University Relations Communication Guidelines
Do you have a story to tell or a news item to share? The communication professionals in University Relations can help you leverage UNCG’s strategic messaging and navigate communication channels to best position your news with audiences.
While the rapidly evolving world of communication presents many challenges and opportunities, University Relations responds by identifying new ways to effectively promote UNCG. Staff members are knowledgeable about the media and successful communication plans. Our overarching objective is to be strategic when selecting and placing stories so that:
- Stories and news items reach and resonate with audiences;
- Key university messages are reinforced; and
- Communication from across the campus works together to serve the mutual goal of building the university’s profile and showcasing the university’s impact for students, communities and organizations.
Helpful considerations as you prepare your story or news item
University Relations will help you place your story or news in a way that maximizes internal and external communication channels, gives you excellent exposure and elevates UNCG. In order to best assist you, we offer the following guidelines and criteria that we consider with stories we produce and place. Working together, we can determine the most effective communication channel to reach your desired audience and move our university forward.
Be ever mindful of university priorities. Stories coming from any UNCG source should in some way reinforce one or more of our university priorities from the UNCG Strategic Plan. Based both on areas of strength and desired growth, these priorities should be solidified within audiences’ minds and clearly associated with the UNCG experience. Storytelling that emphasizes these priorities plays an important part in accomplishing this goal.
- Student success – enhancing the student experience; attracting and retaining bright students regardless of their financial circumstances; enhancing UNCG’s reputation as a challenging academic environment
- Interdisciplinary research – collaboration among faculty in diverse disciplines; bench research aimed at improving the quality of life; community-engaged projects and scholarship that bring together members of UNCG and the greater community
- Engagement – reaching, engaging and supporting students; community-engaged scholarship; service learning, internships and hands-on projects in partnership with the campus or the greater community
- Globalization – integration of international and intercultural perspectives into the curriculum; study abroad; faculty research with researchers from around the globe
Timing is everything. Depending upon the focus of your story and your time frame, some communication channels will be more effective than others for reaching your audience. Timing is crucial in the news business; so is planning. To ensure the best coverage, let us know what’s going on and let us know several weeks or months in advance. For most stories, we will do our best to formulate an effective communication strategy by determining the appropriate community channels.
Consider national trends and conversations. At times, University Relations may give special consideration to high-profile news by placing it in a more prominent position that adds our voice to a national conversation or trend. If your news can be linked to a national conversation or trend that might provide significant exposure for UNCG, elevate this connection.
Strive to elicit a response. As a complex and diverse college campus with many stories to share, we must do more than inform; we must elicit a response. Some of the most read and most frequently shared stories are those that evoke emotion. For University Relations to best assist you, consider how newsworthy your story is based on how likely it is to solicit a response from your audience. The UNCG Brand Guide and a few additional tips from Fairtest will help you determine how to make a story newsworthy.
Cross promote your story. To increase the chances of your story being read, University Relations encourages cross promotion. Add the story link from the original source to your own channels such as a departmental web site, a unit-based e-newsletter or your social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. We highly recommend using the original link versus re-writing the story to build the best traffic and enhance search engine optimization (i.e. how frequently a site appears in a search.)
Remember, there is a place for nearly every news and human interest story on our campus. We will work with you to determine the best potential placement. As communication professionals, we work diligently to strike a balance in the many submissions we receive and place on a daily basis while maintaining our charge to communicate strategically on behalf of UNCG.
For further assistance: If you are still unsure what information is needed to frame your story or news effectively, you may find it helpful to use our News & Story “Pitch” Form.