Pitching college newspapers, 'green' internal comms, more

Is it worth pitching my news to college newspapers during the summer months?

Is it worth pitching my news to college newspapers during the summer months?

"Absolutely," says Lisa Bannerot of Collegiate Presswire. Summer actually is a great time to reach college editors. In fact, she adds, the school year often doesn't end with May graduation - it continues into the summer term.

During the bona fide summer months (mid-June through mid-August), more than 125 campus papers publish at least weekly, Bannerot says. While they may have less campus news to cover than usual, this quieter time can provide a great window of opportunity to get your story in front of editors.

"Our clients send press releases out to the college media on a special summer circuit," notes Bannerot. "Not only is there less competition with other news, but editors are looking for nationally focused news to fill out their issues during this season - another plus from a PR perspective."

Once August rolls around, though, the summer term ends and the papers are back in full swing for back-to-school season. "There never really is much of a summer lull in college newsrooms these days," she explains, "so pitch away."
Internal comms

Is green messaging a fad, or is it important enough to warrant being a key part of a company's internal communications program?

"A company may reach some environmental goals without active employee involvement," says Porter Novelli's Peter Eschbach, "but there is a much better chance of realizing those goals if its work force is aware of them, buys into them, and is actively supporting them."

Proactively and consistently communicating environmental efforts to employees can have several business benefits, he adds, ranging from shorter cycle times for permit approvals to better community relationships. Moreover, communicating environmental issues and efforts on a regular basis helps evolve the organizational culture.

Although environmental management metrics are important and often required, Eschbach continues, it gradually becomes about more than just the numbers. He warns that management's environmental commitment must go beyond simple compliance before a lot of green messaging occurs.

"Employees are quick to spot when they are being 'greenwashed,'" Eschbach points out, "which will make it difficult for the company to maintain a trusting, supportive relationship with its work force."


Are HTML news releases still an effective comms tool?

The simple answer is maybe, says Gary Glenn, an independent communications consultant. Technology has come a long way, and now it's time to take a few steps back. The technology designed to protect privacy and block those annoying spam e-mails has made it extremely difficult to use HTML type news releases effectively.

"Even if you have the most up-to-date database, the distribution methods are just too unreliable to use exclusively," notes Glenn. "You have to accept that fact that there is no single method that works best."

Glenn suggests considering multiple solutions such as online, e-mail, and wire and having them work together. One way is to tailor the media distribution process to the specific objectives of the campaign and your overall communication goals in general. "This means more work for each project, but if you want your releases to be effective and get those phone calls, it's worth taking a few extra steps," he advises.

Send your questions to toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Irene Chang if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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