In our first guest post, we outlined how 2U uses BuzzStream to connect with thought leaders, engage with communities and promote content created on behalf of our university partners. We referenced a series of projects we have worked on in the communication, data science and mental health verticals. Now we will expand on how 2U uses BuzzStream for the business programs we partner with to deliver a world-class MBA education to students all over the globe, specifically MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program.
MBA@UNC was one of our first partners, and was recently ranked the No. 1 Best Online MBA by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. As a pioneer in business education, MBA@UNC has built a reputation for innovation and academic excellence through a combination of collaborative online classes that prepare students to become excellent, well-connected business leaders.
To stimulate powerful conversations around MBA@UNC’s thought leadership, we at 2U distribute MBA@UNC’s work to the outlets where it can have the most impact on the practice of business by using many of the tools and resources BuzzStream has to offer to build relationships with leading business journals and organizations whose passions align with our own.
Community engagement and awareness is vital to ensuring that our impactful work is distributed beyond academic stakeholders. At 2U, we use BuzzStream to strengthen our outreach efforts on behalf of our university partners by building lists of journalists and other possible partners who are leaders in the business world. The BuzzStream Buzzmarker provides us with a simple way to create an email prospecting list in order to pitch potential collaborators. The email functionality is especially helpful because the histories of our correspondences are documented in a central location, enhancing the ease of collaboration between team members.
Once lists are made on BuzzStream, they are available for the entire 2U team to review. When a team member begins to research potential partners about a specific topic, he or she can compare old content we have done with new content to see which list-building efforts overlap, in order to benefit upcoming outreach efforts. Rather than start from scratch, he or she will be equipped with a robust list to start with that can be added to over time. Recycling lists allows us to work smarter by saving a lot of extra time and effort.
For example, when our team at 2U was developing a list of prospective collaborators for a recent piece of content from the MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan Flagler Business School’s online MBA program, blog entitled “Ask HR: Why Hire MBAs?,” we used BuzzStream to identify past outreach efforts around HR professionals.
Knowing that we had built substantial relationships with many HR executives through outreach around the “How to Build a Successful Mentoring Program [GUIDE]” published in March, we turned to BuzzStream to reference those contacts we had success with for the guide and connected with them again for our Ask HR piece. BuzzStream allowed us to stay organized and provided us with a resourceful database to kick off potential partnerships on the right foot.
Efficient Communication Across Internal Team
BuzzStream’s CRM system allows 2U to view every recorded interaction between our team and prospective collaborators. Because the relationship is documented, it is easy to identify which internal team member has the strongest relationship with the individuals and groups we are interested in partnering with. This prompts direct internal communication and introduction opportunities, which limits the amount of cold calls we make as a team.
Though we have found success in developing outreach templates, we are able to create more sustainable relationships with our communities through custom emails. In a survey of over 500 leading digital publishers, Kelsey Libert, a partner at Fractl, found that 64 percent of writers want you “to establish a personal connection before pitching.” These personal outreach efforts are facilitated through knowledge transfer among our team members, which is enabled by BuzzStream.
Capitalizing on Lessons Learned
Learning from the past sets us up for success in the future. By using BuzzStream’s History Feed functionality, we at 2U are able to view our team’s past outreach interactions and capitalize on the lessons learned. What pitches were successful? What were the preferred communications channels? Who was the best point of contact? All of those answers can be found in one easy-to-access place: BuzzStream.
One particular aspect of BuzzStream that we use on a daily basis is the notes section. The details collected there provide helpful insight into a relationship for those who were not involved in the original interaction between our team and a prospective collaborator. Whether a contact recently changed jobs or reacted really well to a specific pitching technique, we can learn from past interactions to make future outreach efforts more effective.
The relationships we create with other thought leaders in the business industry are invaluable to us. Therefore, authenticity and streamlined communications are incredibly important to 2U’s work process from the start of a project to the close. BuzzStream provides us with the tools to ensure that our partnerships do not end after the first interaction, but continue to grow over time.
Molly Greenberg is an inbound marketing manager at 2U, where she develops and designs creative content on behalf of MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program. Molly was named one of Washington’s 100 top tech leaders by the Washingtonian in 2015 for her in-depth media coverage of the business of higher education, education policy, education technology, and startups across the D.C, Maryland, and Virginia region. Learn more about 2U @2Uinc (we’re hiring!) and connect with Molly at @mollygreenberg.