People confuse public relations with its activities and parts. For example, many think that “Publicity”
is all that constitutes public relations. Sometimes people think that publicity is just pure propaganda; however, much information
in the media originates outside the media, often from public relations sources. These sources have little or no control over
if, when, and how it will be reported because they do not pay for the placement. Media decision makers use the information
because they think that it has news value and will be of interest to their audiences. They may change the original information
or how it is presented, usually without identifying the source. In the eye of readers, listeners or viewers, each medium carrying
the information is the source.
In this module, you will learn about:
1. What is publicity?
2. What are the basic principles of publicity?
3. The types of publicity
4. The strategic considerations
5. The method for attracting and maintaining attention
What is Publicity?
some confuse publicity with the broader concept of public relations. Public Relations evolved from publicity. Much of contemporary
practice is directed to generating publicity. In fact, some organizations use publicity release and special events as the
major strategies for achieving public relations objectives. There is more to the public relations function than publicity.
Publicity is information from an outside source that is use by the media because the information has news
value. It is uncontrolled method of placing messages in the media because the source does not pay the media for placement.
Print media probably received
a press release, feature story with photographs, or press kit including detailed background information. Broadcast media may
have received a broadcast-style news script, recorded interview, video news release (VNR), or press kit including materials
suitable for broadcast.
Publicity can be opposed both to privacy and
to secrecy. To get the publicity, the source must know what type of information will attract media attention, identify a newsworthy
lead, and write and package the information in a form acceptable to each medium. It helps to have a reputation among journalists
as a trustworthy news source.
v Examples of publicity include a story:
1. In the financial section about increased earnings for a major corporation.
2. A columnist’s item on the progress of a charity fund-raising campaign.
3. A feature story in the health section announcing the latest scientific
findings from a cancer research center.
4. An entertainment calendar listing of the local appearance of your favorite
5. Television news coverage of the new civic center dedication ceremony.
These stories no
doubt were originated by the corporation’s public relations department, charitable organization’s director of
donor relations and development, university medical center news bureau, music group’s publicist, and the mayor’s
director of the media relations(sometimes called “press secretary”).
method uses newsworthy events to attract media coverage. Groundbreaking ceremonies, ribbon cuttings, anniversary open houses,
reunions, dedications, telethons, marathons, ceremonial appointments, honorary degrees, contract and legislation signings,
organized protests, press conference, and other special events are designed primarily as “news”. Successful publicity
events have obvious news value, offer photo, video, or sound recording opportunities, and are arranged primarily for media
A publicist is a person whose job is to generate
and manage publicity for a product, public figure, especially a celebrity, or for a work such a book or movie. Publicists
usually work at large companies handling multiple clients.
What are the basic principles of publicity?
We introduce a few dimension of the concept of the publicity as it is used in work. As for many questions, the ideas
of “public rules” and “ public reason” have now become important in political psychology.
An activity or program is not worth much unless
every one knows about it!!! Here’s the low-down on how to publicize an event, and make people say “wow”
over a great publicity.
CREATIVITY. Put creativity into your publicity!
You can generate more enthusiasm and interest by using unique, fresh, and clever methods of promotion. Developing gimmicks or logos, utilizing pictures and unusual shapes are all ways in which publicity can
be made more attractive.
VARIETY. If no one types of publicity reaches the entire audience, you must use
more than one. More than one medium can also reinforce and intensify your message. Use a variety of techniques that work well together and complement each other.
QUANTITY. An advertisement must
be seen or heard several times before it has any impact. The more often it is
seen or heard, the greater the retention of your message. Thus, you can magnify
the impact of your publicity by increasing the frequency with which it is seen or heard.
VISIBILITY. Since the frequency with which publicity is seen or heard is crucial
to its effectiveness, it makes sense to place your publicity in locations that have high visibility. Areas with the greatest traffic patterns usually have the highest visibility. Good locations include: mailbox areas, cafeteria walls, bathrooms and bathroom stalls, under or on room
doors, bulletin boards, etc.
LEGIBILITY. How often an advertisement is seen will have little impact if what
is seen is not legible. The greater the legibility, the greater the chances that
an individual will read all of the information. Greater legibility is ensured
by using lower case lettering rather than uppercase. Capitals may be used for
emphasis; but to be effective, emphasis must be used sparingly.
UNDERSTANDABILITY. Even if your message is readable or can be heard well, it must be understandable to get
the message across. You can make your publicity more understandable and more
effective by incorporating the following points:
i. Be concise and clear.
ii. Avoid excess verbiage.
iii. Use terminology that the target audience would
ADVANCE NOTICE. Publicize well enough in advance.
If publicity goes out too late, it does not give people enough time to plan to attend an activity. For optimum exposure, publicity should be out at least one week before your activity is scheduled to take
place; however, you may want to issue additional publicity pieces as the event approaches.
An ideal publicized event might work like this:
10 days before
Teaser posters in the bathrooms and lounges.
7 days before
Ad in personal pages of newspaper.
5 days before
Posters and signs in residence halls.
Table tents in study lounges.
3 days before
Word of mouth campaign initiated.
1 day before
Banner near major entrance/exit way.
A round-up reminder a half-hour before.
The following section lists numerous means by which you can publicize events. Some of these ideas will be familiar to you, while others will hopefully provide you with some innovative
and more creative ways of effectively publicizing activities.
POSTERS: The essential purpose
of a poster is the rapid telling of a single message using a limited number of elements.
Posters are viewed more rapidly than are other methods of advertisement; hence, their message must be strong, simple,
smaller version of the poster is the flyer. They are usually made on 8 ½”
x 11 or 8 ½” x 14 paper. An advantage is that they can be reproduced easily
at minimal cost.
Table tents should be made of a thick or heavy grade of paper that will stand
firm. Table tents can be placed in visible locations including the lounge,
lobby, dining hall, and on desk tops.
TICKETS & You can
purchase printed tickets or make your own. Free tickets, like invitations,
COUPONS can be placed in mailboxes,
handed out or slipped under doors. The coupon
might entitle the person to a discount admission price or a free drink. Coupons can be included on flyers or on printed schedules, and this may prevent your advertisement from
falling victim to the trash can.
CALENDAR: A large calendar of activities
located in a central location is a particularly effective technique. Students
will have at least one consistently identifiable source for information on activities.
Also, smaller calendars of activities can be copied or mimeographed and put into mailboxes.
BALLOONS: You can write a message on the balloon
or put the message on a piece of paper inside the balloon. Balloons can be tied
with string to student’s door knobs, handed out at the entrance of the building, or handed out in dining hall lines.
TELEPHONE A quick way to get word out on activities
or meetings is to identify a number of
PYRAMID: people, five for
example, who would call five other people. The five people
would then be responsible for calling five other people, and so on, and so on.
BANNERS: A large extension
of the poster, these can be hung outside your residence hall or in your main lobby.
A bedsheet or old shower curtain will make a good size banner.
WORD OF And of course,
there is the time-honored word-of-mouth technique. This is
the oldest, yet most effective way to get the word out. Go door to door
and personally inform people of the activity; and remind them frequently, so that they don’t
Putting it All Together
After you have decided what types of publicity will best reach your
target audience, you will need to be sure that you have the necessary materials and/or equipment available to produce the
publicity piece. These materials are readily available and inexpensive.
Basic Materials might include:
1. Poster Board
2. Construction Paper
4. Colored Markers
5. Rub-On Letters
8. Water Color and
9. Glue Stick
10. Masking and Scotch Tape
12. Colored Chalk
People should know about your event or campaign even if they’re completely oblivious to everything else going
on at your school.
Keep your message short, understandable, and simple. People should get a good idea of what you’re
doing with just a brief description.
Don’t use jargon, slogans, or acronyms with out defining them. A complex issue can be explained
in ways that even a most apathetic can understand.
Progressive groups are often criticized for over-emphasizing the negative. In your publicity (as
well as your activism in general), balance critique with positive alternatives.
Much publicity on campuses is dull, dull, dull. Be creative! One group put messages about their
campaign in fortune cookies and handed them out. Colorful, visual, irreverent, interactive, 3-dimensional, eye-catching publicity
is more effective. But don’t let creativity obscure your message.
People should hear or read about your event at least seven times. No kidding, after the first few
times, people who might not otherwise come or participate will become interested.
You do publicity both for your event and for your group in general. There is nothing wrong or shameful
about promotion your group by clearly listing your group’s name, a contact person the time of your next meeting, how
people can get involved, etc.
Methods for Attracting and Maintaining Attention
What makes effective publicity?
Element of Surprise Selling Point
Illustrations are one of the most effective methods for increasing
the attention value to advertisement. A picture helps convey the message more
easily, more quickly, and more completely. Where do you get your picture ideas?
Headlines are the most important words of an advertisement because approximately 90% of the viewers
only read the headlines. The functions of a headline are the threefold: 1) to assist the illustration in seizing attention; 2) to arouse the reader’s
interest; and 3) to attract the target audience.
Color can be used in publicity to attract attention, to develop interest, to create desire, and
to stimulate action. The value of color lies in its contrast affect and its illustrative
value. This will link you to an illustration of a color wheel. Primary colors include red, blue, and yellow. All colors except black and white can be made by mixing these three colors.
Secondary colors include orange, green, and purple. These colors are made
by mixing two primary colors (i.e. red + yellow = orange). Never use colors that
are next to each other on the color wheel because lettering will not show up well (i.e. blue felt pen on purple paper). The most effective way to use colors is to use those which are located directly across
from one another on the color wheel or use colors that are found at the three points of the triangle. The triangle can be drawn anywhere on the color wheel.
Lettering is an integral part of any publicity. You
should only place lettering that is necessary to what needs to be said. Too much
type of any piece of publicity is ineffective. Letters should be positioned to
ensure optimum readability.
Types of lettering include:
§ Speedball pen and ink
§ Dry Transfer
§ Magic Markers held at difference angles
Borders serve to increase attention value, lend unity and compactness, separate items, and add a
decorative value. Your building supervisor has access to a “border book”
housed in the Department of Housing and Residence Life’s reference library.
6. Timing of Publicity
Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish each task in your publicity campaign; plan; acquire the
necessary materials; have things printed (if applicable); post materials; and leave time for a second wave of publicity. During the 2-5 days before the event, remind people via new posters, notes on bathroom
mirrors, or through some other creative means.
7. Some Publicity Do’s and Don’ts
Just a few reminders to help your publicity maintain its
*Use graphics in your posters. *Don’t
post flyers and
Good eye catchers make them
on windows, trees,
or walls around
*Make lettering large enough to *Don’t place publicity in
be seen on your posters
areas where it will
from a distance.
get lost among other
*Use odd shapes in your posters; *Don’t put together
be creative. a
*Make sure to make your messages *Don’t
to just one
short and sweet. kind
*Place announcements in high *Don’t forget to use all the
traffic areas! resources
*Identify your target audience.
*Avoid dittos and plain
black on white
Remember to remove all publicity you have put up the day after the event has taken place. This step in the publicity process is most frequently forgotten.
When posting your publicity, it helps to make a list of the locations where you post information such as the removal
of “old news” is made easier for you.
It was the intention of this publicity section to introduce you to some new, exciting, and creative
ways of publicizing hall and/or campus programs and events. By utilizing the
planning and follow-through techniques outlined in the manual, it is hoped that:
of effective publicity techniques has been
broadened and strengthened.
You will utilize several means
of publicizing rather than employing only one type.
iii. Your publicity will be read.
iv. Your activities will be better attended.
Submitted by: Erika