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Marketing and Communications

WPSU, WOSU, and WPT collaborated on the promotion and branding of University Place, working together to communicate our efforts to other university licensees and to the public broadcasting community at large through presentations at national meetings and through the University Licensee Association.  At the local level, each partner chose the most effective methods to market and promote University Place for its own audiences and took advantage of our universities' advancement and public information systems to further our reach for promotion. 

Communication with specialized audiences (for example, those interested in specific content areas related to university research activities) may be accomplished through closer working relationships with both university and community partners.  Examples included sending Web links to alumni, email to community members, students, faculty, staff and families who attend public events, and email lists and websites of local partners.  Connections to existing broadcast programming and promotion efforts also may provide a link to targeted audiences.  For example, WPSU has served as a pilot station for CPB's "My Source" Public Awareness Initiative and built upon that experience for its University Place promotion plans.

A station may choose the most effective methods to market and promote their programs to audiences and constituents.  Here are some tools aimed at both general and targeted audiences:

  • on-air interstitials (within main channel and multicast environments)
  • feature articles and program highlights within print program guides and other publications
  • press releases/feature article placement designed for general and specialized-audience publications
  • Web features and links to and from station and university Web sites
  • taking advantage of your universities' extensive outreach and public information networks
  • eMarketing to specific audiences of interest
  • cross-promotional opportunities with public radio and across multicast channels
  • program migration from one distribution platform to others providing other cross-promotional opportunities
  • adding project  to portfolio of fund-raising materials providing opportunities to connect with major donors, planned giving, corporate underwriting
  • adding project to speakers bureau, listening sessions, community screenings and other outreach events

Some of these methods offer easily quantifiable audience measures (Web hits, number of attendees at community events, circulation figures for print vehicles).  All of the methods feature the ability to track and count the number of impressions generated. 

Communications efforts may include reports to other university-licensees and to the public broadcasting community at large.  This may accomplished through presentations at annual meetings (National Outreach Scholarship Conference and NETA) and through the University Licensee Association.  Sharing information with colleagues across the country creates possibilities for future collaborations that enable other stations to contribute to and/or take from your content sharing portal. 

The 2009 analog cut-off date was also a good opportunity to market and promote University Place content as we emphasized the advantages and new features offered through digital broadcasting.  This effort was aimed at general audiences with special attention paid to current over-the-air viewers.  The launch of this massive national and localized promotional effort offered significant opportunities to coordinate public awareness, visibility and recognition.

It was our goal and intention to maximize awareness at every level to guarantee that our colleagues, constituents, viewers and decision-makers within our universities learn to value and support University Place in its early phases of development and for years to come. 

General Plan

The first step in planning for Marketing and Communication activities is to identify potential audiences for the service.  These may include:

Adults and young adults seeking university-related content

Returning adult university students and other older adults seeking university-related content

PreK-12 educators, students and parents

Digital TV early adopters

People comfortable accessing Web-based video content

Public television stakeholders (board members, community leaders, elected officials)

University stakeholders (faculty, administrators, alumni, elected officials, Board members)

Content providers (organizations providing venues for lectures and other presentations)

Other University-based PTV stations

Next identify tools designed to reach different potential audiences:

Broadcast interstitials on multi-cast service

Broadcast interstitials (proof of performance spots) on primary station

Public demonstrations/lectures/new technology presentations including state conferences aimed at educators and regional or national conferences aimed at public broadcasters

Pre K-12 information networks

Web sites (your own station sites plus other affiliated sites, such as university sites).

Targeted Emails (for example, station email lists)

Print publications/placement of feature articles in program guides - your own publications (program guides, annual reports, major donor newsletters, etc.), university publications, local newspapers

For University Place, tools and suggestions available at, CPB's Public Awareness Initiative were incorporated into the project, including:

  • Use of My Source logos and interstitials
  • Testimonials gathered for use within interstitials and in public presentations

We integrated our Marketing and Communication Plan with PAI. This integration included:

  1. The Project content resources including each Grantee's websites;
  2. Communication with educational partners;
  3. Project Web Site; and
  4. Participation in national conferences in 2009 and 2010.

Each station shaped Marketing and Communication to highlight its own area of special emphasis:

WPT:  Board and partner cultivation via presentations, demos, etc.

WPSU: PreK-12 audiences - teachers, students - and Engagement audiences via events, teacher trainings, on-air promos, online, etc.

WOSU:  University and Community partner cultivation and enhancement via presentations, demos, etc

University Place Marketing and Communications:

Examples of My Source and other video promotion spots created for University Place.

Examples of press releases and news stories related to University Place.

Examples of promotional materials created for University Place.