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5 Simple Ways to Market Your Program

Marketing the MPA/MPP to prospective students can be a challenge, especially for schools that do not have a full time marketing or communications staff member.  In response, NASPAA developed the Marketing Toolkit. This page presents some highlights, broken down for five different "audiences:
Students, Alumni, Online Resources, Media, and Employers


Alumni Directory 
If you have one, make sure it’s updated! If you don’t, start with this year’s graduating class.

Alumni Events
Invite alumni back to school to talk with students about their industry or career field. 

Dinner with the Dean
Find out how your students value the program several years out, network and listen to what the “frontline” is like, and what kinds of exciting things they do for a living!

Online Profiles
Feature your success stories online and provide real world examples for prospective students.

Mentor Program
Recruit alumni to volunteer time every week to groups of undergraduate students interested in the degree. Let your alumni be your best resource when advising students on career choices.

Job Trends
Is your area known for its local government strength? Do a majority of your students pursue non-profit management? Are students nation-wide becoming more interested in international programs? Let the hiring trends make your arguments for you!



Online Chats and Blogs
Make your website interactive by setting up a school blog or scheduling online chats. It’s an effective and convenient way to brainstorm, discuss, debate and share what’s going on in and around your program.

Be sure to change/update website at least one per month, if not more often. It’s just like a newspaper—the more information, updated often, the more people will come back to check it. For instance, if updates are made once per week on the same day, such as a Tuesday Update, your audience will be more likely to check your website regularly.

Don’t ignore the power of visuals and images: think headlines, icons and graphics. Think story, not information. Make sure your alumni profiles and updates feature more than the most prestigious placements: demonstrate a breadth of opportunity!


Network! Learn more about what they do, and teach them more about what you do. Get to know the people who are hiring your students—invite them to your school. You want them to come to YOU when they are hiring.

If your program is accredited, consider using NASPAA accreditation logo on website, brochures, ads—it is a quality stamp of approval. 


Local Newspapers
Engage the public in conversation by writing opinion pieces and letters to the editor or inviting a reporter to interview the director. Our programs are always relevant to current events—we’re the ones educating tomorrow’s leaders!

Local Broadcast Media
Is your class preparing innovative presentations? Election simulation? Debate? Is a famous alum coming to speak? Invite your local TV news station to attend. They’re looking for real people, a fun event or great photo opportunities with a local angle and national relevance—take advantage!

Publicity Video
A well-done video has enormous marketing appeal, particularly if it is your students who are producing! Stream it on your website, distribute DVD copies to classrooms, present it at orientation and admissions events.


Peer Roundtable
A Peer Roundtable provides a structured opportunity for students to network, socialize and share ideas. It can also contribute to a sense of community at your school.

Student Marketing Committee
Utilize student experience and talent to carry forward marketing initiatives for which you may not have the staff or resources. Offer incentives, such as letting the program count as class credit or agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school applications. 

MPA Student Association or Club
Having students organize an on-campus club under faculty mentorship will both promote publicity of the degree and aid students in networking and opportunities. Encourage students to run for leadership positions within the club, and provide suggestions for events, such as inviting graduates of MPA programs for Q&A sessions or panels. The students will then find internships, contact businesses and organize publicity events on their own. 

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