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Storytelling

Stillman College stories must accurately reflect the personality of campus, from its academic mission to the uniqueness of its community. These efforts must align with our brand standards to effectively control our image and perception.

Storytelling is a broad spectrum of mediums, channels and strategies, which are leveraged differently for each story. Some stories are better suited for an internal audience; others may have news media potential. Some stories can be told as long-form features or video shorts, or even in display or social media advertising.

The goal of the Office of Communications is to find these stories, determine how best to tell them, and deliver engaging content. Additionally, we aim to educate and empower the campus community to help Stillman unearth and tell its stories.

Storytelling formats

Feature stories

Some stories have human interest angles that are best told through features. In each of these stories, we must ask ourselves, “what does Stillman gain”? Of course, sharing news of our achievements, outcomes and service benefits the College, but how do we convey the benefit for us? For instance, if a student club is engaged in community service, there are two clear angles: the beneficiaries and the benefactors of that service. The community residents are the beneficiaries of the services provided by Stillman students, but, for our storytelling purposes, Stillman students are also beneficiaries. For instance, how does the service inspire or motivate Stillman students? Is there an experiential learning component that supplements classroom instruction? Is there a personal connection one of the students has to the service project? Our feature storytelling must always think beyond the surface to tell a “Stillman story,” rather than simply telling “a story.”

Feature story formats

News features

Sometimes, a news story just doesn’t meet the requirements for a news release and media push. BUT, we can tell that story in-house through a news feature, which are often used for news stories that are evergreen in nature and possess human-interest angles that could be explored.

For instance: we take a hard news topic like a $1 million donation to the College and tell that story through the impact of the gift. The news feature would include the requisite information about the benefactor, his/her ties to the College, reaction from the President, etc. But if that donation is earmarked for something specific, like biology lab equipment, an effective news feature would humanize that angle by incorporating students and faculty (beneficiaries) as the primary sources. Not only does this create a story with more depth and detail, but it also creates good stewardship with our alumni and donors.

Profiles

These stories typically focus on one person and what makes them unique. Consideration for profile stories should often consider: what separates this student from others on campus? Getting good grades deserves praise, but it doesn’t warrant a feature story. Getting good grades while also running a non-profit full-time is interesting and could warrant a feature. Getting good grades while overcoming childhood trauma and growing up in foster care makes for an interesting story.

Timely features

Event coverage, either on campus or off, is categorized as “timely features.” These stories are often written, filmed, photographed, and published quickly, often the same day or night as the event. As a result, these stories are often shorter than profiles or news features. However, events typically allow for more flexibility with multimedia, like photo galleries and video highlights.

Though most content for timely feature news occurs during an event, coverage requires planning. Writers, photographers, videographers, and the Office for Brand Identity need ample lead-time to scout the location of the event and understand how the event will unfold. We’ll also need to collect as much background information about speakers, honorees, and guests.

Feature stories exist in every corner of campus. Help us tell those stories by submitting a story idea (link to story submission form).

Often referred to as a “press release,” these stories are purpose-written for media coverage. They’re often no more than 500 words and are written in an “inverted pyramid” style (Most important information at the top).

News releases should accomplish two things: motivate a news outlet to cover the story we’re pitching them or to simply run the release we send them. To accomplish this goal, we must be selective in what we choose to publish as news releases. Simply put: not everything is a news release. Typical news release topics include: major awards and honors announcements; institution-level news regarding enrollment and development; community service; grant awards; research findings. The Office of Communications will help determine what stories are news releases, but don’t worry if a story doesn’t make the cut for a news release – we use a variety of channels to share your news.

The Office of Communications handles all media releases, from distribution to coordination of interviews and on-campus coverage. Visit our media relations page for more insight into this process.

Stillman College has a variety of channels to communicate various types of news with the campus community.

Bulletin Board

Bulletin Board updates arrive via Stillman email accounts. Bulletins are used to inform campus of timely news, like deadlines, construction updates or updates to policies. Access to send Bulletins is limited to a small group of faculty and staff across campus.

If you have information you would like distributed to the campus community, email the Office of Communications.

Newsletters

Currently, the College sends weekly newsletters to two audiences: faculty and staff; and students. While these newsletters have some crossover content, they generally differ in the types of events, updates and stories that are shared. Note the differences in content selection and how content is organized in a recent student newsletter and faculty/staff newsletter that were distributed the same day.

These newsletters rely almost entirely on submissions from faculty, staff and students. Please follow the requirements and meet the deadlines to submit items for inclusion in campus newsletters:

DEADLINE: Each Friday at 1 p.m. CT -Send to: dmiller@stillman.edu -For events/meetings, include: time/date/place, along with a brief description, a web link to register or find more information, and a point of contact. All graphic elements must be in 1920×1080 dimensions. *To avoid any conflicts with Stillman’s brand standards, seek approval for promotional graphics earlier in the week* -For general information/reminders, include: brief description, web link for more information, and a point of contact.

Social media is the primary driver for content delivery and engagement with our audiences. If a story is told on our web site, a news web site or in a digital publication, it will be shared across our social channels. Major health and safety announcements are also shared on Stillman’s accounts.

Additionally, we leverage our social accounts to provide “snap shots” of campus beauty, operations and activities. This content could be a photo grid from an SGA event or an art class. It could be a video highlight from a first-year experience event. Whatever the content, social media is vital in not only delivering the stories we produce, but also in sharing how our people live, learn and work on campus each day.

Follow Stillman College’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin pages for news and updates. We encourage our campus community to share, like and comment on our posts to help grow our following and increase our reach.

Stillman College's Official Social Media Accounts

Stillman College Office of Alumni Affairs

The Stillman College Office of Communications handles ALL media relations. This includes publishing and distributing press releases, pitching stories to media, and inviting media to cover campus events.

Email the Office of Communications if you’re interested in promoting a story to news media. Stillman’s Director of Communications, David Miller, will help you determine the news value in your story, how your story should be told/shared, and how to proceed.

News releases

Often referred to as a “press release,” these stories are purpose-written to generate media coverage. They’re often no more than 500 words and are written in an “inverted pyramid” style (Most important information at the top of the story).

News releases should accomplish two things: motivate a news outlet to cover the story we’re pitching them or to simply run the release we send them. To accomplish this goal, we must be selective in what we choose to publish as news releases. Simply put: not everything is a news release. Typical news release topics include: major awards and honors announcements; institution-level news regarding enrollment and development; community service; grant awards; research findings. The Office of Communications will help determine what stories are news releases, but don’t worry if a story doesn’t make the cut for a news release – we use a variety of channels to share your news.

When strategizing a news release, we must answer the Five Ws (who, what, when, where and why) and be clear and concise. Times, dates and places must be accurate. Names and titles must be accurate and referenced properly. Remember, these stories are often published as-is in newspapers and on web sites. Making corrections or clarifications on our web site is easy; issuing a correction or clarification to dozens of media outlets and getting each one to make these edits on their sites and social channels is an exhaustive process. To avoid errors, faculty, staff and students who are referenced in media releases and stories will receive a draft to check for accuracy and clarity prior to publication and distribution.

News pitches

In lieu of publishing and distributing news releases, organizations will send “news pitches” to media. This strategy is often used when a significant milestone, event, or achievement doesn’t exist for a story. For instance, communications offices will often pitch feature stories or photo/video opportunities, either on campus or in the community, to help journalists in need of quick stories or human-interest features.

The Office of Communications will handle media pitches and less formal communications with news media.

TELLING THE STILLMAN Story

Stillman College’s storytelling mission covers extensive ground and shines a light on every corner of campus. The College’s rich history, from its founding in 1876 to its evolution into a nationally ranked liberal arts college, is told through a variety of mediums and on multiple platforms. The College leverages its web site, print publications, social media channels, advertising partners, and external news media to promote and publicize student and faculty achievement, research, service, and alumni news.

This page will serve as an omnibus for our internal and external communications efforts and best practices, and will include links to storytelling channels, digital downloads, and a Stillman College social media directory. Equally important are resources for our campus community to help tell our stories, and to do so consistently. Students, faculty and staff can access our writing guidelines, and submit story ideas, events announcements and requests for media training.

Crafting and sharing Stillman College’s story is a campus-wide effort. The Office of Communications can’t share the College’s stories without knowing where to look. Stillman can’t keep its campus community informed of timely and relevant news without engagement from its members. You are the College’s sources. You are its newsmakers. Together, we’ll create a consistent, timely, engaging and effective communications network, both on campus and off.

Communications TOOLS AND RESOURCES

SUBMIT A STORY IDEA

The College’s storytelling options are aplenty – news releases, feature stories, videos, etc. Submit a story idea for consideration to be published on our web site, newsletters, social channels, or, potentially, as a pitch to news media. We’ll strategize the best way to share your news.

Stillman College NEWSROOM

Stay up to date on faculty, staff and student news across campus.

OUR BRAND IS MUCH MORE THAN A LOGO.
IT'S OUR IMAGE.

We created this brand identity for Stillman College to stand apart. This identity takes on many forms — in publications, on billboards, in newsletters, in person — but each item sets us apart from others. In order to keep our brand true to our purpose we must be sure:

WE ARE ONE BRAND.

We have one face and speak with one voice. This ensures that all printed and online communications are polished and professional.

YOU ARE THE KEEPER OF OUR BRAND.

With this site, you’ll discover how to use our visual identity correctly, while always capturing the can-do spirit of our institution.

BE CONSISTENT.

By consistently putting forth a unified image, we are bringing value, prominence and awareness to our university.

WHEN IN DOUBT, CONTACT US

Don’t improvise. We’re here to help you. For any questions or concerns, consult The Office of Brand Identity (205) 860-7845 ext. 8810 or email brandidentity@stillman.edu or The Office of Communications & Public Relations (205) 860-7845 ext. 3421 or email communications@stillman.edu.

STILLMAN COLLEGE GRAPHIC STANDARDS MANUAL

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