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Get the Word Out! Hints for Publicity Chairs - FGS Wiki

Get the Word Out! Hints for Publicity Chairs


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[[Category:Strategies for Societies]][[Category:Swisher, Linda Herrick]][[Category:Marketing]][[Category:Publicity]]
  
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 +
''“Boy, that group is always in the paper. How do they do it?”''
 +
 +
Getting your society's name known doesn't just
 +
happen. Publicizing your events is crucial to
 +
gaining new members, fostering community
 +
support and communicating with other likeminded groups. Every game has its rules, and the
 +
publicity game is no different. Those who win
 +
know the rules and play by them.
 +
 +
A society's publicity chair submits news and
 +
events to appropriate media. Let's assume the
 +
chair is you. Seek opportunities to publicize your
 +
group, and serve as the society spokesperson if the
 +
media need quotes or an interview.
 +
 +
 +
== HOW DO I BEGIN? ==
 +
<ul>
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<li>If you have no experience, read books on
 +
publicity and working with the media. Such books
 +
are at your local library.
 +
<li>Compile a media list of every newspaper,
 +
magazine, radio and television station in your
 +
geographic area. Include the name, address
 +
(including any post office boxes), phone and fax
 +
numbers, on-line or E-mail addresses. These
 +
outlets will receive your society's news, including
 +
notices of meetings and programs. To find this information, ask if your local
 +
convention and visitors bureau has a media list.
 +
Check the informational pages of your local
 +
telephone directory. Look for a copy of Gale's
 +
''Directory of Print and Broadcast Media'' at your
 +
local library. This three-volume set is arranged by
 +
state and town. Note the newpaper's frequency of
 +
publication (daily, weekly, or other), call letters
 +
and station format (local cable access, all-news,
 +
all-talk, religious, rock, jazz, network affiliate,
 +
etc.) Add this information to your media list.
 +
Although you will find these details in Gale's
 +
Directory, you will still want to call the paper or
 +
station at least twice a year to update it. Media
 +
information, especially contacts, changes often. The paper may have
 +
merged, folded or moved. What was once a hard
 +
rock radio station may have recently become a
 +
local talk-radio format, more suited to publicizing
 +
your event.
 +
<li>What is the publication's (or station's) deadline
 +
date for submitting news releases? If you cannot
 +
find these dates printed in the publication or if
 +
they are not announced by the station, call and
 +
ask.
 +
<li>Make an additional list for publicizing
 +
seminars or other items of interest to those who
 +
live elsewhere. List ''FGS FORUM'', ''Internet Genealogy'', ''Family Chronicle'', ''Family Tree Magazine'',
 +
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, etc., with the same information as you
 +
collected from your local outlets. Check issues of
 +
these publications and their websites for deadlines, departments, and
 +
requirements. Always use current issues, as
 +
deadlines may have changed.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== WHAT MUST I KNOW? ==
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Is the newspaper zoned (circulation and news
 +
divided geographically)? This means your news
 +
may appear only in certain editions. If your society
 +
covers a wide area, be sure to mention this in the
 +
release (for example, “serving Jones and Tyler
 +
counties”), or ask “Please release in all zones,”
 +
which might help your news reach the maximum
 +
coverage area.
 +
<li>What department runs notices such as yours?
 +
To whom should you address your news? Read
 +
the publication regularly (or watch TV or listen to
 +
the radio) to see where and when news from
 +
similar groups appears, and to whom your news
 +
should be sent. Or call the paper or station to get
 +
this information. Sending news to the wrong
 +
department, or to someone who hasn't worked
 +
there for years, tells the folks at the publication or
 +
station that you don't read (or watch or listen to)
 +
their product. This will not make you a media
 +
darling!
 +
<li>Editors won't always pass your news to other
 +
departments. For the news to appear in several
 +
places within the paper, or if a publisher puts out
 +
more than one paper, send a separate release to
 +
each department or paper. The same advice
 +
applies if you submit news to a TV and radio
 +
station sharing the same facility, or an AM and
 +
FM radio station in the same offices.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== WHAT'S A NEWS (OR MEDIA) RELEASE? ==
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Know your terminology! An ad is space (and a
 +
commercial is time) that is paid for. Unless your
 +
society has a generous benefactor, what you want
 +
is free publicity. You will submit a news (or
 +
media) release for publication or broadcast.
 +
Broadcast media usually run a group's news as
 +
PSA's (public service announcements), which may
 +
be recorded by studio personnel or by a society
 +
representative. PSA's may be limited to certain
 +
types of groups. Check with your station about its
 +
policies.
 +
<li>A news release contains details that the paper
 +
(or station) and its readers (or viewers/listeners)
 +
need to know. It is always double-spaced (to
 +
allow editing), always on one side of an 8.5 by
 +
11-inch sheet (smaller sizes tend to get lost), and
 +
always typed (handwritten releases look
 +
amateurish and may be undecipherable). Books on
 +
publicity will give examples of news release
 +
formats.
 +
<li>Most releases use an “inverted pyramid” style.
 +
The most important information is mentioned in
 +
the lead paragraph, with the least important
 +
information at the end. (Editors will cut from the
 +
bottom up.) Follow the five W's and an H: What,
 +
When, Where, Who, Why and How. Include extra
 +
information in paragraphs other than the lead
 +
paragraph. The paper or station may have space to
 +
fill and want to mention much more than the
 +
basics, but they can't if you haven't provided this
 +
information.
 +
<li>Eliminate confusion. Write the event day and
 +
date (“Thursday, July 16”) instead of day only
 +
(“this Thursday”). Newspapers don't use the
 +
genealogical method of day-month-year. Avoid
 +
terms or abbreviations unfamiliar to most readers
 +
(use “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
 +
Saints” as opposed to “LDS”).
 +
<li>Be sure your release mentions any costs,
 +
restrictions or deadlines of which participants
 +
must be aware. Readers won't appreciate arriving
 +
at an event where admission is by reservation
 +
only.
 +
<li>State your news simply, objectively and free of
 +
opinions. (“The society will host its annual
 +
luncheon” instead of “Society members will enjoy
 +
a beautiful repast”. Some members may not enjoy
 +
it, and “beautiful” is in the eye of the beholder.)
 +
<li>Your release should include your society name,
 +
address, e-mail address, URL, and a contact person's name and phone number. The media
 +
may need more details or clarification from you,
 +
so add your name, title, and day and evening
 +
phone numbers. Make sure your society
 +
immediately refers to you any calls from the
 +
media. If the paper or station does contact you, get
 +
back to them as soon as possible.
 +
Deadlines are often measured in hours rather than
 +
days. And keep a copy of all releases so that if the
 +
media does contact you, you'll know what
 +
information you provided.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== WHAT DO YOU MEAN, IT'S TOO LATE? ==
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Pay attention to deadline dates! Does the radio
 +
or TV station need community calendar items four
 +
weeks in advance of the event? For a newspaper,
 +
does certain news run only on certain days, or in
 +
certain sections? Note the date of your event and
 +
then work back from the media deadline.
 +
An example: one local paper is published on
 +
Sundays and Thursdays. Religious news runs in
 +
the lifestyles sections on Thursdays only, and the
 +
deadline is one week prior to publication. To
 +
publicize a church program scheduled for
 +
Wednesday the 19th, the news must run in the
 +
paper on Thursday the 13th. This means the news
 +
item must be submitted to the newspaper by
 +
Thursday the 6th. Print and broadcast media receive tons of mail
 +
daily, so you must also allow several days for your
 +
release to reach its destination. Faxing will save
 +
time, as will delivering the release in person.
 +
Beware, however, trying to meet with an editor on
 +
deadline (or a producer near airtime)—they won't
 +
appreciate an interruption.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== IT HELPS TO KNOW... ==
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Some papers or community calendars will run
 +
your news several times, from the time it's
 +
received up until your event. It may pay to send
 +
your news in early for maximum exposure.Check
 +
with the newspaper or station for their policy.
 +
<li>Ask if your local paper or station conducts a
 +
free workshop specifically for those responsible
 +
for a group's publicity. The workshop may
 +
mention contact persons, deadlines, and format.
 +
Or, your media outlet may offer a publicity
 +
manual. It is worth your while to take advantage
 +
of these offers.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== SOME “DON'TS” TO REMEMBER ==
 +
<ul>
 +
<li>Don't ask the paper for copies of the article, or
 +
even a single “tear sheet” (the page on which your
 +
article appears). If the paper sent complementary
 +
copies to each person and group mentioned,
 +
nobody would buy one! The paper is in business
 +
to inform—and to be financially profitable. If you
 +
want to see your society's news, subscribe. Or read
 +
the paper at the local library, and contact the
 +
newspaper's circulation department to buy a back
 +
issue.
 +
<li>Don't ask to see or approve what will be
 +
written or broadcast. Once you submit the
 +
information, how (and if) it's used is up to the
 +
discretion of the media.
 +
<li>Don't ask when the news will appear or air,
 +
especially if your release has no deadline. News
 +
with an impending deadline takes precedence over
 +
other items. Space considerations and time
 +
constraints rule. And since advertising pays for it
 +
all, an ad's size or timing will determine where
 +
and when your news appears.
 +
<li>Find out your newspaper's policy on coverage
 +
of your event. Do they send a reporter or
 +
photographer to your type of event or should you
 +
submit a news release and photo? If you want to
 +
request a photographer, know the deadline for
 +
doing so. The request should be for a special
 +
event, not a routine meeting. A reporter may attend, or more likely, may interview you by
 +
telephone or use information from your news
 +
release for a photo caption. Know that late-breaking news or scheduling difficulties may
 +
prevent a photographer or reporter from attending
 +
as planned.
 +
</ul>
 +
 +
 +
== SPEAKING OF PHOTOS... ==
 +
 +
Can you submit photos? Should they be black and
 +
white, or is color acceptable? What size is best?
 +
Will they be returned, and if so, do you need to
 +
send an SASE with the picture?
 +
 +
If the photos won't be returned, submit reprints of
 +
the photo, and keep your negatives. Do NOT
 +
submit photocopies or printed copies. The
 +
exposure may be too dark or the resolution too
 +
poor; check with your paper. Electronic formats are the best, particularly TIFF file formats.
 +
Limit the number of people in the photo to three
 +
or four. If more people are involved, it is best to
 +
take several photos with a few people in each than
 +
one large group shot.
 +
 +
Proper identification is important. If you submit
 +
the photo, identify the people in it from left to
 +
right, or clockwise from top. If the photographer
 +
takes it, be sure he or she obtains all needed
 +
information. People in photos should be identified
 +
by their first and last names (not “Mrs. John
 +
Jones”), and places of residence.
 +
 +
Are there types of photos the paper will not run?
 +
Is there a policy against photos that show “check
 +
passing,” where one person presents a check or
 +
donation to another? Or does the newspaper prefer
 +
not to use “grip and grins” (two people shaking
 +
hands), group pictures, or officer installations with
 +
members all lined up in a row. Does the editor
 +
prefer “action” shots, with people talking to each
 +
other or engaged in some activity rather than
 +
eating or just standing around? Find out your
 +
editor's preferences, and provide those types of
 +
photos.

Revision as of 18:26, 14 August 2013

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