Category Archives: Marketing

Getting your news noticed

It used to be that all you needed to do was send a press release about your event or program to the local media outlets, and you could count on getting some coverage.

Boy, things sure have changed.

Today, news is immediate. Fewer people are getting their information from traditional news sources; instead they are turning to the Internet, social media, and other digital sources.

The news media and the public have limited attention spans. If they don’t catch your message right away, they are off to something else.

So how can you make sure your information isn’t getting lost in the sea of competing messages? Here are a few tips to help get your news noticed.

Make sure your information is newsworthy.

Help reporters cut through the clutter by providing them with information that is meaningful to their audiences.

  • Is your information timely? It should be about something that is happening now or in the future. Not history.
  • Is it local? News is about people. How does your information affect your neighbors?
  • Is your information useful? For example, can something be done now that could not have been done previously?
  • Is the information interesting?

Know your media outlets.

While sharing your message at a meeting could reach 50, 100, or perhaps 500 people, a story in a single newspaper, magazine, or website could reach thousands. To get your information in the news, you need know the reporter and what they are covering.

  • Make yourself media savvy — listen, watch, and read. Become familiar with the different types of media outlets in your geographic area. Learn what they cover and what regular columns and features might be the best match for your information.
  • Find out what topics are being covered so you can offer related stories.
  • Learn the names of local reporters and the subjects they cover. If you want reporters to keep answering your calls and opening your emails, make your news relevant to individual reporters.

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Tell the world about your upcoming Extension event

So you and your Extension planning committee have met many, many times to go over the logistics of your upcoming event.

You know who will staff the event, what time you need to be there and have even figured out what kind of potato chips you’re going to serve.

And then, the week before, you call the Office of Communications and Marketing to ask if we can put out a news release about the event. Sadly, that is too late.

In order for our office to do the best job we can to promote your event, we need to be brought into the conversation long before said potato chips are planned.

Our office is working on about 200 different jobs at any given time, so we need to plan ahead in order to accommodate so many different tasks.

Another reason for this is once we submit a story to VT News, it can take a week or longer to get it out to in the Daily Email (which is sent to the local media outlets).

This is the best process go through to ensure we can help you publicize your event:

  • Specialist or agent drafts a news release describing the event, its target audience, and its logistical information such as time, location, registration details, etc.
  • Draft release should be submitted via the online project request system at least six to eight weeks prior to registration deadline.
  • Communications and Marketing will review and edit the release and return to faculty member for final approval.
  • After final approval, Communications and Marketing will forward the release to the VT News Bureau for distribution and publication on the Web.

If another state agency is the lead agency for an event, we will defer to that agency to do the release.

For other guidelines on having a release written on awards, new programs, or research papers, visit our news and publicity guidelines page.

We look forward to telling the world about your good news!

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Considerations when purchasing a display

Portable displays come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, and they can be customized to provide the maximum impact for their audience and purpose. The variety of hardware and options available from local and online vendors can make purchasing a display overwhelming. Following are some questions to consider before beginning your search for the right display.

  • Who will use the display? Will one person have to move it and set it up without assistance? Is weight a concern? Displays can be as small as a handled briefcase with interchangeable panels or as large as an 8- by 10-foot pop-up. Some larger floor displays can be put up and taken down by one person but are heavy when in their cases.
  • How will the display be used? Look back at the venues where you have used displays and consider the space available (tabletop or floor, narrow hallways, meeting room or exhibit hall, etc.). Are you primarily setting up on tables? If so, is the table space limited by materials, such as promotional items and brochures? A narrow retractable banner — where the banner retracts into the hardware — works well as a backdrop for a speaker or in conjunction with a branded tablecloth. Other size considerations include available storage space and whether the display will fit into the vehicle transporting it.

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How to tell the world about your exciting discovery

Good news! The findings from the research you have been working on for years have been accepted for publication by a major journal!

What now?

Get in touch with Office of Communications and Marketing. And the sooner the better.

By working with us, we can increase the profile of your work both within Virginia Tech and in the outside world, help you fill in some important blanks in your eFARS report, appease your external funding sources, and potentially pull in new streams of revenue.

So how do you do it?

Chances are, you know that your article is going to be published months ahead of time. This is the moment when you should get in touch with our office.

Our standing joke is that if you call us and tell us that you are going to be on the cover of “Nature” tomorrow, we’ll tell you congratulations. But if you tell us a month before, we’ll tell you that we can try to get you some high-impact media coverage.

The advantages of letting our office know early are many.

First off, we are working on many different releases and publications at once, so we can’t drop everything for a last-minute request.

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