Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross
The story of Beta Sigma Phi, locally and internationally, is good news. The Publicity Committee has the opportunity to present the story of Beta Sigma Phi to the news media and make the public aware of the ideals and purposes of the world´s largest Greek-letter organization for women.
Publicity work can be very rewarding. You have the privilege and responsibility of communicating the Beta Sigma Phi image in your community.
There are many keys to good public relations, but CREDIBILITY is the most important aspect of your work with the news media. Strive for ACCURACY in all your news releases and contacts with the press.
Credibility is the most important asset of the news media; therefore, good journalists always appreciate and cooperate with reliable sources. The consistent accuracy of your news releases can win for you, your chapter and your sorority the respect and cooperation of the news media.
The publicity chairman should introduce herself to appropriate members of the news staff(s) before she submits her first news release. She should make a list of area news media, complete with addresses, phone numbers and names of contacts. Ask what kind of news they can use, how and when it should be submitted. Follow their suggestions and always observe deadlines.
If members are employed by companies that publish newsletters, magazines, etc., keep an up-to-date list of the publications and editors. Business communicators are interested in the social, service and cultural activities of employees.
All news releases should be typed, starting a third of the way down the page and leaving ample margins. Type your chapter name and location and your name, address and phone number at the top of the page. Always double or triple-space news releases.
A paragraph about Beta Sigma Phi´s international scope, ideals and purposes is always appropriate. For example:
Keep your stories brief but make sure each story is complete by checking the traditional "who, what, where, when, why and how" of journalism. All names should be accompanied by addresses and identifying titles. Take an extra minute to get the correct spelling of names.
Be alert to picture possibilities. Words just can´t express the humor of a costume party, the beauty of an art exhibit, the excitement of a crowning moment. If the press cannot send a photographer to cover your event, maybe you can have an amateur photographer take pictures and submit them to the newspaper. They should be large black and white glossy prints. Subjects should be identified by their own and their husbands´ names, as different publications have different copy policies. (THE TORCH requires the members´ first names - not the husbands´. And THE TORCH requires the name and location of each member´s chapter for identification in stories and photos.)
Occasionally the news media present feature stories with in-depth coverage of the history, activities, ideals and purposes of organizations. For such a feature, the publicity committee should prepare material that includes the history and current activities of the local chapters, as well as the international scope and history of Beta Sigma Phi.
Chapter and councils frequently receive excellent publicity for service projects and socials. Cultural activities, awards programs such as First Lady of the Year are also good news items.
The publicity committee´s most important job is in the community. Reports in the news media are important but if they do not reflect the ideals and purposes of Beta Sigma Phi, they are not the most effective publicity. Getting the chapter mentioned is not the ultimate goal of the publicity committee. The ultimate goal is to tell the community what Beta Sigma Phi IS! By the end of the sorority year the chapter should have news clippings which focus on the three aspects of Beta Sigma Phi: social, cultural and service.