Unless it is a breaking news story, most editors ask for time-sensitive story ideas and press releases well in advance. Ideally, information should be sent to the Office of Marketing and Communications a month to three weeks ahead of time. This allows time to formulate your story, and to decide what other specifics should be highlighted. Press releases may also require photos, which are often a plus to attracting attention to your story. Once complete, time-sensitive releases should then be sent to the media at least 10 days in advance through the Office of Marketing and Communications.
Advance planning is also essential for producing flyers, brochures and programs related to your publicity efforts. The complexity and purpose of the piece will impact the timeline for production. For example, a direct mail piece should begin production four months prior to its planned mailing. Please allow ample time for production of these pieces.
Part of planning your publicity is gathering your information. When you meet with the Office of Marketing and Communications, you will want to have the details of what you hope to publicize well organized. Start by asking yourself the following questions, tailoring them to your specific news:
For example, if you have invited a guest speaker to make a presentation on the Lewis campus, it would be important to know who the speaker will be (name, title, and brief biographical information); the title of the presentation including a short description of the talk; the date, time and location of the event; how the talk might relate to current local, national or world issues; whether the presentation is open to the public; whether admission is free or at a cost; and whether the event is an annual occurrence or part of a larger series of events (for instance, Arts & Ideas; 75th Anniversary Celebration of Lewis; or Touring Performing Arts Series). A photo of the speaker is also a nice addition to any publicity effort.
The more information you can provide to the Office of Marketing and Communications at the start of the publicity process, the more efficient your promotional campaign.
Remember, the Office of Marketing and Communications is here to help, and can offer you ongoing guidance as you plan for your publicity. Keep in mind that it is never too early to let the Director know that you will be looking for assistance with promotion. And again, one month to three weeks notice is essential to the process.