Reviewing Your Publicity
Every now and again it’s good to review what we have available to publicise our university ringing societies.
What is your PRODUCT?
There are a lot of societies students can join at university.
Unfortunately, bell ringing can sometimes carry a lot of stereotypes and we need to help prospective members see past this.
The Central Council website includes a list of a lot of stereotypes here: cccbr.org.uk/services/pr/advice/myths.
So, what makes your society stand out, make it better than all the rest & will encourage students to join in?
A university ringing society is so much more than the name suggests. It’s a place where you discover a ready-made network of friends & drinking buddies. We go on tours (day trips & weekends), take part in inter-university competitions around the country (SUA/NUA) and have social events such as pancake parties, Christmas practices/parties, ceilidhs, theatre trips and formal dinners. Most societies provide excellent training of new recruits and create opportunities for the experienced ringers among us to progress our ringing.
What are the qualities required to make a good ringer? Stress the point that you don’t need to be strong, sporty, musical, religious or good at maths… just as you are is great!
Once you have a good idea of what the product your advertising is then you’re ready to make your plan…
What’s your PLAN?
…or targets? Obviously our target is to bag a load of university students.
Identify where your advertising areas are, such as your student union, student newspapers, onsite/offsite pubs, university library, university chapels, friends (word-of-mouth), ringing grapevine (never underestimate!), Freshers’ Fairs, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), BellBoard footnotes etc.
Could you arrange to hire a mini-ring? Are your leaflets up-to-date? However…
- Don’t reinvent the Wheel! if you already have publicity material, is there any way you can re-use or update it in some way – maybe with new photos?
- Spread the Responsibility: don’t have just one person in charge. Publicity is a big job which can be quite daunting & time consuming. Dividing up the tasks will help bring in more ideas & utilise a greater pool of expertise. In other words – find the right person for each job. If you have a design student available then ask them to design the leaflet. If you have a great people person then suggest they would like to take part in leading a stall & talking to people about how great University Ringing is etc…
- Be Realistic you’re not going to convince students overnight that university ringing is THE place to be on a practice night! However, it would be wise to consider what happens after a publicity event. Considering the trainers you have available may be useful at this point. How would you manage a situation where you had 10 students suddenly turn up after your freshers’ fair wanting training??
You don’t want to become a victim of your own success…
- Is Your Publicity Easily Accessible? once you have your publicity material in place, such as flyers, leaflets & posters then can your members/supporters access it easily? One way to do this is to encourage your webmasters to create a “Publicity Page” on your university ringing website and upload the files. This will make your event organisation much easier if you everything readily accessible. To give you some ideas, here are the “Publicity Pages” for University Ringing & ULSCR:
If you have a plan you’re half way there! However, don’t just sit back once you’re done. Ensure you are continuously on the lookout for the next “hook” or event you can latch onto to help promote your university society. These could be national events that the university is probably joining in with anyway such as Red Nose Day, Children In Need or Comic Relief. You could ring a sponsored QP or peal with everyone wearing fancy dress, red noses or Pudsey Bear ears. If your tower is a little distance off campus then hiring a mini-ring could help make you more visible and students could pay to have-a-go.