Lipscomb University took home top honors in the state for its work in public relations and social media at the Tennessee College Public Relations Association’s annual conference May 24-25.
As part of the conference each year, TCPRA organizes a communication competition recognizing excellence in the areas of advertising, public relations/media relations, writing, publications, electronic and digital media and overall promotional campaigns. Two- and four-year, public and private colleges and universities across the state submit their best work to be judged in these categories.
Lipscomb University received four gold awards and one silver award for work entered into the 2018 competition.
Lipscomb took top honors in the media relations campaign category for its entry “Lipscomb University goes to the NCAA tournament for the first time.” The Office of Public Relations and Communication in partnership with the athletics media relations team developed a comprehensive communication plan to maximize coverage of the Lipscomb men’s basketball team’s first trip to the NCAA national tournament. The plan included media relations as well as the university’s main social media and web channels. It was executed during a 14-day stretch between the ASUN championship game (March 4) to the day following Bisons’ NCAA first-round game against North Carolina on March 16.
During this time, Lipscomb was on the front page of Nashville’s daily newspaper, The Tennessean, three times and appeared on the front page of the publication’s sports section six times. A total of 35 stories about the Lipscomb men’s basketball team appeared in the Tennessean during the 14-day period. In addition to coverage by the Tennessean, Nashville’s four local network affiliates aired numerous interviews and stories during this time.
The March 11 Selection Show watch party in Allen Arena was featured on TBS for live cutaways during the Selection Sunday Show. Other media coverage highlights include CBS Sports Inside College Basketball, Players Tribune day in the life video, interviews on the Jim Rome Show, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, The Bleacher Report and Fox Sports among numerous others. Lipscomb president L. Randolph Lowry was a guest on Connecticut Public Radio to talk about Lipscomb two days prior to the game.
Bisons first trip to NCAA men’s basketball tournament nets high volume of local, national media coverage
According to Kim Chaudoin, assistant vice president for public relations and communications, a report generated using a media monitoring service for that time period indicates the number of broadcast media stories mentioning Lipscomb University were nearly 2,000 with an estimated total viewership of 200,236, 901 across the nation and an estimated publicity value of nearly $5.3 million. This number does not include print or web articles.
A social media engagement component was a key part of the plan. It included Facebook live broadcasts, giveaways, contests, promotions, event coverage, promotion of strategic content from the university’s web news hub, videos and hype posts among other tactics. Led by Tabitha Barbé, social media and web content specialist, the plan resulted in a significant increase in engagement on the main university social media channels during that time period, including a 388.4 percent increase in Facebook engagement, a 226.4 percent increase in Instagram engagement and a 364.6 percent engagement in Twitter engagement.
Austin Peay State University finished second and Belmont University placed third in the media relations campaign category.
Lipscomb also placed first in the news writing category for the success of its media advisory promoting a Dec. 4 event hosted by Lipscomb University’s Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice & Society featuring Congressman John Lewis and famed civil rights attorney Fred D. Gray in one of the inaugural events to take place in Nashville’s new Woolworth on 5th event venue. The venue restored the Woolworth Building, site of the lunch counter sit-ins in the 1960s. The media advisory was sent to Nashville media and the Nashville Associated Press bureau office on Nov. 30, 2017. Follow up pitch phone calls were made the next day.
The media advisory was successful in netting coverage of the event by the Associated Press, the Tennessean and WPLN, Nashville's National Public Radio affiliate. The Associated Press article that resulted from the press release ran in numerous media outlets across the country including the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Miami Herald. A story covering the event ran on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Friday, Dec. 8.
The University of Tennessee Knoxville placed second and third in the news writing category.
In the promotional video category, Lipscomb also took first place with “The Lebron Hill Story.” The video is the story of Lipscomb senior Lebron Hill who is pursuing his dream of a Lipscomb education and a career in communication. The video was produced by Chaudoin and Josh Shaw, marketing videography manager. Middle Tennessee State University placed second in the category and Roane State Community College took third.
In August, the Office of Public Relations and Communication launched its first podcast — Bison Talk. Bison Talk took first place in the radio/TV show or newscast category. MTSU finished second in the category and Tennessee Technological University took third place honors.
The first season of Bison Talk featured 32 episodes. The podcast examines current events and news with some of the Lipscomb University community’s most interesting people. Click here to check out Bison Talk’s first season.
In the social media campaign category, Lipscomb took second place honors with its entry, “Lipscomb Goes to the NCAA Tournament for the First Time.” APSU finished in first place, while Belmont University took third place in the category.
Founded in 1975, TCPRA is an organization of communicators who represent the four-year colleges and universities, public and private, two-year technical schools, technology centers and community colleges, that comprise higher education in Tennessee.