Sunday, October 23, 2011

Media Communications

We've been having some success in our media communications recently, so I wanted to share what we're doing.

These points apply particularly to our position as a public library and as a county department, but I hope that some of these points could be generalized.

First, we work as a group in advance to decide which events and new developments will be highlighted. We discuss this at our weekly meeting - what's going on that is newsworthy, trend-related, or strategically important. We make a small list of 3 or 4 items to focus on.

Next, we have designated a single point of contact in our office. One co-worker monitors our visibility in the news and on the web, sends information to the media, and works with the county's Public Affairs department. Which brings me to our next point...

We are working more closely than ever with the Public Affairs department. Our point-of-contact speaks with a representative from Public Affairs every week; they discuss our list of highlighted items and how best to publicize them. This connection to the knowledge and experience of the Public Affairs dept. has been invaluable. For example, sometimes they send press releases for us, and other times they use memorandums to reporters. What's the difference? We don't know, and now we don't have to - we're taking advantage of their experience to lessen our workload. Now not everyone has a Public Affairs department to work with, but a broader point applies - use the tools and experience you have available.

Our results? News stories (3 or 4 in the past month?), skyrocketing interest in programs and events, and a smoother workflow within the office, since we're not jockeying to position our own events at the forefront of the publicity efforts.

In brief: focus your efforts, have a single point-of-contact, and use the tools and shortcuts available.

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