Your marketing plan is your map to how, when and where you are going to let the campus community know about your NCAAW programs. Its crucial to inform your potential audience about activities as far in advance as possible. You will want to bombard them with information concerning NCAAW, and youll have to make your programs seem fun, interesting and more attractive than the myriad of other options available on a college campus on any given night of the week! Your marketing plan must be well thought out before you order that first poster. Remember - one thing at a time!
- Target your potential audience. Identify your target population and brainstorm what type of advertising might capture the attention of those students. Be aware that it is most effective to get the information out by using a mix of traditional and non-traditional advertising methods. Yes, do the flyers, but also chalk sidewalks and use costume characters to deliver your publicity! Have someone parachute into your football game!
Consistent themes, colors and logos will help show the far-reaching impact of your weeks events.
- Identify all the media that you think would be valuable to make use of in getting the word out. Find out about deadlines and costs. For example, how much lead time does the campus or local newspaper need to run an ad or press release and how much does advertising space and printing cost? Create a calendar with your committee so you wont miss any deadlines and make sure your promotion activities are in line with your available budget. Make an appointment with the campus graphics and public relations department and integrate your committees ideas with their expertise.
- Determine a schedule and assign specific tasks. Make sure the deadlines and tasks that you have assigned are reasonable and reachable. Use a backwards planning method of setting up your promotional campaign. In other words, starting with opening date of your week, work your way backwards on the calendar. Be sure if you are ordering educational or promotional materials to distribute that you do so in plenty of time. Then record on your calendar the expected arrival date. By doing this, even if the atmosphere gets very hectic, the details wont be forgotten. Assign one individual to monitor the calendar on a daily basis.
- Make sure your supporters are well publicized in your materials. Be generous in sharing credit for the weeks activities. You might even get an inexpensive banner that features your NCAAW theme and lists the sponsors of your activities. Then, have this banner at all of your events. Remember that each group involved is looking to get some PR out of these events!
- Stay on schedule. Assign one individual to oversee each step and make certain everyone follows through with assigned responsibilities.
- Keep careful records of all publicity ordered. Be meticulous in approving any artwork before it is printed.
ATTRACTING AN AUDIENCE TO YOUR EVENTS
Sure, its great to put up flyers and the occasional banner advertising an event, but it takes a little better strategy to really get the people to come to your event! Here are a few ideas taken from the BACCHUS and GAMMA flyer, 20 Ways to Get People Out to Your Events.
This flyer is available by calling (303) 871-0901.
- Send personal invitations to people using campus mail or e-mail. Target important groups and individuals who you want to attend. If you have time, you should follow up with a phone call. Maybe ask these VIPs to perform some task at the event, like being Master of Ceremonies, or helping out at an information table.
- Make personal presentations at group meetings and ask for support. This works great at fraternities and sororities, RA staff meetings, student government meetings, and so forth. This also gives people a chance to ask questions. Make sure the people making these meeting announcements are dynamic and well-spoken. It also helps to bring giveaways to these meetings, like highlighters, magnets, and so forth.
- Ask the local pizza or sub delivery shop to act as a sponsor. Place your event advertising with some healthy messages on it taped to each delivery box that goes out during NCAAW.
- Ask professors to give extra credit to students who attend events. Two extra points on a midterm could certainly bring some hungry students out to hear a speaker!
- Give incentives and rewards to those committee members who can bring five friends to any event! Do the same for RAs, fraternity pledge educators, and so on.
- Involve Residence Life. See if RAs can get programming credits for bringing their floor members to one of your events.
- Use table tents in campus dining areas to advertise your events. Be sure to get the proper approval first, however!
- Always have a specific campus group as the headline sponsor of a particular event. That always helps to boost attendance. Make sure their membership has a lot to do at the event as well!
- Go into classrooms and write a little promotional statement on the corner of the blackboards. Students will read these while they are waiting for classes to begin. It helps if you put a little note that says, Please dont erase this until (date).
- Invite a radio station to do a live remote from one of your events. It helps if they are giving away CDs or other freebies. As the event goes on, people will hear about it on the radio and will come out to take part.
WORKING WITH THE NEWS MEDIA
There are advantages to building close relationships with members of both the campus and community press. A personal rapport with those individuals can only help the success of your activities. The most important thing to remember is plan ahead and get on the media schedule early in the year to get the best support and resource advice.
Make sure that your press releases are written to conform to standard journalistic practices. Standard news media practice implies the use of the inverted pyramid story style. The summary lead, which should include (who, what, when, where and/or how), is at the beginning of the story. The first few paragraphs should answer as many of these questions as are relevant. This does not mean you should jam all of the facts into one long, involved sentence or paragraph. Publicity people, like other news writers, should strive for short, clear, one-idea sentences. As a general guideline, if your opening paragraph is longer than three typewritten lines, you might want to give it a second look. Can you be more concise? The main purpose is to grab the readers attention and give them the vital information.
Keep your release short enough to fit on one page, double check your copy and make sure each person mentioned is adequately and accurately identified and that all names are spelled correctly. It is usually helpful if you enclose a cover letter with any additional information that would be helpful. In your cover letter, be sure to invite the media to your various events, and give a good contact name and number in case a reporter needs to get information in a hurry.
You might also ask your campus president to call a press conference where your committee and he/she announce campus goals for alcohol and substance abuse efforts for the academic year. The better able you are to portray your events as news, the more likely you are to get attention. By and large, the journalists to whom we have spoken about NCAAW are interested in the program and what it is trying to accomplish. But consistently, they want to know what is being done on a local basis, at schools in their area, to observe the week. That in-my-backyard focus places you, the local NCAAW committee, in the best position to generate media attention for your program - to ultimately inform the broader community about the positive, substantive steps our campus is taking to address the challenges of alcohol abuse prevention.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS
The PSAs in this guide are general awareness messages. You can follow this format for your own PSAs to a radio station. An advance phone call to your local radio station inquiring to whom the PSA should be sent is also a good idea.
(SCHOOL) will recognize National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, October 21st through the 27th, and they are looking for support from the ANY TOWN community! An exciting weeks worth of activities has been planned, culminating with a Health and Wellness Fair, Sunday afternoon, October 21st, on the Campus Commons. And youre invited! If you would like more information on this or any other (SCHOOL) event, call the Student Activities Office at 555-1234. This public service message brought to you by (station name).
National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week is upon us, and (SCHOOL) wants you to join them in making our community safer and healthier. This Sunday, October 21st, join (station name) at the (SCHOOL) Health and Wellness Fair, all afternoon on the college commons.
For more information, call 555-1234.
You are invited to take part in (SCHOOL)s Health and Wellness Fair... Sunday, October 21st on the college commons.
For more information, call 555 1234.
SAMPLE EDITORIAL LETTER TO A CAMPUS NEIGHBOR
October 1, 2001
This month, students at (SCHOOL) will join hundreds of thousands of others across North America in observance of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (October 21-27). Its a time for all of us to commend these students for the progress they are making, promoting responsible decision-making the best way possible - peer to peer.
As a concerned citizen of the campus community, I often am confronted with the negative aspects of living in a heavily student-populated area. However, efforts like these constantly encourage me. Its great to know that the majority of students at (SCHOOL) genuinely care about helping their friends and making safe and healthy decisions.
I want to encourage all of my neighbors to join me in supporting the activities surrounding National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week through our active participation in the many events they have scheduled. People can call 555-1234 for more information on the weeks activities.
SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact (Name), (Number)
CORRECTING COLLEGIATE DRINKING NORMS
(CITY),(STATE), October 1, 2001 - This month, at (SCHOOL), students will join with their peers on more than 3,000 other campuses across the country to celebrate National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW), October 21 27 - promoting personal responsibility and respect for the law when it comes to the consumption of alcohol beverages.
NCAAW has grown to become the largest single event in all of academia because students take the ownership in designing and implementing this observance for their campus communities. This week gives campuses the opportunity to showcase healthy lifestyles free from the abuse or illegal use of alcohol and to combat negative stereotypes of college drinking behavior.
We need to do a better job of showing college students - particularly new students - that their peers are not all abusing alcohol and making bad decisions, said (NAME), (TITLE), at (SCHOOL). Students want to fit in and follow campus norms. If we incorrectly lead them to believe that everyone is getting drunk on a regular basis, then thats what they will do. We have a responsibility to tell students that making healthy choices is the true norm. Then, we can begin changing public perception. (NAME) said that among the signs of progress realized at (SCHOOL) are:
(Insert bullet-pointed list, customized to your campus, as available.)
During NCAAW at (SCHOOL), students will have the opportunity to participate in several events, designed to reinforce responsible attitudes toward drinking and respect for current state laws and school policies. Those activities include:
(Insert bullet-pointed list of NCAAW activities, customized to your campus.)
Nationally, NCAAW is in its second decade; it started with 25 schools in 1983. The program helps college administrators and students launch and/or strengthen year-round prevention efforts. What has set this program apart and contributed to its growth is its approach, said Dr. Edward Hammond, NCAAWs chairman and president of Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Ultimately, this isnt about alcohol, but attitudes. We dont preach, we educate, and we empower students to take responsibility for their own decisions and environment.
ENHANCING YOUR MEDIA PACKAGE
When you distribute your press releases, you can enhance your package with:
- Black-and-white photos or color slides of activities from previous NCAAW events on your campus.
- Video of the same (for television media).
- A one-page fact sheet summarizing the NCAAW events/programs you will implement this year.
- Follow-up calls to campus and city desk reporters.
Dont assume that editors will pay attention to your press release. They can receive hundreds of these a week, depending on the size of the paper. A follow-up call helps you make sure that your information stands out from the crowd. The follow-up call also gives you a chance to:
" Invite representatives from media organizations to attend some of your events, to see first-hand the efforts you are undertaking.
" Ask if theres anything else you can do to make the story more relevant and compelling for readers, viewers and listeners.
Remember: The news media have needs and goals, just as we do. Meet their needs and goals - work with them to create a compelling story - and they will work with you.
Raising funds for your alcohol awareness week isnt the insurmountable task that it may first appear. It just takes planning, organization and follow-through. Preventing alcohol and drug abuse is a top priority, as well as a favorite cause on campuses. Your role is to tap into this concern and come up with a well thought out plan and budget, to identify potential funding sources both on your campus and in your community, to provide leadership, to build a coalition of individuals and organizations to help achieve the targeted goals, and to orchestrate the follow through.
|NCAAW is traditionally held the third full week of October. For next year, mark your calendars for
October 20-26, 2002
|Certain FCC regulations require radio and television stations to make public service announcements about programs and events in the community. PSAs should be sent to radio stations at least two weeks prior to the time you want the announcement to be made. However, whether or not the announcements are made and the times they are made is at the stations discretion.
A cover letter should be included with the PSAs giving a description and dates of the program and the name and number of someone to contact for more information. These should be:
" Typed, doublespaced on letterhead paper
" No longer than two or three sentences listing bare facts
" Sent no later than two weeks prior to the day you wish the announcements to be made