Publicity is a critical aspect of program planning. Consider the following strategies.
- Begin by consulting the checklist on promoting programs prepared by the ALA Conference services Office. See Attachment 7A and Attachment 7B. The tip sheet suggests the following avenues: the IS Newsletter, the preliminary program, the conference program book, and Cognotes.
- When preparing any of the publicity, keep in mind that you are trying to market a product. Keep it short, simple, and use the active voice. Indicate the intended audience, the significance of the topic, the speakers (at least the keynote speaker) and credentials, format, date, place, cost, and whether advance registration is required.
- Well-designed flyers are an inexpensive and effective means of publicity. When planning a program, a preliminary flyer should be prepared and distributed at the Midwinter Meeting preceding the preconference. Copies of this flyer should be distributed at the IS Dinner and to all IS chairs at the first Advisory Council meeting. The flyer can also be distributed to chairs of relevant LIRT committees and other appropriate units ask them to announce it at their meetings.
- Try to announce the preconference or conference program in relevant journals and newsletters. Some good choices in addition to the IS Newsletter include College & Research Libraries News, American Libraries, Library Journal, and the newsletters for LOEX and LIRT. Committees should prepare press releases at the Midwinter Meeting proceeding the event. It is a good idea to assign individual committee members the responsibility for placing the announcement in a particular journal. Stress the importance of checking with individual editors to ensure that deadlines are not missed and to alert editors to the submission of the committee's press release.
- Electronic discussion lists and web sites (e.g. the ALA web site) are another inexpensive and effective publicity mechanism. Again, assign the responsibility of specific postings to individual committee members. It is a good idea to post this immediately following the Midwinter Meeting and at a later time (i.e. before the registration deadline). Here are some examples of relevant lists for posting announcements:
COLLIB-L (College Libraries Section List)
GOVDOC-L (Discussion of Government Documents Issues)
LIBADMIN (Library Administration and Management Discussion List)
- The preconference brochure is an important source of publicity. The copy for this needs to be prepared by preconference organizers and submitted to ACRL immediately following the Midwinter Meeting preceding the preconference. See Attachment 7C for an illustration of draft text for the ACRL 1997 Preconference brochure. See also the ACRL policy information on preconference publicity.
- Targeted publicity can be particularly effective in planning a preconference, especially if attendees can earn continuing education credit. The 1994 IS Preconference organizers designed a special flyer to attract the attention of medical librarians who might be interested in earning Medical Library Association continuing education credit. This flyer was mailed to all institutional members of the Medical Library Association and all personal members living in Florida (the state where the preconference was held) and states contiguous to Florida. The cost was absorbed by the institution of one of the committee members and therefore was not part of the estimated costs in the preconference budget.