PUBLICITY COMMITTEEAs part of the publicity effort you will be in charge of:
Radio public service messages
Campus and local newspaper coverage
Inform and invite the support of members of the community by announcing the fair to them. Job changers make up a large portion of those seeking work in social change, and their help in advocating and advertising the event in the community may lead to contacts, fenders and participants.
The following are a number of publicity tools to use in organizing the fair. Refer to the timeline to order your advertising activities.
Flyers should be concise, with a single theme or message to inspire the reader's interest, and should state the meeting's date, time, place and purpose. Asking a question, using a surprising fact or referring to a recent and relevant campus event are all good leaders for a flyer. Cartoons are also an effective attention-getter. Post flyers in communal places such as dining hall bulletin boards, mail rooms, student unions and centers, lecture halls, sports centers, dormitories, libraries, kiosks and bathrooms. See Appendix M for a sample flyer.
These should be prepared for dining hall tables. These are sheets of paper folded in half with an identical message on either side, to be wedged between salt and pepper shakers.
Posters can be a highly effective medium of communication. They can be used to advertise the general interest meeting (GIM), announce the fair's speaker and agenda and produce lastminute publicity for the event. Make the posters big, easy to read, catchy and neat. Design a logo to surround or accompany the fair title, and use it whenever flyers and posters go up; the symbol will soon serve as a visual reminder of your event even if people do not stop a second time to read the poster. Try to enlist the skills of a graphics designer or art student for the fair's poster work -- this will help ensure that your publicity is eye-catching. Appendix N contains an example.
Community and campus calendars
Place short announcements of organizing meetings and of the fair in community calendars published in your local paper, and the campus schedule of events. Include the date, time, purpose and why students and community members should be interested in taking part.
Local and campus newspapers
Newspapers have many possibilities for publicity: advertising and coming events sections, classifieds, letters to the editor and articles.
- Listings in coming events sections are free.
- Arrange fair announcements as public service advertisements with campus and community publications; your event is not-for-profit, promotes social change and is open to all who wish to attend.
- Write -- or recruit other fair organizers, students, faculty and administration members, community leaders and staff of participating public interest groups to write -- letters to the editor. These should highlight the fair's importance as a tool for social change, as a balance to the career choices presented by government and business recruiters on campus, and as a way to make rewarding jobs more accessible to students and the community.
Type the letter double-spaced, provide your name, address and telephone number. You should write in short, clear sentences. After sending the letter, call the newspaper and encourage the letters editor to print it.
Call to find out the deadlines for submission and, to increase the chance that a paper prints your letter, remember these points:
- Keep it short and on target to avoid having your letter edited. Newspapers will cut a long letter down to 250-300 words.
- Avoid flowery language and unnecessary lead-ins such as "I'm sure everyone would agree with me that..."
- Make reference to a recent editorial column or article. Try to de the fair's social change purpose to an event reported recently. Any coverage of declining social services and society's growing needs, for example, can be related to the work done in the public interest community and the need to support social change with full-dine talent and commitment.
- Send an original, neat, typed letter. Newspapers may reject photocopied letters.
- Offer to interview the fair's keynote speaker for publication or ask that a newspaper writer do a profile, noting the speaker's upcoming appearance at the fair.
- Suggest editorial endorsements, story ideas and angles that newspapers might take in covering the fair. Be able to offer your own comments and those of other organizers, sponsors and participants to the media for pre-fair coverage. For a short sample article, see Appendix O.
Radio public service announcements (PSAs)
Nearly all stations have some sort of calendar of events from which the campus disk jockey will make public service announcements. Have campus and local stations announce your general interest meeting and later, the fair itself. Call the stations and talk to the person handling PSAs, ask when and in what form PSAs should be submitted, and call for an appointment to deliver your announcement. Do not mail your PSA or leave it at the front desk. Most stations require that you send them your PSA two weeks in advance of the time you want the message aired.
Write two versions of your PSA: one that would take 15 seconds for the disk jockey to read, and one for 30 seconds (approximately 75 words). Write your PSA simply, using descriptive words. For a sample 30-second PSA, see Appendix P.
Some stations, especially campus stations, take cassettes of pre-recorded announcements. These allow more creativity.
Type all copy triple-spaced on one side of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Start a third of the way down on the first page. Leave ample margins.
For each item you send, use letterhead or state the name of the fair committee or a sponsoring organization, your name, address and telephone number.
Give all the facts: the who, what, when, where and why of your event. Use specific starting and ending times and/or dates.
Write all copy to be spoken, in an informal tone.
If publicizing the fair, provide a brief biographical sketch of the keynote speaker and the topic of her or his speech.
Tabling is a tried-and-true method for recruiting and for advertising. You can use this method in the preliminary stages when trying to attract organizers to plan the fair and later in handing out literature announcing the event on campus.
- Tables should be set up in locations a high volume of pedestrian traffic. The flow must be relatively steady for an extended period of time. Choose central and visible locations on campus or in the community, such as the student union, classroom buildings, dorms at meal times, the campus pub, the bookstore, campus sidewalks and festivals.
- Table set-up consists of a metal folding table or two card tables next to each other. Securely tape a maximum number of posters and flyers to the three exposed sides of the tables. To attract attention, decorate the table with colorful, simple messages and the fair logo. Keep plenty of sign-up sheets and pens available, and keep the table neat and clean, positioned so that passersby can be directed toward it easily.
- At least two people work each table; one in front and one behind the table. The person out front greets each person walking by. Use your imagination; ask a provocative question or make a statement that will inspire the curiosity and response of passersby. Questions like "do you think there should be alternatives to corporate and government recruiting on campus?" will usually turn heads.
If recruiting is your purpose, tell them about the careers fair and the upcoming general interest meeting (GIM). Have a sign-up sheet ready for their names, addresses and telephone numbers.
If you want to demonstrate student desire for increased programming and resources on social change careers, tabling can be used to survey or petition the campus. The results can be published in the campus newspaper, submitted to the career services office or the administration, and used in fundraising to show that there is a clear and current interest on campus for an alternative careers fair.
Tabling can also be used close to the time of the fair to increase student and community turnout and to disseminate the agenda, participants list and the booklets containing each public interest group's questionnaire information.
Class raps are short speeches (up to five minutes) given at the beginning of a class. The rap is a powerful tool, and should be used to recruit if more organizers ate needed and to inform students about the career fair.
In preparing your rap, assume that your audience knows nothing about the fair or the recent general interest meeting. Start with the basics: your name and the name of the organizing committee or organizational sponsor you are representing. Give a brief description of the fair and its aims. Appeal to the self-interest of your listeners: the fair is providing a rare, oncampus opportunity for students to explore public interest jobs -- jobs that challenge and that mean bringing your conscience to work every day, jobs that allow a professional life that is personally rewarding. Ask your listeners to take part in the organizing. Announce another general interest meeting send a sign-up sheet around the room for students who want to be involved in organizing. Finally, thank them for their time and attention. Appendix Q contains a sample rap.
Write and practice your rap beforehand, but do not read anything when doing it. It is more important to be natural and enthusiastic than to get every word right.
Get professor's permission in advance for your raps. Call or stop by the professor's office and ask for five minutes at the beginning of his or her next classes. Be prepared to explain the fair and its aims to the professor. Don't be discouraged if some professors turn you down.
Use the semester's course listing to select professors and classes in departments that are likely to be supportive. Mention social change work in your rap that is relevant to the subject of the class: environmental protection, safe energy and technology to science classes, political action and governmental reform in political science classes, etc. Select large classes where your message reaches a greater number of potential organizers.
After your rap, send a thank-you letter to the professor.
Use news releases to announce the event, keynote speaker, issues at the heart of the fair and selected agenda items to area and campus publications. Write news releases in a clear, concise news style, as you would see it appear in the newspaper. Read the paper closely and write your ideal story so it sounds like one of the articles you just read. That means that you or your organization should be referred to in the third person.
Avoid editorializing; instead, to express an opinion, use direct quotations and identify the sources of all quotations. The more quotations, the better. Quote the keynote speaker, heads of well-known social change organizations, the fair coordinator and heads of sponsoring organizations and departments on campus to express important points.
Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs. The first paragraph is the most important paragraph of the release. Make the major point of the story clearly and directly. For the rest of the release, follow what journalists call the "inverted pyramid" style: the most vital information at the beginning of the release, with subsequent paragraphs arranged in order of declining importance. Editors will cut the story from the bottom, leaving the most important information at the top.
Do not assume that the press or the public is familiar with your group or sponsors. In the last paragraph, include a brief description of the group(s) you represent. If your group has letterhead, use it. If not, head the release with the group's name, address and telephone number.
Very little news is reported on the weekends and holidays. Delivering on Thursday or Friday for release on weekends or holidays is a good way to ensure coverage. Editors are especially hungry for news on Monday mornings. Wednesday papers usually carry a great deal of advertising -- mainly supermarkets ads. More ads mean more pages and usually more space for news.
For a sample news release, see Appendix R.
- Put it on your organization's letterhead.
- Center the words "NEWS RELEASE" in bold type directly under the letterhead.
- Underneath NEWS RELEASE at the left margin, type "For Release:" and then give the day, date and hour on which you want the information in the release reported to the public.
- Underneath NEWS RELEASE at the right margin, type "For More Information Contact:" and then give the name of the contact person who can give interviews and the event's details, and the phone number at which he or she can be reached.
- Underneath "For Release:" and "For More Information Contact:" center your headline. Put it in all capital letters and underline it. Make it catchy.
- Underneath the headline begins the text. Double space all text, and leave wide margins for the editor's convenience.
- The first paragraph of text is called the lead. The lead should be only one sentence long.
- The text should be in the past tense. Many news editors define news as something chat has already happened.
- The second paragraph should clarify the lead. It shouldn't contain quotes.
- Quotations are appropriate for the third or fourth paragraph. Within quotation marks, you can put any of your opinions. Write what you want to say and attribute it - it need never be said. For other quotes, chink first about what you want expressed, and then ask others for quotes along those lines.
- If the release is more than one page long, at the bottom of the first page, centered, type "MORE" or "MORE-MORE-MORE."
- For the first page, use the letterhead stationery and for following pages, use plain white paper.
- At the top of each new page, at the left margin, repeat the first headline: this is called the "running head." Underneath the running head, note which page it is of the release.
- The last paragraph of the release should describe what the sponsoring committee or organization(s) is and what it does.
- To signify the end of the text, type "#ll#."
- In general, shorter is better. You're likely to get your release printed without major alterations if it is short.
Advisories are brief announcements for your event or news conference, telling who, what, when, where, why and contact information. News advisories should be sent to the press several days before the event. Send the advisory to both the newspaper's assignment editor and the reporter covering, or likely to cover, the fair and/or news conference. Call them again the day before the conference to remind them and ask whether they plan to provide coverage.
Center "NEWS ADVISORY" at the top of the page. Below this heading, describe in one sentence who is speaking and the fair he or she kicking off this, place, in a centered block, the "DATE:" (day and date), "TIME:", "PLACE:" and "CONTACT:" (with phone numbers). See Appendix S for a sample news advisory.
News conferences should be held on the day of the fair, right-before its start, to feature your prominent keynote speaker.
Your story must be action-oriented and timely. Something must happen that will interest the public. A big name speaker can help to draw the media -- make sure his or her statement is dynamic and directly deaf to the importance of working for social change and to the importance of your event in particular.
Identify a spokesperson to act as the official representative of your organization or committee, to give the official statement and to introduce the speaker.
The best time for a news conference is mid-morning, giving reporters time to write their stories for deadlines that day. Try to locate the conference in a central place close to the site of the fair's events.
To notify the press, compile a standard press list including all daily and weekly newspapers in your state, area and on campus. Have the name of the editor or news director for each, along with other contacts, such as particularly friendly reporters or people who might have a special interest in your story (check papers that have reporters who write on education and social issues). Include editorial writers. Make up address labels and photocopy them to save the time of typing envelopes for news advisories, press releases and other updates. Do not forget small papers. These often give you excellent coverage.
Also deliver or send news releases to wire services (Associated Press or AP, United Press International or UPI, States News Service, for example). Stories written by wire service reporters are often picked up by ocher news outlets (broadcast and print).
For radio coverage, remember that news directors and reporters are often at radio stations only in the morning.
The local public access television channel should also be contacted for announcements and coverage of the fair.
Deliver press releases by hand or send them by facsimile whenever possible. This often results in better coverage than relying on mail delivery and gives you a chance to discuss the upcoming event with editors and writers.
At the news conference
Greet media representatives as they arrive, give them news kits with your news release, a fair participants' list, background on the speaker and other pertinent information. Have them sign a press list upon entry to the news conference for follow-up and future reference. A podium or table should be situated at the front of the room, or if outdoors, speakers should stand in front of some relevant site, such as the building where the actual fair is taking place. Make large banners and signs visible for reinforcing backdrops behind the speaker(s). The speaker(s) should give a brief statement and then open the floor to questions. Afterwards, thank the press for coming and encourage them to attend the fair's afternoon events. Note and clip news coverage received for use in planning future events.