ADVERTISING FOR AN ANNIE S PROJECT

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1 ADVERTISING FOR AN ANNIE S PROJECT Advertising is a form of communication used to encourage or persuade an audience to continue or take some new action. Advertising is essential. It can be difficult to get participants to enroll in a new program. Advertising through many channels ensures someone will hear about Annie s Project and enroll or will tell a friend. As a facilitator you will advertise before the course to entice farm women to enroll and recognize sponsors. You will advertise after the course to thank presenters, sponsors, and participants. If you are in a county Extension office you are in a good position to advertise, because many of the media contacts are well established. Besides media contacts, county Extension staff usually have ongoing relationships with agricultural professionals, and they have an Extension network across an area. Keep copies of all items in the advertising campaign: news releases, brochures, radio scripts, newspaper advertisements, and radio commercials. If possible, enlist help to clip out news releases and newspaper advertisements along with the name of the publication and date. Hard copies or electronic copies will be compiled into a thank you packet for sponsors. Electronic copies should be kept by you or your state coordinator. These documents will be a good starting place for advertising your next Annie s Project. GROUNDWORK Well before an Annie s Project Course you will lay the groundwork. Don t reinvent the wheel. If you have done other programming or a colleague has, all the information you need may be at your fingertips. Work from what you already have, learn from your mistakes, or both. Building a contact list takes effort. Make that effort pay by recording it in a database or spreadsheet that allows you to sort the information in a variety of ways. That contact list can then be used repeatedly. Enter information from surrounding counties, including those in bordering states. Consider the radius from which you will draw participants and let that be your guide. Examples of people and organizations to include: County Extension offices names of Office Assistants and County Extension Directors Extension Council members for the site They like to be informed and are providing money for wages and travel. Farm Service Agency County Executive Directors and Farm Loan Officers call the offices and get the correct names; envelopes with no name get tossed. Agricultural loan officers call the banks and get the correct names; some banks do not make agricultural loans, or one bank will make agricultural loans for several counties. 1 of 7

2 Farm Bureau offices enter addresses for news releases Newspapers Radio stations You may already have a relationship with the area radio station and farm broadcaster. If not, check your state s Broadcasters Association and call or to get the name of the farm broadcaster reaching the areas from which you wish to draw. Advertising Before an Annie s Project FREE ADVERTISING News releases If you are not paying for advertising, you are competing with all the other organizations that want people to attend their events. Editors have to balance paid advertisement with print. If your news release does not fit one week, it may the next. If you are lucky, the editor will call you for an interview. Send the news releases via . Put the addresses in the Bcc line. It is annoying to receive an message with scads of addresses. Use a salutation like Dear Editors: ask them to promote your Annie s Project course, and insert the news release. Editors prefer to cut and paste from an message rather than an attachment. For your local papers, call and find out the deadline for submitting your news release to be published in the next edition. The editor will often run community events in a specific section each week. Editors for Farm Bureau magazines have much to fit into the county pages. Most of them have websites with pages for special events. Your cover page might say something like this: Please help us promote Annie s Project in your next available edition that would be before our MMDDYY registration deadline. Annie s Projects generally have participants from a 50 mile radius, and that s why I m sending you this news release. I am available at if you would like to discuss a way to localize the news release with a prior participant contact, note about a prior Annie s Project in your community or area, or would like more information about the program. County Farm Bureaus have supported Annie s Projects in XYZ region since YYYY. This year we were able to find full grant funding, so I haven t asked for financial support of the program. Your promotional support is appreciated. Thank you for helping Iowa State University Extension better serve the citizens of southwest Iowa. Generally, the first release to be sent out is longer and goes out six weeks to a month before the registration deadline. Send a second, shorter news release two weeks before the deadline. 2 of 7

3 Send Office Assistants and County Extension Directors the news releases. It is great if they also send the news releases to their local papers that are on your contact list. It increases your chances of getting something printed. If you are benefiting from a grant, your news release must include the sentence, Annie s Project is being funded by a grant from XYZ. Brochures Brochures are not free, however the cost of distributing them is minimal especially now that many people can receive them digitally. Remember that not everyone has the program the brochure was designed in. Save and send it out as a PDF. Mail brochures to Farm Service Agency County Executive Directors and farm loan officers and agricultural loan officers at lending institutions. Ask them to notify their clients about Annie s Project. Make sure to use your letterhead for the cover letter. A quote or success story from an Annie s Project alumna that relates to finance is particularly useful in the cover letter. Send an electronic version of the brochure to office assistants and County Extension Directors. Ask them to print brochures to post on their bulletin boards and mail them to women they know would be interested. Provide brochures to Extension Council members. Radio Stations News releases should also be sent to radio stations. They should be structured differently and be considerably shorter easily read in 30 seconds. They should be in all CAPS and double spaced. Here, like in an interview, it helps to put out the website address. The address will get them to you and it s easy for listeners to remember if they are on the road listening. Many county Extension staff have a standard interview time with an area radio personality. Take advantage of that opportunity and advertise your Annie s Project course. Send a script in advance. A script informs the broadcaster and keeps you on track. Also send the news release. An experienced broadcaster may pick up on something to work from in that release and will prompt you accordingly. Besides the dates, time, place, cost, and pre-registration deadline: Emphasize the audience Annie s Project is a six-week course designed especially for farm women to help them develop their management and decision-making skills for their farms. Mention the risk areas Annie s Project provides education in these risk areas: production, market, financial, legal, and human. Say why Annie s Project is special Annie s Project gives farm women the opportunity to learn from female agricultural professionals and network with other women in similar 3 of 7

4 situations. Sessions consist of brief presentations, discussions focused on the participants questions, and hands-on activities. Give an example of a presenter known by the radio audience and what topic she will be presenting. Miss Expert from TOWN, STATE, will be explaining estate planning tools. Explain what makes your Annie s Project different The steering committee wanted to spend more time on record keeping for tax purposes and requested a panel of women who had successful value-added agriculture businesses. In fact, one member suggested Jane Doe who has greenhouses. If the interview time is very short, cover the most basic points and direct them to where you should have your class listed. That provides a link to you. Any longer URL will not work on the radio. Simply say for more information visit anniesproject.org, that s anniesproject.org and click on upcoming classes. Never say the URL only one time. Always speak a little slower, enunciating it clearly. If you do not have a relationship with an area radio personality, call the radio station and inquire when you can do an interview, with whom, and for how long. If you are buying advertising with them, most advertising respresentatives will throw in an interview as part of the deal. Make sure to ask for it, if they don t offer. PAID ADVERTISING Newspapers Six weeks before the registration deadline, call your paper s advertising representative and say that you want to buy an advertisement for Annie s Project. Ask if the paper offers a non-profit rate. Ask if the paper offers specials. Often in rural areas, one paper is in charge of advertising for several newspapers and the free weekly publication. The advertising representative may offer you a cheaper rate if you advertise in all papers and the free weekly publication. State the dates you want the advertisement to run. o Pay attention to how many people receive the paper on a given day of the week. It can vary significantly. Ask for the papers deadlines. They may be different for the free weekly publication versus the newspapers. Confirm the total cost to make sure you understand what you will be charged. Make it easy for the advertising representative. Send the Annie s Project logo in black and white, and information like a brochure. If you have a grant or sponsors, list their names and any required information. o You also have the option to provide a photo-ready ad, if you prefer 4 of 7

5 Request proofs. If you want something changed, call and discuss the changes. You are paying for the advertisement, and you want it to reflect Annie s Project in the best way. If you can afford it, an advertisement should be no smaller than two columns by four inches. Column sizes vary according to the width of the newspaper. You must stay within budget. Consider that money spent on something that will be overlooked due to size is money wasted. Radio Six weeks before the registration deadline, call your radio station s advertising representative and say that you want to buy a commercial for Annie s Project. Sometime radio commercials closer to the deadline convey a sense of urgency. That does not mean that you wait until two weeks before the registration deadline to schedule it. Given extra lead time you have a better chance of good times for it to air still being available. You can schedule them to begin playing two weeks out. Ask if the radio station offers a non-profit rate. Radio stations charge different rates for different times of day. State the dates you want the commercial to air and how many times you want the commercial played per day. Always ask what time of day it will air. Confirm the total cost to make sure you understand what you will be charged. Make it easy for the advertising representative. Send information, like a brochure for the copy editor. If funded by a grant, make sure the commercial includes the statement, Annie s Project is being funded by a grant from XYZ. If you have other sponsors, list their names. Request to read the commercial before airing. If you want something changed, call and discuss the changes. You are paying for the commercial, and you want it to reflect Annie s Project in the best way. Keep in mind that an ad needs to be heard about five or more times to reach the hearer. Advertising After an Annie s Project Advertising after an Annie s Project course begins during the course. Advertising for your next course begins during the course as well. While your presenters are working with the participants, you have an opportunity to take many photographs. Photographers will tell you, the more the better. For photo-taking tips, visit With digital cameras you can snap a picture and then look at it. You will see things in the picture that 5 of 7

6 your eyes ignore. Suddenly plates of leftovers, crumpled napkins and empty beverage cans stick out like sore thumbs. Participants must be informed that you will be taking pictures. It is vital that you have their permission to take the pictures and to use the pictures in brochures, reports or news releases. Signed photo releases are one option. If you use the Printable Class Roster.xlsx provided in the Reporting section on the facilitator page, the participants can make a checkmark in the designated box next to their name giving permission to use photographs for Annie s Project promotions. Point it out to them. It will be especially important to remind them the week before their last meeting that you will be taking graduation photos. It gives them the option to dress for the picture. Let them know that you will send one to the newspapers. Quotes and comments from the participants are very helpful as well. Listen closely and jot them down. Sometimes you ll hear them during breaks or at the end of the day as they speak among each other. If you would like to quote someone specifically, get permission and then quote accurately. Some women will want to share success stories that are particularly useful for reports or when asking for funding. Review the many photos, choose the best, and crop. Clean up comments and check grammar so they are well written. This does not apply to direct quotes. After the course has ended, you are responsible for thanking presenters, sponsors, and participants. You want to build good will and credibility for future Annie s Project courses and Iowa State University Extension programs. How to Use Photos and Comments Insert photos in thank you letters to presenters and sponsors o Include presenters in photographs use their photograph in the thank you letter o For sponsors, show multiple ladies engaged in the activities Put together a slide show with comments for your Extension Council or supervisors Use as advertising in future brochures Incorporate into proposals A quote from a participant is very useful in any of the above venues. Include copies of items from your marketing campaign with a thank you letter for sponsors. As they review everything they will know that you were serious about promoting Annie s Project and using their money efficiently. For participants, review their addresses before sending the graduation photo and cutline, or photo caption. In preparation for producing the cutline it is vital that you can put a name with a face. If you have any concerns, make sure you jot the information down that same night. 6 of 7

7 In the cutline, write each participant s name and town and include Annie s Project was funded by a grant from XYZ (if applicable). If you have other sponsors, list their names. Send/ the graduation photo and cutline as a news release to all the same addresses you sent the original news release. Include a short note such as this: On (date) I asked you to print a news release to help us promote the Annie s Project scheduled for (date), to (date). The attached picture includes the women who participated. Thank you for helping us to help our clientele. Also send/ the graduation photo and cutline to newspapers in which you bought advertising and to Farm Bureau Spokesman offices with a similar note as above. Include county Extension offices that represent the participants counties with a note such as this: I have attached a graduation photo and cutline for the Annie s Project course that was held in Name of Town. We had participants from A, B, C, X, Y, and Z Counties. This information has been sent to the newspapers and Farm Bureau offices in the previously-mentioned counties. I thought you might want to share the information with your Extension Councils. Thank you. Annie s Facilitator. Remember that what you do right today will continue to serve you and the organization for years to come. 7 of 7

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