Introduction to Public Relations
Public Relations (PR): AMSA’s Lifeblood
Regardless of the size or shape of your chapter, public relations will be invaluable to your future success. PR must be basic, constant, repetitive, continual reminders so everyone will know what AMSA is and how we work for students.
The main objectives of a PR program are to:
- Increase awareness of AMSA among your classmates, campus population and surrounding community,
- Increase AMSA student participation,
- Inform students about AMSA events, activities and opportunities,
- Increase AMSA membership.
There are many ways to incorporate public relations into your chapter’s success, here are some ideas:
- Take pictures of your AMSA event, and then post a photo collage in a busy area. People love looking at pictures and will ask about the event.
- Borrow a letter, fact sheet, or position paper from the AMSA Web page and use it to help write an article for your school newspaper.
- Post AMSA posters throughout the student lounge or in busy hallways advertising events.
- Put reminders about upcoming activities in student boxes or on doors and in hallways.
- Present general information to students over a Web page, on e-mail, or through your school newspaper.
- Submit your events or photos to be printed in Focus, AMSA’s national newsletter.
- Write a press release or media alert announcing your chapters event-send it out and invite local media.
- Hold a press conference on campus before one of your events, such as a rally or candlelight vigil.
- Lobby your local Representatives on universal health care or another issue.
- Start a letter writing campaign.
- Sponsor a brown bag lunch discussion.
These are only a few ideas that you can do to gain exposure for your AMSA chapter. Why do this? Well, we have stories from chapters across the country that have attributed their doubled and tripled membership numbers to PR efforts.
For any questions or to start planning your PR strategy today, please contact:
AMSA’s Director of Public Relations
(703) 620-6600, ext. 207
Preparing for a Media Interview
- Choose one or two points to make during the interview.
Even if the interview changes course, continue to make your points. Know your message and stick to it!
- Use a simple message. Be repetitive.
If you say the same thing over and over again- the message is getting through to your audience.
- If appropriate, use sound bites.
Sound bites are easily quotable and it is almost guaranteed that they will get into the story.
- Most importantly, you don’t have to answer the question.
If the interviewer asks you a question that you are not familiar with, bridge the subject to focus on the points you want to make.
- Remember to speak to your audience.
Use easily understandable words in concise sentences.
- Back up your statements with documentation.
For example, “The New England Journal of Medicine reports . . .”
- Relax and enjoy the interview.
Tips for Getting Your Message Out
- Letters-to-the-Editor: Always a great way to get your message out. (See sample letter-to-the-editor attached.)
- Op-Eds: Opinion-Editorials provide a way to voice your viewpoint on a particular issue. These are usually longer and more in-depth than letters-to-the-editor.
- Set Up a Meeting with the Editorial Board of Your Local Newspaper: Editorial writers need something fresh to talk about. Make them listen to you. Or call a reporter that has covered the issue in the past. Invite them to your event.
- Call in to a Local Radio Talk Show: Talk radio reaches a very large market. Don’t hesitate to call in to a talk show and express your opinion.
- Distribute newsletters, flyers, banners or posters around campus and the community.
- Television needs a visual story-invite them to a speaker event, rally or other event on campus.
- Hold a press conference.