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10 Ways to Gain Recognition for Your Projects and Your Students

Those of us who are involved in the National History Day program know it is an exciting educational program with numerous benefits for students. While there are thousands of us who share this knowledge, millions have never heard of National History Day. For students to gain the recognition they deserve, National History Day must increase its visibility in communities across the country. Publicity is critical to increase visibility. While the national office has been successful in garnering a fair amount of media attention, the real action is taking place in classrooms and in district and state competitions. Therefore, local and state publicity is extremely important in bringing the National History Day program to the forefront. We need your help to spread the word about National History Day and gain recognition for the work your students have done. The following are ten public relations strategies. These strategies can not only generate publicity, but may also lead to funding sources for the student's trip to National History Day:

Media Relations

1. Write a letter to your local newspaper editor
2. Write a press release and send it to your local paper
3. Write an opinion editorial for your local newspaper
4. Call your local television or cable access station and tell them about your child's project. Send them a press release if you have one. You can find a sample here:
National Contest Press Release Template 

Community Outreach

5. Display your child's project at a local school board meeting
6. Ask your bank if they will display your child's exhibit
7. Ask your employer if they will display your child's exhibit in the lobby
8. Ask your local library to display your child's exhibit

Other Recognition Outlets

9. Write your District or State Legislator and tell them about your child's success
10. Post pictures of your student's project on a web site

To be effective at generating publicity, compile the following Student Press Information:

--Preferred phone number to contact student prior to the contest
--Where are you staying during the contest?
--Best phone number to contact you during the contest
--Name of Local Paper, contact name and phone number
--Name of Local Television Station(s), contact name(s) and phone number(s)

Prepare a good answer to this question:
What would be interesting to a reporter about your research or project? Please describe in detail. Examples:
• Project aligns with specific current news issue (i.e. national security, wire tapping records used in research, election fraud found, etc)
• Project led to finding out interesting family history – found out that you are related to an important figure in history
• Interesting encounter with a famous or previously unknown individual during your research. Provide contact information of famous or interesting person if you describe an encounter with them.