This is a solo episode that talks about how providing scholarships can give you a competitive advantage. Did you know that it's a stepping stone for you to build a strong brand and reputation?
Five things you’ll learn from this episode:
About Jason Mudd
Jason Mudd, APR, is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands. Since 1994, he’s worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia in July 2002.
At Axia, Jason attracts, develops, retains, innovates, and leads top PR talent and clients. He oversees strategic communications for the firm’s national clients and provides high-level consultations to client leadership teams at billion-dollar global brands, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer, including spokesperson training, crisis communications management, analytics, social media, online reputation management, and more.
Guest’s contact info and resources:
- Hello, and welcome to On Top of PR. I'm your host, Jason Mudd with Axia public relations. Today's a solocast where it's just you and me, and we're just having a conversation about public relations topics, tips, and trends. Today, I want to share a competitive advantage. Scholarships. Offering college scholarships. We think this is a great way to build a strong brand and great reputation. Communities and college students, and their parents will really love you for doing this. The industry will see you as a thought leader and a contributor who's giving back to the profession. And in general, customers like to do business with people who are good stewards of the community and economy, and this is a great way to do it. Our clients love giving scholarships, it really helps them with recruitment, standing out from their competition. This is a great episode. You're going to be glad that you're here, I'm glad that you're here, and if you liked this episode, be sure to share it with a friend who might be able to help you or help themselves create a valuable scholarship to give back to the profession and to the future of the industry.
- [Narrator] Welcome to On Top of PR with Jason Mudd. This solocast episode is brought to you by media monitoring company, Burrelles. Learn more at burrelles.com/OnTopOfPR. And now here's Jason Mudd
- Hello, and welcome to On Top of PR. I'm your host, Jason Mudd from Axia public relations. Today is a solocast, it's just you and me. We're talking about topics, tips and trends in public relations. And this episode is brought to you by our friends at Burrelles. We are so thrilled to have them as a solocast sponsor. And so today we're going to talk about scholarships. How scholarships are a tool that we use to help our brand, our clients that we work with, help build their brand and reputation in the marketplace. In fact, scholarships are so powerful for public relations that we do a scholarship for ourselves as well, not only because we know it works, but also to set the example for our clients. I can't wait to tell you more about this, so let's dive right in. Okay, that was an intentional break because I want to move my notes a little bit higher up so I'm not looking down at them. So one moment while I do that, please. What the world has come to here, I have to put sticky notes on my screen 'cause I can't get the monitor I want or the setup I want yet. Okay, almost done. Rock on with my sticky notes. Okay. I'm sure Jen loves all this editing. And three, two, one. So unlike earned media, scholarships give you more of an opportunity to tell your story and control your own story. And so that's one positive way of for doing a scholarship. Let me start over. Three, two. So scholarships are a great way for a company to build a strong brand and great reputation in the community, in the industry and nationwide. And so there are so many reasons why a podcast or-- Excuse me scholarship. Let's just start over, oh my gosh. Come on Jason. Three, two... A scholarship is a great way to build a strong brand and reputation in the communities you serve, in the industries you work, as well as nationwide. That's why so many big brands offer scholarships 'cause it's a great way to give back, but let me just highlight some of the reasons why these companies are actively giving back scholarships. Not only is it good to do it also helps with recruitment. It helps with corporate service responsibility, corporate social responsibility. It differentiates them from their competitors. It builds that brand awareness that I mentioned earlier, and the price of a scholarship is so much less expensive than buying an advertisement. In addition, it positions you as a thought leader. Going back to recruitment, your company's job is to recruit the best talent they can out of college. And so what better way to build that brand and reputation by offering a scholarship and already planting seeds with those students about the investment you're making into other industry professions? Candidly, you're not only advancing the profession, but you're giving back to the profession and that's one of the big reasons why Axia has a scholarship that we do. In addition though, offering a scholarship helps significantly with reputation management.
When you Google or use another search engine to search for your company name, what comes up is a suggested content behind that name. I got to tell you, if you start offering a scholarship, scholarship is going to be one of those things that start to appear because the number of people who are searching for scholarships on a regular basis, and that's good news for you because a scholarship is a suggested topic or a suggested key word behind your brand name, only warms the hearts of those that are searching for you because they know that you're giving back to others and helping others advance their education and therefore advance their economic and family positioning. Also, scholarships are fantastic for social media. When you're posting or someone else's posting about a scholarship that that's available for others, that immediately triggers thoughts of, who do I know that would benefit from the scholarship? And so they're more inclined to engage with that post, whether it's liking, commenting and ideally sharing it with others, again to build your brand visibility and credibility, and ultimately your reputation. In addition, this really helps with search engine optimization, because guess what? Domain extensions like .org and .edu are going to start sharing your scholarship as a link on their website, and that's very valuable because if you partner like we have with an industry trade association, they may manage and take care of and award your scholarship for you. So you're really making a donation to that trade association's foundation, and the foundation is making sure the gift is being given authentically and without any corruption or without any type of bias, because they're assigning a committee to select that winner. And then your donation to that foundation is a tax deduction on behalf of your business, and ultimately they're following all the IRS guidelines. And so you're really delegating that to them to manage for you, which is what we do and that makes sure everything is done with the highest amount of being done properly, and they're managing the funds accordingly, and you're really objective in that process.
Also, I mentioned recruitment earlier, but whoever you're giving the scholarship to and whatever industry you're awarding it, and whatever geographic market the universities that you might make eligible for the scholarship, guess what? That is highly targeted. So you're really targeting geography, you're targeting industry and you're targeting professions, including those that are already in the profession and those are that are students aspiring to be in that profession. And so the other thing I think you have to think about too, is the opportunity not only to promote your own scholarship program, but then to promote the winners of your scholarship program. And so there's two different approaches and strategies you can do that. One is obviously to promote and build awareness so you can attract more applicants and build your brand and reputation. But then once you identify your scholarship winner, take that content and put it into your company newsletter, your company website, or blog, right? Make that part of your sales presentations. Talk about the number of scholarships you give out and why you do it. Tell the heartstring stories of how you've helped people who otherwise might not have been able to go to college or graduate from college without financial assistance. Tell the story of them and their family and how you've helped change their life. And even better, if you've offered the scholarship long enough, one of those winners probably goes on to do really big things, of which you'll be part of their success. They'll always remember you and they might even help you and your company be successful down the road, whether that's buying products from you or services, making introductions for you, being an advocate for you and possibly even coming to work for you or hiring your company to provide the services that you provide. So, there's many ways to go about promoting this. There's an awful lot of value that helps improve your reputation, makes you an industry leader. helps you give back to the profession. It also helps you in big ways to advance the profession. And it's just a great way to give back through corporate social responsibility. It feels to me like the right thing to do. Unlike earned media, scholarships when you give one, you really can control the message through your own promotion of it. And certainly no one is going to criticize or it's very difficult, I would think, to criticize giving away money, as long as you're doing it objectively and you're being inclusive in your offerings. And again, a lot of people really like that search engine optimization capability of getting link backs from domain extensions, like .org and .edu. And so just to be clear about that, the universities have .edu domains, and in the view of search engines, .edu domains carry a lot of clout and credibility because a lot of research has done on universities, there should be a lot of objectivity from universities. So when a edu or .org domain is linking to a .com domain, then that's very beneficial to you. So that will only work if you actually host content about the scholarship on your website, which is exactly what we do at axiapr.com/scholarship. So someone goes there, they learn more about the scholarship, and then there's a button to apply at a .org domain for PRSA.org and their foundation. And so that's the tip that we do for our scholarship, and I think it'll work really well for you.
If this is something you'd like to explore in more detail, we've helped many of our clients offer scholarships. We offer our own scholarships. We've got a lot of experience doing this, and I think it'd be very valuable if you did it too. So if you have questions about this topic or you want to explore more, send me an email at podcastataxiapr.com. We would be thrilled to answer any questions you might have, help you navigate the pros and cons and how tos of offering a scholarship. We might even be able to coordinate and facilitate the entire program for you, including finding a non-profit partner that would accept your dollars as a donation. And from those dollars in turn, they would help promote and facilitate and implement that program so you can be at arms length to take advantage of the full IRS tax contribution or write-off that comes with it, and also be able to stay objective in the selection process, but continue to promote your brand, your goodwill and reputation because you care and give back to the community. And maybe more importantly, you are investing and advancing the profession and helping others get into the profession who otherwise might not be able to. Hey, thanks for listening and watching today. I'm Jason Mudd, your host with Axia PR. Again, many thanks to Burrelles for their sponsorship. If you go to burrelles.com/OnTopOfPR, they have a special offer for new customers and a special offer for existing customers. Please be sure to tell them we sent you, because we really value our partnership with those guys. Some of the nicest people in the industry, you'll be glad you're working with them. Speaking of, I'm glad you're here. I hope you were glad to be here. Share this episode with a colleague if it brought you value, otherwise keep tuning in. We'll keep bringing you more value and helping you stay on top of PR.
- [Narrator] This has been On Top of PR with Jason Mudd. Many thanks to our solocast sponsor, Burrelles for making this episode possible. Burrelles has a special offer just for On Top of PR fans. Check it out at burrelles.com/OnTopOfPR.