Your marketing plan is your map to how, when and where you are going to let the campus and community know about your NCAAW programs. It’s 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 you’ll 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.
- 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 week’s 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 won’t 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 committee’s 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 backward 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 won’t be forgotten. Assign one individual to monitor the calendar on a daily basis.
- Make sure your sponsors are well publicized in your materials. Be generous in sharing credit for the week’s 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.
- 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, it’s 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!
- 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 introducing speakers or events, 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 RA’s, fraternity pledge educators, and so on.
- Involve residence life. See if RA’s 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!
- Get permission to go into classrooms to make short presentations and write a little promotional statement on the corner of the chalkboards. Some professors might give you a little of their valuable class time as a way to support NCAAW if you have a meaningful short activity prepared for the class. If that’s not an option, write messages about events in the corner of the chalkboards. Students will read these while they are waiting for classes to begin. It helps if you put a little note that says, “Please don’t 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 CD’s 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 PSA’s in this guide are general awareness messages. You can follow this format for your own PSA’s 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 19th through the 25th, and they are looking for support from the ANY TOWN community! An exciting week’s worth of activities has been planned, culminating with a Health and Wellness Fair, Sunday afternoon, October 19th, on the Campus Commons. And you’re 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 19th, 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 19th on the college commons.
For more information, call 555-1234.
|Additionally, NCAAW presents a great opportunity for exposure in the community. Again, this will vary based upon your type of campus and sponsorship policies; however, many campuses include representatives from among the following sources:
2. Local Health Agencies
3. Treatment Centers/Private Hospitals
4. Beverage Distributors (soft drink, beer, bottled water, etc.)
7. Restaurants & Bars
8. Health Clubs
9. Other Campus Area Businesses
10. Highway Safety Office
SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information,
contact (Name), (Number)
CORRECTING COLLEGIATE DRINKING NORMS
(CITY),(STATE), October 1, 2003 - This month, at (SCHOOL), students will join with their peers on more than 1,000 other campuses across the country to celebrate National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW), October 19-25 - 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. The events that occur as part of this observance 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 that’s 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, NCAAW’s chairman and president of Fort Hays State University in Kansas. “Ultimately, this isn’t about alcohol, but attitudes. We don’t preach, we educate, and we empower students to take responsibility for their own decisions and environment.”
SAMPLE EDITORIAL LETTER
FROM A CAMPUS NEIGHBOR
October 1, 2003
This month, students at (SCHOOL) will join hundreds of others across North America in observance of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (October 19-25). It’s 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. It’s 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 week’s activities.
ENHANCING YOUR MEDIA PACKAGE
When you distribute your press releases, in addition to including a copy of the Five Recommendations, 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.
Don’t 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 there’s 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.