Communications and Marketing
Gaining Media Coverage
College Relations and Advancement coordinates the official "voice of Edmonds Community College" and is responsible for managing all media contacts, including releasing news items about Edmonds Community College to the media. We also draft guest editorials and 'pitch' stories to the media about events, programs, services, students and faculty. We maintain a database of media contacts and monitor news about the college. When a good article runs, we help make sure it's seen.
It is very important for administrators, staff and faculty to involve the College Relations personnel in all college-related communications with representatives of the news media, both to receive assistance in preparing for interviews and to ensure accuracy and consistency in public statements.
If it’s late in the day or the reporter’s deadline is within three hours, please find Susan Kostick, vice president college relations and advancement, Sharron Sellers, director of communications and marketing or Michele Graves, media specialist, even if you have to interrupt a meeting or other conversation.
How you can help! Please…
- Give us a head's up when a reporter contacts you directly. We'll add the reporter's name to our list and watch for the story.
- Share your contacts: listservs, email newsletters, blogs, Web sites, journals and specialty publications that are widely read in your area.
- Let us know if you've been asked to appear on radio or tv or will be giving a lecture, reading or performance. We'll help get the word out!
- Email or call with your news. We'd rather have too much than too little information and don't want to miss out on opportunities.
- Ask students to tell us about themselves here - www.edcc.edu/yourstory
Get news coverage for your program!
- Let us know 8-10 weeks in advance about your event or activity. The sooner we know, the more coverage we can get in more places and the more time we can devote to talking it up.
- Give us the details. Before we can promote your event/story we need the set-in-stone time, date and place of your event and a brief description.
- Photos are key. Send us publicity photos as jpgs or TIFF files or let us know about photo opportunities.
- People are essential. The media will want to talk to students, community members or business leaders, too. Please help us get the phone numbers of key people ready to tell the story, provide a quote.
What's news? Think…
New: a new program, class or activity.
Big: lots of people, money or impact.
Unusual: the oldest, youngest, first, last, only one of its kind
People: a personal, unique, emotional story. Ask students to tell us their stories here: www.edcc.edu/yourstory
Buzz: what people are talking about, the first thing you tell your friends and family about your day at the college
Want more ink? Ask us for help to…
- Share your expertise on blogs, wikipedia, listservs and email newsletters.
- Write a guest editorial. Get the facts and your point of view in print.
- Create word of mouth. Plan an activity or event or try something new that will get others talking about your program.
- Look for opportunities. Contribute to a newspaper's regular feature such as "My First Job" or "My Dream Job" or participate in an existing newsworthy event.
Frequently asked questions
Will you write an article about…? Probably not, because the college doesn't have a place to publish it! We only have our Communities newsletter that comes out twice a year, our Web site and email newsletters. What we usually write are pithy press releases meant to entice others to write and print an article - and that's the challenge!
Where do press releases go? As many places as possible that are likely to use them! This includes print media - yes, definitely, The Seattle Times and The Seattle-PI - radio and television as well as electronic media. We have a great list, but please share your contacts especially for niche publications, news groups and email newsletters particular to your area of interest.
Did my press release go out? Look for it here. Sign up for an RSS feed to deliver the latest news from the college to your desktop.
Will you misquote me? No. We'll give you a chance to proof the information you provide for press releases or our newsletter. Accuracy is our priority. But if you are talking to a reporter from outside the college…please read the tips below.
When a Reporter Calls
- The media may contact you directly - to follow up on press release or to pursue an original story. If the subject matter is negative or controversial, or if for any reason, you feel uncomfortable responding, please contact us for assistance.
- When a reporter contacts you, be courteous and cooperative. Return all calls - even if you don't think you have anything to contribute to the story. And because the media operate on tight deadlines, get back to the reporter as soon as possible.
- Write down the reporter's name and print/broadcast organization before you start the interview.
- Gain a clear understanding of the story's subject matter and angle. If it is in your area of expertise, feel free to respond. If the topic is outside your area of expertise, politely decline and refer to someone else.
- If you need time to collect your thoughts or retrieve supporting information, set an agreed-upon time to call back (the sooner the better). Example: "I need to gather some information before the interview. I should have it assembled in 15 minutes. Will it work for you if I call you back at 10:30?" Then, stick to your promise.
- Use extra time to your advantage. Develop two or three key messages you would like to get across during the interview. Jot down likely questions and think of ways to address them while working in those key messages. Please call us for assistance in responding to media questions.
- If a television reporter is coming to interview you on campus, please contact us so we can help draft messages and arrange the best possible interview location.
- Keep your messages clear and concise. Use short and easily understood words. You only have a brief window of opportunity to make an impression (a 10-20 second sound bite in a television/radio report, and two or three sentences in each newspaper quote).
- Repeat your key messages (in different ways) at each available opportunity. And mention Edmonds Community College or Edmonds in all your responses.
- Encourage the reporter to call you back for clarification or follow-up questions.