Publicizing Your Project
Award recipients are instructed to report grant products (articles, books, catalogs, databases, reports, Web resources) and media coverage via the “Products and Prizes” tab in eGMS, NEH’s online grant management system located at https://securegrants.neh.gov/eGMS/.
We want to assist you and your institution in sharing your project with humanities, museum, library, archive, and academic communities, as well as the general public, so we ask that you keep us informed as your grant project moves forward. If there is something about your project that is particularly noteworthy (a major event, award, release, opening, exhibit, milestone, or endorsement, for instance), please let your program officer know via eGMS, e-mail or phone. We are eager to help you get the word out and share the results of your award. We will regularly be posting feature stories and upcoming events on our website and would like to work with you to identify projects or news items that we could post.
We have several outlets to help you communicate about your awards:
- Funded Projects Query Form --When you create a product (such as a publication Web site, blog post, report, exhibit, database, finding aid, resource, etc.), or your project receives media coverage, submit the web link via the “Products and Prizes” tab in eGMS, so that it is shared with the public via our searchable online database accessed with the Funded Projects Query Form.
- Featured Projects – When you reach a milestone or complete a significant phase of the project, contact your program officer to discuss having your project featured on the division's Webpage. On the NEH Website, click Divisions and Offices to access each funding division's web page. Click "Featured Projects” as well as “Grant News.” to see currently featured projects that may also be highlighted on the NEH home page. These stories are developed through contact between the grantee and the program officer.
Media Tips and Suggestions
- Prepare a press release. The basic method of communicating with all media is through a press release. It provides the who, what, when, and where of your news. Often it is picked up by a newspaper and run in its entirety. In other cases it introduces a reporter to your news and provides a contact for getting more information.
- You can attract additional attention by tying the announcement of your award to an event or to a current news issue. If you can link your award announcement with other activities or events (local, regional, or national), you increase the chance of capturing media attention.
- Develop a distribution list. To reach the broadest audience, your list should include online media and blog posts, local newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and news and wire services. Are there reporters who regularly cover your activities? Address the release to the features editor or education editor at the newspapers and to the assignment editor at television and radio stations. If you do not know who these editors are, make a few phone calls to the news desks to identify the right people (it might be more than one) to receive your release. This is also an opportunity to determine how each outlet would like to receive its news, whether by email, fax, or mail.
- You can also use your press release to reach more targeted audiences. Consider including professional society newsletters, any local community magazines, community calendar/notices listings, free community "advertisers," the tourism board, the convention center, the chamber of commerce, and your state humanities council. Find your state’s council here, http://www.neh.gov/about/state-humanities-councils.
- Issue your release. E-mail or fax the release to daily papers, television and radio stations, weekly papers, and magazines.
- "Pitch" the story. Follow up by calling the media contact to confirm his or her receipt and to "pitch" your story. Present the facts quickly, in 30 seconds to a minute (or the length of an elevator ride), and emphasize why this would interest his or her readers or viewers. If there is interest, you might offer to set up an interview with the director or a behind-the-scenes tour of your facility.
- Remember timing. There are a variety of factors that determine whether your story will receive coverage. The time of day and day of week should be considered when you issue a release or call a reporter. The best time to reach a television news desk is in the morning, not in the late afternoon when they are preparing for their newscasts. Also, earlier in the week is better than late on a Friday afternoon. Also think about competing news stories. If you issue a release on the same day as a tragic fire or accident, your story could get lost in the shuffle. If there is a larger news event, hold your release for a quieter news day.
- Don’t limit yourself to one press release. Use a press release to announce your award, the completion of your project, and any milestones or breakthroughs in-between.
- You should also find ways to share your success with your visitors, users, and academic or professional community, as well as your staff and board. For instance, you might send a letter of congratulations to your board, members, friends, and all in the community who support your institution. Write a feature story about this award for your newsletter, annual report, or your Web site. Be sure to add a link back to our Web site for users to learn more about the award (www.neh.gov).