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Promoting Your Program

Guidelines, Suggestions, and Straight-Up Rules for Getting Your Message to the Masses.

Vegor Pedersen

on 10 June 2011

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Transcript of Promoting Your Program

Promoting Your Program Guidelines, Suggestions, and Rules for Getting Your Message to the Masses As advisors we are often called upon to handle Public Relations and Marketing for our Programs As advisors we often hear things like:
"Can you help me fill this class so it will carry?"
"We have a speaker coming, and I am afraid no one will come."
"We really need students to participate in our conference this year."

For our purposes here we will refer to these projects as endeavors. To help with these requests we will:
Make a poster or flyer and hope our profs hand them out in class
Put a blurb about it on our webpage
Make a Facebook event
Try to get a media outlet to cover it
Mention it to the students that we interact with in our advising sessions These are all examples of "tactics" that we use to reach our audiences. But tactics really should be the last piece of much more involved puzzle.

A real campaign can take months to put together. We don't have months, but if we take a few minutes and follow many of the steps that the pros use when they plan we can end up with better tactics. Our first step should be to define what are our objectives. What will success look like? Some common objectives:
More attendance/participation
Administration is impressed
Students see real benefits
Higher retention
Having fun
Community engagement
Something that will look good on a PBA slide You will notice that many objectives have a common theme: "What do other people think about us?"
PR/Marketing/Promoting is about trying to manage opinion. In order to manage opinion we need to identify our audience. Our success or failure depends on their impressions. Some common audiences to consider:
Our Students, and potential student
Community members
Fellow employees, administrators
Programs at other schools Once an audience is identified ask yourself this question about them:
"What do they need?" Common needs that our program offerings hopefully fill:
Graduation Requirements
Real-World Experience
Internship & Employment Opportunities
Grad school material (Published work, letters of rec, research, etc) Now we should develop key messages for your audiences.
Your messages should do 2 things:
Recognize the need (create an itch)
Satisfy that need (scratch that itch!) These key messages aren't ad copy, but they should be what all our material conveys. So you have identified an audience and a message you want them to hear, now you need to think of the best channel to use to send that message.Do we want to tell folks face-to-face? Will a poster work for this audience? How about an article in the newspaper? But before we start deploying our tactics we need one more thing: Partners! Partners are the people who will help us. They will spread our messages wider, and add their emphasis to it. It is critical that they buy into our endeavor. This is done best when we include them early in the planning process, we get their feedback (and actually listen to it, if not use it), and they realize that our endeavor is meeting their needs. Our partners are an audience too! Remember when we were talking about our audiences? Partners are critical to our success. A pro knows we need to sell them first. Partners feel invested when we are meeting their needs too. If we do it right they become "True Believers". So we have defined objectives, identified audiences and their needs, come up with ways to connect their needs with our endeavor, and brought on partners...now it is time for tactics. So here is a list of common tactics that we use here at UVU:
Posters, Flyers, printed materials
Facebook Events or Fan Pages
Other social media: Blogs/Twitter
Ads on the campus LCD screen network
The Event Center's Electronic Billboard
Advertising or coverage in the UVU Review Newspaper or UVU Magazine
Press Releases
Word of Mouth Got Milk? When audience, message and channel combine we call that a tactic.
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