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Public relations isn’t just for Fortune 500 companies or high-profile celebrities. The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Thinking about outreach in these expansive terms goes beyond simple promotional activities, media relations, or marketing tactics, and the message should resonate with librarians. Building “mutually beneficial relationships” is at the very core of public services, and serving multiple publics should also be a familiar concept as libraries strive to reach a multitude of audiences.
This poster presentation explores key public relations best practices to enhance outreach with illustrative examples from a successful campaign at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Trying a new approach for VCU Libraries, the Director of Communication and Public Relations and public services librarians collaborated to create an integrated campaign focused on understanding VCU’s diverse audiences and how to reach them using a consistent message with appealing imagery and concise writing. These efforts culminated in a scalable and sustainable approach for all our publics--from the masses that walk into the building to academic departments--even individual students.
Peacemaker, Bettina; Robinson, Sue; and Scott, Marilyn, "Reach Out in a New Direction: Applying Public Relations Best Practices to Academic Outreach" (2014). VCU Libraries Faculty and Staff Presentations. Paper 22.