Who We Are
Ashlea K. Maddox, Director of Public Relations/Marketing
B.A. in Marketing, The University of Southern Mississippi
Danielle Sypher-Haley, Web Designer
B.A. in English, Tufts University
B.F.A. in Graphic Design, in progress, The University of Southern Mississippi
The Public Relations Office at the College of Arts & Letters uses various communication tools to enhance the profile of the college, promote events, profile faculty, staff, student and alumni achievements, and provide information in accessible ways for internal and external audiences.
We believe in clear, simple, concise writing, free of jargon and pitched appropriately for the intended audience. We believe the way information is presented affects people's interest in the material, how authoritative they perceive the information to be, their emotional response and how well they retain the information. And we believe in the College of Arts & Letters, our faculty, staff and students. This is a great college, and we're proud to be sharing our classes, events, and accomplishments with the world.
What We Do
If you have an event or series that you’d like to promote, please click the Promote an Event button to the right. A customized strategic plan will be created for your event or series. The earlier you submit a request, the more we can do to promote your event. Components of the PR plan:
USM Email Blast: emailed every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (audience: students, faculty and staff at both campuses)
USM Info Center: accessible anytime and includes what we send to the USM Email blast (audience: students, faculty and staff at both campuses)
A&L NewsBLAST: distributed every two weeks (audience: A&L faculty and staff; Executive Cabinet; University Communications, Southern Miss Alumni Association, USM Foundation)
A&L Buzz: distributed every two weeks via email to A&L faculty/staff and subscribers from community; also shared via Facebook and Twitter (audience: A&L faculty/staff, USM Alumni Association, USM Foundation, public relations professionals at USM, A&L’s social media followers, subscribers)
Community Calendars: USM calendar and other community calendars (audience: general public in Hattiesburg/Gulf Coast areas)
USM Marquee: University Communications manages the marquee and typically promotes events for up to 7 days, beginning one week before the event (audience: general public traveling through Hattiesburg on U.S. Highway 49 and Hardy St.)
Rack Cards: for a series of lectures, concerts, performances, events (audience: students, faculty and staff in LAB; general public; prospective students at recruiting events; specific audiences)
LAB TVs: so much better than a flyer on the bulletin boards that often becomes covered by other flyers (audience: students, faculty and staff in LAB)
Arts & Letters or Arts Website: promotion may include web slide or news block (audience: general public, including Southern Miss community)
A&L Photo Gallery: photo galleries require a minimum of 15 high quality photos and a narrative and may include captions for photos (audience: general public, including Southern Miss community; prospective students)
WUSM Southern Miss Radio: we submit a list of events and possible guests every month to the radio program; they produce the live show and we have no control over guests or content, but we do have a good representation of guests each semester. (audience: Southern Miss community, Pine Belt, worldwide, thanks to internet)
News Release: The PR director will decide which events will get a release to the wider media and which will be promoted internally. (audience: depending on focus of release, but certainly local media, sometimes state and regional distribution)
Ashlea and her interns write news releases on topics of interest to the general public. News releases are generated selectively (based on information we receive from PR Requests) to keep from oversaturating the market with a release on every event or accomplishment in the college. You may be asked for an interview or asked to supply a quote if a release is being written on your accomplishment or event.
News releases typically take a week to be written and go through the approval process once we have all the information we request. Delays in getting information will result in delayed or canceled press releases. Once press releases are generated by our office, they are released to University Communications for wider release to the public.
Please note: Not every event warrants a news release. If your event provides a significant opportunity to enhance the college and University profile outside the Hattiesburg or Coast area, a press release may be appropriate. Please do not reach out to reporters on your own; contact our media liaison, Ashlea Maddox.
Once we receive your completed PR request form, your event will be sent to a variety of community calendars. While we understand that rescheduling is sometimes unavoidable, we lose credibility with our community partners if we ask for too many revisions. Please make sure the information you send us is final (barring any major catastrophes), and that you contact us immediately if anything changes.
ARTS & LETTERS PROMOTIONAL ITEMS
The college purchases a limited amount of A&L-branded giveaways each year, dependent upon our promotion budget. We use these items at college-wide recruitment events. All items are chosen, designed, purchased and distributed by the PR Director. If you have a recruitment or retention event and would like A&L merchandise to give away, please contact Ashlea Maddox, who will work with you to determine appropriate merchandise and amounts.
If your department would like to order promotional merchandise, please schedule a meeting with Ashlea to discuss your needs and budget, view catalogs and get advice on dealing with vendors. Because all merchandise must go through University Communications, a competitive bid process, and Purchasing as well as vendors, expect that your merchandise will take at least a month from conception to delivery.
Ashlea is responsible for all materials that leave the college. If your department has designed a brochure, flyer, rack card or other printed or digital material, please send an electronic copy to Ashlea for approval via the button on the right. She will proofread, check to make sure all logos are used appropriately, and make sure that the language and photographs are consistent with the college message. Materials designed by University Communications or Rise Creative, the student group in Art & Design, still need approval from Arts & Letters before printing.
Ashlea maintains and manages the Facebook,Twitter and Instagram sites for the college. If you have completed a PR Request, social media sharing is included in the plan. She posts regularly and also shares content posted by the University and A&L departments to help those posts rise in the rankings. You can help by sharing A&L content on your own pages, which will increase your reach.
Don't have department social media sites? Contact Ashlea; she can help you set up a site and give you advice on what kind of content is appropriate and most likely to be shared.
The NewsBLAST goes out every two weeks to all faculty and staff in Arts & Letters and showcases events, faculty achievements, important information from the university and college, and occasional messages from the A&L Communication Team. Information for the NewsBLAST is culled from PR requests and submitted achievement forms. If you have something special you'd like included in the next NewsBLAST, please email Ashlea.
We work hard to establish good relationships with our local media partners. If you are going to be on the radio or TV or are going to be interviewed for a newspaper article, please let Ashlea know. This will let her know to watch for the story so she can share it on social media and help publicize it.
The college does not have a staff photographer, and we pay the university photographer the same rates the departments do. For this reason, we are selective about which events we pay the photographer to attend. If you would like a photographer at your event, please click the Request a Photographer button on the right to contact Ashlea.
TELLING OUR STORY
Celebrating the success of our faculty, staff, students and alumni is the best way to tell our story to prospective students, the Southern Miss community, local communities and stakeholders. As great as these successes are, we can't assume that everyone knows about them. But there is a solution and we need your help and a minute or two.
We've created forms for faculty, student and alumni achievements that will be shared with A&L's PR and Marketing office. Using the tools of the PR trade, we can share the great things we are doing with local, state and regional media, including hometown media, so Mom can cut out the story, and so your or your students' achievements will be searchable on Google, which can be helpful when employers, colleagues, family, and friends look for us and what great things we've done.
A&L's story is YOUR story. Help us tell it by filling out an Achievement Form with the buttons on the right.
ARTS & LETTERS / ARTS WEBSITES
The Arts & Letters and Arts sites are our official university websites, and contain information about the college and our departments. They are also home to A&L specific news feeds. Content is rotated periodically.
STUDENT SUCCESS WEBSITE
The Student Success site was an initiative of the Student Success Committee. Because Arts & Letters is committed to helping students, we volunteered to write, design and maintain the site. The site is intended to be a one-stop shop for faculty, staff, students and parents looking for information. If you haven't yet checked out the site, click here to see what's available for faculty! Your comments are always welcome, as we want this to be a resource for the entire University.
We create the slideshows in the lobby and the second floor of the LAB for events, featured classes, and awards. The slides are also used to promote events on the college website, so all sides can be viewed on home computers or phones at your leisure as well as while you're waiting for the elevator. Slides take 1-3 days to create depending on the volume of requests. If you would like to print your slide to hang on a bulletin board, please request a print-ready slide from Danielle.
Please note that if you have completed a PR request, a slide will be made as part of the PR effort, and you do not need to fill out a separate form.
SERIES RACK CARDS
Have you ever seen an event advertised on a slide and decided to go, but then forgot and missed it? So have we. We design rack cards for the LAB lobbies for A&L series so people can have something to take with them as a reminder. If you have a series you'd like promoted, please let us know as early as possible, as rack cards are made in-house and take time to produce. We print a limited number of cards for college use; if you would like cards for your department office or to hand out at an event, request a print-ready PDF which you can then send to University Communications for printing.
Please note that if you have completed a PR request for a series and have included all events with complete information (date, time and location) for each event, a rack card will be made as part of the PR effort, and you do not need to fill out a separate form.
Arts & Letters offers really interesting classes that have a lot of curb appeal. We are trying to devote some of the same attention we devote to events to our classes, which are, after all, the reason we're all here. To submit a class for promotion, please click the Promote a Class button to the right. Classes will be promoted in the LAB lobby, on the Arts & Letters website, and at select recruiting events. If you would like to print the slide for one of your classes, you can request a print-ready PDF by checking a box on the Class Promotion form, and you can print the PDF in your department or send it to the Copy Center.
DEPARTMENT WEB SITES
The maintenance of department websites is up to departments, but Danielle is happy to help with yours, from a professional critique of your website with ideas for improving the content, help with formatting within the constraints of Drupal, or web slides to showcase your department achievements and events. Please email Danielle to schedule an appointment if you'd like to discuss your site, or request a web slide with the button on the right. (Please note that web slides are not a part of the PR package, and must be requested separately. Putting slides on department websites is the responsibility of the department webmaster.)