Local Section Public Relations

Help put chemistry in the headlines

Publicity for your section can produce pride among your members. Positive news stories about chemistry and your members can improve public appreciation for our profession. That’s where public relations activities can make a big difference in your section’s visibility to the community.

Become a local section public relations chair

Are you willing to take on the important role of PR Chair, and generate community recognition for chemistry and your Section? Are you willing to be on the PR Committee? If so, contact your Local Section leaders. Being a public relations chair for your local section can take as little as an hour per month. The ACS Office of Public Affairs (1-800-227-5558, extension 4400, or LSPR@acs.org) is available to help you get started today!

The person in this position is responsible for generating public awareness for the ACS Local Section, its activities and events, and the various contributions and resources it offers to the community. This is accomplished by building relationships with the local news media; identifying LS news, events, and information that would interest the public; and alerting the news media to these events, etc., in order to encourage coverage in local newspapers, radio and/or television, as well as Web sites that are of particular relevance to the community. PR Chairs should also identify social media that would be interested in carrying information about the Section’s activities. The ACS national office offers tools and guidance to help members carry out this role.

The Local Section Public Relations Chair is encouraged to find other members to assist in this effort and thereby be part of a LSPR Committee. It is recommended that the LSPR Chair sit on the Section’s executive committee in order to be aware of upcoming events, activities, etc., in time to seek publicity and public participation if appropriate.

The suggested term for this position is three years, during which time a successor should be identified and trained.

Qualifications

  • Willingness to make calls to reporters to ‘pitch’ story ideas and acquaint them with resources offered by the Section, such as scientific expertise.
  • Persistence, recognizing that it often takes multiple attempts to come up with a story that will ‘sell.’
  • Good writing and verbal communication skills and the ability to be concise—identifying the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of your LS events and describing their relevance to the local community so it will appeal to members of the public.
  • Desire to share one’s own personal passion for chemistry and to convey the value of chemistry to the public.
  • Good organizational and people skills.

Responsibilities

  1. Create an inventory of Section activities for the year, especially those that could have public interest, such as: speakers who have a topic of public interest (e.g. forensics, environment, food, etc.), Chemistry Olympiad winners, Project SEED participants, NCW and Earth Day events, award ceremonies, scholarships for local students, announcement of new officers, sponsorship of science fairs, etc. 
  2. Create a media list of local news outlets and reporters who would be interested in activities above.
  3. Create a PR plan, identifying which activities will be publicized, and when.
  4. Write and distribute press releases and other publicity materials with pertinent details about the activities.
  5. Cultivate working relationships with key reporters likely to cover Section news and be responsive to their needs concerning deadlines and requests for technical expertise.
  6. When news interviews are anticipated, involve Section Chair or his/her designee and help prepare appropriate, consistent messages about the Section, chemists, and chemistry.
  7. Communicate with ACS National concerning Section PR activities and results. Contact the ACS Office of Public Affairs at 202-872-4400 or 800-227-5558, ext. 4400, for assistance and resources.

ACS Public Relations Guidebook

How do you get stories in the paper, on the radio, or on television? How do you advertise local section or division activities and the great work of chemists?

The American Chemical Society PR Guidebook provides a brief introduction to PR and why it’s important. It makes it easy to advertise your PR activities, helps you develop messages for the public, and walks you through timing and delivering news to media contacts in your area. There are over 25 templates you can use to create press releases, public service announcements, print ads and more.

ACS Branding Guidelines

ACS also offers Branding Guidelines to help you identify your local section as a part of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

Branding materials provided by ACS are intended for the use of ACS local sections, technical divisions, student affiliates, regional meeting planners, or any member who has rightful reason to promote ACS programs, products, or services.

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