How to Publicize an Event
The most essential aspect of event-planning and publicity is, simply, plan ahead. The Communication team can help publicize your event or story by distributing news items to various media outlets or help generate on-campus publicity through posters, web stories, and campus announcements. Please keep in mind, however, that the sooner media relations is aware of your event, the more publicity options we have. Please do not assume that we know about your event! Tell us!
Timeline & Process
Even if an event is still in its early stages, it pays to think ahead.
- 6 weeks beforehand -- Plan your event with Conference Operations and Events at least a month in advance. Place the item on the College Calendar as early as possible. Media relations will not publicize events not on the College Calendar.
- 4 weeks beforehand -- Contact media relations with event information 4 weeks ahead of the event. This will allow time for us to pitch a newsworthy story to the media, to write news releases, and coordinate on-campus publicity.
- 2 weeks beforehand -- Media relations will distribute publicity to the proper outlets at least 2 weeks ahead of the event.
Ways to Publicize
To be sure the campus community knows about your event, you will also want to contact the publications team. They can help you distribute information through the following:
- Posters designed by the publications team and placed around campus. These may also be used for off-campus publicity.
- Calendar items, typically including basic information such as the time, place, and theme of the event. You must submit your events to the Calendar.
- Campus Memo items, which call campus attention to events and announcements. The Campus Memo is updated daily, and can be viewed online.
- Campus publications, including
- Invitations may be sent to event participants for formal affairs such as dinners and banquets.
- Faculty with courses that tie into the subject of your event. They may be willing to talk to their classes about it.
If you would like to speak to a broader audience, outside of the College, there are several options:
- News releases drafted by media relations staff. We then distribute these informational articles to selected media contacts and post them on our website. You may have a specialized audience in mind -- let us know, and we will include your contacts in our media distribution.
- Advertisements in local newspapers, television, and radio. You may work with communication staff to create such advertisements. Be sure to consider external advertisements as you plan your event budget.
- External publications, which may include magazines and newsletters. Keep in mind you may need to plan several months in advance.
Benefits of Advance Planning
Have we mentioned that you should always plan ahead?
- By considering your publicity far in advance of your event or story, you keep open a wide range of options. We may be able to place your story in newspapers, radio, television, or on the web.
- If you wait until the last minute, however, your publicity options are quickly narrowed. Media outlets need plenty of time to schedule and cover a story.
Help! I waited until the last minute!
Don't panic. If you are looking for ways to get the word out about your event, contact Cindy Deppe, Director of Media Relations. Although you have fewer options, a conversation with media relations will put your possibilities into perspective.
- The Campus Memo is a particularly apt choice for short-notice publicity, because adjustments can be made easily and content is updated nightly.