Public Relations Tools

News release. Nearly all news organizations are moving away from press releases and are asking for pitches to be done one of three ways:

  • Using social media tools such as Twitter or Facebook
  • Phone call to reporter to pitch idea and then follow-up with addition information if requested by reporter
  • Two to three sentence email a pitch. No need to include press release, but provide more information to reporter if requested.

In situations where a traditional news release is appropriate, it should often be no more than one page. Because journalists and producers receive several news releases each day, it’s best to produce a release only when it will have a significant impact on its reader. Here are some guidelines as to when a news release should be issued:

  • Large in scale and is newsworthy to people outside of the university
  • Research/study results of significant impact on Alaska or the nation
  • Event to which the public is invited and is not offered on campus on a regular basis (i.e prominent speaker)
  • Timely—has an immediate impact on readers

Media alert. This format works well for events such as concerts or speeches. It is also a good format for events that are being announced on short notice. The media alert contains the five W’s: who, what when, where and why. It lists information under these basic headers. It contains little prose and reporters and content managers can scan it quickly for relevant facts. It can generate a follow-up inquiry and is very effective for placing calendar listings.

Brochures. An informational brochure is a useful tool when you are interested in giving its reader an overall view of a program, department, school or college. Here are some guidelines to help you decide whether or not a brochure is a good tool to reach your goal:

  • You have a defined audience that you want to reach, i.e. potential students
  • You have general information that you want to convey, i.e. isn’t time sensitive
  • You can present your information in a concise way, driving your audience to other sources for more detailed information, i.e. Web site
  • You have graphic elements or pictures to include for stronger impact
  • You can use this piece for more than one year without it becoming out-of-date

Print ads. Ads placed in newspapers and magazines can be effective ways of drawing public attention to a program or event. We recommend placing print ads only if you are able to run the ad more than once.

Radio ads. Radio ads can be a good way to get information to the public about an upcoming event, particularly for a target audience. UAA often assists departments with placing ads for lectures on public radio.

Podcasts. Schedule permitting, University Advancement records high-impact campus events for on-demand listening on our Web site.

Website. Your Website can be the most effective, inexpensive, accessible marketing tool available to you. CMS training is available by calling IT Services. University Advancement can provide consulting on how to present your program/department on the Web in the most professional, useful way.

Social media/networking sites. You’ve heard the buzz about sites such as Facebook, reddit, digg, Twitter, YouTube, flickr, LinkedIn, Instagram, tumblr, among many others. These new sites that can, depending on your goal, be useful tools in communicating information. A couple of things to keep in mind when venturing into the social media realm:

  • social media is immediately “live”
  • what’s “hot” in social media changes constantly
  • you, the creator, have to be prepared for what posts might pop up on your site from “fans” or “friends”
  • you are responsible for upkeep and site maintenance
  • updates need to happen often or your site will lose its effectiveness
  • most social media sites are used for networking, entertainment and friendship-type communications

Calendar listings. One of the best ways to get the word out about an event on campus is to make sure it gets submitted to online and print media calendars. Plan to ahead, and make sure you send your information in at least 12 days prior to the event. Here is a list of suggested submission locations:

  • Anchorage Daily News, http://events.adn.com/listings
  • Anchorage Press, http://www.anchoragepress.com/calendar/submit/
  • KSKA/Datebook 49, http://datebook49.com/submit/#w400h690
  • UAA online calendar, http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/eventmaster.cfm