By Deborah Kania, Small Business Center at Craven Community College
Most news outlets want to share useful information with their community. They give preference to nonprofits and free events. Your college’s communications person will be happy to have the extra help with public relations—they don’t have resources to give enough time to every program across the campuses. Here are some tips for informing the local public of your beneficial educational events via media releases or public service announcements.
- 5-10 words that include essentials and anything that will compel people to read on. Important facts would be date of event, hot topic, popular presenter, etc.
- Leave the articles out. “The, A, An” etc.
- The media follows the Who, What, When, Where, Why model of communications.
- Be factual (not promotional), be concise and be careful not to “bury the lead.”
- Put most essential information in first part, and then elaborate add detail.
- Include much of what you already include in your event description—what will be the takeaways and how will it benefit the participants.
- If appropriate, include brief speaker/official bio.
- If appropriate, include brief “About the organization” description.
- Editors appreciate images and videos. Presenter photos, images that tell story of event.
- Editors like images saved as jpegs of at least 2 MB in size.
- While a video should be brief for PSA, make sure it is of high-quality, which you’ll likely have to share it via download link (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)
- Submit at least 2-4 weeks prior to event. (So, prepare 4-6 weeks prior so your college’s communication’s person can review/approve.
- Call to actions (e.g., Sign up, register, call us)
- Easy to find contact info. Make the editor’s job easy!
- While it is appreciated by specific reporters/editors, email your PSAs to newsroom or information addresses that the TV station, newspaper, website, and other media tell you to send it to. (Note: If you are in a small media market, reporters come and go frequently, so further reason to send to main newsroom email address, instead of a specific reporter.)
- Many media already have community or happenings calendars. Some will let you submit online. Sometimes the contact for community calendars and news is different from newsroom.
- This same info can be repurposed in your communications—email, web, social media, etc!
- Good tips on what media is looking for from Public Radio Tulsa https://www.publicradiotulsa.org/air-public-service-announcements-and-events-page-announcements-our-website
- Make sure it is newsworthy https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/07/24/12-mistakes-to-avoid-with-press-releases/#59c3a2287100
SAMPLE PSA FOR AN UPCOMING EVENT
NC DOT Hwy 70 Highlights & Updates
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Craven Community College (Craven CC), Orringer Hall
Come learn how the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) US Highway 70 Improvements and Project Highlights are affecting Craven County and surrounding businesses, and residential areas, in the James City, Slocum Gate, Havelock bypass, and Kinston bypass area. The process, the timelines, improved safety, and impact will be discussed. Light refreshments to follow presentation. This is not a public hearing or Q&A session. Presented by Neuse River Region Association of Realtors (NRRAR) and the Small Business Center (SBC) at Craven CC.
(A flyer graphic would accompany it)