4 Ways to Recruit for SU JMC

Although Samford is known for its many prestigious schools and departments, everyone knows that it is the Journalism and Mass Communication Department that shines above them all.  And I am making certain that prospective students recognize this through Ketchum’s Strategic Planning Model.  This model has four key aspects for a successful PR plan.

FACTS: Samford students need to know important information like the number of departmental scholarships available, the success of the department, the highly esteemed faculty, and the small student to teacher ratio.  With impressive facts like this, Samford JMC is sure to win over the hearts of all high school seniors.

GOALS: Because the goal of college is preparation for a career, prospective JMC students need to know about all of the internship and job opportunities available to Samford grads.  Samford’s location in B’ham and close proximity to Southern Progress and other great places make it a prime college to receive a JMC degree from.  By showing prospective students the advantages that Samford provides in obtaining key internships and job opportunities, it will show them that Samford is the right choice.

Audience: Because students generally do not make their college decision alone, it is important to cater to the desires of both parent and child.  Samford must demonstrate its perfect balance between big-school fun and resources and small-school learning and community.  When choosing a college and a major, families want to feel reassured.  Samford’s JMC department needs to take those extra measures and precautions to ensure that those prospective families feel comfortable and confident in the department.

Key Message: The main point in all of this is to convince prospective students that Samford is in fact the best school for their money and is a worthwhile investment for their future.  Also, Samford’s Journalism and Mass Communication department is a smart choice in selecting a major because it prepares students for a broad base of successful careers and opens many doors for internships and job opportunities because of its reputation in the Birmingham area and beyond.


Let’s Talk About JMC

Using the nine basic MBO steps, I present the following plan to recruit students for the Journalism/Mass Communications department at Samford University.

1. Client/Employer Objectives: To recruit rising freshmen to the Samford JMC department by making them aware of the possibilities and high quality education they would receive.

2. Audience/Publics: Our publics would be current high school seniors interested in journalism, seniors who like to write, seniors who are interested in video production or photography, and seniors who don’t know what they want to major in.

3. Audience Objectives: Current seniors are looking for a journalism department that is thriving and that will educate them in multiple areas of media. They want to know what their options are within a JMC major. They also want to know what the department is all about, especially if they never considered journalism as a major before. They want to know what opportunities are available. They want to know what sets journalism apart from an english major.

4. Media Channels: There are several great ways to reach out to prospective students including email, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The best channels will be email and Facebook. Emails can be used to give quick rundowns of the department and why they should major in JMC. Personal emails from current JMC students can be used give a student perspective and establish a relationship with the department. A Facebook page is a great way for prospective students to connect with each other and with current JMC students. You can also post videos and pictures to Facebook, making it an all-in-one channel.

5. Media Channel Angle: The primary purpose for using Facebook and email is to connect with prospective students and show them why they should major in JMC and why they should do it at Samford. It’s important to show them what sets the Samford JMC department apart from other colleges. It’s also important to give them information about the skills they will be taught and their career options.

6. Sources and Questions: We will want to use quotes from current JMC students, alumni in journalism professions, and JMC professors. We can pull statistics about how the JMC department at Samford is ranked locally and nationally, what awards it has won, and list several of the different places alumni now work.

7. Communication Strategy: We will need to emphasize what JMC students do outside of class. We can talk about internship opportunities, show student-made videos, give them a copy of the Crimson or show them Exodus Magazine. There are so many opportunities for them to practice what they are learning.

8. Essence of the Message: To convince prospective students to attend Samford and major in JMC by giving them the facts and showing them why they will get the best education at Samford.

9. Nonverbal Support: Since much of JMC is about presentation, our website must look great with quality photos and videos. It has to stand out.

A major that opens doors… welcome to JMC.

First of all, JMC is the best major offered by Samford University.  I could stop there but here are 9 Basic Steps to help seal the deal.

Client/ Employer Objectives – Well for this new PR plan I would be working for the JMC Department.  The goals of the JMC Department is to open the eyes of high school seniors to the best major at Samford University and convince them to commit to Samford.

Audience/Publics – The main audience we will aim for is the rising freshman class.  High School seniors who are interested in Journalism, print, broadcast and PR are perfect students who match our prime demographic.

Audience Objectives – The potential class will want to know what general education classes they are required to take with this major.  They will also want to know what scholarships are offered specifically for this major.

Media Channels – As rising freshmen, these students will be looking at hundreds of college websites.  Instead of forcing them to read over yet another cite, lets invite them to visit a Samford JMC Facebook page.  This is going to our audience, not forcing them to come to us.  The page would allow anyone to join, that way rising freshmen could talk to other potential JMC majors and build friendships before even getting on Samford’s campus.

Media Channel Objectives – Thankfully there would be no media gatekeeper since our channel would be through Facebook.

Sources and Questions – Our best source would be the department chair, Dr. Ankney.  Other sources would include admissions counselors and current JMC students at Samford.

Communication Strategies – Something that will seal the deal with this strategy is testimony from current students.  Seeing some of our work, like our videos from 310, or issues of The Crimson, would show these potential students that this major is about doing not just sitting in class taking notes.

Essence of the Message – This message is not only to inform the potential JMC students, but also to recruit them to Samford University and the JMC Department.  By showing these individuals the positive aspects of the department we hope to have them decide Samford University is right for them.

Nonverbal Support – By showing the potential students videos made my film production minors, photographs by JMC students and issues of The Crimson we show how much of a “hands on” department JMC is.   The JMC Department has plenty of visual aids to help bring in new recruits.

The game plan.

Facts—(n.) a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true.

  • Samford’s Journalism and Mass Communication department offers tracks in print, broadcast, PR and advertising. A film production minor is also available. However, at Samford, you are trained in every area to an extent, which allows the students to be well rounded and more hirable.
  • There are small class sizes, with generally eight to 15 students per class. This small classroom feel allows students to engage more with their professors and classmates, creating a better learning atmosphere.
  • Twenty-eight department partial scholarships are available.
  • Samford houses award-winning teachers who put students first. Samford students learn from the best.
  • MAC labs are available for students on a daily basis. Classes are held in the lab, but can be used for projects outside of class as well.
  • Samford’s JMC department has a partnership with The Washington Post.

It is important that both perspective students and current faculty understand and know the facts of Samford University’s JMC department.

Goals—(n.) the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim.

  • Limitless career options
  • Learn how to write and produce print media
  • Understand aspects of PR and advertising, as well as broadcast
  • Hands-on, practical experience

These are some goals a perspective JMC student at Samford might have. However, it is crucial that faculty members have an objective as well.

  • Samford’s objective is obviously to recruit potential JMC students.
  • The time frame is generally a year or two. Recruiting any earlier than one’s junior year of high school is unnecessary.
  • Public Relations fits into this marketing mix because the face of Samford must be a good one. In other words, the JMC department must look appealing to perspective students.

Audience—(n.) the group of spectators at a public event; listeners or viewers. The persons reached by a book, radio broadcast, or PR campaign.

  • Potential JMC students
  • High school students interested in journalism and mass communication

As a PR representative of Samford, I must decide how my target audience feels about Samford, and as a result, change that attitude. My job is to modify the way he or she feels. I want potential JMC students to feel good about Samford’s journalism program, encouraging them to attend Samford University.

Key Message—(n.) The main point

Why study at Samford?

  • A unique combination of a liberal studies education and professional training in journalism and mass communication provides you with an unlimited amount of career options.
  • The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Samford helps students not only understand media culture but also learn to become ethical communicators.

By using Ketchum’s strategic planning model, I was able to come up with a PR plan to recruit potential JMC students at Samford University. Ketchum’s four important steps (facts, goals, audience, and key message) encourage professionals to ask and determine answers to key questions, which allow one to succeed at program planning.

Strategically Thinking JMC

The 9 Basic MBO Steps is a wonderful way to strategically plan for future Samford University JMC majors.  Using a creative approach will give us a higher success rate.

Client/Employer Objectives-The purpose of JMC Department’s communication is to recruit new students and try to persuade them to major in journalism. Our specific objective is to make the JMC Department look like an interesting field to major in and that it will hold wonderful career opportunities for its majors in the future.

Audience/Publics– Our audience is composed of  high school upperclassmen, transfer students, and current students with an interest in JMC. Our audience can help achieve objectives by gaining an interest in the JMC Department and its professors.

Audience/ObjectivesThe prospective students would like to know which types of classes the department offers and who the professors are. They also would like to know which kind of resources are in the department. The message can be tailored to our audience by showing them how our department differs from the others. “You have to listen to your audience and dig deep into that social graph to discern what kind of content you should be producing and who would be interested in it,” according to The Proactive Report.

Media Channels– The best way to reach our audience is through social media and events such as Preview days. The students are more likely to see our message through sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Preview days will work well because we are promoting our department in their current school.

Media Channel Objectives-We have to remember who we are tailoring our message to. High school seniors and juniors are interested in writing, communication, technology, marketing, etc. We have to relay our message creatively by showing them the opportunities and resources that they will be able to use at Samford. We’ll use channels such as social media.

Sources and Questions-Current JMC students would be a great source for our audience. By hearing their experiences, our audience will be able to judge whether or not JMC is for them.  JMC professors would also be a good source because then the students can see what they are like.

Communication Strategies– One of the factors that will affect the message is if the students are more interested in the art department or another major besides JMC. If this is the case then they will not listen to our message.

Essence of the Message-The planned communication impact on our audience is to inform and change their minds about what major they would like to go into. We need to show our audience what is unique about JMC and the similarities between the majors they are interested in and JMC.

Nonverbal Support-Photographs of JMC majors in the Mac lab can be a great way to enhance our message. A small video on YouTube can show students most of the opportunities that a JMC major can partake in. We should even include a chart with types of majors and show that JMC has a higher percentage than some.

Attend Samford for Journalism and Mass Communication

Overall Goal: Recruit new students to attend Samford University & major in Journalism and Mass Communication

(Set up by using the 9 Basic MBO [management by objective] steps in order to provide focus and direction)

1. Client/Employee Objectives

If prospective students understand the department and all the benefits it includes, they will be more likely to want to attend Samford.  This is good for Samford faculty, staff, students and alumni.  The professors want new eager students to attend and bring new talent through Samford.  By understanding the credibility and status of Samford, many prospective students will want to attend.  Samford has a diverse student population and hopes to continue that with recruiting around the country.  There must be a constant and strong message Samford continues to spread to all publics in order to achieve their goal.

2. Audience/Publics

In order to affectedly spread the message, there are several publics that must be reached.  Not only must high school students be reached, but their parents, teachers, and counselors are important.  Therefore, there are  three large groups who need to be reached.

  • High school students (seniors and juniors)- These students are about to make a life changing decision.  They will be receiving many college visits from different schools with different selling points. It is important for them to visit Samford and see how it runs.  By talking to professors and students already in the department, it can help them make their decision.
  • High school faculty and staff-  The advice and knowledge of people in these positions are very important to students.  They must be knowledgeable  about Samford and the JMC department in order to correctly direct students.  Without the correct information, they can lead students in the wrong direction or not to Samford at all.
  • Parents of high school students-  Not only are these the most important adults in students lives, but they are probably who will be paying for the Samford education.  It is important to structure their message to let them know their money will be put to good use and not being wasted.  They must know their children are getting an above average education.

3. Audience Objectives

This step brings up the importance of letting students know there is more to Samford than just class.  By highlighting class in the JMC department, but also the benefits and opportunities within the department, more students are likely to come to Samford. Testimonies from current students are effective.  Alums working in the field are also great speakers to entice students to come to Samford.  The JMC department is very strong and already has such creative students, that they could come up with several ideas to impress high school students and convince them to attend Samford, such as a video done by a student.

4. Media Channels

In-person speeches and meetings are very important for this goal.  It is also important to provide schools and students with brochures, website addresses, letters, and more in order to show Samford’s want for the student.  There are several ways to communicate this message.  It is important to do so in many ways.  Not to annoy the audiences, but let them know there is information if they want it and how to easily find it.

5. Media Channel Objectives

Publications for this particular goal is a little different.  News channels and newspapers are not going to pick up a story necessarily on simply recruiting.  This message will be communicated mainly by the website, social media, and print-publications.  There are some books and similar publications that highlight schools and it is important for Samford to get into such items.

6. Sources and Questions

The department head and school dean would be necessary to confirm information and important people to interview for this process.  Although these two individuals are the most knowledgeable, it also will be important to talk to current students.  They can relate better to the prospective students and get information across that others may have trouble doing.

7. Communication Strategies

Campus visits are necessary to reinforce the decision of prospective students.  How can you choose where you will spend four years of your life without seeing and visiting?  Parents should also come to campus to understand what they children are getting into.

8. Essence of the Message

In order to achieve this goal, the message must transform attitudes and opinions.  Prospective students need to decide they want to attend Samford and major in Journalism and Mass Communication.

9. Nonverbal Support

As stated above, there needs to be constant communication.  By changing how you communicate the message can be better understood.

9 Steps to Grabbing Your Audience

My public relations class was given an assignment to develop a strategy to recruit new students to attend Samford University and explain the strategic planning that we use. I have chosen the 9 basic steps to MBO.

1. Client/employer Objectives. What is the purpose of the communication? In this case, the purpose is to promote Samford University and recruit new students to join to journalism and mass communication department.

2. Audience/Publics. Who exactly should be reached with the message? We are trying to reach seniors or juniors in high school who would be interested in the field of journalism and mass communication.

3. Audience Objectives. What is it that the audience wants to know, and how can the message be focused on them. The prospective students want to know about the college, and the journalism and mass communication department. Give a brief overview of the school and then focus on the advantages of being a JMC major.

4. Media Channels. How to reach these prospective students? The best way to reach future students is sending out brochures, put a web address on the brochures, that way they have something to look at visually; also the websites can have videos and pictures to draw in the audiences. Other resources to use to reach prospective students can be Facebook, Twitter and e-newsletters.

5. Media Channel Objectives. What are they looking for and what angle is being used? It’s important to create something that the audiences can feel connected to or interested in, therefore by creating fun websites, they can check out what the journalism and mass communication department is all about and what they have to offer their students.

6. Sources and Questions. It’s good to have different types of resources for the audience to look at, that way all their questions and concerns get answered. Maybe have personal interviews from current students, stating why their love Samford and what drew them to journalism and mass communications.

7. Communication Strategies. Using the most direct and effective strategies of communications and seeing how the audience responds to your message.

8. Essence of the Message. The purpose of the message is to not only inform the audience, but change their attitude and minds about Samford University. We want them to think about joining our community, and becoming a student here in the future.

9. Nonverbal Support. Nonverbal messages such as photos, videos, graphs, and artwork are useful to use because it gives the audience visual aid and it will stick in the minds better than just reading black and white.