Intequal, a Microsoft Apprenticeship Programme Provider, helps IT apprentices gain experience at a paying job while helping them study for further qualifications.
There are many companies delivering Microsoft Learning qualifications, and Intequal wanted to position itself as a leader in this busy, competitive market. With a small, in-house team that had never done any PR work before, Intequal turned to Padua Communications for help following a recommendation.
Getting to know the company
Although there are a lot of training providers, not all IT apprenticeships are equal. Any strategy had to have the communication of Intequal’s big Unique Selling Point (USP) at its heart – its blended learning system. This enables Intequal to deliver training by Skype for Business while the apprentice is working at the company’s premises, instead of them heading into college several days a week. This is easier and more flexible for the apprentice and the employer.
But Intequal had been busy delivering apprenticeships, growing both their candidate base and the corporate businesses that the apprentices would be placed in. With the focus on growing this part of the business, there was limited marketing, no PR and no real communications strategy. Padua Communications created an outline communications plan, identifying some key stakeholders who would benefit from knowing Intequal better – and who would also appreciate some well-written content offering its readers helpful advice on navigating the apprenticeship levy changes better.
Intequal’s target audiences were narrowed down to consultant trainers, in-house trainers, HR teams and those in further education. With this in mind, Padua Communications built a media list comprising publications and online titles that would be of interest to these targets.
Padua Communications then decided how to communicate Intequal’s USP using a series of simple key messages, and pulled together a list of key publications that we wanted the messages to appear in.
Then we set about creating content that would tie these messages into the news agenda. These included the technical side of how the apprenticeships were delivered, Intequal’s people-focused approach when matching candidates to employers and the clarification of the everchanging Apprenticeship Levy.
We then reached out to our target publications, introducing Intequal and pitching several thought leadership pieces around the changes in the apprenticeship marketplace, offering each publication exclusive content. Only once these conversations were ongoing and some article placement opportunities were guaranteed did Padua Communications interview key personnel at Intequal and draft several articles.
Nicky Jenkins, MD at Padua Communications, says: “We try to ensure that the budget and time allocated to us by clients delivers results. By pitching out the ideas first, but only drafting content once we knew it would be published, we maximised the time we spent on this campaign. We used our internal process to research the market and identify which stories would be of most use to the publications, while marrying these with Intequal’s key messages. Our strategy paid off with us obtaining several pieces of coverage in key publications, including FE News, TrainingZone and Training Journal.”
One of the benefits of working with Padua Communications is that you are working with a team that understands how the media works, storytelling and lead times.
This campaign got impressive results for our client thanks to Padua Communications’ process, our understanding of the marketplace and our storytelling ability. We also forged new relationships with key editors who were interested in a series of articles, rather than just one published piece.
This meant we delivered some successful media pieces for Intequal with links back to its website, as well as obtaining further future opportunities with these publications for future campaigns.