The art of creating news to score some great tech PR
Le Wagon – A ThirdEyeMedia case study in tech PR
Founded in 2013, and with close to 3000 alumni worldwide and boot camps running in 27 cities and growing, Le Wagon is now considered the leading coding school in the world. The Portuguese arm of Le Wagon was opened in Lisbon in 2016 and has already taught 130 students from an impressive 23 different countries how to code.
The Initial Goal
Le Wagon came to ThirdEyeMedia with a clear question and goal: can you help us get media coverage in order to increase the number of signups from locals?
Having had 6 months of relative silence, the objective for Le Wagon was to boost visibility and brand awareness with the aim of engaging locals and creating desirability for the coding boot camps. This is a common request from companies and poses a critical question – in times when there is little to no news, how can we craft a news story to create meaningful media footprints? This has become an evolving role for PR agencies, moving from the role of storytellers to that of story makers.
Developing a bespoke strategy
ThirdEyeMedia sat down with Le Wagon Lisbon’s Head of Operations Shannon Graybill to understand how the coding school’s achievements to date in Portugal could be interpreted into an effective media and communications strategy.
While the coding school is internationally recognised as the number 1 coding boot camp provider, the brand of Le Wagon was relatively unknown on a local level having been in operation for just two years. However, something which did stand out for le Wagon’s Lisbon branch in the initial 18 months of operation in Portugal, and that was impressive, was the number of women attending the courses.
Le Wagon Lisbon boasted over 40% female attendance on average across the year, a striking figure far higher than the average coding school. This figure was also more than double the European average number of women in tech, which hovers close to 16% and which recent reports revealed to be decreasing. According to the UK Office of National Statistics for example, only 3.9% of individuals working in tech and telcos are female software developer and engineers – down from 10% in 2007. This decline of women working in the sector leads to a lack of diversity in the tech and digital workforce, which in turn has a negative impact on economies overall.
With this current sentiment as a backdrop, ThirdEyeMedia saw an opportunity for a positive and creative tech PR campaign that could attract the attention of the growing entrepreneurial community in Portugal, using the #paymetoo campaign and emerging status of women in tech as a catalyst.
We recommended creating a piece of news showcasing Le Wagon’s above average appeal to women and positioning the school as a front-runner helping to mobilise women entering the tech industry, highlighting this work against the negative news cycles about the lack of women in the industry.
As a young female entrepreneur and manager of Le Wagon Lisbon’s coding boot camps, Shannon Graybill also understood that Le Wagon could play a pivotal role in helping encourage more young women to consider careers in the tech industry in an accessible way.
As a result of our brainstorming and recommendations, Le Wagon Lisbon created the Young Women in Tech Scholarship, designed for young women aged 19-23 residing in Portugal with the goal of further bolstering female attendance of Le Wagon boot camps. A total of 5 scholarships were made available offering a 60% reduction from the price of the 9-week coding boot camp.
To maximise visibility with target audiences ThirdEyeMedia developed a press release and strategic media outreach plan to deliver a tech PR program that would capture the attention of national daily press, tech, and millennial press and most importantly the target audience. By gaining high-quality media placements, the media initiative boosted national brand awareness for Le Wagon, strengthened engagement with the current community members and also successfully attracted new members into the boot camps.
“ThirdEyeMedia are truly in line with the pulse of the European tech scene and are able to inspire and direct the conversation in a relevant way that not only drives results for your business but gives your company a deeper, more meaningful purpose,” said Shannon. “The expertise and passion for what they do are to be envied.”
What was the outcome of this tech PR strategy?
The impact of the campaign and media outreach was an instant success, increasing traffic to the Le Wagon website and exceeding the average sizes of each batch of classes by 22%.
The campaign successfully bolstered awareness of the Lisbon branch of Le Wagon and the contributions being made by the school for the Portuguese tech community and digital nomads based in the city. Likewise, the coverage fed into the Le Wagon social media strategy as a further basis to help target local residents to register for the classes.