If you want to see your event publicized in newspapers, television, radio or social media, University Communications can help. Before we begin, here are some issues to think through.
- Give the media lots of lead time: Two to four weeks before an event is happening or before reservation deadline is good.
- Decide what kind of publicity you'd like: If you want a simple listing in the community calendar, that's easy. Just use our calendar listing format to send the details to the calendar editors of the local papers and TV stations and the news directors at the radio stations. Public service announcements derived from these listings are a free way to get publicity on radio stations for certain newsworthy or philanthropic events. One caution: Proofread your submission carefully. Once the information gets out into the public sphere, it will be difficult to correct any mistakes. If you'd like a fresh eye on your work, please contact University Communications. We'd be happy to check grammar and style for you.
- News stories are not ads: They cannot be bought and/or ordered on demand. You must purchase an ad, and to do so, you can contact the classified or display advertising ad representative at the newspaper or magazine you want to advertise in. They will discuss rates and design with you. Generally, University Communications does not arrange for or purchase ads. However, print ads can be designed by University Communications.
- Getting a reporter to write a news story on your event takes time and patience: To get a public service announcement on the radio, contact the radio stations in the area you’re targeting. We have a list and can share that with you. Think about your target audience. If you want to reach high school students, for example, don’t spend time sending PSA requests to an oldies station.
If you want a news story to run in advance of the event to generate more interest, that takes a little more work.
You need a pitch
Figure out what it is about your event that makes it special and use that to hook the media. Is it the first ever? Is it a one-of-a-kind? Is it raising money for something special? Is someone noteworthy going to take part? Is there an opportunity for photography or video? You have to be prepared to let the media know why their readers/viewers/listeners should care.
The key to winning the interest of the media is to highlight what makes your event special. For example: "UC Students Hold Bake Sale" is not so interesting.
However, "UC Students Plan Marathon Bake Session to Prepare for Fundraiser." OK, now you've got the media's attention. Don't leave the catchiest details until the end!
Also, contact information is required by almost every media outlet.
Decide who will be the contact person or people and don't forget to include those names, phone numbers and email addresses so the media can reach you.
Once you've thought through this information, please contact University Communications to serve as your liaison with the media. We have spent years working with many media outlets from the local market to those with nationwide reach. We can help you reach the right people for your inquiry and make it in the most effective possible way.