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.
One of the easiest and most effective ways that Extension faculty and staff members can promote their programs and events is by posting them on their local calendar. Each local unit office and Agricultural Research and Extension Center has a calendar. For a complete listing of VCE calendars, visit the calendar page on the VCE website.
There are many benefits to using the your VCE calendar.
- Your calendar provides a central location to post event details and contact information.
- Information can be easily added and updated by using the Web-based interface.
- Viewers can download individual calendar items directly to their own calendars and mobile devices.
- Information can be shared easily on other unit calendars, helping to promote your programming to neighboring communities.
- Calendar items can be put on a topic calendar, making it easy for viewers to find similar events.
- Having events on your calendar allows other faculty members to see what is planned so they do not schedule similar events on the same day.
- Calendar events can be easily promoted on other websites and through social media.
- Having complete information easily accessible on your calendar should reduce the number of emails and phone calls you receive with questions about events.
Putting an item on the calendar is as easy as filling out an online form. For more information on how to use the VCE calendars, visit our online training.
Make sure to include as much information as possible, including a link to a website that has additional details, links to paperwork, and registration information. If clients know that they can rely on the information to be accurate and helpful, they will review the calendar on a regular basis, making your job all that much easier.
Remember, people won’t participate if they don’t know what is going on. The first step to promoting your program is to post it on your calendar!
There are more than 3,000 publications and other resources on the Virginia Cooperative Extension publications website. In 2013 the site received nearly 3.3 million page views —an average of 272,000 per month! Sounds pretty impressive, right? But how can you ensure that your publication is actually being seen?
Let people know about it
When a publication is posted online, it will be listed in the “recent publications and resources” list that appears on the Virginia Cooperative Extension homepage and publications page, but its presence there is short-lived. On a typical day, up to 20 different publications get posted to the site. The more publications that are posted, the less time your publication will remain on this list. In some cases, a publication may only show up on this list for a few hours. Once it moves off the list, the only way someone will know the publication exists is if they search for the publication’s topic or they already know it is there.
You have spent a considerable amount of time and effort creating your publication, so take a few minutes to make sure it gets into the hands of those who can use it.
Here are a few simple things you can do to help your clients and other Extension professionals find your publication: Continue reading