Communicating compelling academic research

This programme is designed for communications professionals wanting to develop a communications campaign that shares compelling academic research.

Academic research is defining our lives, our world, our future.

It offers a treasure trove of compelling content that our audiences want and need to hear about.

Engaging research communication campaigns can achieve all manner of institutional goals: public engagement, reputation management, student recruitment, fundraising, and more. They have the potential to enhance the brand of your research, your institution, and your academic colleagues.

But you might be daunted by the prospect of delivering such a campaign: worried about the time commitment, unsure of best practice, the level of public exposure, or even how to get started.

In this programme, we will offer advice on how to successfully deliver effective research communications that prompt a high level of meaningful and valuable engagements.

This programme is designed for communications professionals who wish to collaborate with others to develop a communications campaign that shares academic research, with a goal of maximising engagement from various audiences.

Across our six modules, we will look at the importance of strategic alignment, defining your target audiences, using audience insight to inform your approach, gaining buy-in from academic colleagues, establishing a workflow of culture and collaboration, and the strengths of different platforms, mediums, and storytelling devices. We will also cover how best to extend the reach of your content, monitor and manage your engagements, and measure the success of your activity, once your communications have been sent.

Throughout, we will view examples of content from other academics and institutions, and provide downloadable materials, interactive exercises, and key principles of content strategy theory.

You're already changing the world. It's time the world knew about it.


You will understand:

  • Why strategic alignment is an essential starting point for your campaign
  • Methods for conducting effective stakeholder engagement
  • How to set objectives to measure the success of your campaign
  • How to identify audiences that will help you to achieve your objectives
  • Different approaches to research and understand your audiences
  • How to use audience insight to inform your campaign planning
  • Ways to present your campaign idea to academic colleagues to secure buy-in
  • Common concerns about participating in a campaign, and how to offer reassurance
  • How to establish a workflow of collaboration and communication with academic colleagues
  • Methods for gathering compelling content about research projects
  • Adapting content for different platforms and mediums
  • Different approaches taken by research communications in the education sector and beyond
  • How to make your content go further: cutting, crossposting, curating, and commissioning
  • How to respond to engagements: monitoring, managing, messaging, and measuring
  • How to report the success of your campaign to your stakeholders

Your Instructor


Simon Fairbanks and John Hill
Simon Fairbanks and John Hill

Simon is a senior content strategist for Pickle Jar Communications. He has over 10 years of experience in the Higher Education sector, having worked on four different campuses in a variety of recruitment and marketing roles.

He now advises schools, colleges, universities and regulators on content strategy projects. His specialisms include marketing and communications strategy, social media recommendations, delivering engaging workshops, and creating compelling copy.

As a published author, Simon is particularly interested in storytelling, and how to communicate education sector stories with greater impact.


John is Pickle Jar Communications’ Head of Content. Drawing from more than a decade in journalism in newsrooms across the country, John helps the company and its clients to tell stories about the achievements and ideas that matter to them.

He has worked as a journalist-in-residence for startups and international research projects, and has delivered training and campaigns using a variety of tools and techniques, including audio, social, and smartphone storytelling.


Simon Fairbanks, Senior Content Strategist at Pickle Jar Communications

John Hill, Head of Content at Pickle Jar Communications



Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course launched on 20 May 2020. It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start. Modules are released every week until you complete the course. There are six modules in total.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for 12 months - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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