a really easy way to distribute some of the better content there is: video," says Tom Biro, director of new media strategies at MWW Group. "It allows people to have access to videos of classes being done and have access to that anywhere."
Biro adds that this can be used for a variety of applications including giving absent students the same in-class experience as if they were present, student presentations, an advertising mechanism, and establishing university professors as thought leaders.
1. Vlogging allows students to carry classes with them, giving them access to their professors' thoughts 24/7
2. Vlogs offer incoming students a more interactive way of getting to know a university
3. Vlogs can be made out of existing b-roll and VNRs the school has produced