Getting your event into the news

Are you holding a public workshop, conference, or speakers’ series? Do you need volunteers for a research study?

The community calendar listings in newspapers and on radio and TV are one of the most effective ways to generate publicity about your event or study and get people to participate.

Community calendar listings are published or broadcast on a regular basis (usually daily or weekly), to let the public know about events of general interest taking place in their region. The listings are normally free of charge but, because of this, there are no guarantees that your event will get picked up.

Don’t forget to let the UBC community know about your event, too — you can post the information on UBCevents.

Tips on Ensuring Your Announcement is Listed

Give it a catchy headline. A headline with a bit of a hook (“UBC Researcher Looking for Volunteer Cancer Fighters”) can get more attention than a straight headline (“UBC Researcher Seeks Volunteers”).

Always date your announcement. Community calendar editors need to know how “hot” the information is.

Keep it short. Your announcement should be no more than one page in length.

Include the 5Ws. What is the event? Why is it being held? When is it taking place? Where is it being held? Who is organizing it?

Include a contact name, telephone number and e-mail on your event announcement. If you have additional information related to your event or study on a Web site, include the Web address.

Send the announcement on letterhead that clearly identifies your unit or department, and include the UBC logo. UBC has a high profile in the community, and local media organizations are more likely to take notice of news associated with the university.

Don’t leave your announcement until the last minute. Most community calendars have guidelines on how far in advance to send in listings. These can range from one to six weeks. As a general rule, you want to give the public at least one week’s notice for events such as lectures, forums, discussion panels, auctions, sales or performances. When looking for research study participants, you should plan to send your listing one to two months in advance of when you plan to begin your study.

Make a follow-up calls to the community calendars to confirm your announcement was received. Check to ensure the announcement did not get lost in cyberspace or is stuck in fax limbo.

Send a copy of your announcement to the UBC Public Affairs Office before distributing it. Knowing about your event or study will help us to answer calls we receive from the public on the UBC Info Line (604.UBC.INFO).

UBC Public Affairs
tel: 604.822.3131
fax: 604.822.2684
e-mail: public.affairs@ubc.ca

Contact UBC Public Affairs if you think your event or study could potentially generate controversy. It is crucial that you contact UBC Public Affairs if you think your event or study could be controversial — communications staff members have extensive experience in print and broadcast media and deal with news organizations regularly. They can help you determine the right strategy for whether and when to go ahead with publicizing your event or study.