Publicity and Promotional Tips
Credit for funder: Please give credit to the StoryLines New England funder by using the following credit line in all of your publicity materials:
"StoryLines New England" is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, expanding our understanding of the world, and is administered by the American Library Association.
Encourage reporters or other media personnel to include funder credits in any coverage they provide. Also please use the National Endowment for the Humanities and ALA logo art in printed materials and on Web sites.
NOTE: Book stores in your area may be able to provide displays of StoryLines books and posters, distribute brochures and discussion guides, and help libraries promote the series in other ways. We encourage you to contact your local book stores about cooperative projects.
Before beginning your promotion for "StoryLines New England," review the books, literature discussion guides, brochure and other promotional materials in this packet related to the project. The annotated booklists provide a brief overview of each series book.
Reviewing this material will help you to start thinking about ways to promote the series and about groups of people in your community who will be especially interested in "StoryLines New England."
Involve library staff
Involving staff members at all levels in program planning pays off not only in new ideas but also in support and enthusiasm. One way to encourage staff support is to hold a mini-workshop or brainstorming session about "StoryLines."
Emphasize the potential for recruiting new users and building community support for the library
Communicate the goals for your program--the audiences you want to reach, what you want to accomplish
Assign staff with various interests/talents to work in small groups to carry out your goals.
Share your program plan with the library director, board, Friends and other library support groups. Invite their ideas and cooperation. Encourage their active participation.
Possible "StoryLines New England" promotional activities:
Work with local, college and university bookstores to encourage publicity for the "StoryLines" series and books.
Invite a local business (bank, bookstore supermarket or major employer) to underwrite the costs of a visit by one of the series authors or another notable. Begin early to explore the guest's availability and associated costs.
In addition to distribution at the library, distribute discussion guides through the mail to seniors, shut-ins or those in rural areas. Community gathering places can also be a distribution site.
Recruit talented local writers, storytellers and musicians for a special library program in conjunction with "StoryLines New England." Invite reporters and photographers.
Develop a local web page about the project or add information to your existing web page. Include local programs and series reading lists. (also see the "StoryLines New England" web page at http://storylines.ala.org)
Organize a book exhibit to promote the project. The exhibit could also include artifacts and other regional memorabilia.
Check with an area college or university about partnership opportunities for promotion and/or programming.
Ask local grocery stories to stuff fliers about the series in shopping bags and local restaurants to have fliers at the cash register.
Ask managers of local stores--bookstores, ice cream stores, cafes, dry cleaners, groceries, restaurants--to display posters in windows.
Supply your Friends and trustees with posters, fliers and brochures, and ask them for their help in getting them displayed around town. (The Friends might even provide money to underwrite promotional material development or programming costs.)
Define your target audience and potential partners
"StoryLines New England" is designed for a diverse audience. Identify specific groups of people who would be interested in reading, listening, and discussing regional literature.
Your news releases and public service announcements will reach a general audience of mixed ages and backgrounds. Use a personal letter to contact specific groups. Attach a copy of your publicity flier as a letter in informal situations.
A beginning list of groups likely to be interested in participating in "StoryLines New England" includes:
- local reading circles and book clubs
- local historical groups
- local book stores
- senior citizen organizations
minority/ethnic groups and organizations
school and university literature groups
high-school or junior high-school classes
Partner groups or organizations can assist the library programmer in reaching many segments of the community. Community organizations may also provide venues for supplemental programming and/or discussion sites, especially in rural areas.
Community partners can assist the library in the following areas:
- Serving actively in overall planning
- Providing additional contacts with key community leaders and groups
- Seeking support and collaboration of other groups
- Publicizing series and supplemental programming to organization members
- Assisting the library programmer in organizing and hosting supplemental PR programs
- Offering and seeking financial support for the project
- Assisting the library in establishing long-term support
Choosing the best way to communicate
Determine the best ways to communicate with those persons or groups identified as potential participants and partners. Some considerations:
- personal contact: word of mouth, public speaking, telephone
- written materials: program fliers, newspaper, magazine and newsletter announcements
- The Web (Internet)
- broadcast: interview programs, public service announcements
- advertising: prints ads, posters
- graphics: posters, bookmarks, book displays
Participating libraries are encouraged to plan publicity programs that will encourage local participation in "StoryLines New England" programs.
Adapt the sample "StoryLines" media alert, news release, and public service announcements for your local media. Mail to editors (news assignment, feature, book editors, and/or reporters covering the library beat) at newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV stations about three weeks before the programs begin. The information should include a listing of all scheduled programs. Major newspaper, radio and TV station and magazine editors should receive a complete press kit
Follow-up with a telephone call. Be brief: "I was just checking to see if you received my release and had any questions. Is this a good time to talk?" Offer possible local story ideas and photo opportunities.
Stress to reporters and other media personnel that it is important to include credit for "StoryLines" funders in any articles or other coverage they do. Provide them with the funder credit line.
Arrange TV, radio (including cable, college and university stations) or print interviews with the "StoryLines" library coordinator, library director or local scholar(s) or personalities interested in the series.
For print media, enclose artwork with your release. Also, send logos and copy to editors of local magazines, community, and in-house newsletters asking them to run "as space permits" as a public service to their readers.
Ask public service directors of radio and TV stations about airing public service messages. Find out if they prefer typed copy--to be read live on the air--or taped spots.
Press kits should include a listing of program dates, a complete listing of series books with annotations, news release, fact sheet, local library programs being held in conjunction with the series and promotional material.