Monday, May 21, 2007

How to write a blog post - publicity version

We get publicity information from many SigEp chapters here at S&P Central, and we try to post as much as is possible and reasonable. However, we don't have a staff that can create a timely and interesting post from a skeletal email such as "The SigEps at Farmer State really kicked ass in the hay bailing contest last month! Can you put it on the blog, Bro.?"

The S&P folks are not journalism majors (most of them, anyway) and do not claim to know all the tricks of good writing, but these are our unprofessional suggestions. If you want to get posted, here are a few guidelines to help you and us get your story on the blog.
  • How Generally interesting is it? Consider if you were reading the blog and saw the story. Would you care? Campus-wide honors for a chapter or a brother Chapter of the year, of the student body) are good info for other chapters. It lets them compare their achievements and may inspire them to step up. Good GPA numbers are interesting if there is other context, but not so much by themselves.
  • What are the details? One or two lines about winning "Skit-Night" is not enough. What was the skit about? Who else was competing? Did someone fall off the stage and carry on regardless?
  • Is there a link? A story in the campus paper, town paper, or TV websites gives us a way to piggyback onto someone who actually CAN write. They often have pictures we can steal use too (we do try to credit all sources). Multiple links are even better. Pictures and Video are great.
  • Local angles. A big story - like VA Tech - is going to have lots of coverage. If there is a SigEp side to it that has not been heard we will want to get it out. In the case of VA Tech, the SigEp chapter was trying to make sure all were accounted for. They were, but it took several hours to be sure. We sent updates as we had them.
  • Timing - If an event is coming up, let us know in advance. Friday night is not the time to send a release for the bake sale on Saturday. Give it at least a week - longer if it is a big deal or there are celebrities involved. If you send after the fact, the sooner the better.
A good way to make chapter information available is to have a good press release. This one from Dartmouth details the election of a Sig Ep brother as Student Body President and is very well done. We would have used it but we already covered that story. It was so well done, however, we want to keep it as an example - thus it inspired this post.

Thanks everyone. Keep those cards and letters coming!